What to do in Bariloche in Summer

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What to do in Bariloche in Summer? Part of the Argentine Lake District and northern Patagonia, the popular tourist destination of San Carlos de Bariloche (or simply “Bariloche”) is filled with gorgeous scenery, plenty of hiking, and tons of outdoor adventure activities.

Known as the “light” of Patagonia , the city is definitely a year-round tourist destination, but visitors can also go skiing at nearby Cerro Catedral during the winter.

Located right in the Nahuel Huapi National Park , teeming with nature, there are plenty of trails to hike, mountain views to photograph, and pristine lakes to visit.

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With its Swiss-inspired downtown, Bariloche is filled with alpine architecture, numerous chocolatiers, and fantastic craft breweries, so there’s plenty to keep you busy in and out of the city.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Bariloche in Summer:

1. Bell Tower

Cerro Campanario- what to do in Bariloche
bell tower

It’s a quick hike for panoramic views of Nahuel Huapi National Park, and you can walk (takes about 30 minutes) or take the chairlift (for a fee). Better yet, do each of those in a different way.

Next to the panoramic viewpoint, there is a small cafeteria at the top where you can have a coffee, a hot chocolate or a pastry.

To get here, just take one of the regular buses from Bariloche along Avenida Bustillo for about 20 minutes to the trailhead and chairlift.

Get there early before all the tour groups get there in the afternoon! If the weather is nice, you can also ride a horse through the woods to the top.

2. Visit the lakes- What to do in Bariloche in Summer

Lake Lácar and San Martín
Lake Lácar and San Martín-opening the world / shutterstock

Bariloche sits right on Lake Nahuel Huapi and the city is the gateway to the Argentine Lake District.

So while you’re here, visit the Siete Lagos (the Seven Lakes) or at least some of them. To do this, you can drive the Seven Lakes Route from Bariloche to San Martin de los Andes (along Routes 40 and 63), or you can take an all-day bus tour that will stop along the way to that you can do tourism. and take photos.

You will see each of the 7 lakes: Machónico, Escondido, Correntoso, Espejo, Lácar, Falkner and Villarino , located in the middle of the snowy Andes before reaching San Martín.

There you can stroll along the shores of the dreamy Lake Lácar and the streets of the city center.

You can also take a trip to the picturesque Villa La Angostura while doing this route.

3. Refuge Frey

Refugio Frey-what to do in Bariloche
Frey-Matyas Rehak Shelter / shutterstock

One of the best hikes in the area, start by taking the bus to the Cerro Catedral parking lot and head up the trail for spectacular views of the mountain.

It’s about six hours round trip, but keep in mind that there are two uphill routes: the standard route and the “over the edge” route, which is the more adventurous option.

Either way, hikers will be rewarded for their efforts with views of jagged mountains, lush forests, and stunning views of the lagoon at the top, right next to the refuge.

You can even stay here in this quaint granite lodge if you plan ahead and want to do something really original: It’s quaint and has a kitchen and bedrooms for up to 40 people.

4. Drink craft beer at a local brewery-What to do in Bariloche in Summer

Local Brewery In Bariloche
Local Brewery In Bariloche-Bernd Zillich / shutterstock

It turns out that Bariloche is practically the center of craft beer in Patagonia.

The city has a pleasantly laid-back nightlife, if not as crazy as greater Buenos Aires, and many of the bars here are also craft breweries.

Serving several types of beers on tap that are made here, along with great food and happy hour specials, many of them will let you try a flight or a tasting of their beers to decide which one you like best.

Manush, Konna, Cervecería Bachmann and Wesley Brewery are popular bars and microbreweries located in the city center (but there are many more!). Be sure to order some picadas (assorted sandwich plates) which usually include some locally smoked meat and fish here.

5. Visit the trails, the restaurant or the golf course at Llao Llao

Hotel Llao Llao
Hotel Llao Llao-Milosz Maslanka / shutterstock

The Hotel Llao Llao is one of the most famous and elegant hotels around Bariloche.

Whether or not you spend the night at this historic, luxury property, you can still dine or play a round of golf here.

Surrounded by fantastic scenery from its perch atop a hill between Lago Moreno and Nahuel Huapi, sip a glass of Malbec as you watch the sun set over the snow-capped Andes with views of Mount Tronador.

Outside its elegant stone and wood cabin-like walls, you can also visit the adjacent municipal park which contains many hiking trails and local flora and fauna.

There are easy buses to the Llao Llao area from Bariloche.4f7d51fe 6160 41d1 92cf 3a117e857a8a What to do in Bariloche in Summer

6. Taste, buy and eat chocolate

What to do in Bariloche
Rapa Nui chocolate shop-saiko3p / shutterstock

It is not for nothing that they call it “Little Switzerland”! Chocolate shops line the street of Avenida de Bartolomé Mitre, near the center of the city of Bariloche.

There are family-owned artisan shops like Torres where the chocolate is made by hand, and giant chains like Chocolates del Turista where you can watch the tubs of chocolate being churned.

Rapa Nui is a popular store that was founded by Italian immigrants many generations ago, and Mamushka serves very high quality products.

But wherever you choose, be sure to wander around and sample as much as possible! There is even a National Chocolate Festival in Bariloche around Easter week.

And there ‘s a Chocolate Museum where you can learn all about the discovery of chocolate in South America, its use by the Mayans and Aztecs, and how European immigrants brought chocolate-making techniques to Argentina after World War II.

7. Villa La Angostura- What to do in Bariloche in Summer

Los Arrayanes National Park, Villa La Angostura
Los Arrayanes National Park, Villa La Angostura-Alfredo Ottonello / shutterstock

Villa La Angostura is a great town to visit if you fancy a little day trip from Bariloche or if you want to add it as a stop on your tour of the Seven Lakes (many organized tours already include it). Located at the northern end of Lake Nahuel Huapi , it is a beautiful city that is popular with wealthy Argentines on vacation.

It’s about an hour and 15 minute drive from Bariloche, and there are plenty of outdoor activities you can do here outside of the fancy city center.

Take a walk through Los Arrayanes National Park or take a catamaran cruise on the lake.1bb57bb6 a93e 4863 a371 8a82e0dd5188 What to do in Bariloche in Summer

8. Explore the Nahuel Huapi National Park

View From Victoria Island On Lake Nahuel Huapi
View From Victoria Island In Lake Nahuel Huapi-sunsinger / shutterstock

Bariloche sits right on the edge of Nahuel Huapi, so you have no excuse if you don’t hike, drive, camp, or cruise through this beautiful national park with its many lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and forests.

If you walk the Circuito Chico (the short circuit) around Lake Nahuel Huapi, from Bariloche to Llao Llao, you will see rocky peaks, mighty rivers, exquisite glaciers and wildlife.

If you prefer to get on a boat, you can leave from Puerto Pañuelo and visit Puerto Blest , where you can disembark, walk through the woods and visit the Laguna and Cascada Los Cántaros.

You can even kayak on the lake, which is actually the remnant of a glacier, or take a boat trip to Victoria Island, a nature reserve smack in the middle.

9. Cerro Tronador and Black Glacier

Cerro Tronador and the Black Glacier
Cerro Tronador And The Black Glacier-Alberto Loyo / shutterstock

Named for the thunderous avalanches that hit the mountainside, Mount Tronador is the highest peak within the Nahuel Huapi National Park.

It actually has three peaks: one Argentine, one Chilean, and one that is in international territory , with multiple glaciers that people try to traverse with ice axes and crampons.

Mountain tours, along with hikes, begin with a winding drive along paved and gravel roads, and typically include stops at waterfalls, lunch at a refuge (a restaurant that offers shelter to hikers overnight), and visits to the Ventisquero Negro (Black Glacier) at the base of Mount Tronador.414a35a7 1913 4349 85fa 58d6c926d31a What to do in Bariloche in Summer

10. Stroll through the city center and the cathedral

The Cathedral of San Carlos de Bariloche
The Cathedral of San Carlos De Bariloche-saiko3p / shutterstock

Aside from all the brilliant nature that surrounds it, Bariloche is famous for the city’s Swiss-inspired architecture.

Be sure to wander among its alpine-style buildings made of wood and stone in the civic center: they were designed to give the city a European look and attract tourists.

Here you will find the tourist office and the Museum of Patagonia where you can learn more about the history of Bariloche.

11. Go fly fishing

fishing in bariloche
Fishing in Bariloche-Pablo Ruffinatto / shutterstock

Bariloche offers an excellent base for fly fishing, whether you are a beginner or a master angler.

Tour companies can arrange custom day fishing trips or elaborate multi-day float trips and camping experiences along the Manso River or Limay River.

The guides here are incredibly knowledgeable and professional, so you’re sure to get your hands on some trout.

They can help you practice your cast, learn about the different flies, and organize all of your transportation from Bariloche (or even the airport) to the river.

Trips are typically all-inclusive and will typically include meals of grilled steak or lamb, served with Malbec wine of course, during your fishing days.3b004197 a4ff 4380 b92e 4c091e2a520f What to do in Bariloche in Summer

12. Try whitewater rafting or kayaking- What to do in Bariloche.

Rafting on the Limay River in Bariloche
Rafting Down The Limay River In Bariloche-bleung / shutterstock

Another exciting thing you can do along the Manso River and Limay River while enjoying the spectacular Patagonian scenery is plan a whitewater rafting or kayaking adventure.

Take a half- or full-day rafting trip, or plan a multi-day rafting trip combined with hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding.

13. Horseback riding and zip line

Horseback Riding Near Bariloche
Horseback Riding Near Bariloche-Marcelo Dufflocq / shutterstock

There are so many outdoor activities you can do in Bariloche that it is really difficult to decide between these two activities once you have had your fill of walking.

Explore the foothills of the Andes, rivers, and the Patagonian steppe on horseback with guides and horses from a nearby estancia (ranch). They’ll tell you all about the sights, and most companies arrange for riders to enjoy an afternoon asado, a traditional Argentinian barbecue of grilled meats, accompanied by wine.

Or head to Cerro López for a thrilling 10-platform canopy adventure along an alpine peak.

You can even go ziplining in the winter months and experience snow-capped trees and magical landscapes.

14. The Baggins

The Bag
El Bolson-Pedro Francisco Suarez / shutterstock

About two hours from Bariloche, this small hippie town is close enough to make it a day trip.

Argentine tourists flock here in the summer and many backpackers come to experience the laid-back, eco-friendly town.

Filled with hiking trails, poplar trees, and farms, the scenery is beautiful, but the food and drink here are even better.

Known for making local cheese and beer (because of its German roots), El Bolsón produces nearly three-quarters of the country’s hops.

Visit the artisan market in Pagano Square to buy handmade products, or simply eat all the vegetarian food, fruits, jams and honeys that are prepared here.

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About the author

I am Matias, born in Patagonia, and a lover of my land.

For more than 20 years I help foreign travellers to organise their trip to Patagonia.

I also manage this exotic accommodation on the Atlantic coast.