The cities in Chile are worth seeing. Once arrived in the capital, Santiago, continue your stay in the beautiful Valparaiso (the Paradise Valley, just that!) just hundred kilometers away. It is the second largest city in Chile, and its charm has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage designation. Come and discover the pearl of the Pacific and its essential port for sailors who use the Strait of Magellan. Visit Valparaiso.
What to do in Valparaiso ?
1. Cerros Concepción and Alegre
These are two neighborhoods highly appreciated by visitors. There are small colorful houses that can be seen on postcards, labyrinths of alleyways with a lively atmosphere, flowers, and shops. These are certainly very touristy neighborhoods, but for good reasons.
In these cerros you will find great viewpoints, Paseo Atkinson, and the Museum of Fine Arts, called Baburizza. Opposite, the Palacio Astoreca is also worth a look for its flamboyant and very original architecture.
To access the most interesting places of these hills, don’t hesitate to take the funiculars, also called elevators. And to soak up the city’s exhilarating atmosphere, wander around the labyrinth of streets, simply by having a good time.
2. Pablo Neruda’s home: la Sebastiana
Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet, but also a diplomat and a great traveler. His career and his literary works have marked his country.
La Sebastiana is a haven of peace in the heart of the city, where tranquility and beauty reign. The view of Valparaiso is breathtaking from all the floors of the house. You will discover the work of the poet, and the important stages of his life in a very cute setting, with the help of an audioguide. If you do not know the writings of Pablo Neruda yet, this may be an opportunity for you to leaf through now.
3. The Church of La Matriz
It is a national monument of Chile and a must when you visit Valparaiso. Recognizable by its white walls and high tower, since the 16th century, a religious building occupied this place, but over time, it has evolved a lot.
Rich families have contributed to its construction, but many looters and natural disasters have repeatedly destroyed the church. However, the inhabitants have persevered, and despite all its vicissitudes, the church of La Matriz is still there, proudly erected. Its architecture is quite original, since it has been influenced by various currents over the reconstructions.
4. La Plaza Sotomayor
It is an emblematic place of Valparaiso. It is dedicated to the Chilean sailors who lost their lives during bloody naval battles. In the center of the square, there is a war memorial. Around the Plaza are colorful buildings with typical colonial architecture which give a particular character.
During your visit Valparaiso, it’s perfect for a coffee break, before heading back to explore the city center. Moreover, just a hundred meters further, you will discover another great place: Plaza Echaurren. It is built around a fountain, and has many small shops. Both have very different styles, but are just as beautiful.
5. El Mercurio de Valparaiso
It is the head quarter of a historical newspaper created in the 19th century, ancestor of the paper press throughout South America. The building has a much sought-after neoclassical style, with many facade ornaments and an imposing tower. It is one of the most photographed of the city.
6. The Port
It is far from being the most beautiful port in the world, but it still has a certain charm with its colorful containers. Since the creation of the Panama Canal, its activity has dropped drastically. But at the time, the port of Valparaiso was an obligatory passage for the boats that counted to join the Atlantic by the strait of Magellan. So it was a good time, during which the whole city was influenced by the many sailors who are refueling here and trading. Today, it is possible to cruise the bay and observe the city from sea level.