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8. Tierra del Fuego: Maybe it is the austral light, or just knowing that the next step south is Antarctica. Whatever it is, this trove of mystical islands, cut off from the northern world by the Straight of Magellan, is indescribably magical. A storied past of shipwrecks, failed religious missions and indigenous extinction contributes to the powerful mystique of this end-of-the-earth location. Travellers flock here to glimpse the furthest reaches of the continent, and ah - what a view it is! The barren northern plains of Tierra del Fuego give way to peat bogs and moss-draped lenga forests that rise into ragged snowy mountains.

9. Córdoba: In 2006 Córdoba was awarded the hefty title of Cultural Capital of the Americas, and it fits the city like a glove. Four excellent municipal galleries - dedicated to emerging, contemporary, classical and fine art respectively - are within easy walking distance of each other and the city centre. The alternative film scene is alive and kicking. Young designers and artisans strut their stuff at a weekend crafts market that sprawls for blocks and is one of the best in the country. And if all this action is too much for you, quaint little mountain villages are a short bus ride away.

10.  Beef: Whether you are dining on prime cuts in a swanky Buenos Aires parrilla or digging into a sizzling tabletop grill of chewy, flavourful, close-to-the-bone cuts in a family-style eatery, you are bound to get your fill of Argentina's most famous food. Here is a guide to some prime cuts:

  • bife de chorizo - sirloin; a thick, juicy and popular cut
  • bife de costilla - T-bone; a cut close to the bone; also called chuleta
  • bife de lomo - tenderloin; a thinly cut, more tender piece
  • cuadril - rump steak; often a thin cut
  • ojo de bife - ribeye; a choice smaller morsel
  • tira de asado - shortribs; thin strips of ribs and meat sliced crosswise
  • vacío - flank steak; textured and chewy, but very tasty

 

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© 2010 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Top 10 Argentina for first-timers’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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