Valparaíso, Chile is hands down one of the most beautiful places in the world. We only had four days there, but by the second day I was ready to move and live there permanently.
Comprised of over 40 cerros (hills), Valpo is a city walker’s dream. Some people have likened Valpo to a smaller version of San Francisco because of all the hills, but to me Valpo is such a unique city, it’s hard to compare to anywhere else. With all the cerros comes an incredible funicular system, which is most people’s preferred method for getting up and down each cerro. But what Valpo is really known for, is its street art. Every surface of every house, street, stairway, you name it, is a canvas waiting to be painted – and it’s STUNNING. The most beautiful street art I’ve seen in the world was in Valpo.
If you’re looking to plan a trip to Valpo, here are some of my recommendations of things to see, including day trips to nearby beaches, and where to stay. If you have the time, plan to spend 3-4 days at least in Valpo – you won’t regret it, I promise!
- FREE Walking Tour: I HIGHLY recommend you sign up for a free walking tour through tours4tips. All they ask is that you tip at the end what you think the tour was worth (most people in our tour paid around $10 each, but we paid closer to $20 because we loved it so much – we even ended up booking with them for a tour in Santiago too, that’s how great it was). We spent probably 3 hours walking around several of the major cerros and learning all about the history of this port city (“the jewel of the pacific”) and how it became the marveled UNESCO world heritage site that it is today
- Sights you CANNOT miss:
- Historic Quarter
- Plaza Sotomayor + the Port
- La Sebastiana + Pablo Neruda’s home
- Cerro Alegre + Ascensor El Peral
- Cerro Concepcion, Ascensor Concepcion, + Paseo Gervasoni
- Ascensor Reina Victoria
- Art: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this amazing little gallery we stumbled upon while exploring one day. I ended up falling so in love with this one painting by the gallery owner. We chatted a while about his vision, his passion for his hometown, and how that led him to create this beautiful piece of work. So naturally, I ended up buying my first real piece of art right there on Cerro Alegre. If you have time, I’d recommend checking out Espacio Rojo (ask to see any work by Cristian Vega-Rojo)
- Hotels: we originally wanted to stay at the Hotel Fauna, but there were no rooms available by the time we booked. We ended up staying at the Hotel da Vinci nearby, and it was perfect. They serve complimentary breakfast every morning, and it’s situated in a great location, convenient to all the main sites. We ended up getting drinks and watching the sunset our first night at the Hotel Fauna terrace and would highly recommend either staying there or at least stopping in for appetizers and drinks. The hotel has beautiful views, and for anyone else who is a fan of Fixer Upper, it exudes “Chip and Joanna vibes.” **Important note about hotels in Chile: if you pay in USD (cash), you can avoid the 19% VAT tax at hotels. If you pay with a credit/debit card, expect to pay that additional tax
- Day trips: we rented a car and drove up the coast to Zapallar. We spent the morning walking along the rocky beaches and exploring the coast before having a late lunch at El Chiringuito along the beach. We then made our way slowly back down the coast, stopping in Concon for some afternoon beach time before witnessing the most beautiful sunset and heading back to Valpo
What are you favorite places to see and things to do in Valpo? Comment below!