The Argentine province of Salta is a great base to explore one of the most biodiverse regions in South America. Largely untouched ecosystems and landscapes make for some truly spectacular adventures.
One of the top things to see and do in Salta is to take a day trip outside the city. This region is home to a range of incredibly beautiful hiking trails, including one that takes you up the highest vineyard in the world.
The Old Town
The Old Town is Salta's most picturesque section, containing a wonderful blend of colonial and baroque architecture, a lovely mixture of European and Spanish culture. This is especially the case in Plaza 9 de Julio, with its flower-lined sidewalk cafes, charming galleries, souvenir shops and a lively atmosphere on summer evenings.
Several streets of the Old Town lead to a hill that overlooks Salta and its surrounding valleys, a popular destination for locals - and visitors - looking for some peace and tranquility. The hill is named San Bernardo and has a cable car that takes you to the top of its 1,500 steps, but if climbing isn't your thing, a longer path behind the equestrian statue of Martin Miguel de Guemes leads up to the same view from lower down.
In the center of the Old Town, don't miss la Casa de Cultura, a converted mansion that offers exciting artistic performances. Throughout the year, there are many events that celebrate native Salta culture and imported talent.
The Catedral de Salta is one of the city's most iconic landmarks. It was rebuilt in the 1850s following an earthquake, and it's still an impressive sight (especially at night, when the stained glass windows are illuminated).
The church is known as "la linda" or "the beautiful" because it's decorated with architectural masterpieces that reflect the colonial period of the town. It is a must-see for visitors to Salta.
Inside the church is a shrine to General Martin Miguel de Guemes, who was a hero of the independence wars. And it also houses a statue of the Crucified Christ, one of the most revered images in the region.
The church is located on the main square of Salta, in front of a pretty park. And in addition to its deserved reverence, the cathedral exudes an atmosphere of hope and joy.
The Historical Museum of the North
Salta is a city with a very rich cultural heritage. It has ancient Diaguita-Calchaqui vestiges and a more recent Spanish colonial legacy.
It is also the capital of a province with many mountains and valleys. This diversity of terrains and climate makes Salta a very interesting place to visit.
The historical museum of the North is a great way to learn about Salta’s colonial past and how it played a role in Argentina’s independence war. It is located in an old 1700’s government building and displays artifacts of this time in an elegant, sophisticated way.
The highlight of the museum is its collection of mummies of the three Llullaillaco Children, who were found at the summit of a volcano and are said to have been sacrificed to the gods as a form of worship. They are now perfectly preserved. The museum is a must-see for any history buff!
A Day Trip Out of the City
Visiting Salta is great, but you can get much more out of it by heading off the beaten track. For example, you can take a day trip to the UNESCO-listed Quebrada de Humahuaca and visit some of the beautiful villages along the way.
This is an incredible landscape with small towns and soaring mountains, where you can hike or go rafting! There are many different tours to choose from and I recommend you book at least 3 days.
One of the highlights is the Cerro San Bernardo, which offers incredible views. You can even take a funicular to the top of this rocky hill for a fantastic experience.
Another great thing to do is visit the Museo Pajcha Arte Etnico and see a collection of pre-Colombian art. It is a little out of town but well worth it.