Valparaiso is an intriguing UNESCO World Heritage site, the city perched on a steep hillside overlooking the Pacific ocean just a few hours drive west of Santiago. With a lively sea port and many nearby beaches to explore it makes a good day trip from the city, especially when combined with tours to the state of the art white wine producers in the Casablanca valley. Fans of Pablo Neruda will want to visit his favourite house, now a museum - La Sebastiana.
However, if you have a little more time, Valparaiso is an enchanting bohemian city with steep funicular railways climbing and descending the hills dotted with colourful houses and narrow streets and well worth a few days stay. The city was founded in the 19th century and has always been one of most intriguiing and distinctive in the country. Perfect for a break from the busy capital with a year round temperate Mediterranean climate, stroll round the lively seaport market of Muelle Prat and explore its churches, museums and colonial buildings, some of which have now been restored and turned into cosy charming boutique hotels with terraces overlooking the sea.