Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this post, at no extra cost to you.

What Is Argentina Known for & Famous For?

Argentina is known for its beautiful landscape, impressive mountains, and warm-hearted people. It’s a lovely place to visit, and it’s home to people with a unique culture, stunning landscapes, a rich history, and much more. 

Argentina is famous for its delicious food, spectacular scenery, and rich and varied heritage. It’s also well-known for Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, and its famous wine.

Read further to discover more about what makes this beautiful country famous.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is Argentina’s capital, and it is South America’s most visited city – and for a good reason. It offers something exciting for all tastes and interests and has a vibrant nightlife, world-class steak restaurants, and a rich cultural scene.

It boasts impressive art nouveau, neoclassical, and art deco architecture, but you can also enjoy nature in one of its many parks. 

The most popular attractions in Buenos Aires include: 

  • Plaza de Mayo. This is a large plaza flanked by imposing colonial buildings. 
  • National Historical Museum. This extensive museum holds countless artifacts depicting Argentina’s long and varied history. 
  • Casa Rosada. Also known as the President’s Pink House, Casa Rosada was built according to Italianate-style architecture and is the president’s official residence.

Patagonia

Patagonia is located in southern Argentina and extends into Chile. It’s famous for its tall, snow-capped mountains and unique glaciers. 

When visiting Patagonia, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Los Glaciares National Park, where you can admire the many glacial lakes. 

Another must-do in Patagonia includes the one-in-a-lifetime chance of spotting Southern Right Whales (and other remarkable sea mammals), located off the Península Valdés coast. 

Iguazu Falls 

Iguazu Falls may not be the highest waterfalls globally, but they have the honor of having the largest water flow. They are located on the border of Brazil and lie in a lush rainforest.

 You can view Iguazu Falls from Argentina or Brazil, and both views are impressive. You’ll see “The Devil’s Throat” from the Argentinian side, the most extensive waterfall collection of Iguazu Falls. 

Many visitors enjoy taking a boat trip on the river running through the falls as this offers a spectacular view and the chance to sail underneath the waterfalls. 

Aconcagua

One of Argentina’s national treasures is Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas and southern hemisphere. 

Located in the Andes mountain range, Aconcagua’s peak is 22,841 feet (6,959 meters) tall. It is in the Aconcagua Provincial Park, 185 miles (297.7 kilometers) from Mendoza and close to the Chilean border. 

Approximately 3,500 climbers ascend this challenging mountain every year, giving them the chance to see the many glaciers on the north and south faces. If you’re not up to the challenge of climbing this impressive peak, you could always admire the snowy crests from the base. 

Río de la Plata

Río de la Plata (or River Plate) is an estuary flowing into the Atlantic Ocean on Argentina’s east coast. It forms the border between Argentina and Uruguay, with the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers flowing into it. 

This funnel-shaped waterway is close to Buenos Aires in the south and the bustling city of Montevideo in the north. If you’re in the area, it’s worth crossing the river into Uruguay because you’ll get the chance to visit Barrio Histórico, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring an old lighthouse, multiple museums, and the iconic city gate. 

Gaucho Culture (Gauchos)

Argentinian Gaucho culture is so much more than cowboys and nomadic horseback riders. It encompasses traditional Argentinian cowboy clothing, food, music, and dancing. 

Gaucho culture started in the 19th century when La Pampa locals started farming cattle and living off the land. Gauchos are famous for their impressive ability to tame horses and live a rural lifestyle, and their folk music has also gained much popularity. 

If you’d like to immerse yourself in Gaucho culture, head to southern Argentina and into the Rio Grande do Sul province. 

Tango

Tango is one of the most famous dance types globally, and it all began in Buenos Aires. This passionate dance is characterized by sensual ballroom dancing moves with a hint of playfulness and lusty emotion. 

The best places to catch some live tango dancing are in San Telmo or at the Barrancas de Belgrano park, where, on Sunday evenings, you can take advantage of a free tango lesson and a live show afterward. 

Alternatively, you could have a relaxing dinner and tango show at a venue in Buenos Aires, Vincente Lopez, or La Plata.  

The Arts

Argentina’s art scene is rich and varied because it has indigenous Argentinian and European influences. 

Argentina’s most famous art era was the neo-surrealism period in the 20th century. It featured sculptures and paintings in a fantasy, dreamy, and illogical style. 

If you’d like to admire the best Argentinian art, Buenos Aires is the place to be. Some of the most impressive art museums include: 

  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
  • Museo Xul Solar
  • Museo Sivori
  • Museo Nacional De Arte Decorativo

Football (Soccer)

Football (or soccer in the USA) is Argentina’s most popular sport, and the national football team is one of the best in the world. 

Aside from their talented national team, they also have various regional football teams. Watching a live match at an Argentinian stadium should give you an idea of how passionate the country is about this sport. 

The best Argentinian football teams are in the Superliga (or First Division), and the most popular teams are: 

  • Boca Juniors
  • San Lorenzo
  • River Plate
  • Racing Club

Food

Argentinian food is delicious and has a distinctive Italian and Spanish influence. Thin pizzas and hearty pasta dishes are very popular, while empanadas and asado are the leading Spanish food influences. 

Argentina also has arguably some of the best steaks in the world. The best place to try an excellent Argentinian steak is at a parrilla (steak restaurant). Still, you’ll also be tempted to try some delicious Argentinian sausage, as most restaurants have this on the menu. 

If you’re feeling hungry, ordering matambre arrollado is an excellent idea. It consists of a large, thin slice of beef wrapped around olives, vegetables, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs.

Steak and Beef

Argentina is famous for its top-quality steak and beef. You can find tasty beef and steak throughout the country. However, if you want to taste the creme de la creme of Argentinian beef, you’ll need to eat it at a reputable restaurant and be prepared to pay a premium. 

Cattle farming in Argentina is extensive, and the country’s beef is tasty because the cattle graze on lush and nourishing grass, usually with no antibiotics or growth hormones. 

Here are the most popular steak and beef dishes in Argentina: 

Empanadas

Argentinian empanadas are meat or vegetable-filled savory pies, similar to calzones, and can be fried or baked. They were first eaten in the 16th century when blue-collar workers needed a neat and portable lunch to eat on the go. 

Today, empanadas are one of Argentina’s staple dishes, and if you’re touring the country, you’ll enjoy sampling the different empanada varieties as you travel from one province to another. You can buy them in grocery stores or order them at traditional Argentinian restaurants. 

Some common empanada varieties include: 

  • Beef and onion
  • Potato
  • Chicken
  • Tripe

Asado

Asado is Argentina’s answer to barbecue, and it is a delightful way of enjoying the country’s premium quality meat and vegetables. The food is usually grilled outdoors and over red hot coals or wood fire. 

It’s also the perfect opportunity to crack open a bottle of Argentinian wine and enjoy the warm weather in the summer. 

Popular meat to grill at an Asado include:

  • Steak
  • Chorizo sausages
  • Chicken legs
  • Pork chops
  • Ribs

Choripán

Argentina has some of the most delicious hotdogs, and choripán is the most popular variety. Choripán is a sausage in a sliced baguette, and it’s one of Argentina’s most popular traditional dishes.

Choripán has a slightly smoky taste, and the sausage is made from minced pork and beef and seasoned with red peppers and paprika. Locals sometimes like to add chimichurri for extra spice. 

Alfajores

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you must try some alfajores when you’re in Argentina! It is a tasty sweet treat consisting of a cookie sandwich with a dulce de leche (a milky caramel-based sauce) filling. It makes the perfect dessert after enjoying some top-shelf Argentinian wine and high-quality steak. 

Alfajores are often dipped in chocolate for extra decadence, and you can buy them throughout the country at street vendors, coffee shops, and grocery stores. 

Wine

If you enjoy sampling different kinds of wine, you’ll love Argentinian wine! The country is the fifth-largest wine producer in the world and has several wine-producing regions: 

  • Mendoza
  • San Juan
  • Salta
  • Rio Negro
  • La Rioja
  • Catamarca
  • La Pampa

With its high altitudes and good quality soil, wine growers can grow healthy grapes without using pesticides. 

Malbec is Argentina’s most famous wine type and has a dry, jammy, and rich taste profile. No one should leave Argentina without trying a glass of Malbec, but their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varieties are also worth a taste. 

Mendoza

Mendoza is a must-see city situated in the foothills of the famous Andes Mountains. This beautiful city is the best place to explore Argentina’s excellent wines. That’s because around 70% of the country’s wine comes from this area, where the Malbec grape grows. 

Mendoza is also home to some exquisite art deco architecture and has many art museums, including the Museo Cornelio Motano and the Museo Nacional del Vino, which showcase the region’s winemaking history.

If you’re interested in hiking to South America’s highest mountain peak, Mount Aconcagua, Mendoza is the best place to start your ascent. You could also get an adrenaline rush by going whitewater rafting along the Mendoza River rapids. 

Mate

Mate is one of Argentina’s most popular caffeinated drinks. This tea is made by steeping twigs and leaves from the yerba plant in hot water. 

Most visitors to Argentina need a while to get used to mate’s flavor as it is sharp and very bitter. It also has earthy taste notes with a strong eucalyptus taste. 

You can buy mate at coffee shops, street vendors, or restaurants. 

The Falkland Wars

The Falklands Islands are located off Argentina’s southeast coast but have always belonged to the United Kingdom. Due to their proximity to Argentina, Argentinians have always felt that the Falkland Islands were Argentinian. 

In 1982, the Argentinian president Leopoldo Galtieri decided to invade and take over the Falkland Islands, but the British government vehemently opposed this. 

This conflict resulted in a 74-day war, with the British eventually taking overpowering the Argentinian army and controlling the Falklands once more. 

European Heritage

Argentina has a rich European heritage, with the most prevalent European influence being Spanish.  

Argentina was invaded and colonized by the Spanish in the 1500s, and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it saw a massive influx of European migrants from various countries. 

The second-most predominant European influence in Argentina is Italy, followed by: 

A Breadbasket for the World

Argentina has been known as a “breadbasket for the world” for around a hundred years. Due to its extensive beef, grain, soybean, and oilseed farming and exports, it has gained this title. 

The country has also embraced organic farming and provides a wide range of food grown without genetically modified organisms and chemical fertilizers. 

The primary farming regions in Argentina include: 

  • Buenos Aires
  • La Pampa
  • Cordoba
  • Santa Fe

Politics (Coups & the Military)

Argentinians aren’t afraid to speak out and take action when things aren’t in the citizens’ best interests. In the last century, Argentina has had six military coups, which took place in: 

  • 1930
  • 1943
  • 1955
  • 1962
  • 1966
  • 1976 

The last coup was in 1976, when right-wing activists ousted the president, Isabel Peron. The Argentinian military controlled the country for the next seven years, imposing laws and violating human rights until Argentina became a democracy in 1983. 

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is Argentina’s most famous footballer who has played for some of the world’s best football teams, including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, and Argentina. 

He has been the captain of Argentina’s national football team and has won multiple awards, including six European Golden Shoe awards and several Ballon D’Or nominations. 

Lionel Messi is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes and endorses the Adidas brand. 

Merienda

In Argentina, you’ll probably notice the locals taking afternoon tea. This tea-time is called “merienda,” and is an excellent idea because Argentinians enjoy eating dinner at around 10:30 pm. 

A popular time for merienda is at 5:00 pm, and it usually involves drinking tea, coffee, or mate. It also consists of a light snack, including buttered toast, a croissant, or a sweet pastry. Modern meriendas sometimes include smoothies, cupcakes, or doughnuts. 

You can enjoy a traditional merienda at most coffee shops or restaurants or make your own. 

Highest Literacy Rates 

One of Argentina’s most notable accolades is its high literacy rate. In 2018, Argentina’s adult literacy rate was 99%, with most Argentinians stating that they love reading. That is an impressive statistic because the global adult literacy rate typically sits at 85%.

The main reason for Argentina’s high literacy rate is the government’s focus on providing high-quality education for each Argentinian child. There is a strong focus on reading skills development, which instills a love of reading in many people. 

Bookstores

Did you know that Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita than any other place? With almost 750 bookstores, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Argentina’s capital city. 

The most famous bookstore in the country is the Ateneo Grand Splendid, previously an ornate theater. Today, the Ateneo Grand Splendid still boasts the original frescoed ceilings and the fussy but delicate balconies. 

If you’re a booklover, consider spending a morning at the Ateneo Grand Splendid, enjoying some coffee and reading in one of the many reading nooks. 

Literature

Argentina has always had a robust literary scene, with many famous authors being Argentinian. Most Argentinian books are in Spanish, but it’s not uncommon to find ones in English or Italian. 

Some notable Argentinian authors are: 

  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • Silvina Ocampo
  • Enrique Larreta
  • Ernesto Sabato

Silver

If you try and determine the origin of the word “Argentina,” you’ll soon discover that it means “silvery.” That is no coincidence because Argentina is one of the world’s top silver producers. 

It has two large silver mines – Hochschild Mining and the Pirquitas Mine – and many large mining companies have bases in the country. 

Buying silver jewelry in Argentina is easy, and the prices are reasonable. You can find good-quality sterling silver pieces in any reputable jewelry store. 

Early Explorers

Until the 16th century, Argentina had very few people and was an under-developed country, with only a few local tribes and villages. 

In the early 1500s, Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer, landed on Argentina’s shores and was closely followed by the Spanish explorers Sebastian Cabot, Pedro de Mendoza, and Juan Díaz de Solís.

In 1816, Argentina declared its independence from Spain and became the United Provinces of La Plata. It was only in 1860, after a war with Paraguay, where Argentina annexed its northern territory, that it became the country we know today. 

Tierra del Fuego

Located on the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego is a cluster of picturesque islands off Argentina’s southern coast. 

Tierra del Fuego is a spectacular place as it’s South America’s southernmost island and home to the King Penguin. It also features clearwater lakes, glaciers, and several national parks to explore. 

Other attractions include: 

  • Sea lions 
  • Soaring mountaintops
  • Wild horses
  • Sub-Antarctic forests
  • Condors
  • Blackwater swamps

Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the world’s third-largest freshwater reserve. It is in Los Glaciares National Park in the Santa Cruz province. 

Perito Moreno Glacier’s ice is a unique baby blue color, and glacial lakes and lush forests surround it. The glacier measures 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) long and is one of the few glaciers in the world that is growing and not melting. 

The glacier occasionally sheds large ice chunks into Lake Argentino, which is an impressive sight if you happen to be visiting. 

End of the World – Ushuaia

Did you know that Argentina has the great honor of having the world’s southernmost city? The city is Ushuaia, and it’s at the beginning of the long Andes mountain range. 

Many Antarctic explorers begin their journeys in Ushuaia, but it’s a beautiful place to visit, even if you’re not going to vacation in Antarctica. 

Ushuaia offers visitors incredible hiking, horse riding, and boating opportunities, and the city has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.

Historic Córdoba Cathedral

Catholicism is the main religion in Argentina, and the Córdoba Cathedral is its central church and headquarters. 

It is also the country’s oldest church still used for worship, and it features an imposing sterling silver Peruvian altar. When visiting Córdoba Cathedral, you can admire the many silver and gold pieces on display and the colorful murals. 

Amazing Culture

Argentina has a vibrant and unique cultural scene. Its long and varied history and international influence combine classic European traditions and colorful Latin American customs. 

An example of this unique culture is Argentina’s annual Oktoberfest (a nod to its German influence) and Gaucho, its cowboy culture. 

Other interesting elements of Argentinian culture include:

  • Dining late
  • Three cheek kisses when greeting
  • Tango
  • Passion for football

Nazis

Argentina has a proud heritage and history, but most Argentinians aren’t proud that their country gave many Nazis free passage in World War II. Argentina remained neutral for most of World War II but later joined the Allies after pressure from the United States

German culture is one of Argentina’s many European influences, and after the war, wealthy Germans offered local Argentinian officials a lot of money to ensure the safety of fleeing Nazis.

Final Thoughts

Argentina is one of the most culturally-rich countries globally and is worth a visit regardless of your interests. 

If you love the vibrancy of large cities and an exciting art and culture scene, visiting Buenos Aires is an excellent idea. Visiting Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and Ushuaia gives you the chance to admire the country’s spectacular scenery.  

Either way, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the excellent wine and food! 

Sources