The first thing you’ll notice during your Santiago vacation are the Andes Mountains on one side and the Chilean Coastal Range to the west, both of which flank the city. Your Santiago trip could begin with Cerro San Cristóbal—the best view from above of this metropolis—or in the Bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista, once home to the Nobel poet, Pablo Neruda, now alive with quirky art and diverse eateries not found elsewhere in the city. Your Santiago tour should end at the Plaza de Armas, the perfect place to enjoy street performances and local bites.
The Plaza de Armas is the main square of Santiago, a popular meeting place for city dwellers. Stroll by in the evening and see the colonial square’s vivacity—regular performances by artists and comedians attract cultural congregations. Some astounding buildings line the streets that surround the square, notably the Palacio de la Real Audencia, Town Hall, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago.
Next to the Plaza de Armas is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, one of the most celebrated churches in the southern cone. Built from 1748 to 1800, the centerpiece is the altar that further adorns this sacred space. During your Santiago tour, make sure to come back at night for a real treat: observing the cathedral bathed in golden light.
One of the country’s major attractions, the Palacio de La Moneda is the seat of Chile’s acting president, and is unmissable for any history buff. Renowned for the famous 1973 a coup d'état took in which president Salvador Allende was overthrown, the Palacio today commemorates the deposed president with a statue that rests on the Plaza de la Constitución. A changing of the guards takes place in front of the palace and is accompanied by a military band.
If you fancy a day trip from Santiago, then ten miles from the capital is Viña Aquitania. Easily reachable via public transport from the city, guided tours of this expansive vineyard estate are provided and, of course, include world-renowned tastings. Learn of the viticulture as you take in views that further soothe your taste buds in one of the world’s most admired wine regions. Less