Things to do in Mar del Plata Argentina

Mar del Plata Argentina

Mar del Plata, a city in the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, is a symbol of the country’s economic and social progress in the 20th century. This spectacular city, commonly nicknamed La Feliz, combines a fishing tradition, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and some of the best beaches in Argentina with surprising modern architecture. Read on to discover the best places to see and things to do in Mar del Plata.

Places to see in Mar del Plata

1. Playa Varese

Also known as Varese Bay, this beach is one of the most beautiful and frequented in Mar del Plata. It is located near one of the city’s most iconic monuments: the Torreón del Monje. This pleasant beach is located in an artificial bay formed by two stone breakwaters that control its waves. Most visitors to Playa Varese are families and sportsmen who make the most of its safe waters to practice water sports. There are tents and parasols available for rent, as well as two shops on the beach where you can buy food and drink.

2. Port of Mar del Plata

In the port city of Mar del Plata, you have to visit the main engine of its economy: the fishing port. Here you can find several attractions for tourists, such as the ship’s cemetery and the fishermen’s bench, with the classic wooden boats that give the place its character. In the afternoon, when the fishermen return with the catch of the day, we recommend going to the port to watch how tourists and locals come to buy the best fresh fish. Why not try it yourself? On your walk around the port you can also see a group of sea lions that rest near the fishermen all year round.

Port of Mar del Plata argentina
Port of Mar del Plata Argentina @Unsplash

3. Punta Mogotes

In the south of the city of Malplatense lies Punta Mogotes, a coastal complex made up of no less than 24 beaches. Along its more than 4 kilometres of coastline you can find all kinds of services for bathers: tents, sports facilities, bars and restaurants, swimming pools, etc… It also has a protected area, the Lagunas de Punta Mogotes, which, as its name suggests, is a group of beautiful natural lagoons that form one of the richest aquifers in the country. At the southern end of the complex there is also a beautiful red and white lighthouse built in 1891 that you must not miss.

4. Mar del Plata Cathedral: Basilica of Saints Peter and Cecilia

This dazzling neo-gothic style cathedral is one of the most common postcards of Mar del Plata. It was built at the end of the 19th century and is located in the Plaza San Marín, right in the centre of the city. Its tall central tower has a clock and its stained glass windows brought from France are impressive. It is free to visit and masses are held every day.

Mar del Plata cathedral Argentina
Mar del Plata Cathedral @rohradkex

5. Torre Tanque, the best views of Mar del Plata

At the highest point of the beautiful residential neighbourhood of Stella Maris stands an imposing tower. At 88 metres tall it overlooks the entire city. This is the Torre Tanque, a Gothic-style building that has been declared a National Historic Architectural Monument. It has a hydraulic pump that has been supplying water to the city since its opening as part of the Obras Sanitarias de Mar del Plata system. It has a free guided tour and you can go up to its viewpoint, which is 74 metres high, to see the best panoramic view of the city.

Opening times:

  • Mon – Fri: 8:00 – 16:45 (please contact for a guided tour).
  • Sat – Sun : 14:0 – 18:00 (guided tours; 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00).

6. Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Museum of Art

As interesting for its architecture as for its content, the Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Museum of Art is one of the essential stops to make in Mar del Plata. It is a former summer residence and one of the last vestiges of the Argentinean picturesque style that adorns the Avenida Colón in the Loma de Stella Maris. Its architecture, inspired by the châteaux of the Loire, is made up of different volumes and exposed wooden beams.

Inside there is a permanent exhibition on the customs of the first holidaymakers who came to Mar del Plata, as well as a general exhibition with works by Argentinean artists such as Castagnino, Berni and Soldi among others. Free admission.

Opening times:

Mon – Wed: Closed

Thurs – Sun: 11:00 – 17:00

Museo Municipal de Arte Juan Carlos Castagnino, @rohradkex

7. Victoria Ocampo Cultural Centre

The residence of the writer Victoria Ocampo is now a cultural centre and one of the most visited places in Mar del Plata. It is interesting not only for its early 20th century picturesque architecture, with yellow walls, white beams and a striking red roof, but also for its cultural programme. In the Victoria Ocampo Cultural Centre you can see the writer’s original furniture, photography exhibitions and other types of art, and attend events such as book presentations and concerts.

8. Torreón del Monje

This place is, without a doubt, one of the icons of Mar del Plata. It is a Gothic-inspired building built in 1904 and which, over the decades, has undergone several remodelling works that have turned it into the symbol of the city that it is today. Its impressive medieval-style architecture and its viewpoint overlooking the sea make the Torreón del Monje one of the most visited and photographed places in Mar del Plata. Although it has had many uses, it is currently dedicated to tourist visits and has cafeteria-restaurant. Entrance is free, so don’t hesitate to go inside and be seduced by its architecture and its impressive views of the sea.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 8:00-19:00

9. Casa Puente Museum

The Casa Puente, also known as Casa sobre el Arroyo, is one of the most striking buildings in Mar del Plata. It was designed in 1943 by Amancio Williams and Delfina Gálvez Bunge, as its name suggests, over the Las Chacras stream. Its modern style and originality have made it ofPatrimonial, Cultural and Natural Interest of the Municipality of General Pueyrredón, as well as a National Historical and Artistic Monument, and part of the Cultural, Historical, Architectural and Environmental Heritage of the Province of Buenos Aires. An informative talk is offered from Monday to Saturday at 11.30 am.

Although it is currently closed temporarily, these are its usual opening hours:

Mon – Sat: 11am – 4pm

Sun: 1pm – 4pm

10. MAR Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art of the Province of Buenos Aires

In the north of the city stands this modern building that is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Province of Buenos Aires. On the outside you will be greeted by an enormous sculpture by the Argentinean artist Marta Minujin. The piece consists of a huge golden figure of a sea lion, covered with Havanna alfajores, a typical local sweet.

As is often the case in Mar del Plata, visits to the museum are free of charge. The MAR has recently reopened after the health restrictions with the following opening hours:

Visits by appointment Mon – Thurs: 10:00-16:00.

Free entrance from Fri – Sun: 13:00-19:00.

11. Laguna de los Padres

This beautiful lagoon in the Sierra de los Padres, just 12 kilometres from the centre of Mar del Plata, is another of the major tourist attractions on the outskirts of the city. In this stunning natural setting you can enjoy outdoor activities such as picnics, walks and horse riding allowing you to connect with nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also, in good weather it is very common to go kayaking or windsurfing.

Things to do in Mar del Plata in 4 days?

Day 1: Visit the centre of Mar del Plata

  • Torre Tanque
  • Torreón del Monje
  • Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Cecilia
  • Juan Carlos Castagnino Municipal Museum of Art
  • Playa Bristol at sunset

Day 2: Enjoy the beach

  • Spend the morning at Playa Varese
  • Port of Mar del Plata
  • Sea lion reserve
  • Dinner at the Port Shopping Centre

Day 3:

  • Go to Laguna de los Padres

Where to stay in Mar del Plata?

  • Hotel Riviera: A three star hotel in the centre of town, close to numerous bars, restaurants and shops and only 250 metres from the beach. Average price per night in high season: 90€ including breakfast.
  • Gran Hotel Panamericano: This three-star hotel is located 8 blocks from the beach and the Mar del Plata Casino. It has a very good American breakfast included. Average price in high season: 70€ per night.
  • Ribera Sur Hotel Mar del Plata: The Ribera Sur is another three star hotel, a bit further from the centre. It is located in La Perla, 400 metres from the beach and 2 kilometres from the Casino. Average price per night in high season: 62€ including breakfast.

Where to eat in Mar del Plata?

  • Centro Comercial del Puerto: Near the port you will find this market where freshly caught fish is sold. So, if one day you feel like eating fish or seafood, we recommend visiting any of the restaurants and bars located in the shopping centre. Price: Starters for 2-4€.
  • Parrilla Perales: a historic restaurant where you can try authentic Argentinean food. If you come here, we recommend trying their typical dish: roast suckling pig. Price: menus with drink and dessert for 6€.
  • Sarasanegro: Its delicious seafood dishes, excellent service and a well-kept environment make Sarasanegro the best signature restaurant in Mar de Plata. Evening only. Price: Starters for 2.70€.

Tips for your trip to Mar del Plata

  • Change your money into Argentine pesos beforehand. Currency exchanges at airports are very expensive.
  • Always carry cash. Not all shops accept card payments.
  • Have the address of the place where you will be staying written down, they will ask for it at the airport.
  • Be careful with your personal belongings in tourist areas.
  • Travel in low season (July and August) if you want to get cheaper prices.
  • Travel in January, February and December for better temperatures.
  • Take out insurance before you travel to Argentina, as private health care costs are very high.
  • Plugs in Argentina have three flat pins, so you’ll need an adaptor to use electrical appliances. 
Mar del Plata Argentina
Things to do in Mar del Plata, Argentina @Unsplash

How to organise your trip to Mar del Plata?

  • Get inspiration from the experiences of other travellers.
  • Create your own itinerary and add the app’s suggestions to it.
  • Add the spots you are most interested in, as well as the restaurants and bars where you want to eat (you can use the points of interest listed in this post as a reference).
  • Organise your itinerary by days and according to their location (you can take inspiration from the routes presented in the post).
  • Check the travel budget that the app calculates for you based on your travel stops, restaurants, and leisure activities.
  • Make the necessary modifications and you are ready for your trip.
  • Finally, share your experience. Upload photos of each of the places you have visited to the app so you can inspire other users.

If you have any doubts about how to plan your itinerary, you can read our post: How to create your travel itinerary with Passporter.

Frequently asked questions about Mar del Plata

How to get to Mar del Plata from Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata are 411.5 km apart by road. There are several ways to get from one city to the other:
-Plane: 2h 33m (43-80€)
-Car: 4h 25m (35-55€)
-Bus: 5h 15m (2-26€)
-Train: 5h 41m (€4-8)

What to do in Mar del Plata in winter?

Although Mar de Plata is mainly a summer destination due to its huge number of beaches, it has many attractions to enjoy in winter:
-Torre Tanque
-Torreón del Monje (Monk’s Tower)
– Cathedral Basilica of Saints Pedro and Cecilia
– Municipal Museum of Art Juan Carlos Castagnino

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