Framed by snowcapped Andean mountains on its eastern flank and a range of smaller coastal peaks to the west, the city of Santiago enjoys a remarkably scenic setting in Chile's Central Valley. As the cultural and economic heart of the country, it's the best place to get under the skin of Chile's national identity with a thriving arts scene, superb museums, vibrant theatre and music, and first-rate cuisine.
Centred around the busy Plaza de Armas, Santiago's main attractions can easily be visited by foot in a few days. The central square is lined with grand architecture from the Correo Central with its impressive facade and stunning glass roof, to the historically important Palacio de la Real Audiencia, a beautifully preserved colonial building with a museum housing fascinating old relics. For views of Santiago city, head to Cerro San Cristóbal, a park with numerous viewpoints and a cable car, or to the Gaudí-like Cerro Santa Lucía for excellent panoramas and interesting Baroque terraces.
Santiago offers a comprehensive range of restaurants with the Old Downtown area a good place to start. Evidence of Chile's German immigrants can be found in the city's coffee shops, usually serving delicious treats such as strudel. At night the area of Bellavista is filled with a vibrant night-time market with many small restaurants hosting live guitar or Latin music meaning you can eat, drink and dance all in the same place. Theatre in Santiago is renowned and the best place to sample music, dance and opera is at the prestigious Teatro Municipal.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Santiago, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to South America