Chile’s contrasts come together beautifully in its capital, Santiago. The incredible Andes mountain range serves as the backdrop to bustling urban sprawl, where you’ll see centuries-old architecture standing right next to state-of-the-art skyscrapers. The city has a fascinating history and culture, so make sure you spend a few days exploring here before moving on to […]
Chile’s contrasts come together beautifully in its capital, Santiago. The incredible Andes mountain range serves as the backdrop to bustling urban sprawl, where you’ll see centuries-old architecture standing right next to state-of-the-art skyscrapers. The city has a fascinating history and culture, so make sure you spend a few days exploring here before moving on to Chile’s other attractions. We’ve created a quick Santiago city guide to show you the best sights and give you travel tips, along with our top recommendations.
Santiago is a truly multicultural city with an eclectic mix of attractions which offer something for everyone: from its buzzing music and arts scene to the tranquil natural parks found in the foothills of the Andes. We recommend you spend at least 5 days here in order to see the city’s top attractions. Make sure you don’t miss out on our top 6 top things to do in Santiago:
This decidedly alternative neighborhood is full of quirky, independent stores and a wide variety of eateries and bars. Spend an afternoon wandering down Avenida Italia to find some unique souvenirs and enjoy a coffee. If you come in the evening, you’ll find a great atmosphere in the bars – try Ruca Bar for delicious tapas accompanied by a selection of gin cocktails.
This upmarket area is dominated by Santiago’s upper class and expats, but still has plenty to offer visitors. Take the metro to the Pueblito Los Dominicos to buy some beautiful Chilean artisan goods and stop for lunch on Isidora Goyenechea street, which is packed with cafés and restaurants. Finally, head to the Costanera Center for sunset. It’s the highest viewing platform in Latin America at 984 feet (300 m) and offers an impressive 360° view of Santiago. Just make sure it’s a clear day!
The Bahá’í faith teaches the equality of all religions and the unity of people. This extraordinary temple welcomes all. Built in 2016, it’s one of only 8 in the world and is well worth a visit to appreciate the architecture and views over Santiago.
|Cerro San Cristobal
A statue of the Virgin Mary stands at the top of this hill, which looms over the city and Bellavista. It’s just a short hike up to the top and once there you can explore the landscaped garden, attend mass at the Sanctuary, or simply relax on the steps of the statue and appreciate the spectacular views of the city and the Andes. If you don’t fancy the walk, you can also take a funicular or even a cable car to the top.
This beautiful green park in upmarket Vitacura is a wonderful place to escape the bustling city; there are even flamingos on the lake! Spend an afternoon there wandering around and take a picnic to enjoy on the grass.
These fashionable and charming streets are home to restaurants, bars, museums, and high-end hotels, as well as artisan stores and stalls selling a range of crafts. While there, grab a drink at Chipe Libre – a Pisco bar selling over 100 varieties of the national drink.
Popular local specialties include:
As the national go-to snack, empanadas can be found everywhere in Chile. They’re available as a baked pastry, puff-pastry, fried, frozen, a supermarket ready-meal, mini canapes…the list goes on! That also means they can be very hit and miss. For the best empanadas in town go to La Empanada Mía in Recoleta. This small family-run empanadería serves them in 13 different flavors and all are freshly baked.
If you’re after a fine-dining experience, try Latin Grill based in Santiago’s luxurious Marriott Hotel. The menu is based on typical Chilean cuisine and each dish is expertly matched to an exquisite national wine. The cost is $68 USD per person for the 4-course experience menu, including drinks.
Finally, for a more laid-back and convivial atmosphere, go to Tiramisu, a pizzería and brewery in Las Condes. This popular joint serves traditional Italian pizzas and an excellent selection of wines and artisan beers. What’s more, the pizzas are huge and more than enough for two to share! Make sure you reserve in advance for evenings and weekends as the place gets full quickly.
This hidden gem is located in the Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón in the foothills of the Andes. The hike to the waterfall takes 7-8 hours round-trip, surrounded by beautiful Andean flora and fauna. It’s well worth escaping the city for a day trip to experience this natural park.
If you’re short on time, what better way to zip around the city than on a bike? Santiago has well-developed cycling lanes for a Latin American city. One of the main bike paths runs through the central Parque Forestal, which can take you from Las Condes all the way into the center of the city. Take a bicycle tour to learn more about the city’s fascinating history while you ride from place to place.
Cajon del Maipo
Urban life can take its toll, but just outside of Santiago, you can find El Cajon del Maipo, a canyon to the southeast of the city. There are numerous trekking and biking trails which offer impressive views of the Andes, as well as birdwatching spots and relaxing hot springs. Read this post for more information on how to get there and what to do.
Chilean wine is world-renowned for its fantastic quality and Santiago is the perfect base to explore Chile’s wine regions. The majority of the vineyards lie just a couple hours outside of the city and a guided tour will take you to several vineyards to learn about the wine-making process and, of course, sample the different varieties!