Things to do in Santiago
The best way to start your Santiago holiday is with a ride on the funicular up to San Cristóbal Hill. There, while soaking up the 300 metre-high views, you can say hello to the Chilean capital and prepare yourself for a trip of a lifetime.
Back amongst the thick of it, Santiago is a city where you can choose your own adventure. For people-watching action, wander the brightly coloured La Vega fruit and vegetable market or sit down to a meaty meal at a cafe in Bellas Arte and watch the world go by. History buffs can indulge in their share of exploring at Plaza de Armas or in the Downtown area where the Plaza Constitution and La Moneda palace can be found. And for party animals, you can easily make new friends over pisco sours enjoyed in the nightlife districts of Bellavista and Lastarria.
Outside the city, the options are equally endless. A 90-minute drive outside of Santiago lies Valle Nevado, a popular ski field beloved for its scenic runs as well as snowboarding and heli-skiing options. Another day trip worth taking is to the surrounding wineries scattered throughout the valleys near the coastline. Here, you can join a wine tour, meet the growers and enjoy a glass of sauvigon blanc with a view. Even closer to the coastline, Santiago has a number of beaches within its grasp, a notable attraction being the seaside house of Pablo Neruda, found in a small beach town south of Valparaiso. It's the perfect place to watch the sunset and bid your Santiago holiday farewell.
Here, we map out some of the must-dos to make your itinerary planning easier.
No trip to Santiago should miss taking in the view of the city from San Cristóbal Hill. Standing 300 metres above the city, the hill is a fantastic place to bring a picnic and soak up the beauty of Santiago from above.
It may only be 3 kilometres away from the city's central Plaza de Armas, but the barrio of Bellavista feels like a world away from the rest of Santiago. Known as the city's bohemian quarter, spending a day or night or both in Bellavista is a must.
Despite the promise of winter fog in Santiago, it doesn't stop the tourists coming in their droves. Why? The answer lies just 46 kilometres east of the city - Valle Nevado.
In operation since 1883, Concha y Toro is the largest producer of wine in Latin America. Although headquartered in Santiago, Concha y Toro has wineries throughout Chile including Casablanca, Colchagua, Curico, Rapel, Maipo and Maule.
Fantasilandia theme park opened in 1978 and has been a popular destination for thrill-seeking tourists and Chileans alike ever since. There's heaps of rides to chose from, plus plenty of Chilean-style fun park food to try.
Surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Andes, the river valley and canyon of Cajón del Maipo and surrounds are a welcome escape from the buzz of Chile's capital city that's only a short trip from downtown Santiago.
For an insight into the mysterious glyphs found on Easter Island or to see an Inca mummy, a visit to the fascinating Chilean National Museum of Natural History is a must-do in Santiago.
You can't go past the central markets of Santiago for a glimpse into the everyday lives of the local Chilean community. Here, you get to ogle fresh produce and taste authentic Chilean cuisine while enjoying prime people-watching opportunities and soaking up the atmosphere.
The Santiago barrio of Lastarria is the place to go for Chilean art in all its forms. From cinemas to theatres and museums to art galleries, you could easily spend a whole days wandering the historic neighbourhood and enjoying the cafe culture.