Patagonia insider tips: Escaping the gray European winter is not a bad idea in itself. All the better if your journey then leads to Patagonia - to the dry steppes or pampas, the impressive mountain ranges of the southern Andes, the sparkling blue mountain lakes and icy glaciers. The legendary region at the southern tip of South America could hardly be more diverse.
Patagonia refers to the southernmost region in Argentina and Chile, which arouses an unbelievable fascination in active travelers and connoisseurs alike. Infinite expanses open up, countless experiences await peaks, in fjords and on the islands - but what is the best way to travel through them? My two-week itinerary is designed to help you savor Patagonia's diversity to the last drop!
Day 1 - 4: Adventure in the Patagonia Tierra del Fuego
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and an ideal starting point for exploring the Argentine part of the Tierra del Fuego region. In addition to the picturesque town itself, you can also explore the Tierra del Fuego National Park on the Chilean border.
Guided trekking tours with overnight stays in tent camps are ideal for enjoying breathtaking views of the Beagle Channel and observing one or the other wild animal. Hikes lead through mountain forests and raised bogs, over snow fields (even in midsummer) and glaciers.
Day 5-8: Cruise to the end of the world
After the hike back to Ushuaia, it's off to the high seas. Small cruise ships set off from here and follow in the footsteps of the world discoverer Magellan.
They daringly circumnavigate Cape Horn - “the end of the world”, before setting the course through the rugged island and fjord landscape towards Punta Arenas, Chile. The cruise offers the opportunity to see the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego - the Alberto de Agostini National Park - from the water.
My absolute highlights are the massive Aguila Glacier, the species-rich, damp, cold jungle and the numerous penguin colonies, for example on the island of Magdalena. After 4 days at sea, the ship reaches the city of Punta Arenas on the Chilean mainland.
Day 9: Through the land of loneliness
No adventure without an extensive road trip - some of the world's most beautiful roads lead through the mountains and steppes of Patagonia. Whether along Highway 40 - the 3,000 mile section of the Panamericana Highway in Argentina - or Route 9, the lonely road through the Chilean Andes, the often unpaved gravel roads are an experience in themselves.
From Punta Arenas head north to Torres del Paine National Park. The only town on the way is Puerto Natales, which many visitors use as a starting point for trekking tours in the national park.
Day 10-12: To the peaks of the Torres del Paine National Park
Trekking tours through the park pass fjords, glaciers and large lakes, as well as mountains up to 3,000m high.
The most famous landmarks are the Torres del Paine, 3 needle-like granite mountains (2,600 - 2,850m) in the middle of the national park. Much of the park is glaciated; The hike to the Gray Glacier on Lago Gray is particularly beautiful.
Accommodation options in the park range from simple tented camps to traditional hosterias (guest houses) to comfortable lodges.
Day 12-14: Into the eternal ice
The last stop of the 2-week Patagonia trip is El Calafate in the Los Glaciares National Park. The small town is located on Lake Argentino, the largest lake in Argentina, which is fed by several glaciers.
There are numerous possibilities for excursions, for example to one of the world's most dynamic and easily accessible glaciers, the Moreno Glacier. There is even the possibility to experience a tour with an overnight stay in the eternal ice!
Patagonia insider tips: Good to know:
The main season for travelers to Patagonia is November to February - ideal for following the summer. In October or March you have the region more to yourself, but some tour operators take a winter break or snow blocks the roads.
Patagonia is also an ideal travel destination with children. The Chileans and Argentines are extremely child-friendly, many accommodations are prepared for families and the food on offer is also something for the little ones.
The climate is usually not too extreme and where else can children learn about so many different natural spectacles at once?
Driving in Patagonia can quickly become an adventure - driving on unpaved gravel roads is uncharted territory for many.
With enough caution and appropriate speed, however, this should change quickly. It can be helpful to find out about the current condition of the nearby streets at petrol stations.