Holidays in Valparaiso

Holidays in Valparaiso

...and lovely Viña del Mar

Holidays in Valparaiso & Viña del Mar

Travel approximately 120km west of Santiago and you’ll find the beach cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Both offer plenty of unconventional Chilean charm, but the contrast between the two is fascinated to see. ‘Valpo’, as it’s fondly known, is a chaotic maze of hilly streets and coloured buildings, while Viña del Mar offers a much calmer, greener experience.

With its bohemian culture and lively street art scene, the UNESCO listed seaport of Valparaíso has long been home to the creatives of the country. Comprising of 43 hills covered by ramshackle neighbourhoods frame the Pacific coastline and offer a gritty soul which can be hard to find in Chile. At the other end of the scale is ‘La Ciudad Jardin’ (‘The Garden City’) of Viña del Mar, located just 8km north of Valparaíso. This luxurious beach resort with its palm tree line boulevard and white sand beach is a popular weekend getaway for the wealthier residents of Santiago.

Our Holidays to Valparaiso

All our holidays in Chile are 100% tailor-made, so the trips below either already include Valparaiso, or can easily change so they do!

Chile holidays with tours of Valparaiso Land of Ice & Fire 10-day holidays in Chile for £2450pp

This classic Chile holiday shows you two radically different sides to the country, from the northern deserts and volcanoes to the glaciers and mountains of Patagonia. Why not add a tour of Valparaiso as well? ...

Holidays in Chile and Argentina Andean Cross 14-day holidays to Chile & Argentina for £2395pp

You can enjoy the best of Patagonia with this great 2-week holiday in Chile and Argentina, visiting Torres del Paine and Perito Moreno before exploring both countries' beautiful Lake Districts ...

Our biggest holidays to Chile Enchanting Chile 16-day holidays to Chile for £3395pp

Starting in Santiago and then continuing with tours of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, this holiday also takes in the highlights of Patagonia and the Lake District, as well as the Atacama Desert and Chile's beautiful Wine Country...

Wine Holidays in Chile Vines & Volcanoes 10-day Chile holiday for £2450pp

This great 12-day holiday showcases Chile's beautiful wine country, before heading onwards and upwards to the arid altiplano to visit the geysers, salt flats and volcanoes of the Atacama Desert...

Where to Stay in Valparaiso

Cerro Concepcion in Valparaiso

Most people stay in Santiago and do a day trip which combines both cities. However if you are wanting to stay in Valparaiso the neighbouring barrios of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion are very tourist friendly, with restaurants, bars and art galleries close by.

A hotel on the waterfront is your best bet in Viña del Mar, although they don't come cheap in the summer months. In all honesty, although Viña del Mar is lovely, if you're really wanting some quality beach time then we'd probably suggest heading a little further north in South America, perhaps to Brazil where the water is warmer and the season much longer.

What to See and Do in Valparaiso

Valparaiso has a vibrant art culture, evident in the graffiti that can be seen on practically every street in the center. A walking tour will ensure you don’t miss the best pieces of street art, especially the Museo a Cielo Abierto which consists of 20 murals painted down the hill of Cerro Bellavista. A trip to the art galleries in Alegre, such as Casa E or Bahia Utopica is also a good way to experience the creativity of Valparaíso.

Pablo Neruda's house in Valparaiso, La Sebastiana

For a bird’s-eye view of the city head up to La Sebastiana, the former home to one of Valparaíso’s most famous resident artists, Pablo Neruda. It’s quite an uphill hike but the house itself is interesting to explore and there is a gallery and café up there too. At the top you’ll be rewarded with great views of the harbour. It’s worth taking a walk down to the harbour area as it’s the heart of the city and has a lively atmosphere of student bars and local restaurants. You can even do a boat trip around the port, and if you’re lucky you might spot a family of sea lions.

Beaches at Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

The clean beach and Miami-style boulevard are a highlight of the city, and this is where many of the best upmarket hotels and restaurants are to be found. At the far side of the bay is the German built Castillo Wulff which looks beautiful when lit up at night. During the day it houses art exhibitions, but the main reason to go is to see the colony of pelicans who nest on the rocks below.

A few blocks back from the beach you’ll find the beautifully landscaped gardens of the Parque Quinta Vergara, a great example of why Viña del Mar is known as ‘The Garden City’. Another green space worth seeing is the Reloj de Flores, a huge working clock made of flowers.

Dunas de Concon

Approximately 15km north of Viña are the sand dunes of Concón. This desert-like setting is a popular spot for sand boarding, wildlife spotting and watching the sun set.

Eating Out in Valparaiso

Eating Out in Valparaiso

Being one of the most important ports of the South Pacific, Valparaíso’s cuisine is quite a mix of flavours. There is, of course, the traditional seafood of the region and the hearty, meaty dishes that are popular throughout Chile. However you’ll also find some European influences, lots of Italian and Spanish restaurants, and some French-inspired menus too.

Being the spontaneous, lively city that it is, there are also plenty of avant-garde restaurants such as Restaurante Alegre, and probably due to the large student population, vegetarians are often better catered for here than elsewhere in Chile.

Eating Out in Viña del Mar

The restaurant scene in Viña is similar to Valparaiso but with a more upmarket edge. The candlelit tables by the sea are the most romantic spots and for a 5 star meal there is so much choice. The seafood here is fantastic and you’ll find it served in a variety of ways from fresh salty mussels to a Chilean take on fish and chips, and even sushi!

Getting To Valparaiso and Viña del Mar

The closest airport is in Santiago and there are also regular inter-city buses to both Valparaiso and Viña del Mar from the airport and Santiago's main bus stations. Alternatively there are plenty of tour operators who organise day trips and private transfers from Santiago.

There are also long distance buses from Valparaiso direct to Mendoza in Argentina which are comfortable enough, although the journey takes around 12 hours.

Getting Around Viña del Mar and Valparaiso

A modern Metro runs between Valparaíso and Viña del Mar which is a safe and fast way to travel between the two. Alternatively there are local buses which run frequently and only take about 15 minutes.

Along with the Metro and buses (which tend to be incredibly busy with locals), there are Colectivos which are shared taxis that run set routes. Of course there are private taxis as well which are less common and more expensive.

In Valparaíso the funiculars are also a fun way to get up and down the hills, however they are old and sometimes unreliable. The Ascensor concepción is the oldest of them all, dating back to the 1800s, and definitely worth a ride.

Weather & Climate in Valparaiso

Valparaiso climate graph

This area of Chile has a pleasant year-round climate similar to that in the Mediterranean. The summer months, November to March, tend to be dry with temperatures in the high teens/low twenties, while in winter it rarely drops below 10 degrees Celcius.

June and July are the wettest months, experiencing some heavy rainfall, although this varies from year to year. Fog from the Pacific is also fairly common year-round.

Tailor-made Tours of Valparaiso

Trips to Valparaiso

All our holidays to Chile are 100% tailormade, so if you'd like to customise your tour of Valparaiso, or indeed any of our holiday itineraries, then get in touch and let us know - we'll be delighted to help you plan your perfect holiday in Valparaiso!

Facts about Valparaiso

Did you know?

Valparaiso is definitely a city of "firsts": it was home to the first stock exchange in South America, the first public library and football team in Chile, and the city's daily newspaper "El Mercurio" is the oldest continuously-published Spanish-language newspaper in the world!

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