Visit Chile’s Garden City, which has beautiful parks, colonial architecture, surfing beaches and a famous music festival featuring international artists.
Viña del Mar is a picturesque city on the Pacific Ocean shore. Beaches extend for miles along an attractive coastline. Parks bloom year-round with colorful flowers and colonial-era landmarks, some of which are now superb museums, adorn the city streets.
Established in 1874, Viña del Mar means Vineyard by the Sea, a reference to the city’s beginnings as the hacienda of an aristocratic family. A Mediterranean climate and abundant green spaces have also earned the city the nickname of Jardín Ciudad (Garden City). Appreciate this nickname with a stroll around the wonderful landscaped park Quinta Vergara. Spot thousands of plant species and enjoy scenic picnics at the Jardín Botánico Nacional.
Viña del Mar’s city center straddles the river, Estero Marga Marga. On the south side is Plaza Vergara, a pretty tree-lined square with monuments and sculptures. Watch a ballet or orchestral concert at the Teatro Municipal. Admire colonial mansions as you wander through the Cerro Castillo district. View the Flower Clock, a botanical landmark and working clock.
Cross the Estero Marga Marga and visit Palacio Rioja, a neoclassical mansion from the early 1900s. Learn about Chilean cultural history at the Museo de Arqueología e Historia Francisco Fonck. Highlights include an original moai statue from Easter Island.
Enjoy a day at the city beaches, which stretch from Caleta Abarca Beach to the northern suburb of Concón. Stroll along La Marina promenade to Castillo Wulff, an iconic landmark on a rocky headland. Mingle with locals at Acapulco Beach and Playa el Sol. Surf at Playa Reñaca and sample delicious seafood at Playa Cochoa’s beachside restaurants.
Arrive in February for the musical Festival Internacional de La Cancion de Vina del, held at an amphitheater in Quinta Vergara. Previous performers include Cat Stevens and Ricky Martin.
Located about 80 miles (129 kilometers) from Santiago, Viña del Mar is easy to reach via public buses. A regular train service runs between the city and nearby Valparaíso. Get around on foot or enjoy a ride on a traditional Victorian horse-drawn carriage.