Salta (map) is the capital of the province of Salta, up in the mountains in northern Argentina. Salta is typically visited as a launching point for the nature and small towns in the region, but has its own charms and sights worth seeing too.
The city centre features a number of buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries. Clockwise around the Ninth of July Square (map) are the neoclassical Cathedral Shrine (map), the French style Museum of Contemporary Art (map), the Cabildo (in former times, the city’s town hall, nowadays a historical museum, map) and the neoclassical Museum of High Mountain Archaeology (map), which houses artifacts from the Inca civilization, including the mummies of three Inca children. The Plaza is almost completely surrounded by a gallery.
Cerro San Bernardo (San Bernardo Hill, map), hill just east of the city centre (258m above the city). From Parque San Martin (map), a cable car goes to the summit, offering spectacular views of the city and its surroundings (AR$500 per person return, AR$250 one way; prices as of January 2020). Alternatively you can walk up, taking the 1,070 steps leaving from the statue of Güemes a little bit north of the cable car station.
Tren a las Nubes, Train to the clouds (map). As the name tells, it is a day trip by train up in the mountains to La Povorilla at 4220 m over the sea level. Runs from April to November, two times a week (Wednesday and Saturday) with extra services during the high season (Easter & winter holiday). The dining car on the train and the bar car are a bit expensive but you are allowed to bring your own food. A breakfast and afternoon snack is included. Coca leaf tea helps prevent altitude sickness and coca leaves are provided by the train staff.
Balcarce Arts and Crafts Fair. Each Sunday the main nightclubbing street, Balcarce (map), is closed to traffic all day for a very good arts and crafts fair featuring the work of local artists and craftsmen of all types.
One of the main activities in Salta is the April Culture Festival (welcomeargentina.com), which lasts the entire month and offers a wide variety of activities such as cultural performances, a handcraft exposition, and live orchestral performances.
San Lorenzo (map). This is a charming town approx 20 minutes outside Salta. It has lots of accommodation, restaurants and its own attractions.