Santiago is the capital of Chile. It is distinguished for being in the middle of a large valley called the Santiago Basin, surrounded by majestic mountains. The city is a meeting point between the civilisations of the ancient world and modernity. It is also home to many distinctive events, and it includes a large number of exciting touristic sites.
A Glimpse of Santiago’s History
The city was founded in 1541 by a Spanish soldier named Pedro de Valdivia. He fought the Inca tribes with the help of the Bacunche tribes, which helped establish the first Spanish colony in the region.
After the War of Liberation between (1810-1818), the city was destroyed. It was chosen as the capital of the country after the end of that war, and it witnessed development in the 19th century that turned it into an important economic centre in South America.
Weather in Santiago
Santiago is known for its lovely weather, similar to the Mediterranean region. The temperature in the summer reaches about 35 degrees Celsius and ranges between 8 to 20 degrees in the winter.
The Best Time to Visit Santiago
The best time to visit the city is from September to December or March to May when you can enjoy its great weather and perfect temperatures. Some visitors prefer summer to be able to go to the beach when the weather is warm.
Must-Visit Attractions in Santiago
Tourism in Santiago is full of experiences for visitors, which supports the enjoyment of tourism in the city. The city’s charm lies in the beautiful balance between its nice climate and the many attractions available to tourists.
It is a bustling city of more than six million people. However, it still retains its ancient past, and you will find this in the traces of heritage in the neoclassical colonial buildings that date back to the 19th century.
There are many tourist attractions in Santiago that you would like to visit. In the coming section, we will learn more about the popular places to visit.
La Moneda Palace
La Moneda Palace is a famous attraction in the city. It is located in the centre of Santiago and was built in 1828. It has been Chile’s major seat of government since 1845 until today.
In 1973, the palace was bombed, putting Pinochet in power, but after that, it was restored. When you visit the palace, you will enjoy its design as a rare masterpiece and unparalleled in South America.
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was built in 1748, and since then, it has become one of the most renowned attractions in the city. It remained standing even after the earthquake that took place 260 years ago, unlike other cathedrals that were destroyed.
The cathedral’s design is an excellent example of religious architecture in South America. There, you will find wooden doors carved since 1765 and a tower bearing the remains of the first Cardinal in Chile. Inside, you will find an ornate altar and a museum of sacred art that you will love.
Gran Torre Santiago
Gran Torre is a high building that can be seen everywhere in the city, and it is a well-known skyscraper in Latin America. The building is about 300 metres tall, consisting of 64 floors, and has six basement floors.
About 250,000 people come here daily because it houses the largest shopping centre in South America. If you go to the top floor of the building, you will find an observation deck, which gives you a 360-degree view of Santiago.
Santa Lucía Hill
Santa Lucia Hill is a hill in the centre of Santiago that represents the remains of a 15 million-year-old volcano. The hill was initially called Huelen but was renamed in 1543 in honour of Santa Lucia. When you visit the hill, you will find a garden, statues and fountains, in addition to the castle, where you can see a spectacular view of Santiago.
Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art
Chile is well-known for fostering arts throughout the ages, with many museums spreading throughout its lands. One of the most famous Chilean museums is located in Santiago. The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art was built by the famous Chilean architect Sergio Larraín García-Moreno.
The museum displays many private collections of pre-Columbian artefacts that Moreno has collected for 50 years. The museum was officially opened in 1982. While you visit the museum, you will find many beautiful ancient types of pottery from the American continent dating back to about 300 BC.
Cerro San Cristobal
Cerro San Cristobal has a lovely view of Santiago, rises 300 metres above the city and its slopes and is the city’s largest park. There, you can walk through green paths, the Japanese Garden, and visit the animals in the zoo.
When you reach the top of the hill, you will see the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is 22 metres in height and is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The location also includes a theatre for religious ceremonies.
Bellavista Neighbourhood is a place where artists and scholars live. The area includes restaurants, shops, and showrooms. It has colourful old houses, and the streets are lined with magnificent trees. If you visit the area at night on weekends, you will find a unique handicraft market with art made of authentic lapis lazuli.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas is the main square in the city, and there you will find many cafes, restaurants, and shops. Also, you will find the National Cathedral, where you can go in and have an excellent tour. The shops have many gifts and souvenirs you can buy to remember the magnificent city. Don’t miss going to one of the square’s restaurants to try their delicious local food.
Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre
Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre is a famous attraction among the places you should visit in Santiago. It hosts exhibitions, premieres, concerts, and theatre performances, and it was named after Gabriela Mistral, a famous writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945.
Funicular de Santiago
If you are looking for another magnificent view of Santiago, then Metropolitan Park is the perfect place. There, you will find cable cars that will take you to the top of San Cristobal Hill. Also, the park has a funicular built in 1925, botanical gardens, and a children’s park.
Maipo Canyon is located 25 km southeast of Santiago, where many tourists go for adventures and to enjoy a delicious local meal. You can go hiking, cycling, skiing, and much more in the canyon.
Don’t forget, if you intend to ski during your Christmas holidays, that Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere.
Chilean Dishes You Need to Try
Chilean cuisine stems mainly from mixing Spanish culinary traditions with local ingredients and the indigenous Chilean Mapuche culture. Traditional food is varied due to the variety of ingredients and flavours, the diversity of geography and climate and hosting a wide range of agricultural products, fruits, and vegetables. Here are some famous traditional foods you can try when you visit the country.
Humitas is an old traditional dish in Chile. The way it is prepared is similar to the Ecuadorean and Peruvian methods. It consists of mashed corn wrapped in corn husks with onions, garlic and basil. It is served with sprinkled sugar or fresh tomatoes.
Chorrillana is a drool-worthy dish consisting of fried potatoes, finely chopped onions, spicy sausage, and sliced beef, with one or two fried eggs. It can be a delicious side dish or even a scrumptious snack.
Ajiaco Meat Soup
This dish is available in more than one South American country, especially Colombia. The Chilean version of the soup is usually prepared with leftover grilled meat, with a stock added to potatoes, chopped onions, hot green peppers, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano.
Gambas al Pil Pil
Originally, this dish came from Spain, but the Chilean preparation method has changed it a bit, and it is spread in some areas of the country. It contains shrimp tails cooked with oil, garlic and salt.
It is great to know that Chile has become one of the best destinations to visit around the world in the last few years, and we hope that this article gave you all the information you needed.