We haven’t seen much of Chile, but the small town of Valparaiso was a must for us.
Have ever come to a place that just makes you want to go and explore? That feels like there are secrets hidden behind every wall and you just want to find them all? That is the vibe I got from Valparaiso. Walking through the twisted and curvy roads and alleys of this harbor town I couldn’t shake the feeling that this city must’ve been a pirate hideout. You can hide and dive into its corners and historic buildings, but never lose your way for a long time – it is just way too small for that.
I have always dreamed of living by the sea and Valparaiso appeared to me to be the whole package: dreamy ocean view, quirky houses and adorable streets, topped by cool cafes and art at every corner. Yes, yes Valparaiso is a total hipster paradise.
How To Get To Valparaiso:
Piece of cake, you go to the Alameda station in Santiago and take a bus. They are rather cheap and will take you to the coast within 1 hour 45. The main bus company is called Turbus it was not overly remarkable but very normal and alright. The bus brings you to Valparaiso main station. That is not in the center so you’ll have to find out which one of the funny small buses will go your direction. Or you’ll just take an Uber to the center.
7 Things To Do In Valparaiso:
We only stayed one and a half days in the town, I would’ve loved to stay longer, however. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind living in Valparaiso for half a year. We used the short time to actually do quite a lot of things. Here are our seven highlights that I think you should squeeze in, no matter how long you stay in Valparaiso.
1. Do The Free Walking Tour
It was super nice! As always, the free walking tours are our recurring thing in every city. Some are great and some suck. The one in Valparaiso was just cute and pleasant. It truly felt like a friend or sister is leading you through the town and we could feel how much the place means to our guide. There are two different versions, we did the Tour4Tips, highlights tour.
2. Eat Some Awesome Food
Do you know this feeling when you have stuffed your face with too much sushi and feel like you never wanna see another form of rice ever again? This rarely happens to me because sushi is expensive and normally I can eat an almost endless amount of maki. In Kiseki I reached my limit. For 30 euros we shared about 100 pieces (we had our own damn sushi boat) and were completely sick after.
3. Visit The Cementery 1
If you are into history, architecture and like a bit of a creepiness you should head to the historic cemetery of Valparaiso. It has been under a lot of duress from several earthquakes but what is left of it is stunning.
4. Head To The Viewpoints
Throughout the old town, there are many great spots from which you can have a look over the town. It is absolutely worth making the climb up the hills, the view is amazing and you will encounter many cute streets and street art.
5. Take A Finicular For Just 500 Pesos
Valparaiso has many funiculars, not all of them are in service but there still are plenty. The ride is short and steep and you will feel transported back in time. The little elevators will not bring you far (a ride takes like 3 minutes) but you can save some stairs 😉
6. Check Out The Streetart
If you are doing the walking tour, you will already learn a bunch about the street art of Valparaiso. But in this city, it is hard to even find a house or wall without anything painted on it. Actually, the houses were painted with remaining paint from ships, therefore one house often has each side painted in a different color. The city has a super tolerant take on street art: you contact the city and tell them where and what you want to paint… and then you just do it. So cool. The guys from the free walking tour also offer a graffiti tour, I would love to come back for that one day. Most of the murals are political or tell a story of historic significance to Valparaiso.
7. Head To A Tiny Cafe And Have Delicious Coffee
Now, this is something that I can spend hours on… but unfortunately, Lukas gets bored very quickly and also hates coffee. While we were exploring the old town I spotted an endless supply of cute cafes that I would’ve loved to check out – this will have to wait for my return. Don’t make the same mistake and bring a book (or coffee buddy) and enjoy the scene 🙂
As you can tell, I am quite smitten with this place. I even wrote a poem about it once we got back to Santiago. You can feel in every part of the cities center how much attention and value the citizens pay to art. This is something remarkable and something I haven’t encountered in many places. I am dead serious when I say that I definitely want to come back for an extended period of time to give the place full credit.
Have you ever been to Valparaiso? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments!
Also published on Medium.