Valparaiso is located on the coast of Chile, just a hop, skip, and jump away from Santiago and definitely worth a day trip. It’s a city built on steep inclines feeding down to the ocean, and within two minutes there I felt like I was back in San Francisco – huffing and puffing up and down ridiculously steep hills seems to be unavoidable in both places.
Valparaiso is a city for your inner art lover. Filled to the brim with local artisan shops, street art, Crayola colored houses, and Colonial architecture, it’s an intriguing mish-mash of styles and periods. The population grew so fast in the 19th century that streets did not have names, let alone house numbers – colors were used instead to identify the home.
Along with the vibrant buildings, most wall space is occupied by funky and amazing graffiti and street art pieces – something I have grown to love more and more since taking a street art tour in Buenos Aires. The artists seamlessly meld, or purposely contradict, their work with the surroundings, making the city an art gallery in itself.
We stopped for a coffee at the local haunt El Desayunador before wandering around the delightfully colorful streets and strolling along Paseo Dimalow. The city architecture is fascinating – gorgeous colonial style buildings now a bit rough around the edges, but thoughtfully painted by talented artists and filled with smiling shopkeepers and tenants. Charming and unique.
Another unique element of this city is the funiculars. With 22 total, providing transport from the high hills down to the historical seaside port area, they are a great and slightly rickety way to get a view of the surroundings. The El Peral funicular, built in 1902, has ancient old wooden compartments to carry you from A to B. We landed down in the seaside port area, dilapidated and sun soaked with all kinds of people out to enjoy some rays.
Hotel: The Mm450 Hotel and Restaurant has a lovely terrace and back patio for enjoying a coffee or glass of wine. Very Pinterest-ready shots.
With limited time left to explore, we headed to the neighboring Vina del Mar – modern and sleek in comparison. Beautiful beaches lie in easy access to the apartment buildings populating the city – prime location to say the least!
Refueling with fancy water, super salads, and sea breezes, we were ready to head back to Santiago and onward to the next adventure.
Valparaiso is an eclectic, unique, and artsy city, offering something totally different from Santiago. It’s the perfect place to satisfy your need for a little funk and fun. I will certainly be back for a street art tour and more exploring!