Oh Buenos Aires, you beauty. After spending several months travelling Patagonia and central Chile, seeing loads of nature and enduring mostly less-than-cosy temperatures, I was thrilled to change to a big city in the midst of South American summer. It was time to explore all the attractions of Buenos Aires!
I am a total city girl, although I have long come to the realization that this is not a trait shared by too many introverts. A lot of us prefer the quiet and calm of nature, preferably somewhere with few people and little distractions.
I get it. Really, I do. Why do you think I spent that long in Patagonia?
However, I also love me some city-hustle on occasion, and Buenos Aires delivered on this big time. In order to convince you that this might be one city worth visiting, even if you’re more the country type, and that a trip to Buenos Aires can still be introvert-friendly, I’m going to share with you the best attractions in Buenos Aires for introverts!
The parks of Palermo
One staple you can usually expect on lists of introvert-friendly attractions is parks and gardens. Which makes total sense, because they are as close as you can get to nature in a big city. Moreover, they usually offer plenty of quiet corners in an otherwise hustling metropolis along with some pretty views.
Buenos Aires is no exception. Most of its parks are found in Palermo, the district I stayed in during my first few weeks in BA. Which meant I could reach several parks in only a few minutes of walking and thus escape there whenever I needed a break.
Probably the most beautiful park in Buenos Aires is the Paseo El Rosedal. Roses in all shades and colours surround you, with picturesque lakes, bridges and benches in the background and geese paddling around on the lakes.
There’s also a bunch of restaurants and cafes at the North-Western end of the park, under a railway line behind Avenida Infanta Isabel.
If you should somehow have enough of flowers, however, there are several more parks spread out through Palermo, which means that even on busy days you should be able to find a quiet corner.
Enjoy the probably most peaceful area of Buenos Aires: Recoleta
For my second stint in BA, I chose to stay in Recoleta, an area defined by fancy townhouses and prettily decorated old villas. This is where the wealthy citizens of BA used to live (and in many cases still do) and you can tell by the architecture. Maybe because of that history, it’s also very calm, with lots of cute restaurants and cafes, little parks and other hidden-away goodies.
I highly recommend taking a walking tour through Recoleta to learn more about some of the buildings and their history. You’ll be in for some fascinating stories.
The most famous part of Recoleta is its cemetery, mostly because Eva „Evita” Perez is buried here. Her grave is easy to find and very possibly crowded, so after taking the obligatory photo, I highly recommend you head deeper into the cemetery and get lost between the beautiful tombs. South American cemeteries never cease to impress me with their incredibly designed gravestones and mausoleums. Recoleta Cemetary is one of the most beautiful out there.
If you want to learn more about the different graves and other important people buried here besides Evita – such as former presidents of Argentina or Napoleon’s granddaughter – you can join a walking tour over the cemetery. However, if you’re just looking to get away from people for a while, simply get lost between the graves. You’ll feel like you’re all alone in the world.
My personal favourite: the bookstore
If you know that I love both books and theatre, you will not be surprised to hear that my favourite place in BA is one particular bookstore in Recoleta called El Ateneo. It used to be a theatre that has been transformed into a bookstore, including a little cafe in the place that once was the stage. Imagine sitting there with a good cup of coffee and looking out over a theatre full of books!
Honestly, I couldn’t get enough of this place. If you’re even remotely a book lover, a visit here is obligatory!
Enjoy a sunny day at Puerto Madero (but avoid the evening if you dislike crowds)
Puerto Madero used to be BA’s harbour until it was replaced by Puerto Nuevo in the 1920s. After the area was left to decay for several decades, the re-urbanization eventually began in the 90s. Today, Puerto Madero is one of BA’s trendiest areas. The waterfront is lined by restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as some museums. It gets quite busy in the evening when the restaurants fill up. But earlier in the day, you can have it almost to yourself.
Wander along the water, check out the boats, take a coffee or lunch stop in one of the cafes. That’s really is all there is to do in Puerto Madero, but what more do you need, really? It’s certainly more relaxed than hustling around the city centre.
There’s also a park behind Puerto Madero, the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, which looks out over the sea. So if you need it even quieter, you can always head there for a walk.
If you can handle crowds for a time: Microcentro and La Boca
Of course, BA is not quiet everywhere. While calmer places might speak most to you as an introvert, you may still wish to see some other attractions of Buenos Aires. With these, you just want to make sure you don’t spend too much time there, depending on your capacity to deal with crowds and allow yourself to recharge afterwards.
The Microcentro is the heart of BA. It’s where the rose-coloured seat of government called Casa Rosada is located, among others. This area is usually busy, but it’s still worth seeing.
The colours of La Boca
The same is true for La Boca, one of BA’s most famous neighbourhoods. Originally the quarter where Italian immigrant workers lived, the home of the famous football club Boca Juniors has now turned into a tourist attraction because of its colourfully painted walls and houses. Basically, in La Boca, everything is exploding with colour. It’s an Instagram heaven, so tourists visiting BA flock here in big numbers.
I joined a walking tour here in order to not only goggle at the colours but also learn something more about the area and its history. It was fascinating and I highly recommend it.
One word of caution: La Boca has a reputation to not be very safe. If you visit during the day and stay within the area frequented by tourists, you should be fine. After dark, however, La Boca should be avoided. Which isn’t too hard, because all the restaurants and shops that live off the tourists close in the evening anyway. So come in the day, marvel at the colours, and then go home in time to have a relaxing evening.
The best foody attractions in Buenos Aires
I have gotten quite used to eating out alone. While it may have been cringe-worthy once, I now find it quite relaxing. Luckily, Argentina is well-known for quite a few food items: steaks, pizza, ice-cream – you name it. The latter two are thanks to the many Italian immigrants in Argentina, who brought their food culture with them.
While I have to admit that Argentine pizza isn’t quite my favourite kind, you might still want to try it while you’re there. And with the ice-cream, you certainly don’t need to hold back! In fact, BA houses one of the ten best ice-cream places in the world, according to National Geographic. It’s called Heladeria Cadore and is located at the edge of Recoleta. There’s not much room to sit, so consider getting takeaway and finding a quiet spot somewhere else. Either way, the ice-cream is delicious!
I should add, most other ice-cream places I tried in BA were equally good to my unsophisticated taste buds. So don’t hesitate to try any other that you see if you don’t make it to Cadore.
Things to know about Buenos Aires
How do you get to BA?
Buenos Aires has two airports, San Fernando and Jorge Newberry. Which airport you use depends where you come from. Aeropuerto Internacional de San Fernando is the bigger one, where most international flights arrive. To get from here to the city, take a cab or the airport bus.
Aeroparque Jorge Newberry is the smaller airport and mostly serves domestic flights. This is where I arrived when I came from Patagonia. There is a public bus going into the city, but it takes some time, so don’t use it if you’re in a hurry. Alternatives are taxi or Uber. Only be aware that the latter can’t get into the airport but will have to meet you on the street in front, an area that is not serviced by the airport wifi anymore, which can make meeting the driver tricky. Just something to keep in mind.
Of course, you can also come into BA with train, bus, or even on the ferry if you arrive from Uruguay.
How do you get around in BA?
Buenos Aires has a metro as well as buses which take you pretty much anywhere. Both metro and buses are part of the same public transport system and you can use the same rechargeable card for both of them. It’s called Sube and you can buy it at metro stations, tourist offices and many corner shops.
By the way, you can also use this card in some other Argentina cities, though not all. For instance, I could use it in Bariloche, but not in Trelew.
Other modes of transport in BA are taxis and uber. I used the latter to get to the bus station and it worked perfectly fine.
What is the BA weather like?
I was in Buenos Aires in December and January, until early February. This is South American summer so it was pretty hot, usually around or just under 30°C. There was occasional rain, but not much to speak of.
In winter, temperatures go down to about 10 to 15°C. Which is still mild. The rainiest time is in October and November with about 10 rain days per month, while winter is the driest.
Buenos Aires is known as one of the most beautiful cities in South America and I wholeheartedly agree. It offers something for everyone, even the most reclusive introvert – as long as you know where to go. Go see it for yourself!
Have you been to BA? Does this make you want to go? What are you most interested to see? Share in the comments!