The Lakes District
Chile & Argentina
Orsono Volcano, Chile
Coloured houses on stilts in Castro, Chiloe Island, Chile
Llao Llao Hotel in the Lakes District near Bariloche, Argentina
Pier on Lake Llanquihue, Frutillar, Chile
Lakeside house in Bariloche, Argentina
Cathedral in Bariloche, Argentina

Love South America but long for Europe? Get thee to Bariloche where green valleys, rushing rivers and wooden chalets perched on snow-capped mountains will deftly transport you.


The Lakes District

Think Switzerland, but with volcanoes, Spanish-speaking, and about twice the size, and you have the Lakes District. The region spans across the Andes from Chile to Argentina and is an undulating patchwork of lakes and rivers, valleys and mountains in a composition of greens spanning the entire Pantone colour chart from ultramarine to sage to celadon. 

On the Argentine side, the resort town of Bariloche is dotted with wooden chalets in an alpine setting and offers luxurious lodging that makes lolling about, gazing at the stunning views, a requisite pastime. Once you do struggle to your feet, the outdoor options are endless – lake cruises, forest walks, fly fishing – and whatever you do you’ll be rewarded with phenomenal vistas, few people and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the whole of Argentina. Alpine fresh? You got it!

The 340km stretch of Chile’s Lakes District is a lush green expanse of thick forests, mighty volcanoes, rich farmland and, unsurprisingly, lakes aplenty. There is a distinct Germanic quality to this region owing to its history of Swiss, Austrian and German settlement. The influence is particularly visible in the architecture and the food, especially around stunning Lago Llanquihue. Picturesque Puerto Varas makes an excellent base to explore the lake area, and the looming snowcapped volcanoes of Osorno and Calbuco ensure your view is consistently picture perfect.

There is no shortage of adventure activities in this region, but with luxurious lodgings such as Hotel Antumal – with its classic ’50s Bauhaus design that Wallpaper* magazine declared 'retro chic' – we think snuggling up by your chalet’s log fire and gazing across the lake with a glass of spicy Carmenere is adventure enough.

Suggested Lakes District itineraries