Argentina’s oldest and most famous holiday resort is located on the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi, embedded in an idyllic mountain and lake landscape.

Founded at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, San Carlos de Bariloche has grown haphazardly in recent decades to become a city of 130,000 inhabitants. Despite its picturesque location, it presents itself to today’s visitors as an architectural imposition.

The settlement extends for kilometres along the lake shore to the west up to the Llao Llao peninsula, whose most prominent landmark is the luxury hotel of the same name. Its distinctive silhouette is also one of Bariloche’s most famous photo motifs.

Also in the south of the centre around the so-called Centro Civico, whose buildings occupy three sides of a spacious square, Bariloche’s suburbs extend far inland and in the southwest as far as Lago Gutiérrez, leaving out Cerro Otto. The Centro Civico, like other buildings in the city, imitates the style of a Swiss mountain village in its construction and materials.

Historically, Bariloche has had a more than dubious reputation as a refuge for notorious Nazis, who lived here unhindered for decades or even held official positions at the municipal level.

Bariloche’s appeal lies in the scenic beauty of its surroundings, which invite you to go skiing in winter and hiking or enjoy other outdoor sports in summer.

Popular hikes lead to the Refugio Frey at the Cerro Catedral, which rises on the western shore of Lake Gutiérrez, or in the Frey por el Filo option for experienced hikers.

Those who prefer a less exhausting hiking tour and/or a walk should decide to take a boat trip to Isla Victoria and the myrtle forest of the Bosque de Arrayanes on the island of the same name. The excursion boats depart from Puerto Pañuelo on the Llao Llao peninsula.