Buenos Aires on your own - two tours

Buenos Aires on your own - two tours

For tourists on a tight time budget and cruise ship passengers, we recommend two tours in the center of Buenos Aires. Designed as self-guided tours, they present the highlights of the Argentine capital. The starting point for both routes is the cruise terminal. Under Buenos Aires sightseeing we report in detail about the crowd pullers presented.

Tour I - Discover the districts of Puerto Madero and El Centro

We take one of the taxis available at the cruise terminal to the nearby Dársena Norte harbor basin. Ferries depart from there to three destinations in Uruguay. The four harbor areas of Puerto Madero adjoin the harbor basin. Here we start our tour, which lasts several hours.

Wharf in Puerto Madero

Wharf in Puerto Madero

In the trendy Puerto Madero district

The aging and abandoned wharves were converted into promenades and the old warehouses became offices, restaurants and lofts. There are two museum ships next to the promenade: they are the Corbeta Uruguay and the Fregata Presidente Sarmiento. Another eye-catcher in the harbor area is the Puente de la Mujer, designed by the architect Calatrava. Opposite, on the eastern edge of the harbor basin, modern high-rise buildings rise into the sky. The overall impression is fascinating.

Puente de la Mujer - behind it the Fregata Presidente Sarmiento

Puente de la Mujer - behind it the Fregata Presidente Sarmiento

Between the first and second harbor basins we follow Macacha Güemes street to Av. Eduardo Madero. We walk south until we reach Casa Rosada, the presidential palace.

Presidential Palace - Casa Rosada

In the Plaza de Mayo

The palace is located on the historic Plaza de Mayo. It is surrounded by renowned buildings. At the northwest end of the Plaza is the Catedral Metropolitana. The church, which is magnificent inside, was the long-standing place of work of Pope Francis.

Plaza de Mayo with the cabildo

Portico of the Catedral Metropolitana 

San Ignacio de Loyola is another notable church. The parish church is 200 meters away from the cathedral. According to hearsay, the oldest colonial building in the city and its exquisite furnishings definitely justify the small detour.

Parish Church of San Ignacio de Loyola

From Galerias Pacifico to Av. 9 de Julio

Next our route leads through the Florida pedestrian street to the Galerias Pacifico. The building complex was modeled on the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. A visit to the shopping arcade is particularly worthwhile because of the exquisite shops, restaurants and coffee bars.

Pacific Galleries

The Florida pedestrian mall is adjacent to Av. Cordoba. We follow it in a westerly direction. Four blocks later we arrive at Av. 100 de Julio. We cross it; then we follow the parallel street Cerrito in a southerly direction until we are in front of the world-famous Teatro Colon opera house. The General Lavalle park is at the rear. The neo-classical buildings surrounding them are remarkable. The Palacio de Justicia, Argentina's federal court, is especially worth seeing.

Teatro Colon opera house

Palacio de Justicia - Argentina's Federal Court

Through Túcuman street we go back to Av. 9 de Julio. The next stop is the 67 meter high Obelisco. It stands in the Plaza de la República. We follow the boulevard southwards until we reach Av. Reach Rivadavia. In this we turn to the right.

The obelisco

Plaza del Congreso park

Soon after, the extensive Plaza del Congreso park with the adjoining imposing Chamber of Deputies is in our field of vision. There are several monuments in the green area, including the Monolith Kilometer Zero Argentina and Auguste Rodin's sculpture “The Thinker”.

Monolith Kilometer Zero Argentina

You may now be visiting a café in one of the side streets. We recommend Café Martinez on Av. Rivadavia 1599. Then we walk the Rivadavia back to the Palacio Barolo.

Barolo Palace

Barolo Palace

One of the final destinations on our tour is the Monumento a las Cataratas del Iguazù. It is at the intersection of Av. de Mayo with Av. 9 de Julio. The monument symbolizes the Garganta del Diablo, part of the Iguazù waterfalls.

Now is the time to take a taxi back to the ship. But be careful: not all taxi drivers accept US dollars. The question of the currency should be clarified before boarding the taxi. Taxi rides are very cheap compared to Germany. A taxi ride from Av. 9 de Julio to the Cruise Terminal from Buenos Aires costs a ridiculous price! 

Tour II – We dedicate ourselves to the districts of Retiro, El Centro and Recoleta

From the cruise terminal we go to Retiro train station. Even if Argentina's rail network generally leaves something to be desired, it's worth taking a look at this impressive station hall.

Retiro train station

Retiro station - station hall 

Opposite the train station is the 75 meter high Torre Monumental in a small park. At the beginning of the 20th century, Buenos Aires' English community donated the brick clock tower to the Argentine capital.

Monumental Tower

From the Torre Monumental to Plaza San Martín

From the Torre Monumental we have an unobstructed view of the Edificio Kavanagh. The high-rise, built in Art Deco style and opened in 1936, was the tallest building in Latin America when it was completed. It is still an eye catcher today.

Edificio Kavenagh

The Basilica Del Santisimo Sacramento is hidden behind the skyscraper. Because of its lavish and rich furnishings, the church should be viewed.

Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento - the altar

Our way leads us on to Plaza San Martín. Around 1900, the square and the associated green area were a sought-after address for wealthy citizens. Magnificent buildings surround the square. In the middle of the area is the monumental statue of General San Martín.

Equestrian statue of General San Martín

The most important buildings in Plaza San Martín include the Palacio Paz and Palacio San Martín. The Palacio Paz is now used by the National Arms Museum and an officers' association. State receptions are held in the Palacio San Martín.

Palacio Paz - Museo de Armas

Palacio San Martín - site of state receptions 

In the café La Biela

We take Arenales, Esmeralda, Juncal and Av streets. Pres. Quintana to get to the Recoleta Cemetery. One of the city's most famous coffee houses, Café La Biela, is located in front of a spacious park in the upscale Recoleta district. The former meeting place for automobile enthusiasts has an inviting outdoor terrace; and you should also see the well-kept, traditional interior. The café really invites us to take a break. In front of the café there is a life-size statue of the Argentine racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio

Cafe La Biela

Cafe La Biela

Cafe La Biela

Cafe La Biela 

Refreshed and strengthened, we go to the nearby Cementerio de la Recoleta. The cemetery is one of the city's most worth seeing destinations because of its pompous graves.

Recoleta Cemetery

Graves in La Recoleta Cemetery 

The Catholic Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar borders the cemetery. The single-nave, richly ornamented basilica was consecrated in 1732. It has been a national historical monument since 1942.

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pilar

Park of the United Nations and Floralis Genérica

The church is on a small hill. Av del Libertador runs beneath a park. The pillar-decorated building of the university's law faculty is located next to it. The National Gallery and the Amigos del Bellas Artes annex are also within sight. To our astonishment, the extension is decorated with the inscription “Mercedes Haus” and the Mercedes star.

The UBA's Faculty of Law

It is only a few hundred steps from the university building to the 23 meter high, electrically animated sculpture Floralis Genérica. The monumental blossom is located in the United Nations Park.

Floralis Generica

We have seen enough for today and are finishing our second tour of Buenos Aires. We stop a taxi and drive back to the cruise terminal. The Boca Juniors stadium, which is also worth seeing, and other sights are reserved for a later visit to Buenos Aires. The described circular route is intended as a half-day tour.

Update February 2024