Why Santiago should be more than just a pit-stop
Santiago is an exciting and vibrant metropolitan capital city that is definitely worth your time to explore. While most visitors fly into Santiago and use the city as a pit-stop before heading to the extreme corners of the country, there is plenty to offer for adventure and culture seekers alike.
Here are just a few reasons why you should add a couple of days in the city to your Chile visit and see for yourself why Santiago should be more than just a pit-stop:
Hills in Santiago
The city was built in a valley so that means it’s surrounded with the Andes and Coastal mountain range. If you’re visiting during the winter, you can’t miss out heading towards Farellones to one of the three ski resorts. A must do is climbing San Cristobal Hill for the best view of the city. Santa Lucia Hill is the heart of the Santiago where the city was born and every day at noon you can hear a cannon “el Cañonazo”, a tradition in the city that’s worth experiencing at least once.
This is a must-do on your list while visiting Santiago because it’s the best way to really see how Chileans live normally every day. La Vega is the largest fruit and veggies market. Mercado Central is the best place to get fresh fish. If you want to find the fanciest antiquities and knick-knacks then Persa Bio-Bio is your place to visit, especially on the weekends.
The central region of Chile is wine country. Just in the Maipo Valley, you can find over 30 wineries to visit. Ranging from massive global brands to small boutique wineries that use wooden barrels and hand-pick their grapes. The Casablanca Valley is also close by on your way to Viña del Mar or Valparaiso that has incredible wineries worth going for a day trip to.
Santiago Street Art
Santiago’s street art scene is growing and is totally worth spending a day exploring it. Nothing to compare to Valparaiso but definitely take a spin around the Bellavista and Bellas Artes neighborhood. If you’re a fan of large murals then you must take the time to visit Santiago’s open-air museum right outside the subway station Departamental (yellow line 2) in the San Miguel neighborhood to explore over 40 spectacular murals painted by Chilean and International Artist. Editor’s note: You can do that on the Santiago Urban tour
Santiago has a number of great options to spend a couple of hours to an entire day in. The best part is that most, if not all, are free. The Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center always has interesting activities all year round and the National Fine Arts Museum is the oldest museum in whole South America with an impressive collection of Chilean art. Tip: Remember that all museum are closed on Mondays so make sure you plan accordingly.
Downtown Santiago is filled with history and beautiful buildings that any aficionado can definitely appreciate the architecture in the city. Start your morning at Plaza de Armas, the main square in Santiago, and check out the Central Post Office Building inside. It’s amazing. Later, explore downtown and make your way towards La Moneda, which was once used to make all of the countries coins and is now the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile.
Cajon del Maipo
This place is for any outdoor lover. The Cajon del Maipo is just an hour away from Santiago and has everything from hiking trails, glaciers, white water rafting, and even natural hot springs. Come out for the day or even spend a couple of days enjoying the natural beauty just outside the city.
Are you convinced yet? These are just the basics to cover a couple of days in Santiago before heading to the other amazing areas throughout Chile.
There is so much more the city has to offer that will surprise you and exceed your expectations.
What To Do? A Day In Salzburg
Salzburg – The Austrian city of Salzburg is very well known for being the birth city of the famous musician and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Also the place where many scenes of the movie “Sound of Music” play and of course also where the annual Salzburger Festspiele take place. Normally a more quiet city, it can get really busy during the summer months, so my personal recommendation would be to visit Salzburg in spring or autumn time. Today I am taking you on a day through my hometown:
9:30 am – Instant Tours Polaroid Tour
Rise and shine early birds – in Salzburg our Instant Tours starts already at 9:30 am and of course we’re highly recommending to do it 😉
The walking tour will take you through beautiful Mirabellgarten, along parts of Linzergasse, through Steingasse and then crossing to the other side of town over Mozartsteg, walking past Mozartplatz, into Getreidegasse and then towards the famous Salzburg dome and a few meters up Mönchsberg where you’ll have a wonderful view over the city and the mountains surrounding it.
So plenty photo opportunities you shouldn’t miss out on 😉 A perfect start to get a good overview of the city. Try a vintage Polaroid camera, create your own unique photo souvenirs and learn more about Salzburg from a local.
12:15 pm – Lunch at Zum Zirkelwirt
After the tour, you’ll surely feel a little hungry, so we recommend to have some delicious Austrian food at Zum Zirkelwirt at Papagenoplatz. A lovely restaurant with a beautiful garden to sit outside during summer times or with very cosy rooms to sit inside during the colder months of the year.
02:15 pm – Enjoying Views from Mönchsberg
With new energy, grab your things and walk along Kaigasse until you reach Kapitelgasse on your right. At the end of that street, you’ll arrive at Kapitelplatz, take a left into Bierjodlgasse where you can either take the Festungsbahn (small train) to go up Mönchsberg or you can keep on walking up Bierjodlgasse and then take a sharp right to follow up the steeper part of Festungsgasse until you reach the entrance of the fortress.
Continue to walk from there. Taking a stroll on Mönchsberg is a nice way to be out in nature, getting some fresh air and explore the beautiful house mountain with beautiful views and lookouts over the city.
4:00 pm – Coffee and Cake at Heart of Joy
Now, if you feel like it’s time for a coffee and cake soon, make your way over to the other side of Mönchsberg. You will arrive at Müllnersteg to cross the Salzach there.
Continue walking straight over through the beginning of Mirabellgarten, keep slightly to the left and go into Franz-Josef-Straße where you’ll find the lovely café and restaurant Heart of Joy.
They’ve delicious cake and coffee variations – the perfect place for an afternoon break.
If it’s warm enough, you can sit outside and enjoy the afternoon sun, otherwise there are also enough places inside where you can get comfortable.
5:30 pm – Exploring the Andräviertel
Keep on walking up Franz-Josef-Straße, then turn right into Wolf-Dietrich-Straße. This takes you right through Andräviertel where you’ll find many little shops, galleries, more cafés and bars. It’s a nice laid back part of the city with lots of trees and green, perfect for a stroll around and enjoy one of the calmer parts of the city.
6:30 pm – Sunset at Kapuzinerberg
At the end of Wolf-Dietrich-Straße, you’ll turn right into Linzergasse. Now if you still have space for some ice cream after coffee and cake at Heart of Joy, don’t miss out on the amazing ice cream place Eisgreissler. They make sure that all of their fruit sorts are made out of seasonal and regional ingredients and you’ll find many vegan options in their ice cream menu.
If you follow Linzergasse a bit further down, you’ll arrive at a big archway which marks the entrance of the way to go up Kapuzinerberg. Yes, the first bit of the way is pretty steep but it will slow down a little bit after the first curve. And the view over the city from there is just stunning! A great spot to rest for a little and enjoy the sunset over Salzburg.
7:30 pm – Dinner at L’Osteria, Johanneskeller or Die Cabreras
Time for dinner! 🙂 There are many different options in this area. If you like Italian food, L’Osteria is definitely a great choice! They’ve the biggest pizzas I’ve ever seen and their pasta is also very good!
Otherwise, if you would like to stick to Austrian food, then just go to the restaurant opposite called Johanneskeller. Or there’s a third option for all the Mexican food lovers: Die Cabreras. All of them are just around the corner from Kapuzinerberg.
9:30 pm – Drinks at Alchimiste Belge
The Alchimiste Belge is a special place. As soon as you enter the bar, you don’t have the feeling being in Salzburg anymore. A place where a great variety of people meet. They’ve about 150 different beers to taste from, with the most extravagant flavors. The bar is open 365 days a year from 5:00pm until 01:00am.
Where to stay?
Arte Vida – a charming boutique guesthouse with different rooms and apartments.
YoHo International Youth Hostel
Editor’s note: This entry is not sponsored by any of the places above and reflects the authors opinion