Patagonia rhymes with utopia – yes, we’ve noticed. This extraordinary region of sunny domes and caves of ice is heaven-on-earth to those who know it. Journey down to the southernmost tip of South America and you’ll find mountains bejewelled with glaciers that tower over sparkling azure lakes. Take a look at our recommended picturesque spots to visit in the region, but don’t forget your sunglasses. If the bright reflective sunlight doesn’t dazzle you, the natural splendor certainly will.
Torres del Paine National Park
Heralded by many as South America’s finest national park, Torres del Paine encompasses a vast landscape of mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers on the Chilean segment of Patagonia. The namesake Torres del Paine (‘Towers of Pain’) brands the horizon with three fixed granite columns, which rise more than a mile above the mountain range.
Lake Nahuel Huapi
If you thought the Lake District in England was impressive, think again. Patagonia is Argentina’s very own alpine lake district, while the pièce de résistance, Lake Nahuel Huapi, is situated at the heart of the country’s oldest national park. This colossal lake was carved out through centuries of glacial erosion, and stretches out for hundreds of square miles from the foothills of the Andes.
Mount Fitz Roy
Officially recognized as the highest peak and jewel-in-the-crown of Los Glaciares National Park, you simply can’t miss the striking silhouette of Mount Fitz Roy at two miles on the horizon. These jagged projections of granite rock attract serious mountaineers from across the globe, while the lower regions are increasingly popular and accessible to hikers.
Perito Moreno Glacier
Undoubtedly one of the most spectacular natural wonders in South America, if not the world, the Perito Moreno Glacier can be accessed by hiking or boating through the dazzling Los Glaciares National Park. What makes this mound of ice so special, and stand out among the 46 others, is that it’s one of the only glaciers in the world that is actually advancing. Be careful you don’t get too close.
Laguna de los Tres
If you can’t hack the intrepid heights of Mount Fitz Roy, retreat to the beautiful oasis of Laguna de los Tres that lies immediately below. It’s an arduous trek even to this point, but the view of the dramatic mountain panorama against the sacrosanct tranquility of the glacial lake is nothing short of sublime.
Whale-watching fans, listen up: The Peninsula Valdes is a site of global significance for marine biology conservation. It attracts pods of whales, herds of seals and colonies of penguins like you’ve never seen before. Take a trip out on one of the locally chartered boats for some of the best whale-watching opportunities in the world.
Featured image: © Eldad Carin/iStock/Thinkstock
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas.