What to see in Chile
Tourist attractions Valparaiso
Rising out of the Pacific Ocean, Valparaiso is Chile’s most colourful city. Located just 120 kilometres northeast of Santiago, exuberant Valparaiso is a city of poets, artists and writers, who take inspiration from the cities ‘anything goes’ attitude. The ‘Jewel of the Pacific’ is also a major seaport.
With its hillside neighbourhoods, rainbow-coloured houses and cobblestone alleys, a holiday to Valparaiso is the chance to uncover Chilean culture at its most extroverted and romantic. Around every corner, you’ll find surprises in the shape of jovial street musicians or quirky street art.
Self-expressive is highly valued here, hence it has become a favourite destination amongst bohemian creatives and backpackers. The old centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a maze of narrow streets connected by dilapidated staircases. A number of hilltop viewpoints grant fabulous views of Valparaiso and the Pacific, whilst the faded elegance of the city’s colonial mansions hark back to the days of the city’s maritime power.
Furthermore, if you travel to Valparaiso you can enjoy an action-packed calendar of cultural events and festivals and explore the extensive range of galleries and museums. The nearby beaches of Vina del Mar and Concon are the place to be in the summer months, where locals gather to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.
Things to see in Valparaiso
If you visit Valparaiso, you’ll want to experience its rich creative heritage. One of the best things to see is the La Sebastiana Museo de Pablo Neruda, a hilltop house, perched upon Cerro Bellavista. If you love Chilean culture, you’ll already be a fan of the countries most famous poet, Pablo Neruda, and this museum was once his home and studio. Here you can admire the poet’s quirky taste in interior design, fabulous artwork gifted to Neruda by his famous friends and soul-stirring views across the harbour. The uphill climb is more than worth it to discover the private life of Chile’s most famous wordsmith.
Another converted home, Baburizza Palace is one of the best things to see in Valparaiso if you’re an art lover. Originally the property of the Zanelli family and crafted by Italian architecture, this historic mansion dates back to 1916. Later, the house came into the ownership of Pascal Baburizza, a Croatian businessman who earned his wealth in the saltpetre mining industry. Baburizza acquired many paintings during the course of his travels in Europe and when he died he left his entire collection to the city of Valparaiso. Today, it’s one of the most popular fine art galleries in the city.
Once you’ve done exploring the atmospheric streets of the old town, be sure to check out Valparaiso Cultural Park, situated on Cerro Carcel on the site of the former city prison. This cultural complex is home to visual arts spaces, a theatre and a large open green space. The creative hub of the city, it’s the best place to discover up-and-coming performers and view the creations of local artists.
Finally, owing to Valparaiso's importance as a seaport and extensive maritime history, it’s only fitting to visit the city’s Naval and Maritime Museum. Honouring both the city and the country’s naval heritage, here you can find a number of fascinating artefacts and interesting exhibitions to uncover the seafaring story of Chile.