THREE DAYS IN THE MENDOZA WINE REGION (ARGENTINA)- WITH MAP!

The Mendoza wine region in central Argentina is one of the major wine regions of South America and the world.  Mendoza provides 70% of Argentina’s wine production.

The Mendoza region is dotted with pretty vineyards and rustic wineries. An ideal day in the Mendoza wine region is to winery-hop across the vineyards with one of the many Mendoza wine tours.

Architecture. Things to do in Mendoza Province
One on Mendoza’s stunning plazas
“Beer is made by men, wine by God.” ― Martin Luther Share on X

When Spanish colonizers introduced wine cultivation to the area for the first time in the mid-16th century, Mendoza began to produce its local wines.

Today it’s home to great wines. Mendoza’s wine business has thrived for generations, and today it is the center of Argentine wine production.

You will never run out of things to do in the town of Mendoza. Although the city thrives below the tourist radar, it is a hidden gem.

This scrappy, proud capital of Mendoza province doesn’t take a back seat to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, the country’s capital city. Mendoza city is a great place to visit.

Although most famous for the Mendoza wines, the city has a lot more going for it like perfect weather, and great restaurants.

I think the top three things to do in Mendoza are to visit its tree-shaded city center, experience its wine culture and enjoy its adventure travel options and outdoor activities. Here’s the ideal way to spend a perfect three days in Mendoza.

Where to Go and What to See in Mendoza, Argentina and the Mendoza Wine Region

Wandering Mendoza’s Plazas 

A plaza in the Mendoza wine region
Mendoza’s refreshing plazas

Much of Mendoza was reduced to rubble during the devastating earthquake of 1861 that killed 5000 people.

As the city rebuilt, it created five airy plazas in the city center designed to provide some safe open spaces in the event of another disaster. These have become cornerstones of the city, especially on the weekends.

At the biggest and most popular square, the Plaza Independencia, ice cream and yerba maté vendors sell their goods. Kids run around, and locals relax and congregate in little groups listening to the bands.

Wander from here to the other four plazas and you get a good sense of the city’s layout.

In Plaza San Martín, Mendoza’s Financial District, there is a statue of the General San Martin who led Argentina to independence.

Plaza Chile has the best children’s playground, like a little amusement park.

Plaza Italia is dedicated to the country that gave Mendoza so many immigrants. The plaza boasts a statue of Romulus and Remus and a fountain with 1,400 ceramic tiles from the Cathedral of Bologna.

Plaza España, with its green spaces, is arguably the most beautiful of all.

Start your Mendoza visit with a leisurely walk. A perfect morning or afternoon in Mendoza is to stroll through these plazas stopping for lunch or coffee at any of the numerous cafes on the popular pedestrian avenues.

Don’t miss the outstanding architecture and whimsical street art around every corner. Enjoying it is one of the best free things to do in Mendoza.

Street art in the Mendoza wine region
Mendoza Street Art

The Hathor Hotels Mendoza or the Urbana Class Hotel are both great places to stay near the city center. You can also try one of these home or apartment rentals if you want your stay to feel more like home.

Experience Mendoza’s Wine Culture 

bottles of wine in the Mendoza wine region
Wine bottles in a cellar

Argentina’s wine industry dates back over 500 years. Many visitors to Mendoza are wine lovers that travel there with the express purpose of visiting the Mendoza wineries outside the city and experiencing wine tastings.

“Wine enters through the mouth, Love, the eyes. I raise the glass to my mouth, I look at you, I sigh.” ― William Butler Yeats Share on X

Mendoza was awarded the 8th Wine City of the World in 2005 and its reputation continues to grow, especially with its flagship wine, Malbec. Today Argentina is the 5th largest wine producer in the world.

You might be surprised about the history of the famous Malbec wine. The name “Malbec” loosely translates into “poor taste” in French. It originated in France where it was considered a second-rate wine, hence the name.

Vines were brought over from France to Argentina and planted in a different environment. This environment just happened to be ideal for this particular grape.

The vines flourished in Mendoza’s vineyards into what is today one of the most popular wines, the Argentine Malbec.

Mendoza is famous for its quality of Malbec wines but Argentina’s wine country also produces other varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Torrontes. Mendoza is also famous for having the highest altitude vineyards in the world.

How to visit  the Mendoza Vineyards 

Of all of the things to do in Mendoza, visiting the wineries is probably the most popular. There are many ways to visit the wineries.

Among the most popular is to rent a car. This option will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace. But with 1500 wineries in Mendoza to choose from, you may want to maximize your visit with a guide.

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” ― Louis Pasteur Share on X

One guided tour option is a small group tour which includes lunch with wine pairings. Biking your way around the wineries has become increasingly popular.

Riding horses between Mendoza’s vineyards as part of a horseback riding winery tour has got to be one of the ultimate Argentina wine tour experiences.

As with any winery tour, your visit will involve sampling. You may want to take the hop-on-hop-off-bus that travels a loop through some of the best wineries.

This way you can sample to your heart’s delight without worrying about getting tipsy or driving back to your hotel with a buzz.

Accommodations in Mendoza are plentiful. Choose from cozy boutique hotels in the center of the city to homestays near vineyards. Check out where to stay in Mendoza.

Most of the wineries require reservations. Make sure to check with the wineries before you go to make sure you can visit the ones you want.

Malbec in the Mendoza wine region

The winery tours themselves are leisurely and educational. The guides explain the history of the vineyards. Did you know many vineyards have their own patron saint?  After a tour of the wine-making process, it’s on to the tastings.

These are reasonably priced selections all in beautiful surroundings. It’s the perfect way to enjoy three days in Mendoza.

The Wine Regions of Mendoza

grapes in the Mendoza wine region
Grapes ready for harvesting

At over 350,000 acres of vineyards, the region is a wine lover’s paradise. Three Mendoza wine regions are must-visit destinations; Lujan de Cuyo, UCO Valley and Maipu. Let’s explore each in more detail.

Lujan de Cuyo

This is the legendary land of Malbec. Half an hour south of Mendoza, Lujan is frequently referred to as the birthplace of Argentina’s culture and production. Lujan de Cuyo is recognized as one of the premier wine-growing regions in Argentina. It was here that the first AOC (Appellation d’origine Controle) for Malbec was instituted. This designation was instrumental in establishing Malbec on the worldwide wine stage.

Maipu

The Maipu region is synonymous with great wine.  There are also olive oil producers offering tastings. Maipu is also great for exploring wineries by bicycle because the wineries are closer together.

Argentina wine region map

UCO Valley

The Valle de UCO region is the newest in Mendoza and has been receiving much international acclaim.  It is known primarily for Malbec but also produces Merlot, Pinot Noir, Semillon and others.  This wine region has a high altitude. In fact, it is one of the highest in the world at about1,200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level.

The best time to visit Mendoza

wine cellar
Mendoza wine cellar

For wine enthusiasts, the Mendoza wine region offers an unforgettable vacation. The best time to travel there is from late February to early April when wines are in season.  Visitors can explore the picturesque Uco Valley during this time.

Enthusiasts can understand the area’s unique terroir by engaging in wine tastings and spending time in Mendoza’s dynamic metropolis. This will give the journey a new and different perspective. 

Traveling to the Mendoza wine area during the harvest season allows you to observe the grape-picking process and participate in events related to the harvest like local festivals.

High altitudes have cooler temperatures and longer growing seasons. Both of these features contribute to the extraordinary quality of the grapes grown there.

As a result, the wines produced there have outstanding levels of complexity and variety in the flavor characteristics.

The harvest season is without a doubt the ideal time to visit the Mendoza wine region. Whether a wine expert or not, visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery and unique cultural opportunities.

Adventure Tourism in Mendoza 

Rafting the Mendoza rivers

Tourism is growing in Mendoza’s wine region. With the wide variety of things to do in Mendoza, the city is successfully adding adventure tourism to its tourism offerings.

Of course, the best way to maximize your time in the area for epic wine tasting, adventure tourism and more is with Argentina escorted tours.

Activities include whitewater rafting, zip-lining, trekking, and horseback riding, locally known as “cabalgatas.”

Also available are tours to the surrounding spectacular Andes region including Aconcagua the highest peak in the Andes mountain range at 6,962 meters (22,841 feet).  There are many outfitters and tours specializing in adventure tourism.

Learn about the other great wine regions of the Americas.

Make sure to have your handy travel guides available when you visit Mendoza.

How would you spend three days in Mendoza? What are some of your favorite things to do in the Mendoza wine region? We’d like to know.

Mendoza argentina wine regions
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Talek Nantes

This blog was created to inspire your travels and to explore experiences in fascinating locations. What you will find are thoughts on how to immerse yourself in local culture, food, history and people. On your way to these adventures I hope to provide you with useful information to help you get there. Come see the world with me!

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