The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, is basically impossible not to fall in love with.
Now you may think I’m going over the top here with my superlatives (and as the travel gods know, I do sometimes have a tendency to do this… look it comes with the territory), but seriously this city is too hard not to fall for.
Find me someone who hasn’t gone head over heels for this wonderful South American destination and you’ll prove me wrong, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to find one!
The home of tango and full to the brim with wonderful museums, graffiti, green spaces and great restaurants, Buenos Aires practically overflows with atmosphere, passion and character.
From its historic streets to its modern and trendy suburbs, this is a vibrant city, brimming with life and taking everyone along with her for the ride!
Just my kinda place!
So read on to discover my best 3 day itinerary for Buenos Aires and prepare to fall in love with her too… you know you want to!
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A Word About This Buenos Aires Itinerary
The first thing to say about this 3 day Buenos Aires itinerary is that with just a few days in this amazing and HUGE city, you’re barely going to scratch the surface.
Honestly, you could easily spend a week (or a lifetime) in this giant capital and still not get to see it (or fully understand) it all!
But 3 days is a good start – it’s better than nothing! – and definitely will give you a nice flavour (and leave you hunkering for more) if this is your first visit.
As such, I’ve based the itinerary for 3 days in Buenos Aires around the city’s highlights – that things are in the main touristy areas and suburbs.
These are the places most travellers tend to visit and the things they most want to do on their first visit to the mighty BA – their bucket list ticks as it were.
This itinerary is also written with high visiting season in mind, i.e. it’s written for the warmer summer months when you can get outside and take in the city in all her glory.
I’m sure visiting BA in winter has its charms, but I really feel this city is more suited to the sun.
And with that intro out the way, it’s time to dive into my ideal itinerary for 3 days in Buenos Aires, so here goes…
Day 1 – Palermo
Because I recommend basing yourself in the Palermo district in Buenos Aires (more on this in the “where to stay section” later in this article), I recommend using your first day in this city to get acquainted with this amazing district.
After all, it’s one of Buenos Aires’ best and offers so much that you can easily spend at least a day here.
Plus, as it’s your first day in the city, it’s likely you might be suffering from either jetlag or journey fatigue, so laying low and getting to grips with your immediate surrounds is probably a good idea.
It’s also a good way to acclimatise to the city, and get used to the smells and feels of it all in a fairly easy way – Palermo is pretty safe as BA goes and very traveller friendly, which definitely makes things a bit easier.
The first thing to do in Palermo is to enjoy the superb array of cafes, shops and bars in this wonderfully trendy and hip area.
Yes from craft beers to vegetarian restaurants, this is the spot to come to enjoy all that is progressive, liberal, young and fun in Buenos Aires.
Some of my favourites include Hacienda Coffee and Notable Café in particular – both of these are classics that can’t be missed for their wonderful ambience. Cuervo is another Palermo fav.
La Chapu Bar in Palermo does a great happy hour too FYI!
Palmero is also quite a well-off neighbourhood, with the many green spaces to explore here being testimony to that.
During your first day in Palermo, you definitely shouldn’t miss a trip to either the Eco Park or the wonderful Botanic Gardens here too.
After your relaxation time in one or both of those, it’s time to wander back to the centre of Palermo Soho for a graffiti walking tour.
Costing just 600 pesos and starting at 3pm, with a really well-informed and English-speaking guide, this is a great way to learn more about this district and its political standing.
Finish off with a dinner and some great wine, or an Argentinian craft beer, at one of the many bars in Palermo – standard!
Day 2 – Retiro & Recoleta, La Boca & San Telmo
With 2 day in Buenos Aires now upon us, it’s time to spread your wings a little bit and head to another part of this city to explore more.
I recommend spending the morning in the Retiro district – another well-heeled area known for its beautiful historic buildings, including several embassies, as well as its grand, avenue-like streets.
Oh and don’t miss the amazing and fancy bookshop El Ateneo Grand Splendid here either – it’s basically a city icon!
There’s also lots of nice, green leafy spaces in Retiro to chill out in, or check out Plaza San Martin, which has a lovely park.
For something a bit more gritty and historical, pay a visit to the former Israeli Embassy in Retiro, which was subject to a car bomb attack in 1992.
The memorial that now occupies some of the former site is very moving and beautifully done.
Otherwise, the main historical attraction in this part of Buenos Aires is the famous Recoleta Cemetery, which is located on the edge of the Retiro district.
This is one of the most famous cemeteries in this part of the world – similar to Père Lachaise in Paris – this place is most well-known for being the resting place of Eva Peron.
You should allow a couple of hours to meander this huge cemetery, which is home to many of Argentina’s rich and famous.
Taking a tour is the best way to fully appreciate whose who in here, as well as to learn more about the cemetery in general.
It’s a great idea to find a tour that includes a stroll through Retiro too, so you get some historical info on that suburb as well.
Then, in the afternoon of day 2 in Buenos Aires, I recommend hopping south to the districts of La Boca and San Telmo.
Known as the home of tango, La Boca isn’t the safest areas to be as a tourist in Buenos Aires, but a short taxi should get you there safely.
I would then just suggest sticking to the few main streets, which are more touristy, to see the famous coloured houses here for an hour so.
Walking tours are available and tend to run daily.
Joining one, like this well-reviewed option, may make you feel safer.
Prices start from around $10 USD and take around 2 hours – plenty of time to see this part of the city.
And then in the evening, it’s time to catch a tango show.
The best place to do this is in nearby San Telmo, a hipster district, albeit one that’s a little rougher around the edges than Palermo.
The historic heart of tango, this is a charming area where many evening shows take place.
Book in advance for one of the best rated shows here!
Day 3 – Centro
And finally, we come to the last day (sob sob) of this perfect itinerary for 3 days in Buenos Aires, a day in which I recommend visiting the city centre.
Again, the best way I found to get to grips with the important historical, cultural and political sights you can find in the centre of this capital was to take a walking tour.
There’s many great ones running every day and most last a couple of hours – plenty of time to get a good gulp of info and to hit all the main sights.
If you do want to do it independently – which you can, just keep an eye on your safety as you would in any busy city – then don’t miss the…
- Plaza de Congress
- The historic Gaumont Cinema
- Avenida de Mayo
- Palacio Barolo (and the Dante-inspired Instagram view from the top)
- The huge pink building that is the Governmental Palace and sits in the main square – Plaza de Mayo
- The Mothers (and their headscarf icon painted on the paving stones) of Plaza de Mayo
- The Obelisk of Buenos Aires – a national monument and icon of the city, located in Plaza de la República
Finish up in one of the amazing and historic cafes of central Buenos Aires and enjoy some well-deserved people watching!
Getting to and Around Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires hosts Argentina’s main international airport, so if you are flying into this country it’s likely you’ll land in the capital.
As always, I use Skyscanner to find the best deals on flights to Argentina from around the world.
You can also take domestic flights to other airports within Buenos Aires (this city has a collection of them!), as well as long distance buses that arrive from the other major destinations that are scattered around this huge country.
Check out Bookaway to view bus timetables in English and book seats – very helpful!
If you’re travelling between Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls, then check out this post I wrote specifically about this journey and how to do it best.
Once you’re in Buenos Aires, use either Uber or the Metro system to get around.
SUBE cards can be used for public transport in the city and a card, plus 5 free rides, costs 200 pesos and can be bought in most metro stations where many counter staff speak English.
I used the metro a lot during the daytime in Buenos Aires and found it very safe and easy to use.
Where to Stay in Buenos Aires
As I mentioned at the start of this article, I highly recommend basing yourself in the Palermo Soho district, it’s one of nicest, safest and most fun in the city and is a common place for travellers to stay.
For budget travellers, the Meridiano Hostel here is fantastic and comes highly recommended with its historic building, great vibe and lovely roof terraces.
Otherwise, check out my list of the best Airbnbs in the city here.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a great hotel stay in Palermo, then Casa Tatu gets some great reviews thanks to its brilliant location and top customer service.
Travel Safety in Buenos Aires
I travelled in Argentina as a solo female backpacker and felt incredibly safe the whole time.
The friendliness of the people, added to the general sense of ease and comfort I felt and across the whole country, and the fact that public transport was easy and secure was a winning combo!
That said, I would never travel in South America without adequate travel insurance and highly recommend travel insurance from World Nomads, which I’ve used throughout my time in Argentina and beyond.
I love their great coverage of active, outdoor activities (essential for a country like this), as well as their simple, online claims process.
If you’re looking insurance that provides cover for Covid-19, then look no further than the great insurance packages offered from Safetywing – another of my favourite insurance companies for travellers.
These guys have you covered!
To further help feeling safe when travelling in Argentina, I highly recommend picking up a local SIM card when you arrive.
That way, you can always communicate with people, check maps and book accommodation when you’re on the move or if plans suddenly change.
There are many providers to choose from and getting a SIM card as a tourist is simple in any of the major cities or towns.
You can always ask your accommodation for help with this too and they’ll usually be able to point you in the right direction.
5 Packing Essentials for Buenos Aires
#1 LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
An absolute must on my travel packing list, my LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle safely removes 99.9% of bacteria found in tap water and, as such, allows me to drink tap water around the world knowing it’s safe.
Great for your health, but also for the planet, this guy massively reduces your plastic bottle usage, making it a double winner!
#2 Good Walking Shoes
Getting out in nature is what time in Argentina is all about, so definitely ensure you have some good walking shoes so you can enjoy the incredible landscapes here to the fullest.
I highly recommend these New Balance Cross Trainers which are perfect for city strolling and canyon clambering.
#3 High-Sided Travel Pillow
Whichever you look at it, there’s a lot of travel time involved in adventuring in a country like Argentina, so make sure you’re prepared with a good travel pillow that will save you on night buses and flights like.
#4 Argentina Lonely Planet
My go-to when it comes to travel guidebook, the Argentina Lonely Planet is still a great source of information including in useful tips on where to visit in this country and how to get there.
#5 Reliable Camera
There’s no doubt you’ll want to capture your Argentina memories and ensuring you have a reliable camera to do just that is super important.
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
So there we have it folks, my ideal itinerary for 3 days in Buenos Aires!
Hope you enjoyed it!
When are you heading to this city and what are you most looking forward to?
Tell me all in the comments box below…