In the north-west corner of the country where the land rises to meet the Andes on the borders with Chile and Bolivia, Argentina’s highlands offer some of the most captivating landscapes in all of South America. Red-rock gorges and multi-coloured canyons lead up to desolate altiplano punctuated by dazzling salt-flats and white-washed colonial towns.
Capital of the region, Salta sits at the foot of the mountains at 1100m above sea-level and is an ideal base for exploring the landscapes. Founded in 1582, the city dubbed “Salta la Linda” ("Salta the beautiful") retains much of its colonial architecture and offers a wealth of historic attractions amidst excellent boutique hotels and restaurants. At its heart, the elegant Ninth of July Square is ringed by a graceful gallery punctuated by the city’s neoclassical Cathedral, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the original Cabildo town hall.
Yet the real beauty of Salta lies outside the city walls, best experienced on the famous “Train to the Clouds”, one of South America’s most spectacular rail journeys. Between April and November, visitors can enjoy a dizzying trip high into the red-rock canyons and gorges of Argentina’s north-west altiplano to reach the giddy height of 4220m above sea-level.