With pretty hilltop districts, fascinating street art and craft beer, Valparaíso is one of Chile’s most idiosyncratic cities. Founded as a port in 1542, Valparaíso witnessed a trading boom in the 1800s and later attracted European entrepreneurs. Today, join artists, backpackers, dockworkers and poets enjoying the city’s characterful, gritty and shabby charm.
Gaze upon Valparaíso’s sweeping bay and natural amphitheater of more than 40 cerros (hills), where colorful houses cling precariously to cliffs. In 2002, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Start at the square, Plaza Victoria, a one-time bullring. Admire landmarks, including La Iglesia Catedral de Valparaíso and Biblioteca Santiago Severín. Learn about central Chile’s natural history at the Museo de Historia Natural.
Walk past decaying colonial-era mansions to Plaza Sotomayor. The statuesque Monumento a los Héroes de Iquique memorializes heroes of the 1879 War of the Pacific. Glimpse the city’s port life and cruise around the bay at Muelle Prat.
Ride historic funiculars up into the hills. Discover districts of labyrinthine streets, staircases and steep alleys. Visit the Naval and Maritime Museum and enjoy views from Paseo 21 de Mayo at Cerro Playa Ancha.
View the British- and German-influenced architecture of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción and gaze over the bay from Paseo Gervasoni.
La Sebastiana Museum on Cerro Bellavista is a former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Head downhill to explore the Open Air Museum of Valparaíso, a collection of 20 murals decorating outdoor walls.
Experience the sights and sounds of a lively fresh produce market at El Cardonal Market. Upstairs, visit restaurants serving fresh seafood and chorrillana, a local dish of potatoes topped with fried beef, onions and eggs. Enjoy your meal with a craft beer from one of the city’s brewpubs.
Located 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Santiago, Valparaíso is easy to reach via public buses. Combine your stay with a visit to Viña del Mar, a chic coastal resort a short metro ride away.