How to spend a free day in Santiago, Chile

Santiago is one of South America’s most enchanting destinations. Nestled beside the Andes mountains, the city features a striking blend of history and modern culture. Its streets hum with a youth-like energy, bustling at all hours against a backdrop of neoclassical architecture.

The city’s perpetual motion testifies to its rapid evolution. Government investments have accelerated quality of life, sparking an expansion of art, culture, wealth and especially luxury. In less than 24 hours, you can indulge in a world of pleasures – fine dining, luscious wine, exquisite art, centuries of history, an intriguing nightlife and more. Try these activities to the make the most of your luxury vacation in Santiago.

Begin the day with a breathtaking view

There’s no better place to watch the sun rise than at the top of San Cristobal Hill. The site reveals a gorgeous landscape of the entire city, framed by the snow-capped Andes mountains. You may notice visitors ascending by foot, but San Cristóbal is accessible by car. Skip the climb and have a driver take you to this spectacular lookout point.

Chile cityscape

Cerro Santa Lucía, another hill located in the center of town, provides a stunning panoramic view of Santiago. Dotted with beautiful sculptures, serene ponds, and lookout points, the hill allows you to see the city from multiple angles. From there, hop into your car and enjoy breakfast or coffee in one of the city’s quaint cafes.

Immerse yourself in art and history

In Santiago, creation thrives on every corner. The city features architectural masterpieces, outdoor sculptures, street art, museums, and dozens of galleries hidden in upscale neighborhoods. After absorbing the stunning view, travel back through time at the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. With exquisite pottery exhibits, the museum delves into South America’s ancient past, displaying relics from the Mayan and Andean cultures.

Chile street art

If modern art intrigues you, then head to Centro Gabriela Mistral. The center offers dynamic contemporary art exhibits and splendid performances of dance and music. At Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, an historic landmark of Santiago, you can peruse the original works of famous artists like Pablo Picasso.

For the most elegant artistic experience, wander into the galleries of El Golf and Vitacura neighborhoods, or stroll past stunning works of colonial architecture. The Baroque interior of Metropolitan Cathedral, located in Plaza de Armas, beautifully captures neoclassical design in Chile. Nearby you can visit La Moneda Palace, a vestige of Chile’s history and the office of its president.

Steal away to La Chascona

In 1953, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda built La Chascona, a hideaway home used for affairs with his mistress. The house brings Neruda’s character to life, reflecting his quirks and the substance of his poetry. Today La Chascona serves as a charming museum, offering guided tours for guests throughout the week. As one of Santiago’s most popular attractions, it is a must-see destination for anyone touring the city.

Indulge in exotic wines and fine dining

Chile is known for its wine, and Santiago offers many of the country’s finest selections. Hire a private guide to take you through the city’s neighborhoods and show you its best shops and restaurants.

For an eclectic wine experience in town, visit Camino Real, a restaurant that offers tastings led by experts. You can also reserve a table at one of the city’s many wine bars, popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. Santiago’s metropolitan area includes dozens of vineyards, so if you have a few hours, take the short drive to Viña Choncha y Toro, Viña Aquitania, or Viña Undurrga.

Among the city’s best restaurants – including Europeo, Element and Astrid y Gastó – is the acclaimed Borago in Vitacura. Known for its outstanding presentation and rare combinations, the restaurant cooks up multiple-course meals with an enticing Chilean flare. The menu features succulent dishes with local ingredients, boasting powerful flavors that leave sophisticated diners satisfied.

Shop in style and elegance

After satisfying your palate, you can return to the winding streets of Santiago and experience the city’s high-end shopping. For the classiest shops, visit the wealthy neighborhoods of Nueva Costanera, Vitacura or Cordova. In addition to superb art galleries, these districts offer upscale boutiques and clothing stores like Armani, Veronica Blackburn and Hermès.

Embark on an first-class adventure

Luxury abounds in Santiago, but the surrounding areas offer an unparalleled experience of leisure. Hire a local tour company to whisk you away to the Banos Colina Hot Springs, located southeast of Santiago. After you arrive, soak in the waters of the Maipo Canyon, enjoy a long nature walk, and relax outdoors with a picnic.

Wherever you choose to travel in Santiago, the area provides an array of luxurious experiences. Book your flight, grab your best camera, and prepare for a first-rate journey to Chile’s capital city.

Chile market place

Daniel Abrahams is Co-founder and CEO of MyTravelMoney.co.uk.

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