Brilliant Buenos Aires – is this the cheapest city break in the world?

At a time when the whole world seems headed for recession, it’s hard to imagine a place to vacation like royalty.

But this year, upbeat travelers are still planning to get away with it by researching their travel destinations, sticking to budgets, taking off-season vacations and using smart travel tips, according to research from digital travel platform

One place where your euro continues is Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires.

Seemingly forever in a state of economic turmoil, the South American country is currently experiencing one of its worst inflationary bouts. To survive, people juggle a bizarre array of parallel exchange rates.

Use your foreign bank card or withdraw money from an ATM and you’ll get the official rate – around 200 pesos per euro. But if you exchange money with the informal blue dollar, you get almost double that.

Oddly, it is possible to find blue dollar rates on the side of the road in Cambios. Alternatively, you can transfer money through the Western Union app to collect at various locations around the city.

On the downside, you could end up walking around with wads of money (the largest banknotes in Argentina are worth less than €3.50) – although Western Union allows you to withdraw smaller amounts multiple times from a transferred balance at no extra cost.

But play your (bank) cards right, and this is one of the few places where you can spend on a budget.

Best Breakfast Spot: F5 Cantina Atelier Fuerza


F5 Cantina Atelier Fuerza. PA Photo/Renato Granieri

When is a croissant not a croissant? If it’s a Medialuna.

Typically crescent-shaped (the name means “half-moon”), these sweet pastries are a breakfast staple, typically served with dulce de leche (a dangerously addictive caramel spread made from condensed milk).

There is stiff competition to be the best in town, but F5 currently has the edge. Much like the French version, their medialunas are baked with a sugar water glaze to make the shells crispy, so good no seasoning is needed.

Choose your own medialunas (about €1 each) from large metal trays, still cooling from the oven, set beneath shelves of sourdough bread. There is space to sit inside or outside on a quiet sidewalk. Walk a few doors down and watch bakers prepare their wares behind a large glass window.

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The first choice for pizza: Chui


A margherita pizza at Chui. PA Photo/Renato Granieri

In general, it’s difficult to find decent pizza outside of Italy. But Argentina is an exception.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, thousands of Italian immigrants moved to the country to escape war and seek better economic opportunities. As a result, nearly half of today’s population has Italian roots, and olive oil practically flows through their veins.

Tucked discreetly down a side street near the up-and-coming Chacarita neighborhood—an offshoot of trendy Palermo Soho—this Pizza Eden garden makes some of the best slices of dough in town. Tables are set amongst a jungle of ferns and leafy plants in a semi-covered space larger than most BA restaurants. A clay oven burns out from behind a bar, where chefs prepare dishes with remarkable speed.

As for the pizzas, these are just about perfect: a wafer-thin crust with a pillowy crust, covered in a ruby-red sauce with pools of golden olive oil – starting at around €8.

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A chic evening: Elena


Elena restaurant. PA Photo/Four Seasons

Eating out in a five-star hotel restaurant usually requires a lot of purchasing power. Not in Buenos Aires. Despite being part of the elegant Four Seasons Hotel in the city’s chic Recoleta area, Elena serves an excellent 45-day dry-aged 34-ounce T-bone Angus steak (for two) for €28.

While the prices are remarkably affordable, there’s no bargain when it comes to decor and service. Curved leather banquettes and wooden tables are arranged on two floors, all served by waiters in silk vests and jeans. Prepared on the grill, all beef is dry aged in house. Of all the cheese dishes available, a melted goat’s provoleta cheese with apricots is hard to resist.

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Outstanding street food: Gran Dabbang


Gran Dabbang restaurant. PA photo

A country famous for its steaks and Malbec, Argentina has never been known for its vegetarian fare. But that is changing. While not strictly a meat-free zone, this street eatery that focuses on loosely Asian-inspired street food serves a surprising number of vegetable-based dishes.

A favorite is a thick Labne yoghurt with cucumber, huacatay (Peruvian black mint) and chutney, to be smothered on a crispy bird’s nest of thin chickpea chips (around €3). Wood-fired bamboo shoots served with sliced ​​mango on a bamboo leaf are another hit (around €6). Three to four dishes are enough for two.

The restaurant is small, so prior reservation is strongly recommended. Walk-ins are recorded nightly, though you’ll need to show up when the restaurant opens to put your name on a list — and don’t expect to be given an exact mealtime.

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Drink the night away: Floreria Atlantico


Flora Atlantico. PA Photo/Sarah Marshall.

A florist by day, this lovely bar in Recoleta reveals its nocturnal alter ego when a secret door opens to reveal a basement speakeasy after dark.

Imaginative cocktails, which earned the bar a top 5 place in the list of the 50 best bars in the world, are inspired by the diverse cultural backgrounds of the immigrants who came to Buenos Aires in the 19th century.

Those who love Negronis will get their money’s worth; The Grandfather selection includes five variations, the fanciest of which is La Chofeta, made with Campari, muscatel, pine mushrooms and soil from the seaside resort of Cariló. None will cost you no more than about €5 each.

The upstairs bar is also open for drinks and food during the day, with chairs on a very pleasant sidewalk in one of the less trafficked parts of town.

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Accommodation: Soho Point Suites

Palermo Soho is undoubtedly the best place for an easy stroll to hip cafes, cool boutiques and some of the city’s trendiest restaurants. A co-working space with short-stay apartments, Soho Point Suites is right in the heart of the action; You can be home literally minutes after you’ve downed your last drop of Malbec and then spend the night daydreaming about fancy leather shoes and pretty dresses from local designers for sale in the shops next door.

A fridge and mini-kitchen come in handy for making breakfast at home – although with so many good bakeries and cafes on your doorstep, that really isn’t necessary. Friendly, young staff communicate with guests via WhatsApp and are happy to store luggage for early arrivals or late flights.

From €155 per night (4 people), Brilliant Buenos Aires – is this the cheapest city break in the world?

Fry Electronics Team

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