a dock over a lake in Bariloche

How Many Days In Bariloche? 3 Great Travel Itineraries 2024

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of the Argentine Patagonia, San Carlos de Bariloche is a charming destination that caters to adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a slice of Alpine beauty. With its snow-capped peaks, azure lakes, and inviting trails, Bariloche offers a multitude of experiences that make it a dreamy vacation spot. But with so much to do, how many days do you need to see the best of Bariloche? Whether you have three, five, or seven days to spare, here are three meticulously crafted itineraries to make the most of your time.


How Many Days Do You Need In Bariloche?

The number of days you need to fully experience Bariloche depends on your interests, the activities you want to engage in, and your travel pace.


However, in my opinion, 5 days is the perfect amount of time as this allows you to complete a couple of hikes, other adventure activities such as kayaking or biking, and see the town and the surrounding natural beauty without feeling rushed.


5 days also allows you to go at a slower pace and include a rest day in between big activities, so you don’t burn out.


Here’s a general guideline to help you decide how many days you need in Bariloche:



  • 3 Days: With a 3-day Bariloche itinerary, you can explore the city, enjoy some outdoor activities, and get a taste of the natural beauty of the region. This is a good option if you’re short on time or looking for a quick weekend getaway and want to experience the highlights of Bariloche. 


  • 5 Days: A 5-day Bariloche itinerary allows you to delve deeper into the region’s offerings. You can enjoy city exploration, outdoor adventures like hiking and biking, and even take a day tour to some of the islands on the lakes such as Isla Victoria. This duration is ideal for those who want a more comprehensive experience without rushing through the activities.


  • 7 Days: Opting for a 7-day stay in Bariloche gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the towns diverse attractions. You can take your time exploring the city, engaging in various outdoor activities, and even venture on a scenic road trip to nearby destinations. This duration is perfect for a slower paced trip, allowing you to balance adventure with relaxation.
panoramic image of the lakes in Bariloche

Bariloche 3-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Day exploring the city, chocolate tasting and Cerro Otto
  • Day 2 – Hiking to Refugio Frey
  • Day 3 – Renting a bike and cycling Circuito Chico

Day 1 - City Exploration, chocolate Tasting & Cerro otto

  • Timing: Half Day
  • Cost: Walking tours start at $9500 pesos

Nestled amidst the picturesque Andes Mountains, Bariloche offers a stunning display of natural beauty. From snow-capped peaks to crystal-clear lakes and lush forests, the landscape is nothing short of awe-inspiring.


Begin your journey by getting to grips with the centre of this beautiful town. A walking tour will take you on a wander through its charming streets where you can sample local cuisine, admire Swiss-style architecture, and learn more about the history of the town.


Historias Bariloche runs five unique walking tours all for a small fee. The 10 Secrets Tour will give you the best run down of the city.


After the walking tour, head to one of the many chocolate shops here, where you can indulge in a delightful chocolate tasting. I would recommend trying Rapa Nui or Mamushcka as these are regarded as the best in town.


Towards the late afternoon, it’s time to head to a viewpoint. Cerro Otto is prominent hill overlooking the town that doubles up as a ski slope in the winter months. This easily accessible summit can be reached by a short chairlift ride or a pleasant hike, providing stunning views of the surrounding Nahuel Huapi Lake and the majestic Andes mountains.

For more on why this is such a fantastic place to visit and spend time in, head to the post below:



the mountains in Bariloche

Day 2 - Hike To Refugio Frey

  • Timing: Full Day (5–6-hour hike)
  • Cost: Free

For hikers seeking a challenging adventure, the hike to Refugio Frey is an excellent choice.


This 9.5km trail takes you through dense forests, rugged terrain, and glacial valleys, and should take between 5-6 hours total. There are several stops on the way, such as Mirador Lago Guiterrez, where you can take a break and enjoy the views.


After a demanding ascent, you’ll arrive at the Refugio Frey, a mountain hut nestled beside the pristine Laguna Toncek. The dramatic granite spires that surround the lake create a breathtaking backdrop for this trek.


You can even have a swim in Laguna Toneck if you fancy it (summer only though as it’s freezing).

Refugio Frey is one of my favourite day hikes in Argentina as well as South America. For a full list, that includes a couple more treks in Argentina, head to the post below:



mountain town in Bariloche 11

Day 3 - Biking Circuito Chico

  • Timing: Full Day
  • Cost: The cost of renting a bike varies but in summer around $8000-12000 pesos ($30-40 USD)

Circuito Chico is 17-mile (27 km) scenic route that showcases the region’s diverse beauty. You’ll traverse the shoreline of Lake Nahuel Huapi and witness stunning vistas of the Andes Mountains all the way around.


This is a full day of activity so best to start early. After some breakfast, take the number 20 bus from town towards the Llao Llao Hotel and get off at Circuito Chico Adventure.


You can rent a bike here, and they’ll also provide you with a map and instructions for the circuit but it’s pretty straightforward. You can rent bikes in town, but you’ll be adding another 40km total on to the journey so I wouldn’t recommend that.


Here are a couple of places you may wish to stop along the circuit:



  • Cerro Campanario – If you haven’t been already, you can reach the iconic Cerro Campanario by cycling back on yourself a little. Leave your bike and take the chairlift to the summit for an awe-inspiring panoramic view that stretches as far as the eye can see.


  • Hotel Llao Llao – After a brief stop here, get yourself onto the actual circuit and go anti-clockwise. After a 30-45 minute ride you’ll come across the enchanting Llao Llao Peninsula. Pause at Hotel Llao Llao, an architectural gem, and if you want you can enjoy a delectable meal at its restaurant, boasting both gourmet cuisine and stunning lake vistas. However, there are plenty of food stops along the way so I would recommend building up an appetite first.


  • Cerro Llao Llao – If you are keen to include some trekking in the day, then the Cerro Llao Llao trek is a delightful and accessible hiking experience too. This moderate trek begins at the iconic Llao Llao Hotel and meanders through lush forests, enchanting valleys, and along the shores of crystalline lakes Nahuel Huapi and Moreno. The trail is 5.6km and takes 2 hours to complete (there and back) so can easily be incorporated into the day if you are feeling spritely.


  • Puente Arroyo – To break up the next ride, take 5 minutes to stop at the tranquil Puente Arroyo for a peaceful moment by the lake’s edge.


If you want to combine a trip to Chile alongside Argentina, then there are several ways to do this with a simple border crossing. The three itineraries in the post below can help you cross the borders a 3 different points in Argentina to see Chile:



the lakes in Bariloche

Preparing for your first trip to South America? 

 Here are 22 FAQ’s to help you prepare for the trip of a lifetime: 

Bariloche 5-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Day exploring the city, chocolate tasting and Cerro Otto
  • Day 2 – Hiking to Refugio Frey
  • Day 3 – Renting a bike and cycling Circuito Chico
  • Day 4 – Ferry ride and day tour to Isla Victoria
  • Day 5 – Hiking Cerro Tronador

Day 4 - Isla Victoria

  • Timing: Half Day
  • Cost: $60

If you are choosing to do 5-days in Bariloche, then day 4 is a calmer one. After 2 days of trekking and biking, your legs will need a little rest so it’s time for a day tour to Isla Victoria instead.


Departing from Puerto Pañuelo, the cruise takes you across Nahuel Huapi Lake, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Upon reaching Isla Victoria, you’ll explore pristine trails and encounter ancient cave paintings, witnessing the island’s rich indigenous history firsthand. Guided by experts, you’ll discover the rock art treasures and cave paintings that have endured over time, connecting you to the island’s past cultures.


The tour then proceeds to Bosque de los Arrayanes, a unique forest of cinnamon-coloured trees. Walking along the boardwalks through this fairy-tale-like forest is a magical experience.


Check out the tour here

Bariloche and Mendoza are two popular places in Argentina, and travellers can often deliberate between visiting one or the other. If you want to see a detailed comparison along with my personal opinion of which is better, head to the post below:



the dock in Bariloche

Day 5 - Cerro Trondador

  • Timing: Full day
  • Cost: $44 shuttle bus + $20 national park fee

For your 5th day in Bariloche, it’s time to get back into the Andes and hike another incredible mountain.


Cerro Tronador, also known as “Thundering Mountain “, is a challenging but immensely rewarding hike. The glacier-capped peak, impressive waterfalls, and pristine alpine surroundings create an unforgettable experience for avid hikers and nature enthusiasts.


The mountain stands tall at 3,491 meters (11,453 feet) above sea level and straddles the border between Argentina and Chile, with several large glaciers adorning its slopes.


This mountain is around 2 hours outside of Bariloche so first, you’ll need to reach it. The nearest town, Pampa Linda, is located 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Bariloche and can be reached via shuttle bus. The shuttle bus costs 7500 ARS ($44 USD) for a round-trip ride.


The beginning of the trail starts in Pampa Linda so once you’re off the bus you can start hiking. The journey to the summit is challenging but incredibly rewarding, offering panoramic vistas of icy blue glaciers cascading down the mountainside. You also have the option to stay the night and camp under a star-studded sky at Refugio Otto Meiling, or you can stay in Pampa Linda once you get back down.


This is a full-on day and I would only recommend this for hike enthusiasts. If you aren’t interested in another difficult trek then there are several shorter and easier hikes closer to Bariloche or you can swap this day out for another activity such as kayaking.

Exploring the Argentinian side of Patagonia is a must. But the Chilean side is so close, so whilst your here, why not hop across the border? It’s easy to do! Linked below are two itinerary posts that can help you plan:



the mountains and green forests of Bariloche

Bariloche 7-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Day exploring the city, chocolate tasting and Cerro Otto
  • Day 2 – Hiking to Refugio Frey
  • Day 3 – Renting a bike and cycling Circuito Chico
  • Day 4 – ferry ride and day tour to Isla Victoria
  • Day 5 – Hiking Cerro Tronador
  • Day 6 – Rest Day / Colonia Suiza
  • Day 7 – Road Trip to Route of the Seven Lakes

Day 6 - Rest Day / Colonia Suiza

After another full of trekking, day 6 is a relaxed one. Also, you may have decided to stay overnight on Cerro Trondador or at Pampa Linda, so your morning will be spent returning to Bariloche.


Once back in town, take the day at a leisurely pace. If you are looking to do something, then you can choose to explore the tranquil lakes by kayaking or go for a walk along one of the many forest trails.


If you haven’t already, head to the edge of town to check out the charming Swiss-inspired colony of Colonia Suiza. Here, you can immerse yourself in traditional Swiss customs, indulge in authentic fondue, and enjoy the weekend artisanal fair offering local crafts and delicacies.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Argentina saw a wave of European immigration, with many settlers coming from Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Some of these immigrants found their way to Bariloche and the surrounding areas. They brought with them their cultural traditions, architecture, and way of life, which have since become an integral part of the region’s identity.


Be sure to check out Casa Abuela Goye here for another amazing chocolate shop.

Visiting Bariloche is one of the highlights of a trip to Argentina. But there’s so much more to see in this incredible country. To see how to combine Bariloche into a one-month itinerary that covers the entire country, head to the post below:



cable cars in Bariloche

Day 7 - Road Trip Along The Route Of Seven Lakes

  • Timing: Full Day
  • Cost: $40-60 for car rental

Argentina is a great country for planning an epic road trip and it has some of the most picturesque roads in all of South America. Route 40 is the famous highway that spans the entire country from north to south.


So why not conclude your adventure with a stunning road trip along the famed Route of the Seven Lakes. Each lake presents a unique character, and the route itself is a picturesque journey that encapsulates the magnificence of Patagonian landscapes.


Driving along Route 40 near the town of Bariloche, is like entering a mesmerizing painting that comes to life. As you cruise through this scenic highway, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes that unfold around every twist and turn. The snow-capped peaks of the Andes tower majestically on one side, while the deep blue waters of pristine lakes shimmer on the other.


The entire route can take around 5-7 hours to complete, depending on the stops you make along the way, or it can be split over a couple of days.


I would recommend renting a car as it will cost the same as a tour, but you get to determine your own schedule. You can rent a car in town or from the airport and most places will range from $40-60 a day depending on the size of the car.


Or if you are interested in a tour, check out the link here.

Bariloche is the starting point for most trips into Patagonia. The next stop on the way south is usually El Calafate where you can see the incredible Perito Moreno Glacier. From here, you can then travel to the hiking town of El Chalten to see Mount Fitzroy. 


To see how to combine this 7-day itinerary with the rest of Patagonia, use the post below:



How Many Days Do You Need In Bariloche?

Summer vs Winter Itinerary For Bariloche

The three Bariloche itineraries laid out above are all best around the spring and summer months (November-March) as the weather will be perfect for all the outdoor activities.


However, if you are visiting during the winter months (June-August), then these itineraries will need to be adapted slightly. The treks to Refugio Frey or Tronador are all still do-able and you’ll be treated to snowy trails and pristine snow-capped mountains, however the trails will be icier, and you’ll need to bring the correct gear.


For activities such as biking and kayaking, these likely won’t be as fun as you’ll be freezing so just swap these out for skiing instead.

the lakes and hills of Bariloche
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