In Argentina's Patagonia region, Bariloche is a town in the Nahuel Huapi National Park, on the shores of the glacial lake for which it's named. Known for chocolate, craft beer bars and stunning scenery, it's the ideal mountain escape. The surrounding landscape is more than just a gorgeous view, playing host to outdoor activities such as hiking, horse riding, fishing and skiing. Spend your time in Bariloche with action-packed adventure sports or simply sit back and take it all in.
The majority of hostels in Bariloche are clustered in the town centre, with a few options spreading west along the lake. Argentine breakfasts with sweet dulce de leche spread and energy-giving mate tea come free in many places, along with communal kitchen and dining spaces to make your own. Balconies, hammocks and on-site bars beckon for relaxing after a day’s hiking. Wi-Fi is free at most Bariloche hostels, and the knowledgeable staff are happy to help you plan your days in the mountains.
Centro Cívico is Bariloche's central point for exploring. The main square is lined with pretty stone buildings and often you'll see the area's resident mascots, St Bernard dogs. Running off this plaza is Mitre, a busy street filled with shops of all kinds, restaurants and tour operators. North of the town centre, the Avenida Exequiel Bustillo road traces the lakeside. It runs past Playa Bonita beach to the upscale Llao Llao peninsula, a haven from the hive of activity in Bariloche below.
Hiking is the major draw here, and you can head up the surrounding Bella Vista and Chall-Huaco cerros (hills) on a one-day trek. To spend more time in the mountains, follow the 60km-long Circuito Chico route by bike or on foot, with steak and microbrewery pit stops along the way. For a break from trekking, take the chairlift up Cerro Campanario for views across the Bariloche Lake District. During winter, snow-capped Cerro Catedral mountain provides nearly 3,000 acres of on and off-piste skiing terrain.
Teniente Luis Candelaria International Airport is 13km away, with regular connections to Buenos Aires, as well as El Calafate and Puerto Madryn. The city bus and train terminal is east of the town, across the Río Ñireco river. Buses travel the length of the lake from the airport up to Llao Llao and its Puerto Pañuelo port for boat excursions. Catch a bus to travel long-distance as well, to destinations like Puerto Montt, via the scenic Ruta de los Siete Lagos (Route of the Seven Lakes).