Nestled at the foothills of the snow-capped Andes mountains, all you have to do is take one look at the Santiago skyline to understand the city’s beauty. Despite this, some past visitors complain that Santiago lacks beautiful places to visit, and even the locals dub the city as “Santiasco” (or “Santi-gross”) because of its continuous smog.
But to say that the city lacks in beautiful landmarks and attractions couldn’t be further from the truth. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; so whether you’re into historic architecture, splendid views from the tops of mountains, or even just a pretty park to walk around for a few hours, there’s a little something for everyone in the Chilean capital:
1. La Chascona
Because nothing says beauty quite like Pablo Neruda’s gripping poetry, a visit to his secret hideaway in Santiago is a must. Neruda designed this ship-shaped house himself, which boasts a dining room modelled like a ship cabin, a living room resembling a lighthouse, and a kitchen reflecting the interior of a ship cabin! Oh, and there’s a “fairy tale” garden in the back as well…
Towering over Santiago at 300-metres in height, this magnificent structure is not only the largest skyscraper in Latin America, it’s so massive that it even casts a shadow more than a mile long! Plus visitors can even head up to the observation deck to enjoy magnificent 360° views of the city; (on a clear day, of course).
This park is largely regarded as the most beautiful park in the city, and with centennial trees, a lagoon, beautifully-manicured gardens, and tons of walkways, it’s easy to see why. Besides having tons of museums and historic buildings to check out, visitors can also rent a pedal boat and skirt around its majestic lagoon.
With oh-so-bohemian and artsy vibes oozing out of every street and corner, Santiago’s Barrio Bellavista is packed full of so many funky boutiques, avant-garde galleries, and colourful houses, you could easily spend weeks in the neighbourhood without ever leaving its vicinity.
While it doesn’t exactly scream “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” quite like Buenos Aires’ Presidential Palace, this magnificent Neoclassical building is definitely not one to miss. Occupying an entire block of the city, La Moneda is also where the Chilean presidential offices are located – oh, and you can see the Changing of the Guard ceremony here as well.
This is the type of Santiago attraction that is beautiful both inside and out. Not only was it designed in a stunning Beaux-Arts style thanks to the talents of the Chilean architect Emile Jéquier, it also contains 3,000 pieces of art (including portraits of Bernardo O’Higgins) and a collection of some impressive marble statues on its ground floor.
Home to the Santiago Metropolitan Park, the iconic 22-metre-high statue of the Virgin Mary, and even the Chilean National Zoo, San Cristóbal Hill not only stuns visitors with its beauty, it’s also loaded with different attractions as well. Unfortunately not many free tours in Santiago head up to the top, but you could easily take the beautiful 45-minute walk up on your own to see the statue, or even ride the funicular; (if you don’t have the stamina for the hike, that is).