Visit Valparaiso – Funiculars
Visit Valparaiso funiculars to reach the hilltops of the Old Town. The fee is very inexpensive, but the trip is an adventure. The funiculars are wooden boxes on cable routes that were established over 100 years ago. So, the fare may not feel like a bargain once you get on board. On the hill tops, enjoy a maze of narrow pathways filled with extravagant graffiti, viewpoints, cafes, museums and B&Bs. Read our Valparaíso Shore Excursion blog.
Walk from the port or catch the trolley to the Acensor Artillera at the Customs Building (Aduana). It’s the last stop on the green trolley. Ride up past Casa Quatro Vientos to the Paseo 21 del Mayo and its viewpoint. This is a classic Valparaíso photo location, but other than the Naval Maritime Museum, there isn’t a lot to see after taking this funicular.
Visit Valparaiso – Walking Tour Part 1
Start in Plaza Sotomayor, which is the main square by the port. Take a self-guided tour or you simply can’t beat Tours4Tips, which offers daily tours for a tip that you determine. At Plaza Sotomayor’s entrance is the Monument to the Heroes of Iquique. The Chilean Navy Headquarters dominates the square. Beside it is the National Council for Culture and the Arts . The Palace of Justice is behind the navy Headquarters. Just before it is the Ascensor El Peral (funicular) up to Cerro Alegre. Check our Visit Valparaíso Walking Tour map.
Visit Valparaiso – Walking Tour Part 2
Walking Tour Part 2 – On Cerro Alegre, walk the Paseo Yugoslavo (Yugoslavian Promenade). See the fine art museum in Baburizza Palace. Then descend along Bavestrello, cross Urriola and ascend Paseo Galvez to Paseo Gervasoni. Look down on the Reloj Turri (Turri Clock). Have coffee at Cafe Turri . Next venture to the nearby Casa Museo Mirador de Lukas museum and the Anglican Church of St. Paul. It was built a few years before the 1869 repeal of the law that made Catholicism the only legal religion in Chile. On Paseo Gervasoni, take the Concepcion Funicular back down to Pratt St or continue the hillside walking tour.
Visit Valparaiso – Walking Tour Part 3
Walking Tour Part 3 – Visit Paseo Atkinson for its unique architecture. Pass the Lutheran Church. Get lost in the alleyways in Paseo Dimlow and enjoy the street art. Head down to the lower city on Ascensor Reina Victoria (funicular). Then walk down Cumming to the Cinzano bar and Plaza Anibal Pinto. From there take the trolley onward to Plaza Victoria or back to Plaza Sotomayor.
Visit Valparaiso – Walking Tour Part 4
Walking Tour Part 4 – Arrive by trolley at Plaza Victoria and see the Cathedral of Valparaíso. Then walk a block south and west on Aldunate to the Ascensor Espiritu Santo (funicular). At the top wander the Ruta BellaVista and see the murals of the Open Sky Museum. Return on the same funicular and walk a couple blocks to the restaurant called Casino Social J Cruz.
Valparaiso Hotel Recommendations
Stay in the heart of the tourist graffiti district, with views down to the harbor.
Visit Valparaiso – Other Sights
- Ride the green electric trolley through the historic old town. It travels a continuous return route starting at Plaza Wheelwright.
- See the Catholic Cemetery and beside it theProtestant Dissidents Cemetery.
- Take a harbor tour of Valparaíso Bay from Muelle Prat (Prat Pier) on a lancha.
- Visit La Sabastiana Museo de Pablo Neruda. The home of this Nobel Prize winner has been turned into a museum
- See the street art in Polanco. It’s accessible on the Ascensor Polanco funicular. Nearby, stroll the Wednesday and Saturday market on Avenida Argentina.
- Watch the sea lions on the cement structure at Muelle Baron.
Savor the Tastes of Valparaiso
- Chorrillana – french fries topped with fried onions, egg, steak and sausages.
- Terremoto (earthquake) – a very sweet mix of grenadine, Chilean wine and pineapple ice cream.
- Alfajores – Chilean version with sweet filling between two cookies, which is then covered with sugar or chocolate.
- Casino Social J Cruz (Jota Cruz Martinez Casino Social) is not a casino. It’s a popular spot for chorrillana and local music.
- Coffee at Cae Brighton or Cafe Turri on Paseo Gervasoni.
- Cinzano – a bar open since 1896 and popular with tourists. Try borgona – wine and fruit.
- Mercado El Cardonal (Cardonal Market)
Visit Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar is 25 – 45 minutes by bus from Valparaíso’s central bus station. It is a wealthy suburb, so it contrasts sharply with the historic Old Town of Valparaíso.
- Go mansion viewing and see Wulff Castle.
- Place Vergara, Quinta Vergara park and its amphitheater.
- Floral Clock (Reloj de Flores).
- Lots of museums – Rioja Palace Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Artequin Museum and the Francisco Fonck Museum of Easter Island antiquities.
Sights Near Valparaiso
- Casablanca (26 miles) wine district and the Curacavi farmlands are visited on trips to Santiago.
- The Aconcagua and San Antonio Valley wine districts are less well known than Casablanca.
- Isla Negra, on the coast is just over an hour south of Valparaíso.
Valparaíso is in the southern hemisphere and has a mediterranean climate moderated by the Pacific. In the summer months from December – March, expect average highs of about 68 F (20 C) and average lows of 56 F (14 C). In the winter, from June through September, expect average highs of 57 F (15 C) and average lows of 49 F (9 C). Precipitation is slight in the winter months and almost non-existent during the summer.
Visit Valparaiso – Transportation
Valaparaiso is about 1.5 hours from Santiago. Transportation is available by cab or bus from the Santiago International Airport (Arturo Merino Benitez, SCL). Santiago is major the international gateway for flights to Chile.
When arriving in Valparaiso at the bus terminal, walk a block to the main city bus location and then take the historic 802 Aduana green trolley bus to Plaza Sotomayor. Alternately, spend about 20 times as much for a cab. There are also a myriad of other bus lines operating through the city.
Visit Valparaiso – Cruise Ship Port
Cruise ship passengers must pass by private buses from the secure area of the port dock. The buses traverse the public access at Plaza Sotomayor, but you cannot exit the private bus there. Instead, it takes you to the cruise ship terminal more than 10 minutes away. After clearing customs, passengers must then take a 10 minute cab ride back to Plaza Sotomayor where you can begin a self-guided tour of the old town.
Visit Valparaiso – Background
Valparaíso has an urban population of about 1 million, including the well known suburb of Viña del Mar. Valparaiso is known as the Pearl of the Pacific and Little San Francisco. It consists of more than 40 hills jammed up against the Pacific Ocean. Its electric trolleys, funiculars, murals and colorful architecture have helped make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 1800s, before the Panama Canal was completed, Valparaiso was a major trade and immigration route for those traveling to the west coast of North America. It experienced a marked decline after the completion of the Panama Canal. An earthquake in 2010 heavily damaged the city.