The Top 10 Things To Do and See in Valparaíso, Chile

Photo of Maria Angelíca Maia
9 February 2017

The beautiful, vulnerable, bustling hillside port of Valparaíso, the ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, is known for its susceptibility to earthquakes and as being one of the homes of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Valparaiso is recognized worldwide as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a deserved award for its architecture, design, history and cultural contributions. If you love history, street art, and bohemian life, Valparaíso is must. Here are ten original options that this lively city offers the discerning traveller.

Street Art

Valparaíso is one of the graffiti capitals of South America, and no place showcases this art better than the Museo a Cielo Abierto. The 20 classic, colorful murals were created between 1969 and 1973 by students from the Universidad Católica’s Instituto de Arte. One of the elevators, Ascensor Espíritu Santo, will take you there. But street art and graffiti covers the city, and ensures that the avenues and paths are bursting with life. Templeman Street on Cerro Alegre is the best place to see street art.

Valparaiso | © Misanthropy__/Flickr

Caleta Portales

When visiting any Chilean city that stands beside the sea you cannot miss out on visiting the traditional fishing caleta. Valparaíso has its own Caleta Portales, a fishing town where you can go to taste the delicious dishes prepared in the restaurants that surround it, but also, very early in the morning, you can go to wait for the fishing boats and buy directly from them, fresh fish from sea.

Bar Cinzano

One of the more traditional bars near the harbor is undoubtedly Cinzano, a place that has been receiving ‘parishioners and guests’ (as they call their visitors) for over 116 years. If you want to enjoy delicious Creole food, good porteñas cuecas and Latin American music in general, don’t miss Cinzano, located in the Plaza Anibal Pinto 1182.

Cinazo | © ClixYou/Flickr

Bar La Playa

Restaurant, Chilean, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
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If you’re a more contemporary parishioner, who does not identified with the atmosphere of Cinzano, an alternative is Bar La Playa. Good music, delicious drinks and inevitable beer, are just some of the options in this bar. Gigs are also performed, with tributes to various artists. This is also a space where you can listen to different emerging bands.

Cerro Alegre

One of the cultural icons of Valparaiso is this mythical mountain, which is surrounded by culture, the colors of street art, bars and restaurants. You can reach it through the Peral elevator, located on one side of the Plaza Sotomayor. Cerro Alegre is a multicultural place, in every corner there are foreigners and Chileans making art in various ways, juggling, and performing poetry and music .Just some things that can be found in every corner of this magical place.

Valpariaso | © Paula Sola Moya/Flickr

Paseos and Walks

While Valparaiso is a city surrounded by hills, the city center was constructed according to a strict city plan. There are many lovely walks along the city’s beautifully designed paseos. Good walks include the Ruben Dario walk and the Carvallo walk, both which run along the city’s coastline and beaches. But to cross this beautiful city there is no better way to do it than in the traditional and nostalgic ‘troles‘, old buses that will give you a ride through the historic city center.

La Sebastiana

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An important part of the life of Chile’s Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Pablo Neruda, was in Valparaiso. This is embodied in his unique modernist home in this city, ‘La Sebastiana’. If you want to know part of this story, come and visit this house museum. There is also an exhibit space attached. It is a bit of a trek uphill, and entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis, so its advised to plan your visit in advance, and to get here early. Neruda loved the craziness and beauty he saw in Valparaíso, and even wrote and ode to the city. La Sebastiana, Calle Ferrari 692, Valparaíso, Chile

Cerro Concepcion

To get here, take the elevator with the same name. Today the is one of the favorite places of tourists, with various viewpoints and restaurants, the best among them are the recognized restaurant Abtao, the Mirador (viewpoint) Atkinson, and the beautiful Paseo Gervasoni.

Playa Torpederas

Located in the Playa Ancha, this beach is ideal to escape from the city and world for a while and to go to rest, relax and try your luck at fishing and diving. It is a small resort, but in recent years has given way to innovation with new and exciting activities.

The view of Valparaiso from La Sebastiana | © Mauricio Candamil Llano/Flickr

Naval and Maritime Museum

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If you are down Playa Ancha way, make sure to stop at this museum, which is located in the same area, on the Paseo May 21. Guarded and directed by the Navy of Chile. The ‘Jewel of the Pacific’ is a great place to learn about Chile’s maritime history and the most influential men and events in the countries naval history are vividly described.