The best time to visit Argentinian Patagonia is during summer (December to February) when the weather is mild and hiking trails are accessible. In contrast, the best time to visit Buenos Aires is in autumn (March to May) and spring (September to November) when it's not too hot and busy. Autumn is also a stunning time of year in Patagonia and Mendoza when golden colours dominate the landscape. That being said, Argentina spans over 4000 kilometres from its subtropical north to its subpolar south, and the climate is as diverse as its landscapes.

If you want to do an Antarctica cruise from Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city, the season runs from November to March when temperatures rise and sea ice melts enough to enable access for cruise ships.

Argentina is a year-round destination. We've compiled a monthly guide to help you plan your trip.

January

Travelling watching Iguazu Falls in Argentina

Best for: outdoor adventures in Patagonia, hitting the beach, Iguazu Falls, and Antarctica cruises from Ushuaia

January is one of the warmest and driest months in Patagonia. There's also up to 18 hours of daylight, allowing you to squeeze every drop out of exploring the region's sublime scenery. Hit the trails in El Chaltén and Los Glaciares National Park, ride the white water rapids of the Lake District, or go horseback riding in the foothills of the Andes.

With good weather comes larger crowds, so be prepared for peak season prices and more people on the trails. Summer in Patagonia can also be notoriously windy, so a windproof jacket is a must.

January is hot and busy in Buenos Aires, so copy the locals and retreat to the beach at Mar del Plata or Pinamar. Or, go north to see Iguazu Falls at their most powerful thanks to heavy monsoonal rains — it's busy and hot, but the spray will cool you down.

February

Best for: exploring Patagonia, Gualeguaychú Carnival, harvest season in Mendoza, and Antarctica cruises from Ushuaia

Mild weather continues in Patagonia. It's still busy, but less so than in January as things quieten down after the holiday season. With hot, humid weather prevailing in the northern and central regions, many locals head to the beach at the weekend, making it an excellent month to explore the vibrant streets of Buenos Aires or score a good deal on accommodation.

However, the highlight of February is, of course, Carnival in the city of Gualeguaychu. Kicking off in January until the end of February, this is one of Argentina's most anticipated events with huge parades of sequin-clad performers shimmying alongside giant floats.

Late February also marks the beginning of the harvest festival in Mendoza, one of Argentina's most famous wine regions. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle, it's arguably the best time of year with pickers out in the vineyards and a palpable feeling of excitement in the air.

March

Two travellers and an Intrepid leader exploring narrow laneways in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Best for: smaller crowds in Patagonia, Mendoza Wine Festival, and Antarctica cruises from Ushuaia

There's a good vibe in Buenos Aires in March as locals are out soaking up the last of the warm weather before autumn sets in. It's a gorgeous month to trek in Patagonia as autumn colours start appearing in the national parks. Plus, there are more opportunities to spot wildlife and take photos thanks to fewer people around.

The harvest festivities are well underway in Mendoza, including the famous Mendoza Wine Festival — one of the biggest wine harvest celebrations in the world. As well as drinking world-class Malbec, the region pulsates with vibrant parades, concerts, tango performances and fireworks.

April

Best for: smaller crowds, golden foliage, and exploring Salta

With autumn in full swing, April is arguably one of the prettiest months. In Mendoza, vine leaves turn and transform the region into a patchwork of copper and gold, while in Bariloche and the Lake District in Patagonia, the deciduous trees provide a picture-perfect backdrop for hiking and photography.

April is also the last month to trek in Patagonia before the cold weather arrives and makes many areas inaccessible. Wildlife viewing opportunities are also good thanks to waning crowds. The weather throughout the rest of the country is generally pleasant, so it's a good time to explore Buenos Aires and other big cities on foot.

If Easter falls in April, ensure you book accommodation and transport in advance as it's a popular time for domestic travel.

May

Best for: cooler weather, smaller crowds, and Iguazu Falls

May offers a winning mix of good weather and smaller crowds. While most of Patagonia is shut down for trekking in May, the humidity in the subtropical regions eases, making it a great time to explore Iguazu Falls and nearby walking trails. The water levels are still high from the summer rains, but you'll get to enjoy the cascades with fewer spectators.

May is an ideal time to visit Mendoza as the days are warm, nights are cool (read: perfect for a glass of Malbec), and the chaos of harvest season settles.

June

A local man playing the accordion in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Best for: snow sports, whale watching, and Fiesta de la Noche Más Larga

June marks the start of winter. The trekking season wraps up in Patagonia, but you can swap your hiking poles for ski poles as early as mid-June depending on snowfall. Popular ski resorts in Argentinian Patagonia include Catedral Alta Patagonia, Cerro Castor and Cerro Chapelco.

If you're not into winter sports, head north to Salta to marvel at the colours of Quebrada de Humahuaca and discover its well-preserved 16th-century architecture. Or visit Península Valdés to spot southern right whales and orcas off the coast.

There isn't much going on in Ushuaia in the winter, but if you fancy experiencing a unique festival in the world's southernmost city, you could visit for Fiesta de la Noche Más Larga — a 10-day festival to celebrate the winter solstice (the longest night of the year).

July

Best for: snow sports, exploring Buenos Aires, and whale watching

With abundant snowfall, Patagonia's skiing and snowboarding season peaks in July. In Buenos Aires, the weather is dry and cool (but not cold enough for snow), which is perfect for visiting the city's many museums, indulging in steak and getting cosy with a Malbec in a quirky bar. It's also the low season, so you'll have more opportunities to get to know the locals.

If you like wildlife, you could also head north to the wetlands in Parque Nacional Iberá where minimal crowds make it easier to spot animals. Whale watching is also well underway along the Peninsula Valdés.

August

Best for: snowsports in Patagonia, Buenos Aires Tango Festival, and whale watching

August is one of the best months to hit the slopes in Patagonia. The central regions offer a milder climate with minimal rain, while the north is hot and dry. Iguazu Falls may not be as powerful due to the dry weather, but it's just as spectacular and there'll be fewer people to share the views with.

August is a good option to dodge the crowds and enjoy low season prices in Buenos Aires. The city also hosts the annual Tango Festival and Championships in late August, which is a fantastic opportunity to watch some of the country's best tango dancers and musicians.

September

A colony of seals laying on rocks in Argentina

Best for: whale watching, hiking in the northwest, and smaller crowds

Spring arrives in September, bringing warmer temperatures and more daylight hours. The weather is ideal for hiking in the northwestern regions like Salta which can be oppressively hot during summer.

In Buenos Aires, there's a positive energy in the air as locals come out of winter hibernation. As a low month for tourism, queues at all the top attractions are also small.

September is one of the best months for whale watching along the Peninsula Valdes and sightings are almost guaranteed.

October

Best for: wildflowers, trekking in Patagonia, the Iberá Wetlands, and Oktoberfest

October is a shoulder month and offers a good balance of warmer weather and smaller crowds. Some parts of Patagonia may still be blanketed in snow, but many areas are accessible again and lodges open their doors to trekkers. Peak season crowds have yet to arrive, so you won't see too many people on the trails. Keep your camera handy, as wildflowers create a stunning sight in the Lake District and Bariloche.

October is also one of the best times to see wildlife in Iberá Wetlands, especially colourful migratory birds.

Oktoberfest is the highlight of this month's festival calendar. While Argentina is known for its wine, over 3 million Argentinians are of German descent, so there's a widespread appreciation of beer and lively Oktoberfest celebrations across the country.

November

Best for: avoiding peak season crowds, trekking in Patagonia, jacaranda trees, and Antarctica cruises from Ushuaia

Temperatures rise in November, but it's not too hot. Most facilities re-open in Patagonia after the winter freeze, and you'll dodge the peak season crowds that start arriving in December. The Antarctica season also starts back up, with opportunities to see incredible ice formations before the summer sun melts them.

Buenos Aires is pretty all year, but it's extra special in early November when jacaranda trees blossom and add patches of purple to the city streets. If you want to explore Salta before sizzling temps take hold, November is the last month to do so.

December

A group of travellers hiking in Patagonia, Argentina

Best for: Iguazu Falls, outdoor adventures in Patagonia, and Antarctica cruises from Ushuaia

The summer begins in December. It's one of the best months to visit Patagonia as milder, drier weather lends itself to outdoor adventuring. Just note that December is also the start of Patagonia's peak season, so booking accommodation in advance is recommended.

Domestic tourism peaks in December as many locals travel for the festive season, so expect particularly busy scenes at the beaches south of Buenos Aires.

Up north in the tropics, December marks the start of the heavy monsoon rains, but as long as you don't mind getting a bit wet, you'll be treated to (even more) dramatic scenes at Iguazu Falls.

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