A boisterous modern city and bracing rural hinterland attract thousands each year to the central province of Córdoba. Neat, tidy towns with majestic Jesuit ruins contrast with vast agricultural flatlands of rusting cereal silos and wind-battered billboards or the rolling green hills of the Punilla Valley. Villa Carlos Paz is a well-polished tourist trap with slick resorts offering watersports and golf. In La Cumbre, you can stay on a luxury estancia and partake in first-class hiking, horseback riding, and paragliding.

The industrious Jesuits made Córdoba their South American headquarters in colonial times. Their legacy is still reflected in a famous university tradition and a busy, prolific province that produces everything from soybeans and cars to the country's best graduates.

Córdobeses are Argentina's best-loved citizens, noted for their lilting accents and sharp sense of humor. They also have a talent for partying, with some notable get-togethers such as Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano and a famous traditional music festival in Cosquín every January.