Set around a 17th-century Jesuit reservoir, Alta Gracia is a tranquil little mountain town of winding streets and shady parks. The star attraction here is the 17th-century Jesuit estancia, whose exquisite church, nighttime lighting and lovely location between a tiny reservoir and the central plaza make it one of the most impressive of Córdoba province’s World Heritage sites.
The pace of life slows waaaay down in this alpine-styled village, nestled in the forest in the Valle de Calamuchita. The tranquility is largely thanks to the town’s pedestrian-only policy. It’s a great place to kick back for a few days and wander the forest trails leading to swimming holes, waterfalls and scenic lookouts.
Villa General Belgrano
More a cultural oddity than a full-blown tourist attraction, Villa General Belgrano flaunts its origins as a settlement of unrepatriated survivors from the German battleship Graf Spee, which sank near Montevideo during WWII. The annual Oktoberfest held during the first two weeks of October draws beer lovers from all over the world.
Really jumping in summertime, Mina Clavero pretty much empties out for the rest of the year, leaving visitors to explore the limpid streams, rocky waterfalls, numerous swimming holes and idyllic mountain landscapes at their own pace. Mina Clavero is 170km southwest of Córdoba via RN 20, the splendid Nuevo Camino de las Altas Cumbres (Highway of the High Peaks).
A woodsy resort town, La Falda is busier than its Central Sierra neighbors and not quite as interesting. It’s worth a day or two of your time, though, for walks in the hills and around the grounds of the defunct Hotel Eden. La Falda’s main plaza is a charming, tranquil affair, all the more so for being removed from the main drag.
Cosquín is known throughout the country for its Festival Nacional del Folklore, a nine-day national folk-music festival that's been held in the last week of January since 1961. The town gets packed for the festival, stays busy all summer and goes pleasantly dead the rest of the year.
Estancia Santa Catalina
One of the most beautiful of the Sierra’s Unesco World Heritage sites, the Jesuit estancia (ranch) of Santa Catalina, some 20km northwest of Jesús María, is a quiet, tiny place, where the village store occupies part of the estancia, and old-timers sit on the benches outside and watch the occasional gaucho ride past on a horse.
Parque Nacional Quebrada del Condorito
This national park protects 370 sq km of stunning rocky grasslands across the Pampa de Achala in the Sierras Grandes. The area, particularly the quebrada (gorge) itself, is an important condor nesting site and flight training ground for fledgling condors.