From spectacular street art to equally spectacular views from this UNESCO-listed city’s many hills, Valparaiso is a feast for the eyes and a destination where it’s easy to linger. You never know what you’re going to find around the next corner, or down the next narrow alley. But if you’re looking for specifics, there’s no shortage of worthwhile ways to spend you time here. To help you narrow things down, here are some local picks for the best Valparaiso has to offer.
On the same street where you’ll find La Sebastiana, the former residence of and museum dedicated to Pablo Neruda, you’ll also find a little beautiful square called Plaza de los Poetas (poet’s square). Head to the museum in the morning (closed Mondays) and then check out the square, home to sculptures of three famous Chilean poets: the aforementioned Pablo Neruda, Neruda’s early mentor Gabriela Mistral, and Vicente Huidobro. Snap some selfies with the statues and take some to relax in this literature-inspired spot. Note that if you do opt to visit the museum, it’s first come, first served, so go early.
If you like drinking really good coffee, Puro Café is the perfect place for you. The goal here is to contribute to the development of a coffee culture in Chile – and that’s exactly what they’re doing. Coffee fans will be tempted by a wide variety of high-quality coffee, served in three different preparations. If you’re not sure what to have, knowledgeable staff can help. Pair your caffeinated beverage with a pastry or a sandwich if you need some extra fuel for your sightseeing.
Formerly the site of the city’s prison, Parque Cultural de Valparaíso is a beautiful park located in one of the hills of Valparaiso, where you can sit and relax, enjoy the view, or participate in some of the activities this cultural centre offers. The old cell block of the former prison was kept and is now used for artistic displays, and there’s always something to do or see here, like exhibitions, plays, concerts and talks.
If you like walking, you can go for a scenic stroll along the city’s waterfront promenade while admiring the ocean. As long as there is no closure due to rough waters, we suggest starting at Caleta El Membrillo, a fishing harbour where you’ll also find some seafood restaurants. From downtown Valparaiso, take buses 511, 701 or 703. The beaches you’ll find in the area include Carvallo, San Mateo and Torpederas.
La Caleta Portales is a fishermen’s cove with fresh fish and seafood, so if you’re craving the catch of the day, this is where to get it. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy a nice lunch accompanied by beautiful ocean views. After lunch you can go for a walk among the promenade for even more ocean views. To get there you can take the metro or a bus and get off at Portales Station (or bus stop).