Chile’s second city, Valparaíso, rises from its harbor onto a series of steep hills. It’s vibrant and colorful, enchanting all who visit. If you are there, don’t miss these five quintessential Valparaíso highlights.
- Amazing street art
An unmissable Valparaíso highlight is a tour of the city’s street art. There’s a difference between plain old graffiti and street art, and Valparaíso illustrates this point. Even if you don’t go on an official tour, the city’s streets are alive with art, so you’ll find plenty of it without even trying. Cerro Bellavista has an open-air museum, and Avenida Alemania presents a beautiful mix of artistic styles along the street.
- A great sense of history
Valparaíso is a city with a lot of history, which is reflected in its buildings. Strolling around the city, you’ll spot the National Maritime Museum, assorted churches, and La Sebastiana Museum House — all worth a visit. La Sebastiana was the home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and not only does the quirky, eclectic museum boast a beautiful city view, it also has collections of old maps and paintings.
- Admirable architecture
Whether you’re wandering through the streets, looking at cheerfully painted houses, or walking around the harbor looking up at the city’s many hills, there’s always something beautiful to admire. Valparaíso was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003 thanks to its nineteenth-century colonial architecture, along with the city’s distinctive amphitheater-like structure as it climbs onto the hills. The Natural History Museum, in particular, is an excellent example of the city’s colonial-style architecture, as it was modeled on a Victorian house with bow windows and columns.
- Incredible views
However long you’re spending in Valparaíso, the views from atop one of the city’s many hills are a must-see — make sure you grab a photo or two while you’re up there! Paseo 21 de Mayo is the best spot for views of the port and the western bay. Cerro Concepción also has impressive port vistas. However, to get the best panorama of the colorful houses surrounded by lush greenery, head to Cerro Carcel near Cementerio de Disidentes.
- A beach day like no other
Being a coastal town, Valparaíso has its fair share of beaches, and spending time relaxing on the golden sand isn’t to be missed. There are more than thirty beaches in the area, but five stand out: Las Torpederas, Caleta Abarca, Las Salinas, Los Lilenes, and Playa Amarilla. Just be aware of the steep drop-offs if you decide to go for a swim.
Whether you are hunting for culture or fancy spending a day at the beach, Valparaíso is the Chilean city that has it all.