Take a walk through Salta city and you’ll be struck by the profusion of Spanish colonial architecture that has been preserved here. It is a city that blends together its European heritage with native gaucho culture, yielding a small but culturally significant hub for visitors to northwest Argentina to experience. Replete with parks and plazas, street fairs and artisan markets, a few theaters and some interesting museums, and a month-long festival in April celebrating all the things Salta, you’ll find it hard not to leave here with a better understanding of the life and history of this part of the country.
Plaza 9 de Julio, with its lush palm trees and access to important cultural sights (Cathedral, Cabildo, etc.), is an unavoidable must see. It also houses the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (MAAM), the city’s most important cultural museum. Keep your eyes open for other cool public squares as well, including Parque 20 de Febrero, Parque San Martin, and Plaza Guemes. If architecture intrigues you, incredible structures like the Iglesia San Francisco (considered one of the most important churches in Argentina) and the Salta Provincial Theater are dispersed throughout the city, offering striking examples of colonial design that will make for some prime photo ops.
Want to purchase something locally produced? Check out the Balcarce Street market on Sundays, which offers a variety of wares and other cool knickknacks on top of some prime people watching. If you’re not in town on Sunday, however, dry those tears and head on over to the Mercado Artesanal on Calle San Martin, which is open throughout the week. And, if you’re the type that doesn’t mind sitting in a rail car for 16 hours, you may want to consider a ride on the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds), one of Salta’s biggest tourist attractions and the third highest rail line in the world. All in all, it’s a worthy offering for a city often overlooked by visitors to such a culturally rich country.