Salta is called “The Pretty” and there is a good reason for it. In the Lerma Valley, surrounded by hills and about 4000 feet above sea level, the city of Salta is a good starting point for travelers who want to visit the tourist attractions of the province of Salta and of most of the Argentine Northwest region. The city was founded in 1582 and it has, in its old area, exquisite colonial architecture: its streets of narrow sidewalks still keep buildings as old as the Hispanic period, with white adobe walls, red tiles and patios with wells. Starting at any of the three Salta Hostels offered by Hostelling International in this city, you can walk around the old area to the Cabildo –historical town council-, the Cathedral, the 9 de Julio Square, the San Francisco Church, San Bernardo Convent, and San Martin Park. You can also travel on cable car to San Bernardo hill a natural balcony from where, after reaching the top in ten minutes, you will get some beautiful panoramic views of the city.
Both around the capital and in the rest of the province of Salta and the Northwest, you will find landscapes and towns that are captivating for their history, architecture, people or wines. Some visits you can’t miss include the historical San Lorenzo, a summer villa 10km from the city; La Caldera, 22 km and with architectural buildings from the beginnings of the XIX century; the irregular shapes formed by erosion in the stones of Quebrada de las Conchas; the multicolor rocky formations of the Calchaquies Valleys, with its adobe and straw houses; the city of Cafayate, and its famous Serenata (a Folklore celebration); Cachi and its characteristic architecture; Cabra Corral dam, rich in adventure tourism; El Rey National Park; the village of Iruya and its steep stone streets; San Antonio de los Cobres, in the heart of the Puna -high Andean plateau- and famous for being one of the stops of the Tren de las Nubes, or Train of the Clouds; and Rosario De La Frontera, well-known for its thermal waters. In the youth hostels of the city you will be given all the information you may need to go on these excursions.
The province of Salta also has its wine route, which marks its way around the Calchaquies Valleys, and mainly Cafayate, and has more and more prominence among the tourist excursions. Grapevine production was introduced in the area in 1556 by the Jesuits. The typical grape variety from Salta is the Torrontes, a variety brought from Spain, although Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Tannat, Bonarda, Syrah, Barbera and Tempranillo can also be found here.
Some of the landmarks of the province of Salta, which have an effect on the warmth of its hostels, are its Folk music shows, or peñas folcloricas, the unique taste of its empanadas, and a captivating mix of traditions, popular celebrations, myths, dances, art crafts and rituals typical both from the indigenous and the Spanish cultures. You cannot miss the homage to the Pachamama (the Mother Earth, in August), the celebrations to the Lord and the Miracle Virgin, the carnival feasts, and the gaucho culture, typical character of these lands best represented by Martin Miguel de Guemes, hero gaucho: every 17 June, different gaucho associations celebrate with parades and ceremonies at his monument.