As the center of the Argentinian wine industry, the city of Mendoza in western Argentina is popular with wine enthusiasts. The region, famous for its olive groves and vineyards, boasts a lucrative agricultural economy and is a hub of winemaking and olive oil production.
Thanks to its close proximity to the Andes Mountains the city is a gateway to those mountains and offers travelers city comforts before their ascent towards the remote Andean peaks. Here are the top 5 things to do in Mendoza:
Free walking tours of Mendoza are available for visitors wanting to learn about the city’s culture and history as well as see its various landmarks. The tours follow a number of routes around different sections of the city, much of which is characterised by broad tree-lined streets surrounded by buildings designed to withstand seismic activity. The city’s many trees are watered by an irrigation system begun by indigenous peoples and developed further by the Spanish.
Aficionados of modern art may be interested in visiting the Museo Municipal Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) in the Plaza Indepencia or the Espacio Contemporáneo de Arte (Contemporary Art Space) in 9 de Julio y Gutiérrez. The Casa de Fader, dating from the late nineteenth century, is the former home of Fernando Fader who left France for Argentina and settled in Mendoza to pursue a career in painting, some of whose paintings are on display in the museum.
The geography of Mendoza provides an excellent terroir for growing grapes and today the province produces on average 60% of Argentina’s wine. Boasting some of the highest altitude vineyards in the world, grape varieties grown in the region’s arid, sun-warmed soil include Cereza, Criolla Grande, Malbec and Tempranillo. To celebrate the grape harvest in March, the city hosts the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival) each year in March that lasts several days.
Argentina is known for its equestrian tradition and there is no better way to explore the Andean foothills surrounding Mendoza than on horseback. Horse-riding, like any kind of physical activity, carries a degree of risk so it is advised that travellers only undertake professional horse-riding tours organized by experts to maximize safety. Anyone venturing to Argentina should purchase travel insurance before departure to cover themselves in the event of an emergency.
Photo courtesy of Chicken and Lobster
The National Wine Museum, located in Maipú 11 miles from the provincial capital and housed in an early 20th century mansion that was owned by wine producers, exhibits artefacts of Mendoza’s viticultural and oenological history and acts as a resource-centre for winemaking in the region. Guided tours of the La Rural winery and accompanying museum are available, with an opportunity for visitors to taste and purchase local wines available at the tour’s conclusion.
Have you been to Mendoza before? Share your experiences with us! Leave us a comment below.
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As Americans my wife and I lived in Mendoza for five years (2008 – 2013) while building vineyards in nearby San Rafael.
Your list of suggested places to visit and things to do are both diverse and good and we have seen most of them.
However, if a visitor is more focused on wine I think the weak link in the chain of most tourist Agencies that offer tours is an objective overview of what Bodegas to visit while in Mendoza and its surroundings. There are hundreds of Bodegas to visit, my wife and I have seen maybe fifty, and several outstanding and or unusual comes to mind that most Mendoza visitors I talk to never see because the “Tourist” outfits don’t know about them or steer their clients to other Bodegas because of convenience or where compensation deals have been made.
I am off to Mendoza tomorrow for 2 days. What would be your suggested best bodegas to visit. Life is short but we need to enjoy it to its fullest.
Thank you for writing us. I would suggest you check out some of these wineries – http://www.mendozaholidays.com/Top-Wineries-to-visit-in-Mendoza.asp Please let me know if you have anymore questions.
Hi Thomas, thank you for your comment! Yea I completely understand. Can you recommend the best vineyards to us? We can update this in the future once we return to Mendoza. Thanks again – David