Valparaíso is a city situated on the Pacific coast in the central part of Chile, around 120 kilometers away from Santiago, the country’s capital city. Often called “Valpo”, this Chilean city is one of the most important seaports in the country. When backpacking South America, you’ll discover that Valpo is a place of unique structures, colorful houses, and rich bohemian culture. Check out these seven tourist spots that make up some of the best things to do in Chile.
#1 Baron Hill
This hill is one of the 42 hills of Valpo located at the eastern end of the city, following Dairy Hill. This place was named after Governor Ambrosio O’ Higgins who was popularly called Baron of Ballenary. In 1852, Baron Station was constructed on the site, making it the first railroad station from Valparaiso to Santiago.
#2 Viña del Mar
A Spanish term which means “Vineyard by the Sea,” this place, also referred to as “The Garden City”, is locally known as “Viña”. It is one of the largest resorts in South America that features a chain of white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters. Among the most famous beaches in this area include Reñaca and Las Salinas beaches. Viña del Mar is a Chilean town situated on the outskirts of the Valparaíso region. Tourism-wise, it is one of the best South American tourist attractions.
#3 Galería Municipal de Arte
Located at the Calle Condell that was once the basement of Palacio Lyon, this art gallery attracts many tourists and visitors all over Chile and South America. When backpacking Chile, the museum is easily accessible from any part of the city. It is famous for its well-preserved vaults and walls made up of stones and bricks. This place features various programs and exhibitions all year-round, a perfect haven for art lovers.
#4 St. Paul’s Anglican Church
Chile’s 2nd Protestant temple, this church is a national monument built by Engineer William Lloyd in 1858. It is found on Mount Concepcion. Its main attractions include intricate woodworks, colorful stained glass windows portraying biblical passages, and the Tablets of Moses’ Law. Surprisingly, it has no towers or crosses. This is because there was no freedom of worship at the time it was constructed.
#5 La Sebastiana
Every year, this place attracts a huge number of tourists. This is one of the three homes of the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. There is no entrance fee and you can freely tour around the house by yourself. Visiting La Sebastiana is the best way to experience the life of the world-renowned poet. You can learn some facts about his life, works, and interests. It also features some of his quirky collections that came from his trips to America and other countries.
#6 Monument to the Heroes of Iquique
If you want to get a feel of the country’s history, then pay tribute to the martyrdom of the Chilean soldiers who died during the War of the Pacific, Chile’s combat against Peru that took place sometime between 1879 and 1884. It is here you can find their statues, as well as the famous figure of Arturo Prat. He died during the Battle of Iquique when the Peruvian Huascar was captured by the Chilean ship, Esmeralda. His death and heroism were the inspiration for the nation’s victory.
#7 Palacio Lyon
This historical place, built-in 1881, was once a magnificent, residential palace featuring 50 spacious rooms. Today, Palacio Lyon is a home to the earlier mentioned Galeria Municipal de Arte and the Valparaiso Natural History Museum. It features nearly 110, 000 historical exhibits and collections that are classified among archeology, natural science, historical heritage, and a well-filled library. The most common attractions in the museum include exhibits of preserved insects, mammals, fossils, and mollusks, as well as various pieces of art and works of photography.