4 Days in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Itinerary & Best Things to Do

I’ll level with you; four days in Buenos Aires are not enough. To do this sprawling city justice, you would need to spend at least five to seven days there.

That said, armed with a plan you can cover the highlights of “The Paris of South America” in four days and this is where my first-hand knowledge can help you.

Make the most of your time there with my 4-day Buenos Aires itinerary, which formed part of a two-week visit to Argentina. This includes tips on how to get from the airport, where to stay and how to get around this enormous city.

It will be a busy visit, but this itinerary will allow you to experience the history, culture and diversity of this vibrant city.

brightly coloured building in el caminito which in one thing to see in 4 days in buenos aires

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My 4-Day Buenos Aires Itinerary

My tried and tested itinerary will allow you to discover the best things to do in Buenos Aires in four days.

  • DAY 1: PLAZA DE MAYO & DOWNTOWN
  • DAY 2: LA BOCA WALKING TOUR & PUERTO MADERO
  • DAY 3: SAN TELMO & EL ZANJON
  • DAY 4: LA RECOLETA CEMETERY & PALERMO STREET ART
infographic with itinerary for 4 days in buenos aires

If you have just 3 days in Buenos Aires, you should still be able to cover these sights, compressing this 4-day itinerary into busier days. Conversely, if you spend longer in the city, you can take a more leisurely approach and perhaps build in a day trip to Uruguay

Consider the days of the week that you will be in Buenos Aires. If you are there on a Saturday, you may wish to visit Casa Rosada. On a Sunday, you may want to check out the weekly market in San Telmo.

Day 1: Plaza de Mayo and Downtown

Begin your day in Plaza de Mayo, the beating heart of Buenos Aires. Surrounded on three sides by iconic buildings – the Catedral Metropolitana, the Cabildo and the Casa Rosada – this is a great place to start getting to know the city and its history.

Finished in 1827, the solid Catedral Metropolitana is Buenos Aires’ main Catholic church. It is home to the mausoleum of General José de San Martín, a revered Argentinian hero, who led the country to independence in 1816.

Don’t be deceived by the cathedral’s sombre Neo-Classical exterior. Inside, it is a wonder of soaring ceilings, exquisite stained glass, marble columns and detailed frescoes.

main nave of the cathedral in buenos aires

The 18th Century Cabildo, or town hall, sits at the southern end of the Plaza de Mayo. Once the seat of Spanish colonial rule, it also served as an important administrative building during the early years of Argentine independence. It is now home to the National Museum of the Cabildo and the May Revolution.

However, Casa Rosada is the star of the show. It was from the balcony of this pink government house building in 1951 that Eva Perón (aka Evita) gave her final speech.

EXTERIOR OF pINK BUILDING OF CASA ROSADA IN BUENOS AIRES WITH FLAG
Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires

Av. 9 de Julio is the widest avenue in the world (although Brazil contends that the record belongs to the Eixo Monumental in Brasilia). Wider than a city block at 120 meters, it carries up to 16 lanes of traffic.

Jutting over the oval Plaza de la República like an exclamation mark is the Obelisk. Erected in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of Buenos Aires, it has become a Buenos Aires icon.

Obelisk behind coloured interlocked rings in downtown Buenos Aires
Obelisk, Buenos Aires

If you have enough time, why not take a 50-minute tour of the Teatro Colon Opera House? Daily English tours depart 3 -5 times a day.

Day 2: La Boca Walking Tour and Puerto Madero

The historic barrio of La Boca is a must-see in Buenos Aires. El Caminito with its brightly coloured buildings, live tango and flashy art galleries is its beating heart.

La Boca is a strange beast. For one or two blocks, it is super-touristy.  However, stray off the well-trodden tourist path, and you hit the start of the slums.

As I found out on a walking tour of La Boca, there is more to this historic Buenos Aires barrio than its Instagrammable streets filled with a vibrant patchwork of buildings.

El Caminito La Boca Buenos Aires
El Caminito, La Boca

This barrio’s street art reflects its radical politics. This is demonstrated eloquently in the large mural paying tribute to Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the mothers of the ‘disappeared.’

Around 30,000 ‘leftist’ sons and daughters disappeared during the 1976-1983 ‘Dirty War’. These mothers conduct a peaceful protest in front of the Casa Rosado every Thursday, during which they wrap diapers around their heads as makeshift scarves.

mural of a woman in scarf and clenched fist i

Whilst the buildings were extremely photogenic and the history fascinating, perhaps my favourite sight of the morning was the dogs dressed in football kits to raise money for dogs’ refuge.

dogs-dressed-as-footballers-in-la-boca-buenos-aires
Well-dressed dogs of La Boca, Buenos Aires
  • As it is easy to veer off the tourist track I recommend exploring La Boca on a guided tour, which is excellent and inexpensive.
  • Getting to La Boca – There is not a Subte (subway) station close to La Boca. Therefore, if transport is not included as part of your walking tour, you will need to catch a taxi or take a bus.
  • I caught the 152 bus from Palermo. It was very straightforward; the stop nearest La Caminito is where the bus terminates and it is a short, safe walk along the river from there. Be warned though; in heavy traffic, this journey took around 90 minutes.

>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR LA BOCA WALKING TOUR

AFTERNOON: VISIT Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

Located in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires’s newest neighbourhood, the Ecological Reserve is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Walk or cycle one of its trails leading to the waterfront promenade with its views over the Rio de la Plata. For the twitchers amongst you, there are reportedly more than 300 bird species that are fellow visitors. And if you’re lucky, you might also spot a river turtle or iguana.

bird in puerto madero buenos aires

Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday; 8 am – 6 pm

Getting there: The nearest subway stations are Independencia, San Juan, Plaza de Mayo and Catalinas

Entrance fee: Free

Day 3: San Telmo and El Zanjon

San Telmo is what most people visualise when you mention Buenos Aires: the cobbled streets, the markets, the tango dancers in its main square. But don’t miss the opportunity to visit El Zanjón, a 19th-century mansion, which is a time machine into San Telmo’s past.

The faded grandeur of San Telmo’s buildings bears witness to it once being the richest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

EXTERIOR OF BUILDING ON CORNER OF STREET WITH BLUE CANOPIES
San Telmo, Buenos Aires

In 1985, Jorge Eckstein, a long-time resident of San Telmo, bought an abandoned tenement (conventillo) near his home intending to turn it into a restaurant. This conventillo was formerly El Zanjón, a mansion dating from 1830.

Early in the renovations, he stumbled upon what would become Argentina’s largest private archaeological site. In addition to pottery, cutlery, and jewellery, he discovered a network of tunnels, once used to channel water.

A superb 60-minute guided tour (in English and Spanish) transports you through this atmospheric labyrinth. San Telmo’s dining scene’s loss has been archaeology’s gain.  

Part of the tunnel network of El Zanjon san telmo buenos aires
Part of the tunnel network of El Zanjon

No visit to San Telmo would be complete without a visit to Plaza Dorrego.

I visited midweek to find a peaceful, picturesque square filled with people enjoying an afternoon drink in the autumn sunshine. However, visit on a Sunday, and it is transformed with a craft market and tango dancers.

Arrive early to bag a prime position and sharpen those elbows!

Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo buenos aires
Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo

Getting there: The easiest way to reach San Telmo is by subway. Take the Subte Line D to Station Catedral or Line A to Station Plaza de Mayo. You will come out in Plaza de Mayo. From there, just walk down Defensa.

Visiting El Zanjón: El Zanjón is at Defensa 755. A visit is only possible on a guided tour. 

In 2024, English tours take place at 12 and 4 pm with an additional tour at 2 pm at the weekend.

Entrance fee: Entrance fee applies

Day 4: La Recoleta Cemetery and Palermo Street Art

Start your last day in Buenos Aires by paying your respects to the dead.

Although Eva Perón is La Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous resident, the list of its other occupants reads like a Who’s Who of Argentinian history. From presidents to poets, athletes to academics, explore its mausoleums and memorials to get a fascinating insight into the country’s past. 

Eva Peron's final resting place, La Recoleta Cemetery
Eva Peron’s final resting place, La Recoleta Cemetery

Housing over 6,400 statues, sarcophagi, coffins and crypts over four city blocks, La Recoleta Cemetery is an eerily beautiful place.

One of Recoleta Cemetery's shaded walkways
One of Recoleta Cemetery’s shaded walkways

With its wide alleys and shady streets, this labyrinthine city of the dead is a real mishmash of architectural styles. These include Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque and Neo-gothic, adorned with angels, Madonnas, saviours, crosses and cathedral-like domes.

la recoleta cemetery buenos aires 5
The tomb of Rufina Cambacérès
The tomb of Luis Ángel Firpo in la recoleta cemetery buenos aires
The tomb of Luis Ángel Firpo

The cats of La Recoleta deserve a mention. Reportedly, there are around 75 of them and they are well-fed and well cared for.

One of the many feline occupants of Recoleta Cemetery
One of the many feline occupants of Recoleta Cemetery

Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm daily. At the time of updating this article (August 2022), tours of the cemetery were only offered in Spanish. I recommend arriving before midday when it is cooler and quieter.

Getting there: The closest subway stations (Subte) are Las Herras, Retiro and Callao. Buses also pass near the cemetery, including no. 59 from Palermo.

Entrance fee: Admission fee applies (only credit cards accepted)

Thanks to its abundance of abandoned buildings and blank walls, creating perfect canvases, and the liberal attitude of the city’s authorities, Buenos Aires attracts local and international street artists. Although you can see street art throughout the city, for a great collection in a compact area head to Palermo Soho.

Whilst you can mooch around by yourself, to make the most of this experience join a street art guided walking tour. And don’t forget to check out the neighbourhood’s many bars and restaurants whilst you are there.

street art of 2 people dancing
Street art, Palermo

>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR STREET ART WALKING TOUR

If You Have More Than 4 Days in Buenos Aires

If you are lucky to have more than 4 days in Buenos Aires, consider taking a day trip to Colonia, Uruguay.

Colonia del Sacramento (to give it its full name) is just a short hop across the Rio de la Plata. With its cobbled streets, colonial buildings and a sprinkling of vintage cars it is a perfect day trip from Buenos Aires.

>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR FERRY TO COLONIA WITH OPTIONAL TOUR

colonial houses on a street in colonia uruguay

Where to Stay in Buenos Aires

As each of the city’s many barrios has its pros and cons, and its distinct identity, choosing where to stay can feel like a Herculean task. I recommend staying in the trendy barrio of Palermo.

Within Palermo, you have a choice of Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood.

Both of these sub-barrios have more than enough bars and restaurants to satisfy your culinary and drinking needs. However, Palermo Soho has more of a focus on shopping; Palermo Hollywood is livelier, with a greater concentration of bars and restaurants.

As a solo traveller, safety is important to me and walking around Palermo at night always felt safe.

  • Mid-range: Duque Boutique Hotel 

I stayed at this charming boutique hotel in Palermo Soho.

It has a tiny spa, a delightful small garden and terrace and exceptionally friendly staff. There are many great bars and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

Duque Boutique Hotel is on Guatemala 4364. 

>>> CHECK RATES AND BOOK A ROOM HERE

  • Budget: Hotel Chemin 

This boutique hotel in downtown Buenos Aires has garnered great reviews. Single rooms are available for solo travellers and breakfast is included in the room rate.

>>> CHECK RATES & BOOK HERE

  • Splurge: The Glu Boutique Hotel 

This is where I would have stayed if my budget had stretched a little further.

Discerning friends stayed here and highly rated this all-suite Palermo Soho hotel located three blocks from Plaza Serrano. All suites have either a private balcony or a terrace.

>>> CHECK RATES AND BOOK A ROOM HERE

>>> None of these choices take your fancy? Search for other great accommodation options in Buenos Aires here.

Getting from the Airport to Downtown Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has two airports: Ezeiza (EZE), handling mostly international flights, and Aeroparque (AEP), which is the domestic hub in addition to handling some flights to other South American countries. As public or shared transport options from both airports are few to non-existent, your best bet is a taxi.  

Ezeiza Airport is 33km southwest of Buenos Aires city. In order of descending cost, your options for getting to the downtown area of the city are a taxi, shared shuttle service or public bus.  

The key to flashpacking like a ninja is knowing when to splash the cash and, in my view, a taxi is a worthwhile expense.

Taking a taxi from Ezeiza (EZE) Airport

I arranged a taxi through my hotel in Palermo Soho. The journey took around 45 minutes in good traffic.

I don’t know about you, but when I step off a 13-hour flight, a little disoriented, it is good to know that I will be whisked off to my hotel by someone holding up my name on a board.

Alternatively, there is a taxi booth in the arrivals hall, providing a transfer for a cost similar to that of a pre-booked taxi. US dollars are widely accepted.

Hailing a taxi at the airport is not recommended.  

>>> Book your private transfer from Ezeiza International Airport with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.

Using a shared shuttle service from Ezeiza (EZE) Airport

There is also a shared shuttle service from EZE to Puerto Madero, operated by TiendaLeón. You can book online or they have a counter just after you exit Customs.

Although this is a cheaper option, this isn’t a door-to-door service. The journey time is approximately 50 minutes.

Alternatively, Minibus Ezezia operates a service between the airport and San Telmo every 30 minutes from 8 am to 6 pm.

Catching a public bus from Ezeiza (EZE) Airport

There is a bus (number 8) which is very cheap and operates every 30 minutes.

However, the trip takes about two hours and the bus makes multiple stops en route. Also, you will need a pre-loaded SUBE card to pay the fare, which you are unlikely to have unless you are a return visitor to Argentina  

As most international flights arrive in Buenos Aires before lunchtime, you have an opportunity to explore a little of the city on Day 0. This also allows you to get your bearings.

In terms of location, AEP is far more convenient for most travellers, located downtown in the Palermo neighbourhood. Choose between taking a taxi or catching a shuttle bus or bus to reach your accommodation in Buenos Aires.

Taking a taxi from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) Airport

I found that a metered taxi was the best option. I did this 30-minute journey a few times to my Palermo hotel and the price was consistent.

>>> Book your private transfer from Jorge Newberry Airport with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.

Using a shared shuttle service from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) Airport

As before, TiendaLeón offers a shuttle bus service.  

Catching a public bus from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) Airport

Buses do serve AEP but for the increased journey time and hassle, a taxi is your best bet. The lines serving Aeroparque are 33, 37, 45 and 160.

brightly painted mural in la boca buenos aires

How to Get Around Buenos Aires

Getting around Buenos Aires is relatively easy thanks to its extensive public transport system, comprising buses and the Subte (subway) network.

To use this system you need to get your hands on a prepaid magnetic card, similar to the Oyster card used in London. This is your golden ticket!

This SUBE card is available at all subway stations. Charge the card at Subte stations, national lottery stores and kioscos.

Considering the congestion on the streets, the subway is the fastest way to get around in Buenos Aires.

There are five Subte lines crisscrossing the city and interchanges are clearly signposted. Although it may not be the most modern subway system, trains are frequent. However, carriages can be rammed at peak times (7 – 10 am and 6 – 8 pm).

It took me slightly longer to get to grips with travelling by bus. They are big, comfortable and frequent, though often crowded.

You have to identify the correct stop to board the bus and where to get off, which can be challenging if you are not familiar with the city. If you’re not sure where to get off, ask the driver or a local for help. In my experience, both were very helpful.

Once you have identified your bus stop, wait for the bus under the sign. Like the British, Argentinians love an orderly queue and at bus stops, they will queue to the right. No milling around and swarming the bus when it arrives!

When you board the bus, tell the driver where you are going – writing this on a piece of paper helped me – so that he will charge you the correct fare. Then lay your card on the SUBE reader where you will see the price of the ride displayed.

All that remains is to sit back and enjoy your ride!  

I downloaded the Como LLego app, which is your best weapon for getting around Buenos Aires. It is not only a sophisticated journey planner, but it also provides real-time information on departures.

web-based version of Como LLego is also available.

Compared with some other cities I have visited, getting around Buenos Aires by taxi was a breeze. They were plentiful, relatively cheap and safe.

Not once did a driver take a scenic route around the city or need to be encouraged to switch the meter on. Or perhaps I was just lucky!

Taxi drivers do not expect a tip but rounding up to the nearest convenient denomination is common and appreciated.  

Exploring Buenos Aires on an Organised Tour

But what if you are not sure whether you are ready to explore Buenos Aires independently? If that’s the case, joining a day could be the solution.

You’ll benefit from an expertly curated itinerary and valuable local insights into the country, history and local culture, not to mention local restaurant tips. These excursions are also excellent ways to meet other travellers, especially if you are a first-time solo traveller.

I use and highly recommend using GetYourGuide to source and book day excursions. Not only does the platform offer an extensive selection of tours from independent operators, but there is also a very generous cancellation policy.

Take a look at the terrific selection of day tours and experiences on offer, from tango shows to city tours. Here’s my pick of the bunch.

3-HOUR GUIDED TOUR

This half-day guided tour introduces you to the highlights of Buenos Aires in a minivan. It has been highly rated by other travellers,

>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK

BUENOS AIRES BIKE TOUR

Explore the city on two wheels on this guided bike tour, which allows you to choose between a north or south circuit.

>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK

TANGO SHOW WITH OPTIONAL DINNER

For an evening that you’ll never forget, attend this live music and tango performance inspired by Astor Piazzolla’s work in the beautiful classical theatre of Galería Güemes.

>>> CLICK HERE TO BOOK

Is Buenos Aires Safe for Female Solo Travellers?

blond haired woman posing with a model of the footballer messi
Meeting a local celebrity

For the most part, Buenos Aires is a safe city to explore, especially in relation to its South American neighbours. During my 4 days in Buenos Aires, on no occasion did I feel unsafe as a solo traveller.

That said, it is sensible to recognise potential threats and mitigate any risks. Be street smart.

Like many big cities, petty theft is a problem, particularly in areas that are popular with tourists, such as La Boca and San Telmo. Walk confidently and with purpose, be careful with your belongings, especially smartphones and laptops, and leave your diamond necklace at home.

If possible, book taxis in advance. If you need to hail a taxi in the street, only use a ‘radio taxi’. These have a visible company logo on the rear passenger doors.

Although uncommon, kidnappings and so-called ‘express kidnappings’ occur in Argentina. Victims are held and forced to empty their bank accounts in different ATMs after which they are normally quickly released. 

Political demonstrations and picketing have become increasingly common in Argentina. Some demonstrations attract large numbers of people and there have been cases of violence. Exercise normal caution at any large gathering, and be aware of your surroundings.  

READ THIS NEXT: The Ultimate Argentina Itinerary: 2-Week Solo Travel Trip

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.

One thought on “4 Days in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Itinerary & Best Things to Do

  1. Cacho Robert says:

    If you go in the next month you have to quarantine yourself in an hotel for 14 days, before you can do anything.
    I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina and I got that information from the Argentinean Consulate.

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