Try a glass of delicious Carménère red wine. The grape was originally from the Bordeaux region of France but is now almost exclusively grown in Chile.
Saskia, Original Traveller
Chile's capital, Santiago, is often overlooked as a mere stopover after the long international flight, and certainly it is less showy than Buenos Aires or Rio, but it is well worth staying a few nights in one of many good hotels, and exploring the city and its surrounding attractions. Badly damaged by earthquakes over the years, Santiago's architecture is an interesting mix of historic and modern, with gleaming buildings alongside baroque buildings and the impressive Presidential Palace on the central Plaza de Armas.
Why we think you’ll love it
- Santiago is an exciting city - whether you like the bohemian vibe of Bellavista, the chic restaurants of Lastarria, or would rather mingle with the well-heeled at one of the many mega-malls is the upmarket areas of Vitacura and Las Condes, there's something to please all tastes
- The wine region is simply stunning, and its proximity to the city makes it the perfect place to spend a night or two pre- or post-flight if you want to avoid the bustle of the city
- Different wineries all have different tours to showcase their unique wine making processes, so there's no excuse not to visit a few while you're in the area
- Can't stand summer because it means no skiing? Head to Portillo and hit the slopes in July and August to keep your ski cravings at bay
From the gallery
Santiago and Central Valley Holidays: the Detail
We would recommend spending a couple of days of your holiday exploring Santiago itself and while you're there, make sure you head up San Cristobal hill with your camera, to get the best views of the city and the surrounding Andes. After this, move on to its surrounding attractions; the coast, Andes and vineyards.
The food in Santiago is great; from the bustling central fish market to any number of upmarket international restaurants and more typical Chilean lunch options. South of the city, the Central Valley is where the majority of Chile's wine comes from. The Maipo Valley, closest to Santiago, is home to the most widely known export; Concha y Toro, whose winery can be visited in a day trip. Maipo's cool ocean breezes, bright sunshine and elevated slopes are perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, one of the export varieties Chile has become synonymous with, but local vineyards also grow Merlot and Chardonnay on the upper slopes. Beyond that, deeper into the picturesque landscape of vines with the Andean backdrop, are many smaller vineyards, some of which form part of the 'Wine Route' and offer charming overnight accommodation. Try a glass of delicious Carménère red wine - the grape was originally from the Bordeaux region of France but is now almost exclusively grown in Chile.