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Mendoza is one of the world’s wine capitals, nestled in the foothills of the majestic Andes mountain range. This mellow city in northwest Argentina is filled with leafy boulevards and squares, while vineyards and bodegas – from the boutique to the chic – surround it. You can try a wine-tasting bike tour or discover the nearby countryside on foot or horseback. For an authentic Mendoza dining experience, meat eaters can sample some of the country's famed beef, washed down with a full-bodied Malbec.
You can stay in a Mendoza hostel circled by vineyards with a farm including horses and llamas. Or you can choose to be in the heart of the city where public transport to the wineries is on your doorstep. Free Wi-Fi and breakfast is pretty common, and in the evenings you can have a drink at on-site pubs and a game of pool. Mendoza hostels focusing on Argentine culture offer activities like tango lessons.
Central Mendoza has wide avenues, plazas and parks. Plaza Independencia, the city’s main square, is where to get your bearings. From there, it's a 30-minute walk to Parque San Martín, a huge open space popular with locals. Head to Avenue Aristides in the evening, a street famous for its lively bars and restaurants. The three main areas for winery exploring are Maipú, the closest to the city; Luján de Cuyo, around a 30-minute south; and the Uco Valley, the most rural at about an hour and 15 minutes away.
Opportunities to visit the wineries in Mendoza range from a self-guided bike ride between bodegas in Maipú to sleek wine-and-dine options in the spectacular Andean surrounds of the Uco Valley. The number of winemakers, from garagistes (garage winemakers) to international brands, means tastings can be found for reasonable prices. Trekking, rafting and horse-riding are among the activities in the natural landscape outside the city. Expeditions are also available to Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.
You can walk, take the bus or use Mendoza’s bike-share system to get around the city. Buses are also available to the Maipú and Luján de Cuyo wine regions. Mendoza’s bus terminal, a couple of kilometres from downtown, connects with most cities in Argentina as well as international destinations like Chile's Santiago. Flights leave El Plumerillo International Airport for Buenos Aires several times a day but flying to the city from Europe requires a stop in the Argentine capital or Santiago.