Bariloche is a great spot to visit for a wide range of travelers because there many different activities to do in and around the town, from experiencing the city scene and trying local cuisine to hiking and watersports. Furthermore, this region of Patagonia is absolutely stunning and we wish we had much more time to experience it. It’s a place we hope to return to one day. But from the time we were lucky enough to spend there, we recommend checking out these nine great things to do in Bariloche!
1. Visit Cerro Campanario
Cerro Campanario is a peak that sits just outside Bariloche along Circuito Chico. Visitors can take the chair lift up the hill for 2500 ARS (around $11 USD as of early 2023) or hike the short trail to the top. At the top, there is a little café and a viewing platform offering amazing views over the surrounding lakes and mountains.
Because of the ease of reaching Cerro Campanario, the fact that this is a budget-friendly activity, and the stunning views and photo ops, this is quite the popular spot among tourists. Click here for more details on visiting.
2. Shop the markets
In Bariloche, there are some nice markets to pick up clothing, home goods, handmade crafts, art, and other souvenirs. While walking around the civic center, we came across multiple booths selling goods like sweaters, mate sets, and pottery. The tourism website lists a variety of markets held in the city and the times they are open.
Bariloche also has a bunch of shopping along Mitre, one of the main streets. There are shops selling a range of items, including quality leather goods, home décor, and outdoor gear. We also entered some mall-like settings that had many shops selling souvenirs, food products, and other items previously mentioned.
3. Hike at Parque Llao Llao
Parque Llao Llao sits just outside Bariloche down Circuito Chico. This beautiful municipal park was high on our list of things to do in Bariloche because of its incredible beauty. It is easy to reach by public transport and there are multiple trails of varying difficulties.
As you walk through the park, you’ll be immersed in Bariloche’s serene forests with views of the rugged peaks and lakes surrounding you. Whether you take a leisurely stroll by the lakes or make the climb up Cerro Llao Llao, you won’t regret spending some time here. Read more about the loop we hiked in the park here.
4. Take a city tour
Bariloche’s rich history and culture is evident as you explore the city. If you’d like to learn more about the architecture, indigenous history, European settlement, and this region of Patagonia in depth, a city tour is a great way to go! There are multiple walking tours that cover these subjects. Bariloche also has unique cuisine and quite the selection of local beers. There are some companies offering food and drink tours around the city too.
Being a popular tourist destination, there are many tour options and companies. Some itineraries may include a city tour in addition to sightseeing around the national park and visits to highlights along Circuito Chico. Many of the tour operator offices are located around the city center along calles Mitre and Francisco Pascasio Moreno. Some companies also have their info listed online and you can visit the tourist center for more info.
5. Visit Cerro Catedral
Cerro Catedral is a peak with a famous ski resort sitting at its base. The ski area has many runs with varying difficulties and there are options to take a ski or snowboarding class and rent gear here. You can also go tubing! If you are looking to get a lot of skiing in and don’t want to shuttle to and from Bariloche, there are accommodation options and some dining available at the resort.
Outside of ski season, Cerro Catedral is still a great spot to visit. Visitors can take the chairlift up the hillside for beautiful views or hike up to Refugio Frey. This challenging 11-14 mile roundtrip hike (depending on the route you take) brings you to a lake and stone lodge surrounded by stunning rugged peaks. Hikers have the option to camp out at the lodge with a reservation.
Cerro Catredal is easy to reach by taking bus 55 from Bariloche. There is also parking available if you drive your own vehicle.
6. Visit the Cathedral and Civic Center Square
The Catedral Nuestra Señora de Nahuel Huapi is a very prominent and beautiful structure on the waterfront of Bariloche. The stone building was built in the 1940s by architect Alejandro Bustillo, who completed this project for free. For more info on visiting times and the history of the cathedral, click here.
Surrounding the cathedral are pretty pine trees and nice green spaces. Just down the street is the Civic Center square. This square features unique architecture and is often a bustling place with vendors, Bernard dogs to take photos with, and people just out exploring the town.
7. Sample some chocolate
With heavy Swiss and German influence, you’ll find many chocolate shops around the city. Visiting them is one of the very popular things to do in Bariloche. Visit Rapa Nui, Mamuschka, and other shops around town to sample chocolates and pick up an assortment. We went to Mamuschka, taking time to pick out a box of different sweets. You may have to be patient because it can get pretty crowded. Every single chocolate we picked was delicious!
At the Museo del Chocolate, you can learn more about cocoa production, use of cocoa dating back to the Mayans and Aztecs, its varied uses, etc. The museum is open daily from 10am to 7pm (5pm on Sundays).
8. Make a trip to Colonia Suiza
Colonia Suiza is an old Swiss settlement outside Bariloche. Today, this small town is a popular spot to visit for the artisan market on Wednesdays and Sundays where visitors can pick up a variety of handmade goods from the little shops.
People are also drawn to Colonia Suiza to try curanto, a local dish of varied meats and vegetables cooked in a heated pit in the ground. The town is small and easy to reach by public transport, making this a great half-day activity.
9. Spend time on the water
Because Bariloche is surrounded by absolutely stunning lakes and rivers, there are many water activities to do in the area. Whether you are a fan of sailing, rafting, kayaking, fishing, etc., there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy time on the water. There are many tours offering these activities, including a sailing trip to Victoria Island, rafting down the Manso River, and taking a seven lakes day trip to see some of the highlights in the region.
If you aren’t looking for a tour and just want to kick back and relax, there are many serene spots along the shores to hang out, such as Playa Bonita, Lago Mascardi, Villa Tacul, and Playa Serena.