A few kilometres away from the Chilean capital, visitors from all around the world can discover the cold sea of Viña and the colourful streets of Valparaíso: be amazed by their lovely attractions and stroll through those two peaceful port cities. Follow our recommendations and enjoy a day trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso from Santiago.
Imagine a city where most of the walls are painted in a colourful manner. Apart from being known for the slopes of its hills and its design, Valparaíso is also called the Chilean capital of graffiti. During your visit to the city, go for a walk in the neighbourhood of Cerro Alegre: this is one of the best ways to discover the murals of the city and to revel in the Chilean street art.
The charm of Valparaíso is recognised worldwide and as you discover its lovely streets you will understand why: as a matter of fact, the city was declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 2003. The city has many viewpoints visitors can enjoy and ancient lifts still in function nowadays can take them there – they were built in the late XIXth century to transport the locals because of the slope of the hills: nobody then imagined that it would one day become a touristic activity. Most of them still work and you cannot go to Valparaíso without trying them at least once!
Before the construction of the Panama Canal, the port was one of the most important of the region but afterwards, Valparaíso began to lose its international importance. However, the port is still the most active of the country as tens of cruise ships still dock there every month.
The day trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso is the perfect occasion to visit the house of Pablo Neruda: La Sebastiana. The Chilean poet lived in this house high above the ground with sight of the sea for many years: this is where he found the tranquillity to write some of his poems. You can visit the house of Neruda in Valparaíso from Tuesday to Sunday.
Visiting Viña del Mar
Since there are only a few kilometres between the two cities, if you choose to discover one of them you generally end up visiting both on the same day. The travel agencies usually offer round-trip travels from Santiago and include both cities in their itinerary.
Viña is smaller and more modern than its neighbouring city. This is one of the favourite places of the Chileans during summer and one of the most famous port cities in the country. Tourists can enjoy 11 beaches in Viña del Mar: the most famous is the Reñaca Beach.
Viña stands up to its nickname: the Garden City. The greenness of the city can be seen from the shore and its colourful vegetation will make you fall in love with its streets. You will be delighted to walk in the city as you discover the glass buildings and ancient castles: a stroll in the avenues of Viña del Mar is a real pleasure.
Wulff Castle is one of the most famous buildings of the city. The castle, considered a historical monument, was built to be the house of a German tradesman, Gustavo Wulff, and now this an artistic site where photo, sculpture and painting expositions are organised.
During your day trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, you should also visit the Casino Municipal de Viña del Mar where you will find the Hotel del Mar, the first 5-star hotel in the city. With its pergolas and great staircases, this is rather hard to miss this huge white building, part of the architectural heritage of the city.
If your day trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso is in February, you should make the most of your trip to Chile by going to the International Song Festival of Viña del Mar, one of the most famous festivals of Latin America. The event usually takes place in the amphitheatre Quinta Vergara.
Two other attractions are worth a visit: the Flower Clock, a present from Switzerland for the Football World Cup celebrated in Chile in 1962 and a must-see attraction for every visitor. The other one is the stone statue, one of the famous Moai of Easter Island. It travelled more than 3 thousand kilometres to get there. In 1951, the Archeological Museum Fonk managed to bring this original moai that can now be seen in their garden: if you are into the Rapa Nui culture, this is definitely worth a visit!
Santiago – Valparaíso – 115 km
Santiago – Viña del Mar – 118 km
Viña del Mar – Valparaíso – 8 km
Did you know…
The sea that bathes Viña del Mar is the Pacific Ocean, therefore the temperature of the water is always a little cold.
The Chilean Congress is located in Valpo – as the Chileans affectionately call Valparaíso.
You can go to Valparaíso from Viña del Mar using the above-ground tube. The two cities are only 8 km apart.
If you wish to discover all those attractions with an expert guide that will tell you every story and anecdote of the local culture, you can book a guided day trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso
Lucila Runnacles, journalist and author of the Viagem Cult blog / Translated to English by Grégory Noël