Santiago is a fascinating city; a sprawling expanse of sky scrapers and 19th century neoclassical architecture, surrounded by beautiful snow-topped mountains. We experienced impromptu street parties, buzzing craft markets, incredible street art and breathtaking views during our 3 day stay.
If you’re heading to Santiago soon, here are the top 5 things you must see and do whilst you are there:
1 – Experience the breathtaking view from the Sky Costanera
At 300 meters tall, the Sky Costanera in Santiago is the highest observatory in Latin America. The 360° view of the city and surrounding snowy mountain range is completely breathtaking and is an absolute must if you are visiting Santiago.
When we visited, the Sky Costanera was advertised as being open every day of the year from 10am and tickets could be bought on the day. An elevator takes you to the top in 2 minutes and it wasn’t overly busy on our visit. Tickets were pricey at approximately £15 per adult but the taxi to get there was very reasonable and there is a big shopping centre at the base of the building which had a number of lunch options and shops to browse.
Santiago does experience quite a lot of smog so stay flexible with your plans in order to pick the clearest day possible (usually after it has rained) to experience the incredible view from the Sky Costanera.
Tip: Taxi’s and Uber are very cheap and widely available. It cost us less than £3 to get from one end of the main city to the other by taxi and £12 to and from the airport by Uber.
2 – Browse the street markets in cultural Lastarria
Lastarria is a buzzing area of Santiago, where cobblestone streets are sprinkled with cafes, wine bars and charming street art.
We stayed in an apartment in Lastarria Street and during our stay experienced a lively street party with dancers, live music and people dressed up as dogs (check out the video linked at the bottom of this blog!) and a number of local craft markets. It is a hive of activity and well worth a visit.
Tip: Lastarria Street is a great central place to stay. We rented an apartment in the Lastarria 43-61 Apart Hotel, which was clean, comfortable and modern.
3 – Wander the colourful streets of Bella Vista
Bella Vista is a celebration of colourful street art with many streets painted from end to end in quirky and beautiful designs. It can be walked around in an hour or two, or there are small tour buses if that’s more your style.
4 – Explore charming Italia Street
Italia Street is arguably one of the prettiest streets in Santiago, packed with bohemian restaurants and shops selling up-cycled furniture and hand-painted jewellery. Many of the buildings are adorned with charming and colourful street art. Allow half a day for brunch and a browse.
Tip: Sapiens is a beautiful little cafe on Italia Street offering healthy, vegan food perfect for brunch.
5 – Hike San Cristóbal Hill
Pick a clear day and pull on your trainers!
It takes just under an hour to climb San Cristóbal Hill on foot and the walk is fairly easy. If you prefer there is a funicular (cable car) or road access for a taxi ride to the top. The cable car costs around £2.60 per adult return on the weekend but on a busy day the queues can be an hour long.
Standing atop the hill is a statue of the Virgin Mary, located next to an amphitheatre which hosts church services. The view from the top is spectacular, with many opportunities for a photograph, especially on the way up as you walk.
If you’re looking for the low down on the top vegan restaurants in Santiago, head on over to the blog ‘A Vegan Visit to Santiago, Chile’ where you’ll also find my recipe re-creations of the best vegan food from our trip!
Santiago, Chile – 5 Things You Must See and Do (Summary):
- Experience the breathtaking view from the Sky Costanera
- Browse the street markets in cultural Lastarria
- Wander the colourful streets of Bella Vista
- Explore charming Italia Street
- Hike San Cristóbal Hill