Plaza De Armas, Santiago, Chile at night.
Plaza De Armas

At the foot of the snow-capped Andes, lies Chile’s buzzing capital, Santiago. A city of rare natural beauty and contagious energy, Santiago has emerged from its conservative history as a city of avant-garde art, fine wine and good food. Discover this burgeoning city with the help of our Santiago travel guide.

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Places to stay

A city of bustling barrios, scenic vistas, modern architecture and colonial relics, Santiago is an eclectic blend of new and old-world design. In the artsy district of Lastarria, music halls, eateries and art museums neighbour stylish hotels like The Singular. The central El Centro district is home to Hotel Magnolia, a beautifully restored art deco mansion. Check in to one of Tinto Boutique Hotel’s unique rooms and soak in the views from its rooftop bar. For luxury travellers, The Ritz-Carlton in the wealthy El Golf district, is all plush beds and stellar service.

On a budget? Book a bed in one of the many hostels in Barrio Brasil district. Stay in the leafy neighbourhood of Providencia for city parks perfect for a morning run or afternoon stroll. Wine lovers should schedule in an escape to the vineyards of Viña Santa Rita, where the former summerhouse of the winery’s founder, Hotel Casa Real, is open to guests.

Things to do

When thinking of Santiago, Pablo Neruda and pisco sours may be the first things that come to mind, but dive a little deeper and you’ll find a city with a lot more to offer. Scale Cerro San Cristóbal first thing in the morning for a photo-op of the entire city. When you get back down, stop at Colmado Cafe for a coffee and some baked goods. Spend the rest of your morning exploring the sprawling labyrinth of food carts and fruit stands at La Vega Central, Santiago’s main wholesale market. Once you’ve loaded up on snacks, find your way to the city’s cultural hub. In Lastarria, the Museo de Artes Visuales hosts modern exhibitions while Centro Gabriela Mistral regularly puts on musical and theatrical performances. In between museum outings, grab lunch on the go from Fuente Alemana. Their lomito, (a huge pork sandwich), is a local favourite. For a peek into the life of the legendary literary figure, Pablo Neruda, visit his former house, La Chascona.

Late dinners and long nights are compulsory in Chile, so spend your early evenings chilling out or power napping in Parque Metropolitano. Ready to start your night? Venture out to La Vinocracia and you’ll find a relaxed, residential wine bar that boasts an impressive list crafted by South America’s first Master Sommelier. The tasting menu at Restaurante 040 showcases local ingredients in a fine dining environment. For the foodie version of a history lesson, Peumayén Ancestral Food serves up the ancestral food of the Mapuche and Aymara indigenous peoples of Chile. Whether it’s all those pisco sours or the energy of the city, Santiago is sure to leave you buzzing.


Where to go

32 Things to do in Santiago Spend your days exploring Santiago like a local
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Just 90 minutes northwest of Santiago, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valparaíso. This charmingly-bohemian seaside town has fostered many talented local and international artists. Lined with colourful murals, beautiful boutiques and hole-in-the-wall cafes, the hours fly by while wandering the city’s colourful streets. Don’t forget about the local seafood either. It’s best enjoyed overlooking the city at La Caperucita y el Lobo. 

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Festival: Ñam

As Chile’s foodie paradise, it’s no surprise that Santiago hosts a week-long culinary festival called Ñam. The event, held during March or April, is a sumptuous ode to the special role food plays in the lives of Chileans. Celebrating all aspects of Latin American cuisine, you can find everything from cooking classes hosted by famous chefs, to one-off dinners and artisan markets.

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Getting around

From the airport: take an official taxi or an organised private transfe to the city. Buses are not an easy option. Santiago has abundant metered taxis, all black with yellow roofs.

In and around the city: if you want to travel by bus or metro look for Transantiago, a quick, cheap and efficient way to get around central Santiago. You'll need a tarjeta Bip travel card. Driving in Santiago and beyond is a great way to get around and plan your own itinerary.

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