🇨🇱 Santiago de Chile
Santiago de Chile is a city that offers you a host of charming places and a lot of experiences. It is the capital of Chile and its buildings are preserved from the Spanish colonial era, you can see the city from the viewpoints, enjoy the most bohemian neighborhoods and relax in any of its parks.
This article will take you by the hand to recommend the essential places you should visit if you want to get to know this wonderful city.
The most iconic buildings in the city are concentrated in the main square, being the meeting point between locals and tourists. This plaza was built during the colonial era and is located in the heart of the historic center. There you can find emblematic buildings of the city such as the Post Office, the building of the Municipality of Santiago, the National Historical Museum and the Metropolitan Cathedral. However, in addition to visiting each of these points of interest, you can also enjoy the particular atmosphere of this square by seeing the locals playing chess, artists performing plays and street musicians.
The Coin Palace
The Coin Palace is the seat of the President of the Republic and where President Salvador Allende barricaded himself on September 11, 1973, to face the coup d’état commanded by the military Pinochet and ended up committing suicide. His death led to a period of just over 20 years of darkness in which the dictator Pinochet committed endless torture, murder and human rights violations.
Today you can visit the interior of the old Casa de la Moneda, which still preserves some shots from the coup plotters on its facades. You can visit the “Patio de los Cañones”, the patio of the Naranjos and the Canelo.
The San Cristobal hill
One of the best activities you should do in the city is to go up the cable car or funicular to the San Cristóbal hill, for this you must take it in the Plaza Caupolicá and once up, you can enjoy the beautiful views of Santiago and the imposing Cordillera de The Andes.
The Metropolitan Park
This park is located in the beautiful Bellavista neighborhood and is the largest urban park in the country, it has approximately 700 hectares where you can find hiking trails, a Sanctuary and the viewpoint of the Virgin.
Santa Lucia Hill
You can climb the small Santa Lucia Hill walking its 69 m height located in the heart of the city. There is the Hidalgo Castle with its different terraces, where you will find a French-style park that has the Vicuña Mackenna Hermitage and the beautiful Neptune Fountain. On the other hand, this hill was where the conqueror Pedro de Valdivia founded the city in 1541 and there is a stone with an extract of the letter written by Valdivia to Carlos V of Spain.
Castillo Hidalgo photo taken by Carolina Sanchez
The Bellavista neighborhood
Bellavista is the most charming and bohemian neighborhood to visit in the city. You can find picturesque buildings with their colorful facades, restaurants, art galleries and several emblematic buildings such as Lehuedá Castle, La Chascona or Casa Roja. Around the patio of Bellavista are the famous and recommended places to taste Chilean cuisine such as “Krossbar”, “Como Agua para Chocolate”, “Uncle Fletch” and “Ciudad Vieja”.
The Chascona is one of the houses where the famous poet Pablo Neruda lived. The writer bought this land and began construction in 1953, to live with Matilde Urrutia (his lover) who was nicknamed La Chascona for having long red hair. After separating from his old partner, he stayed living with his mistress until his death in 1973. There you can see 11 rooms and learn a little about the history of this famous writer.
This is an old neighborhood of artists and intellectuals and it is there where most of the city’s leisure and cultural offerings are concentrated. You can find numerous museums, cafes, cultural centers, quality restaurants, original shops and excellent places to have a drink to have fun with your loved ones.
The recommendation is to access Merced Street and visit the most emblematic sites such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Church of Veracruz, the Bruna Palace, the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center and see a large number of buildings built at the beginning of the 20th century. Each of these places has a particular structure to show, you will surely find some history and relevant things that will especially call your attention as you will not regret having visited them.
In the Central Market we recommend you try traditional Chilean dishes such as crab cake, fried conger eel, paila marina, empanadas in the “Emporio Zunino” and spider crab. You can also find excellent souvenirs or crafts to give as gifts. The other market that you can visit is El Mercado de la Vega, which although it is less touristy can be more authentic than the Central. There you can find meats, fruits, spices, vegetables and international products from neighboring Latin American countries and also from Asia.
Paris London neighborhood
This neighborhood is characterized by having a European architectural style with its narrow cobblestone streets. The most important site is the Church of San Francisco, which is the oldest temple in the country built in colonial times, the other places of historical importance are the local Londres 38, which was the center of extermination and/or repression between the years 1973 and 1975, in addition to the O’Higginian Institute.
Museum of Memory and Human Rights
In this museum you can feel what happened during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. You will be able to see videos, photographs, testimonies of the tortured survivors and the tragic history of all the victims of the dictatorship. This is to prevent the past from repeating itself. Then you can go to the Plaza de la Memoria, where you can see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights inscribed on one of its walls.
Santiago de Chile is a capital loaded with memory, it is a very interesting city to know and visit.