The Top 25 Things to See and Do in Córdoba, Argentina

| Nicolas Exposito / Unsplash
Madeleine Bazil

The city of Córdoba, capital of the province in Argentina of the same name, has a history of culture and intellectualism. Find out the top things to see and do here, whether you’d like to catch a tango performance, roam around Spanish-colonial buildings, immerse yourself in art and music or check out the trendy restaurants of the bohemian Güemes neighborhood.

1. Tour the Cathedral of Córdoba

Cathedral, Church

The Cathedral of Córdoba is the oldest church in Argentina to be in continuous service – just as well, as it took more than two centuries to build, starting from 1577. This National Historic Monument features frescoes painted by Argentine artists such as Emilio Caraffa and Manuel Cardeñosa, as well as a crypt where significant historical figures are buried, including General José María Paz, a military leader in the Argentine War of Independence and the Civil War.

2. Stroll through Parque Sarmiento

Park

The 43-acre (17ha) Parque Sarmiento, adjacent to the aforementioned museum, is the green heart of Córdoba. University students congregate on the grass, among features such a rose garden, a duck lake and a natatorium. The park is also home to the city zoo, where you can see creatures such as hippos and bears, as well as hand-feed the camels, ostriches and tapirs.

3. Get a dose of history at the Jesuit Block

Church, School, University

If you’re interested in the fusion of European and indigenous cultures, head to the Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba. This Unesco World Heritage site is a collection of buildings built in a Spanish style by 17th- and 18th-century Jesuit arrivals, who were allocated one of the 70 blocks of the original city. The core buildings include a church, the Jesuit priests’ residence and a university.

4. Bar Yoly

Bar, Argentina

Barbecued beef in Argentina
DEBY RODRIGUEZ / Unsplash

What trip to Argentina is complete without a visit to a good steak house? A visit to Bar Yoly will remind you why Argentine beef is considered to be one of the best in the world. Unbelievable cuts of meat are thrown on the grill and served with love (but no frills). Expect the food to do the talking. A local joint, this is the perfect typical Argentine parrilla restaurant, or steak restaurant. Recommended by Eve Bidmead.

5. Centro Civico de la Provincia de Cordoba

Architectural Landmark

Centro Civico de la Provincia de Cordoba, Argentina
Dan Gold / Unsplash

This sculptural government building is a planar concrete construction with an interestingly perforated facade. Although not accessible to the public, it is worth passing by at night to see it lit up in all its glory. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

6. Villa Carlos Paz

Architectural Landmark

This idyllic town is a tourist haven for those looking to experience both the urban settlements and natural beauty of the Cordobese countryside. Situated on the shores of the San Roque lake, Villa Carlos Paz is less than 40km from Cordoba and boasts incredible lakes, rivers and hills – perfect for some light outdoor activity. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

7. Villa General Belgrano

Architectural Landmark

This quaint mountain town was founded in 1930 by two German agriculturalists and has a distinctly Alpine feel. Known for its Bavarian architecture and German influence, it is a popular stop on the tourist trail in the countryside surrounding Cordoba and well worth a day trip. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

8. Cosquín

Architectural Landmark

This quiet town garnered fame for being a safe haven for anyone with respiratory or pulmonary ailments due to its pure and fresh air. Now it is more renowned for the National Folklore Festival it hosts annually, drawing over 100,000 people each year. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

9. Uritorco Hill

Natural Feature

Cerro Uritorco, Argentina
Rodri Londero / Unsplash

One of the more legendary locations around Cordoba, the Uritorco Hill has become a thing of lore due to reported paranormal activity in the area. UFO sightings, secret portals to other dimensions, magnetic energy fields all fight for the title of the most bizarre happening on the hill. A must-visit for any mystic. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

10. Look for handicrafts at the Feria Artesanal

Market

Head downtown on the weekends to browse the outdoor crafts fair at Paseo de las Artes – the perfect place to get your hands on the finest artisanal goods. The wares on sale are diverse, from ceramics and handmade jewelry to children’s toys. Skip the overpriced cafes ringing the area and instead go to one of the food stalls within the market. Make like the locals and try an alfajor – two shortbread-like cookies with a sweet filling between them.

11. Dine in Güemes

Architectural Landmark

This hip neighborhood in the heart of the city is full of bohemian restaurants and bars, making it an ideal spot to grab a bite to eat. Casual Argentine cuisine is served all day at Bruncheria, from bruschetta, jamón and freshly squeezed juice in the morning, to pizza and vino tinto in the evening. Its retro blue-and-yellow styling extends to the terrace, which is open until 8pm every day. If you’re in the area on the weekend, be sure to check out the colorful artisans’ market.

12. Take in the canal-side nightlife

Architectural Landmark

A landscaped canal bisects Córdoba, and the canal-facing street of Marcelo T de Alvear in the downtown area is chock-full of bars for every type of reveler. One of the best is X Bar, a dimly lit locals-only spot with second-hand furniture and vintage adverts on its walls. Order a kiwi daiquiri, which tastes so good it could pass as a breakfast smoothie.

13. Dance up a storm at Tsunami Tango

School

You can hardly come to Argentina without witnessing its globally influential national dance: the dramatic tango, which originated in Argentina in the 1880s. Stop by to watch the professionals at a milonga, or tango club, such as this cavernous venue in Güemes. Feeling inspired to hit the dance floor? You can learn the moves here, too, at lessons that run from Tuesdays to Saturdays.

14. Peruse art at the Evita Fine Arts Museum

Museum

Known in Spanish as the Museo Superior de Bellas Artes Evita, this museum is housed in an opulent beaux arts mansion. Take a gander at the collection of over 500 works by artists ranging from Goya to Picasso, and don’t miss the sculpture garden outside.

15. Catch a show at the Teatro del Libertador General San Martín

Theater

This theater, concert hall and opera house was designed by an Italian-Argentine architect in the late 19th century, in an effort to mix Italianate details with the beaux arts style. The neo-baroque interior is equally sensational, complete with red velvet and chandeliers. Check in advance what cultural delights are coming up – shows include classical music, opera, rock and dance.

16. Take in the culture at Paseo del Buen Pastor

Monastery

Paseo del Buen Pastor started its life as a women’s prison in 1906, with a landmark gothic revival church added two decades later. These days, the complex has had a whole new lease of life, as a cultural center and performance space, offering everything from live music to art exhibits by local emerging creatives. In the central courtyard you’ll find a couple of cool cafe-bars serving beers and cocktails.

17. Museo Emilio Carrafa

Museum, Building

The artistic character of Museo Emilio Carrafa, located in the pretty Plaza España, becomes obvious from the outside –architect Juan Kronfuss’s neoclassical building is impressive in its own right. The exhibitions here change monthly, so it’s worth checking what’s on before you visit. Recommended by Eve Bidmead.

18. Mercado Norte

Market

Mercado Norte is a fantastic find. This small and cheap food market sells a host of delicious typical foods, from empanadas to steak sandwiches. You’ll find authentic eats at an unbelieveable price. The market is also a great stop to buy fresh produce, so come here and get inspired to cook your own meals. Recommended by Eve Bidmead.

19. Dance tango at Cabildo

Architectural Landmark

Visit Cabildo, a much loved cultural center, and try your hand at tango. You may not find yourself a natural, as it’s not as easy to pick up this dance as other Latin American dances (salsa, for example), but it’s worth a shot. Classes start at 9:30pm every Friday, and afterwards you’re free to stay and practise, which is completely encouraged and a great chance to mix with the regulars. Recommended by Eve Bidmead.

20. Centro Cultural Cordoba

Architectural Landmark

Another must-see in Parque Sarmiento, the Centro Cultural Cordoba is an impressive feat of urbanism and engineering, taking the form of a sculptural landform under which the concrete and glass structure of the cultural center sits. Part interpretive center, part city monument, it is worth scaling its large ramp to get impressive views of the city. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

21. Reserva Natural Urbana San Martin

Natural Feature

Situated just outside the ring road that encloses the city, the Reserva Parque San Martin is an ecological reserve set in a lush landscape with many natural features including a picturesque river for those who want an easy escape from the city. Stay in the campground to get the best out of the reserva experience. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

22. Nueva Cordoba

Architectural Landmark

A popular haunt of college students who proliferate in Cordoba, Nueva Cordoba is the city’s heartbeat. Marcelo T. Alvear is the go-to street for the most vibrant nightlife – revelers party into the wee hours, downing glasses of Fernet and Coke, a staple of the Cordobese nocturnal scene. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

23. Iglesia De Los Capuchinos

Architectural Landmark

Located opposite the Paseo del Buen Pastor, this incredible church was only completed in 1934, despite appearing to date from an era far earlier than this. Built in the Neo-Gothic style, it is notable for the two bell towers on its front facade, one with a spire that represents divinity and another truncated tower which represents mortality. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

24. Capilla del Monte

Architectural Landmark

Capilla del Monte, Córdoba, Argentina
Carolina Avinceta / Unsplash

A small town in the Sierras Chicas mountain range in the Cordobese countryside, Capilla Del Monte is the local stronghold and hub for anyone wanting to visit the Uritorco Hill. There are many other features of natural beauty to be explored from the town, such as the Calabalumba River and the El Zapato rock formation. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

25. Sierras Grandes

Natural Feature

This local mountain range runs parallel to the Andes but is a lot more hospitable. Clusters of rolling hills and valleys hide rivers and streams, and the Sierras offer everything an outdoor enthusiast can want. Rent a car and discover the wonders the Sierras Grandes have to share. Recommended by Sorcha O’Higgins.

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