24 hours in Buenos Aires

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Europe has certainly left her mark on Buenos Aires, a city founded by immigrants two centuries ago.

 

Deteriorating Anglo-Franco railway stations and belle-époque-mansions-turned-5-star-hotels jostle for attention with downtown skyscrapers – although the capital’s quirkiest landmark is an Ancient Egyptian-style obelisk. Many of Buenos Aires’ 48 barrios, or neighbourhoods, have their own distinctive personality: San Telmo’s cobbled streets fuse tango dancers, artisans, and antique sellers, while ever-expanding Palermo and its sub-areas house an endless stream of boho cafés, hip boutiques, and late-night watering-holes. Recoleta and its vast mausoleum-stuffed cemetery, however, is a lesson in how the other half live, in both the eternal and present senses. Set next to the River Plate – also the name of a top football club, a porteño (a resident from the puerto or port) passion – the ideal way to get a feel for the true Buenos Aires is to stroll it. Stop off for a coffee before browsing an art gallery or admiring the blooms in a park – that’s the porteño way.


09:00
Porteñosare late risers and need coffee to jolt them into action. Breakfast in style with a cortado (espresso with a dash of milk) and an oven-fresh medialuna from Farinelli in Palermo, while watching residents rush to work.


10:00
Palermo Soho’s cobbled streets set the backdrop to dozens of cutting-edge boutiques and quirky stores selling one-off pieces and leather accessories.
If you play the sport of kings, stock up on polo kit at La Martina.


12:00
Lovingly created by Franco-Argentine landscaper Carlos Thays, the Botanical Garden has more than 5,500 species. It even has a Kew-esque art nouveau winter house as well as sculptures on permanent display.


13:00
It’s steak or steak in Argentina – and Don Julio is one of the finest purveyors. Watch a thick ojo de bife (rib eye) or cuadril (rump steak) sizzle on the grill before attentive staff rush it to your table. Best served with a local Malbec.


15:00
Don’t miss Latin America’s foremost contemporary art show, which takes place May 24–27. ArteBA showcases the continent’s finest works at La Rural – galleries participating include Elsi del Río, Ruth Benzacar, and Mite.


17:00
Step back in time for an opulent high tea served on silverware from another era. Original belle-époque features complement the tranquil setting in the Piano Nobile Salon at Palacio Duhau.


18:00
Head to outdoor museum Plaza de Mayo for a look at Pope Francis’ last place of work at the Metropolitan Cathedral as well as the rose-toned Government House, from whose balcony Eva Perón addressed her followers.


19:00
Far more fun than simply watching tango, put your best foot forward with a class at Confitería La Ideal. This turn-of-the-century dance hall and café is a polite reminder of Buenos Aires’ faded glory.


21:00
Chef Hernán Gipponi only sources Argentine ingredients for his nine-course tasting menu at gourmand hotel the Fierro. Think lamb sweetbreads with piccalilli vegetables and honey, or prawns in strawberry and tomato gazpacho.


23:00
Hot new bar Florería Atlántico’s façade is deceptive: a florist and wine store. But venture down to the basement for hip drinks served in recycled jam jars, a nod to how the immigrant population made merry a century ago.



 

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Distance: 13,319 km
Flight Time: 18 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: Daily via São Paulo

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