Looking for the best walking tours in Bariloche? Here are 5 different ones to consider!
Walking tours are such a great introduction to a new destination and in a place like Bariloche where forests, lakes and mountains abound, it’s an especially good idea. You never have to look too far to find yourself in nature.
I like doing walking tours when I visit a new place to get a better understanding of the destination. It’s a great way to discover some real gems while exploring with a local and these are often places that I like to revisit with more time.
One big reason to consider joining a walking tour in Bariloche is because this city has so much history to uncover.
The most popular tour in Bariloche is the one that examines how various waves of German immigration shaped the city. However, there are also tours that look at the city from different angles.
You have walking tours focused on Patagonia’s indigenous peoples, in-depth tours with a political lens, tours that take you up to a mountain refuge and tours that uncover city secrets and visit chocolate shops!
You can basically choose a different walking tour in Bariloche depending on your interests. I personally think this is one of the best things to do in Bariloche if you’re a first-time visitor, so let’s help you figure out which of these is right for you!
Top 3 Picks: Best Bariloche Walking Tours
Best Bariloche Walking Tours
The German Footprint and Nazi Presence tour is one of the most popular walking tours in Bariloche.
This historical tour uncovers the real stories and myths surrounding the waves of German immigration starting with the early settlers who started arriving in Bariloche in the early 1900s up until after World War 2.
The tour begins with the chronicle of Carlos Wiederhold, a Chilean-German immigrant who founded Bariloche, and who is remembered in the town’s full name, which is San Carlos de Bariloche.
You also learn about Otto Meiling, an avid German mountaineer who travelled to Argentina in his early twenties. He was responsible for many first ascents in Nahuel Huapi National Park and was also the founder of Club Andino de Bariloche, a mountaineering club that is still active today!
The walking tour then moves on to the Nazi presence and the role the Argentine government played in allowing former Nazi spies and officers into the country, and how many of them started new lives…and how some were found.
If you enjoy history, this Bariloche tour offers a fascinating look at Patagonia’s German influence, which is something that is still seen today.
“Excellent presentation of the German history in Bariloche. Diego is an excellent story teller and weaves the history of the city with a walk through the downtown and the German as well as Nazi history in Bariloche.” -Eliot BReview from Viator
⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 hours | ✅ Book it!
This next Bariloche walking tour focuses on Patagonia’s indigenous peoples. These include the Tehuelches, Mapuches, and Canoe Tribes of Patagonia.
The tour will answer questions like: Who are they? What is their culture? When and how did they arrive here? How were they impacted by European colonization?
Over the course of this tour, you’ll learn about the indigenous people’s history while exploring Bariloche’s downtown on foot.
You’ll visit Bariloche Cathedral and hear about the relationship between the indigenous people and the Catholic Church.
Plus, you’ll have the option to visit Museo de la Patagonia, which has a room focused on indigenous history.
The tour will also touch on topics like the the Desert Campaign (1833–1834) and the Conquest of the Desert (1870s and 1880s) which were led with the intention of establishing dominance over Patagonia, which was inhabited primarily by indigenous people at the time.
“I learned so much about Bariloche and its history. Diana was a brilliant guide and I would have loved to have spent more time with her talking about the area’s past and present.” -Karen EReview from Viator
⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1.5 hours | ✅ Book it!
Over the course of this Bariloche walking tour, you’ll get to hear some of the best-kept secrets, stories and myths about Bariloche, Nahuel Huapi and Patagonia.
This tour provides a good overview of the city and includes stops at the Civic Center, the Museum of Patagonia, San Carlos Port, the lakeside boardwalk, the Cathedral Our Lady of Nahuel Huapi, and Bariloche’s famous chocolate street which includes a stop at Rapa Nui.
If you’re looking for a tour that offers a little bit of everything and isn’t strictly history-focused, this is the one for you.
“The guide, Diego was excellent. He had indepth knowledge of Bariloche and Patagonia. It was a great introduction of the area and the history of the people. The chocolate tasting on Chocolate Street was amazing.” -Franca GReview from Viator
⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours | ✅ Book it!
If you’re looking for a historical tour of Bariloche through the lens of President Perón and his impact on the city, you’ll want to check out this tour.
For starters, this tour runs 3 hours in length, making it twice as long as the tours we’ve looked at so far. It also takes you beyond downtown Bariloche and you’ll be exploring some of the city outskirts by using public transportation.
Juan Domingo Perón is a very divisive figure in Argentina. He was a military man, the creator of Peronism, and three times President – he served two terms, was overthrown, and managed to return again.
During this tour, you’ll visit Bariloche’s Military Mountain School and Museum. Plus, you’ll also walk by the National Commission of Atomic Energy and stand in front of the island where a secret atomic project was planned.
Perón sought to extract scientific talent from Nazi Germany and believed that any project spearheaded by a German scientist was bound to be successful.
In 1949, he hired Ronald Richter, a German Austrian-born scientist who convinced him that he could produce controlled nuclear fusion in a process that would supply enormous quantities of cheap energy. That became known as the Huemul Project.
Perón gave Richter carte blanche, but the project turned out to be a fraud! You can learn all about it on this tour.
“Fascinating deep dive into Juan Peron’s life, military and political career. The original populist! We also visited a very interesting museum. Diego’s story telling and knowledge on the topic was enthralling. Highly recommended!” -A Tripadvisor ReviewerReview from TripAdvisor
⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 4 hours | ✅ Book it!
Lastly, we are looking at this Bariloche walking tour that starts in the city centre and ends on a mountaintop!
This tour starts off in Bariloche’s German Neighbourhood or Barrio Alemán, which is today known as Barrio Belgrano. This is where some of the first German immigrants settled and it’s an area with alpine-style homes.
After walking through the neighbourhood, you’ll join the trailhead that leads to the top of Cerro Otto, though that’s not your end destination. Instead, you’ll hike up to Refugio Berghof!
Berghof was the home of Otto Meiling, the Andean pioneer we mentioned earlier. During the 1930s he built several buildings here. His private home was originally called Bergfreude (literally Mountain Joy in German) and it later became known as Berghof (literally Mountain Farm in German).
He also built two bungalows as well as a workshop for manufacturing skis, thus giving Bariloche its start as a ski destination!
The hike to Refugio Berghoff takes about 2 hours and you’ll be rewarded with mountain and lake views. At the top, you’ll visit a small museum while your guide contextualizes Argentine-German politics from the 1930 and 1940s.
At the end of the tour, you can choose to make your way back to Bariloche one of three ways: hike back into town, pay for your own taxi, or buy a ticket to ride the Cerro Otto gondola down.
If you decide to take this tour, make sure you wear hiking boots and appropriate outdoor clothing. Also, bring water and maybe even a snack for the way.
This tour does require a bit of effort. In order to take part in this experience, you should be able to walk 5 kilometres with a 400 meter gain.
“Very nice walk through historic Bariloche, the German neighborhood, the forest and the mountains with incredible views of the Andes and the Nahuel Huapi lake. Our guide Diego was an accomplished trail runner but he was patient with us and very affable. Otto Meilings house/museum was very intriguing. Fresh beer at the Berghof shelter was the perfect touch after the uphill part of the walk.” -A Tripadvisor ReviewerReview from TripAdvisor
FAQs About Walking in Bariloche
Bariloche’s city centre is quite compact, so it’s a walkable city. There are steep hills as you move away from the lakeshore, but most tourists stick to Calle Mitre (the main pedestrian thoroughfare).
Walking tours are never free. Even the ones that advertise themselves as free expect you to tip the guide for their time. Grupo Vision Turismo runs a free walking tour in Spanish Monday-Saturday at 9:45 am. The meeting point is San Martin 398.
Bariloche is the gateway to northern Patagonia and you need at least 2-3 days to see the city and explore Nahuel Huapi National Park.
Choosing your Bariloche Walking Tour
So which of these Bariloche walking tours should you choose?
If you don’t have any particular preference, I would go for the German Footprint tour since it’ll help contextualize the city’s history and how it was shaped by immigration. This tour runs 90 minutes in length and it’s a classic tour for first-time visitors to Bariloche.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something similar in length, you can choose between the tour focused on Patagonia’s indigenous peoples or the tour that reveals myths and secrets about Bariloche with a stop at a chocolate shop.
The tour about Perón in Bariloche is for those who want a longer history tour, and the Berghof tour is for those who want some history paired with a hike and beautiful mountain views.
These are the top-rated walking tours in Bariloche, so whichever you choose, you’re bound to have a wonderful time. The choice is yours!
- Exploring Bariloche in 2 Days
- Visiting Victoria Island on a Day Trip from Bariloche
- How to Get to Bariloche – by Plane, Bus or Train!
GROUP TOURS – If you’d rather join a group tour to travel in Argentina, check out Gadventures.
CAR RENTAL – To explore Argentina beyond the cities, the best way to do so is by renting a car. Discover Cars offers rentals across the country.
BUS TICKETS – Bus travel is a great way to see Argentina. BusBud offers numerous routes.
TRAVEL INSURANCE – Don’t leave on your trip without booking travel insurance. You can get a quote on SafetyWing.
HOTELS – Booking.com offers accommodations to suit all budgets and travel styles.
TOURS – For a variety of tours and activities, have a look at Viator.