The city of Salta was founded in 1582 and still has a distinct Hispanic character with its colonial houses and churches surrounded by hills. An attractive place for a luxury holiday in its own right, with several delightful boutique hotels, appealing bars and restaurants around its main square, and panoramic views from Saint Bernard Hill, it is also the base for explorations into the surrounding area. Northwards lies the Humahuaca Gorge and the pretty village of Purmamarca, with its famous Hills of Seven Colours.
Several hours' drive south of Salta through spectacular gorges and valleys is the town of Cafayate, located in an area renowned for its wine production. Claiming to be some of the highest vineyards in the world, at over 6,000ft above seal level, the wineries benefit from strong sunshine and big differences in day and night temperatures, producing outstanding results which you must sample while there, although the majority is produced for export.
En-route between Salta and Cafayate, you will pass through spectacular Andean scenery such as the Quebrada (gorge) de Las Conchas, with colourful and unusual sandstone rock formations; part desert, part lunar.