Ah, Buenos Aires! The bustling, beautiful city that we were lucky enough to call our home for one month. After working as a digital nomad in Buenos Aires, we got to experience the rich history, vibrant culture, and (super) tasty cuisine.
With so much to do and discover, it’s difficult to choose where to start. If you want to make sure that you tick off all of the essential items on the itinerary, then a walking tour of Buenos Aires is a great place to begin.
Brief History Of Buenos Aires
Chances are that when first you think of Buenos Aires, Madonna’s Don’t Cry for Me Argentina comes to mind. But the city is so much more than that.
As the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires tells the narrative of a fascinating country. The city was first founded in 1536 by a Spanish-led expedition. This placed Rio de la Plata at the center of the action – which is where you’ll find much of the action today.
The port city was then refounded in 1580 and has continued to develop at a steady pace since then – up until its economic crisis which kickstarted in 2017.
Over the years, Buenos Aires has expressed a unique Spanish culture with an affinity for Asado, great wine regions and the saucy tango. But the city’s history is rooted far more deeply in the city – and you can discover this for yourself.
Book Your Walking Tour
One of the best ways to discover the history of the city is on foot. Walking from point A to point B allows you to marvel at the beautiful architecture and take-in the daily life that has developed at the same time.
If you want to gain benefit from a knowledgable guide, then there are a few great tours to consider.
Full-Day Walking Tour
Immerse yourself in the life of the Porteños with this full-day walking tour through Buenos Aires. Discover the well-known areas of Palermo, Recoleta, San Telmo, and La Boca.
You’ll get the opportunity to ride on local transport when needed, allowing you to visit a variety of sights in Buenos Aires.
Read more about the Buenos Aires full-day tour here.
Half-Day Walking Tour
If you prefer a sweeping overview of the top spots and then enjoy the rest of the day to yourself, then a half-day tour is a great option.
Use the traditional coach and your trusty feet to see historic sights such as Plaza de Mayo and Recoleta.
Read more about the Buenos Aires half-day tour.
Private Walking Tour
Perhaps you’re not a fan of crowds? Or, like us, you don’t enjoy shuffling around in a group. Then a private walking tour is a fantastic option. The private half-day tour of Buenos Aires is fully customizable.
There is a recommended itinerary which includes a visit to Plaza de Mayo and a stroll through the charming area of San Telmo.
Read more about the private tour of Buenos Aires here.
Museums and Theatre Tour
The history of Buenos Aires is colorful and lively. And this description extends further than the character-filled streets of La Boca to include the many museums in the city. A three-hour walking tour dedicated to the museums and theatre of Buenos Aires.
Walking through the historical neighborhoods of Buenos Aires will give you the flair – and the knowledge – of the city’s history.
Read more about the Buenos Aires museum tour here.
Plan Your Own Buenos Aires Walking Tour
Some of these spots can be mapped together and all hit within a short period of time. Others require you to hop onto a bus (or another form of Buenos Aires’ efficient public transport).
Evita is an icon of Buenos Aires and she is considered a true representative of the Argentinan people. The Evita Museum is the best way to discover how her character, her actions, and her legacy shaped the history of the country.
- Opening Hours: 11 am – 7 pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
- Cost: $7 USD
- Our highlight: Learning about Evita’s unrelenting love for the Argentinean people.
Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento
This French-style church was one of the first historical buildings that we earnestly explored, and it was a fantastic place to start.
From the beautifully-designed exterior to the breathtaking stained-glass windows inside. The church is a true marvel. Just keep in mind to be respectful of the worshippers that frequent the pews.
- Opening Hours: 8 am – 7:30 pm (Monday – Thursday), 12 pm – 7:30 pm (Friday), 8 am – 8:30 pm (Sunday)
- Cost: Free
- Our highlight: The awe-inspiring interior-design is enough to mesmerize you unlike you’d imagine.
Plaza San Martín
Located in the neighborhood of Retiro, Plaza San Martín is one of the oldest squares in the city. The spot is not only historical as it pays tribute to revolutionary General San Martín but also because of the various historical events that it has hosted.
But the historical weight of the park is not its only allure, it’s also adorned with beautiful trees and boasts a fantastic view of the city.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours a day
- Cost: Free
- Our highlight: It’s a lush, green haven in the middle of a city full of stunning, historical buildings.
Teatro Colón entertains its guests in more than one way. You can choose to watch a mind-blowing performance seated in the red velvet chairs. Alternatively, you can book a more affordable guided tour. Both options offer a timeless encounter with the theatrical arts.
- Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Monday – Sunday)
- Cost: From $22 USD
- Our highlight: The interior of the theatre is considered unparalleled in beauty.
Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires
Perhaps the best-known cathedral in Buenos Aires, the Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires has served the city of Buenos Aires since 1827. The beautiful building is a symbol of history and welcomes thousands of visitors to absorb the experience – whether they are believers or not.
- Opening Hours: 7:30 am – 6:30 pm (Monday – Friday), 9 am – 6:45 pm (Saturday – Sunday)
- Cost: Free
- Our highlight: The marching parade that walked through when we were inside was something quite spectacular.
Opposite the renowned Plaza de Mayo, and a stone’s throw away from Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires is Casa Rosada. Although a strange color for a presidential palace, Casa Rosada stands bold in the heart of Buenos Aires’ historic district.
- Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Wednesday – Sunday)
- Cost: Free
- Our highlight: The beautiful pink hue that covers the walls makes for a great photo opportunity – as does the huge Argentinan flag that waves outside.
The old sail war boat has been converted into a museum and is docked nearby Puente de la Mujer. If you’re looking for a unique experience that adds a new facet of historical understanding to the city, then this is a great spot to stop.
- Cost: $0,3 USD
- Our highlight: A really different experience, and one that sails you into a nostalgic context.
La Boca Caminito
Stroll the cobblestone streets of La Boca, watch a live tango dance, indulge in tasty Asado and explore the trinkets at the weekly markets. La Boca is a colorful, vibrant, area that pulses with history – and el Caminito is the epicenter.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours a day
- Cost: Free
- Our highlight: The colorful buildings and artistic wares for sale are not only charming but also picture-perfect.
Located in the neighborhood of the same name, Recoleta Cemetary is one of the most historically profound attractions in Buenos Aires. The beautifully-built graves give honor to people who have had a monumental impact on the city.
- Opening Hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm (Monday – Sunday)
- Cost: Free
- Our highlight: Eva Perón’s grave attracts countless visitors on a daily basis – and seeing it in person makes it easy to understand why.
This spot is a bit of an added bonus, and an activity to add to your nighttime agenda. Cafe Tortoni first opened in 1858 and the French-style decor has kept the nostalgic mood of the times very much alive.
Our recommendation is to book for a dinner, enjoy the tango show and finish the night off with the deathly-good dulce de leche ice cream.
Note: The ticket to the tango show can only be paid with cash.
- Opening Hours: 9 am – 1 am (Sunday), 8 am – 1 am
- Cost: Free to enter, tango shows are approximately $17 USD
- Our highlight: The tango show is nothing short of sensational – and that’s saying something considering how incredible the interior of the cafe is.
Top Tips For a Walking Tour
Whether you choose to do a DIY tour or book with a knowledgable guide, there are a few things to keep in mind. Expect information overload and a lot of walking!
- Start early – the days in Buenos Aires can get hot and popular attractions can get crowded. Starting early in the day will help alleviate both of these discomforts.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes – as I said, you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
- Pack essentials such as water, sunscreen, etc. – when you walking a city flat, it’s easy to get dehydrated and tired. Protect yourself from the sun and keep your energy levels high.
- Have cash on hand – paying with a card in Buenos Aires is more difficult than necessary. While most places do accept credit cards, it’s a lot easier to just whip out a stack of notes.
- Stop for pastries and goodness – this was one of my personal highlights in Buenos Aires. The pastries in Buenos Aires are out of this world and well worth the handful of pesos that they cost.
Fancy A Tour?
The city of Buenos Aires stole our hearts. Without a doubt, we plan to go back and further explore in the vibrant culture, indulge in the tasty dulce de leche and mingle with friendly locals. A walking tour of Buenos Aires is a great way to start.
If you’ve been to Buenos Aires and experienced its history, let us know about your favorite spots! With so much to see and do, the list is far from exhaustive – so drop us a line!