Buenos Aires in 3 Days

Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina is a cosmopolitan city with plenty to see and do. It also makes a great base for exploring further afield. We spent 5 days in Buenos Aires; 3 days exploring the city itself and 2 on day trips further afield.

Below, is the itinerary of the three days we spent in Buenos Aires. I can thoroughly recommend adding some side trips, though. We took a boat trip up the Rio Grande to Tigre and another boat trip across the Rio Grande to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay.

Getting There

Buenos Aires has two airports – we arrived at one and departed from the other. Ezeiza International Airport is the main international airport somewhat further (20 miles) away from the city, which can be reached by bus no 8E. Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery deals with internal and regional flights and is fairly centrally located, just 5 miles from downtown Buenos Aires. It is served by buses 45A and 33.

Welcome to Argentina
Ezeiza

Getting Around

Buenos Aires has a comprehensive metro system. The best way to travel is to purchase a SUBE card, which can be charged with money. SUBE cards are available at hotels and metro stations. You need your passport/ID to obtain one and it costs 126 pesos (around £0.55). The card can be used on the metro, buses and trains within greater Buenos Aires.

Where to Stay

We stayed at the very pleasant Hotel 474 Buenos Aires. The hotel is situated in the financial district, thus somewhat cheaper than more touristy areas but still conveniently situated. One disadvantage; the area is like a ghost town at weekends and most bars and restaurants are closed. We arrived at 9 am and they were very accommodating, letting us check in early.

Hotel 474 Buenos Aires
Hotel 474 Buenos Aires

3 Day Itinerary

Day 1Fly to Buenos Aires
Casa Rosada Guided Tour
Casa Rosada Museum
Accommodation – Hotel 474 Buenos Aires x 5
Day 2Catedral Metropolitana
Eco Parque
Parque 3 de Febrero
MALBA
Floralis Genérica
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Cementerio de la Recoleta
Dinner – Buller Pub & Brewery
Day 3Teatro Colon
Obelisco
Palacio Barolo
Palacio del Congreso
Puerto Madero
Puente de la Mujer
Galerías Pacífico
Dinner – Galerías Pacífico

Attractions

1Casa Rosada
2Catedral Metropolitana
3Eco Parque
4Parque 3 de Febrero
5MALBA
6Floralis Genérica
7Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
8Cementerio de la Recoleta
10Teatro Colon
11Obelisco
12Palacio Barolo
13Palacio del Congreso
14Puerto Made
15Puente de la Mujer
16Galerías Pacífico

Day 1

Casa Rosada Guided Tour

We started our visit to Buenos Aires with the Casa Rosada Guided Tour. The Casa Rosada is the Argentinian presidency; the place where Madonna sings ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ from the balcony in the movie Evita. Note: It’s a very popular tour, with online booking required, so places need to be reserved well in advance.

Casa Rosada
Casa Rosada

The tour is supposed to take an hour, but the guide seemed to love the sound of his own voice and went on and on. Tours are 15 minutes apart, so they were soon backing up behind us. It didn’t help that some of the Americans in our group refused to do stairs and we had to wait while a separate staff member escorted them via the elevator.

Casa Rosada Courtyard
Casa Rosada Courtyard

Finally, we reached the bit I’d been waiting for – the iconic balcony. We patiently waited our turn to go out, but the guard decided our group’s time was up and started herding us towards the exit. It was such an anti-climax. Our tour of a few rooms took two hours and we risked missed the highlight. I made a break for it and managed to grab a balcony photo before being ushered out.

View from Casa Rosada Balcony
View from Casa Rosada Balcony

Casa Rosada Museum

Once the tour finally ended, we headed for the Museum which is situated behind the Casa Rosada. It contains a potted history of Argentina, plus articles relating to the life of the Perons.

Casa Rosada Museum
Casa Rosada Museum

Also in the museum is a mural by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Painted in 1933, it is considered a masterpiece of Latin American art.

Siqueiros Mural
Siqueiros Mural

You can only enter the Casa Rosada as part of a guided tour. Tours take place on Saturdays (English language tour are at 12.30) and are free. You must show your passport/ID to join the tour. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday and is also free.

The Perons' Car
The Perons’ Car

Day 2

Catedral Metropolitana

We started our second day in Buenos Aires with the 19th Century Metropolitan Cathedral, former manor of Pope Francis, who was Arch Bishop of Buenos Aires prior to becoming the Pope.

Plaza de Mayo
Cathedral from Plaza de Mayo

We missed it first time round, as the exterior looks more like a museum or a bank than a cathedral.

Buenos Aires Cathedral
Buenos Aires Cathedral

However, inside it looks like most South American churches; very ornate with lots and lots of gold stuff.

Interior of Buenos Aires Cathedral
Interior of Buenos Aires Cathedral

Then we tried to get a tube from Catedral underground station. It sounds fool-proof, seeing as we’re already at the cathedral. But somehow we managed to overshoot and end up at Peru, which is on a different line. By the time we realised, we’d already passed through the barrier so had to retrace our steps, pay for more tickets and try again.

Eco Parque

Second time lucky, we found the station and caught the tube to Palermo. The rest of the morning is all about parks. First, we walked through the Eco Parque.

Eco Parque
Eco Parque

The Eco Parque is on the site of the former zoo. In 2016, the Buenos Aires City Government took the decision to close the zoo and release about 2,500 animals (the majority of the zoo’s population) into the wild. Now you can just see ducks, peacocks and maras wandering around by the lakes.

Mara at Eco Parque
Mara at Eco Parque

Parque 3 de Febrero

From here, we continued on foot to the enormous Parque 3 de Febrero. This huge park was heaving on a Sunday morning; walkers, joggers, cyclists, skaters, yoga, aerobics, weightlifting. It was all going on here, there was even a man playing the bagpipes.

Rose Garden
Rose Garden

There was so much to see and do here, but for me the highlights are the Rosedal (Rose Garden) with its 18,000 roses and the Jardín Japonés (Japanese Garden) with its traditional Japanese bridges, koi pond and tea house. You have to pay to enter the Jardín Japonés, but at 150 pesos per person (£0.65) it isn’t going to break the bank.

Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden

MALBA

After a morning of gardens, the afternoon was all about art. Next up, we visited the Museum of Latin American Art (MALBA). As the name suggests, it’s a collection of art by Latin American artists. The old man is not a great art lover, but there is some great stuff here. Even he was impressed.

MALBA
MALBA

As well as the permanent collection, there are temporary exhibitions. When we visited, the temporary exhibition was by Pablo Suarez. His work is clever and a little bit crazy, which is just how I like things.

MALBA

MALBA is open daily except Tuesday and costs 1100 pesos (£4.79) most days. On Wednesdays, entry is 550 pesos.

MALBA
MALBA

Floralis Genérica

We stopped briefly at the Floralis Genérica, a huge aluminium flower sculpture that opens in the sunlight. It sits in a pool of water and reflects the nearby buildings in its silver petals.

Floralis Genérica
Floralis Genérica

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Next, another art gallery, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. This has some South American and plenty of European art in the main collection. When we visited, the temporary exhibition is by Turner, on loan from the Tate, so ironically we paid to see something in Argentina that we could have seen in England for free.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

This gallery is open daily except Monday and entry is free. There may be a cost for temporary exhibitions. We paid 100 pesos to visit the Turner Collection.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Last stop is the Cementerio de la Recoleta, the cemetery of the rich and famous. It’s like a huge city of the dead. The cemetery only has one entrance. Somehow, we managed to walk round all four sides before locating the gate some 350 degrees from where we started.

Cementerio de la Recoleta
Cementerio de la Recoleta

Dinner at Buller Pub & Brewery

Buy the time we’d completed our wander round the cemetery, we were tired and hungry after a long day. We spotted a microbrewery opposite the exit; Buller Pub & Brewery. Unfortunately, we were by the coach drop off point where buses leave their engines running to maintain the a/c at the required temperature for their passengers. So we drank very good beer and ate enormous burgers surrounded by more diesel fuel than I’d have preferred.

Beer at Buller
Beer at Buller

Day 3

Our final day in Buenos Aires was a Monday. This can be rather tricky as many tourist attractions are closed on Mondays, so the day was somewhat disjointed.

Graffiti

Teatro Colon

We started the morning with a wander around Buenos Aires admiring the city’s architecture, such as the Teatro Colon.

Theatre
Teatro Colon

Obelisco

We stopped to take an obligatory selfie in front of the Obelisk. One of the city’s most iconic monuments, the obelisk stands at 67m high in the middle of the Plaza de la República on on a traffic island on Avenida 9 de Julio. It was erected in 1936 and most recently made global news coverage when thousands upon thousands of fans came here to celebrate Argentina’s world cup victory.

Obelisco
Obelisco

Palacio Barolo

We continued our day with a guided tour of the Palacio Barolo; an Art Deco tower block where each floor represents a different verse of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Note: This is another popular tour best booked in advance.

Palacio Barolo
Palacio Barolo

You start in the foyer (hell) then work your way up through purgatory to heaven. Ironically, you can reach purgatory by lift, but the final 8 floors to heaven have to be climbed on foot.

Palacio Barolo
Palacio Barolo

You finish by clambering into the glass domed lighthouse at the top for a stunning, if vertiginous view.

View from Palacio Barolo Lighthouse
View from Palacio Barolo Lighthouse

It’s an amazing building with the added bonus of great views across the city to the River Plate. Palacio Barolo Day Tours run on Mondays and Wednesday-Saturdays. Day Tour tickets cost 7,000 pesos (£30.50), and last 90 minutes. The price is a bit steep, but I think it’s worth it. There are also evening tours which cost 8,000 pesos and include musical entertainment.

Palacio del Congreso

Once we had descended from heaven, we walked as far as the Congress Building, which is modelled on the US Capitol and is situated in a park surrounded by sculptures and dog poo.

Plaza Congreso
Palacio del Congreso

Puerto Madero

Then we returned to our hotel via the renovated waterfront area of Puerto Madero with its boats, public art and cobbled streets lined with trendy cafes.

Puerto Madero

Puente de la Mujer

In the middle of Puerto Madero is the ultra modern Puente de la Mujer swing bridge (which apparently represents a couple dancing the tango).

Puente de la Mujer
Puente de la Mujer

Galerías Pacífico

In the afternoon, we went to Galerías Pacífico; it’s primarily a shopping mall, however its domed ceiling, completed in 1945, displays the work 5 prominent muralists.

Galerias Pacifico
Galerias Pacifico

Dinner at Galerías Pacífico

Galerías Pacífico also has a large food court, so is the ideal place to round off our final day sightseeing in Buenos Aires.

Galerías Pacífico
Galerías Pacífico
  • Trip taken: January 2019
  • Updated: February 2023
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