Explore a little further afield than Santiago, escape the hustle and bustle of the busy and noisy city, finding somewhere more tranquil to spend a weekend, or even just a change of scenery. From one- to two-hour bus journeys to destinations you can reach overnight, there are no shortage of options. These are the best weekend breaks from Santiago.
Whether you want to spend hours admiring the incredible street art, or find out more about Chile’s most famous poet Pablo Neruda, Valparaiso oozes culture. Additionally, there are plenty of great cafés, restaurants, bars and clubs. Most nights out lead towards the most famous club, El Queso, with many floors including an outdoor terrace, each of which plays a different genre of music.
Viña del Mar
During summer and the months before and after, Viña is a great place to chill, sunbathe and swim in the sea—if you’re not too afraid of the cold water! The streets are a lot more tranquil than Valparaíso, lined with restaurants, although those closer to the beach tend to be a lot more expensive. From here, you can easily visit Concon where you can sandboard, or Renaca where you can surf.
Cajón del Maipo
An outdoor enthusiast’s heaven, Cajón has plenty of activities ranging from trekking, skiing, cycling, and what they are renowned for, whitewater rafting. If you’ve had a long day hiking or just want to relax, there are a couple of thermal baths for you to sit back and relax in, taking in the peace and stunning views.
On the road back in between Valparaiso and Santiago is Casablanca, the home of stretching vineyards and many fine wineries, some of which have boutique hotels where you can stay, Viña Matetic in particular. Most of the vineyards in the area offer a tour and a complimentary wine-tasting, the reason everyone goes!
Out of the Chilean three valleys, which consist of Valle Nevado, El Colorado and La Parva, El Colorado has the most variety when it comes to accommodation. Offering hostels, Airbnbs and self-catered apartments, if you’re planning to go in peak season (July–September), make sure you book plenty in advance.
From Santiago you can hop on a flight or night bus to La Serena, which takes roughly seven hours, leaving you the rest of the weekend to relax or to explore Pisco Elqui, where you can see how pisco is made, and Isla Damas, which has a variety of wildlife to spot. La Serena also boasts long, white, sandy beaches that are perfect for chilling out on during the summer months (December–February).
This wonderfully quaint, rustic town is an overnight bus journey, roughly around nine to 10 hours from Santiago and is the perfect escape from the noise. Embark on a hike through one of the many national parks, climb up the active Villarrica volcano, or ski down it if you’d rather.
Although you have to cross the border into Argentina, it’s worth it when you arrive in Mendoza. Boasting plenty of delicious restaurants to choose from, most of which will serve parrillada (Argentinian barbecued meat) and the locally grown Malbec. Mendoza is another area renowned for its wines. Salud!