Weekend Getaway to Valparaiso, Chile.
Chile is a wildly diverse country with so much to offer its visitors. From the Atacama desert in the north, to the world class wineries surrounding Santiago, to the stunning Torres del Paine in the South, there are so many unique ways to enjoy the country. Santiago de Chile is a wonderful connecting point to South America, so why not spend a weekend getting to know Chile’s quirky and artistic Pacific port city – the picturesque Valparaiso.
Valparaiso – located just 75 miles from the city of Santiago – was once a thriving port city for ships passing to the Americas until the opening of the Panama Canal. Now, it’s Chile’s cultural hub, with seemingly endless alleyways and winding streets that climb into the hills, lined with murals and brightly colored houses that seem to teeter on the edge. Add to this, many excellent art galleries, amazing food and drinks, and unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean.
Getting There – Travel Guide to Valparaiso Chile
By Bus: Valparaiso is 75 miles from Santiago, just a 2-hour bus ride – so getting there by road is easy! Buses leave every 30 minutes from the Pajaritos terminal in Santiago. Look for the ‘Pullman’ or ‘Tur Bus’ – they charge the same rate and are extremely reliable.
By Private Transfer: We also organize private transfers by car from your hotel in Santiago to your hotel in Valparaiso. You can request a guide as well. On your way, stop by a winery in the Casablanca Valley and taste of some of Chile’s premier wines – a perfect start your weekend getaway.
Getting Around the city – Travel Guide to Valparaiso Chile
By Foot: Valparaiso is a smaller city, so it’s easily navigable by foot, but with its steep hills and winding roads, be prepared for a leg workout! Don’t forget to bring a map with you as well!
Funicular Railway: Do as the locals do and take one of the unique 26 funicular railway cars running vertically up the various hills. These may look like tourist rides, but they are actually used every day by locals to get around the city. These are extremely well maintained considering most were built in the late 1800s!
Metro to beaches and Viña del Mar: If you would like to spend an afternoon at the beach, Viña del Mar, a small city just north of Valparaiso, is your best option. To get there, simply take the metro bus, which links the two cities. The beach is just a short walk from the ‘Viña del Mar’ station.
Places to Stay – Travel Guide to Valparaiso Chile
Hotel Fauna: Located on Alegre Hill, Hotel Fauna is an excellent, modern 4* hotel with an emphasis on natural amenities. The interior is lined with timber recycled from buildings in the area gives the hotel a warm, comfortable feel. It also has an outdoor bar and a restaurant that offers some of the best views in the city. Hotel Fauna is close to the main highlights in Valparaiso and I highly recommend it.
Things to do – Travel Guide to Valparaiso Chile
Paseo Gervasoni: Located close to the Cerro Conception, the Paseo Gervasoni is the best place to see some of the street art murals of the city. Enjoy the art, with a walk along the Paseo, and stop in at a local café or art gallery along the way. Make sure to see the brightly colored houses teetering on the cliffs as you walk! There is street art everywhere in the hills of Valparaiso, you’ll constantly discover new and interesting Murals. This is easily the best part of the city!
Cerro Concepcion: The top of the main hill in Valparaiso provides the best view over the city to the Pacific. It is well worth seeing and easily accessible via the Funicular Concepcion. From here, you can access many of the other attractions in the hills of Valparaiso.
The Port Area: Explore the historic port area of Valparaiso at sea level to see the former glory and wealth of the city during its busy shipping days. There are a number of interesting historical buildings around here including the main square, often complemented with great stories.
The Beach in Viña del Mar: Relax in Viña del Mar and spend some time at beach. The water is chilly year-round, but I recommend spending an afternoon walking along the beach at the sunset, it is absolutely beautiful!
Places to Eat & Drink – Travel Guide to Valparaiso Chile
La Concepcion: Enjoy excellent Chilean and international cuisine complemented by some of the best views in the city from Cerro Concepcion. The seafood is fresh and delicious! They also have a great wine list with an extensive Chilean selection.
Empanadas Famosas: On the other end of the spectrum, enjoy some of Chile’s best-baked empanadas at Empanadas Famosas. With the decor that seemingly hasn’t changed since the early 1970s, it’s a hole in the wall with tantalizing homemade empanadas served with love!
Fauna Bar & Restaurant: The Fauna Bar & Restaurant is attached to the Fauna hotel, perched on the Alegre Hill with a beautiful outdoor balcony overlooking the city. The food is refined and is ideal for a special dinner or lunch. If you’re not after a special meal, I recommend having a local craft beer or cocktail in the afternoon sunshine.
Cerveceria Altamira: Visit the fantastic local craft beer brewery for wide variety of beers in a classy, modern setting. I suggest getting the ‘flight of four choices.’ From delicious wheat beers to nutty dark beers this is a welcoming reward after a day of exploring on foot!