Santiago is a great city with many secrets. It’s a joy to explore and you can spend many days uncovering all the gems it has to offer. However, if your time is limited, you definitely need to experience the local cuisine, wine, views, markets, and streets.
5 Things to Do in Santiago, Chile: What to Start Your Trip With
1. Enjoy some bread and wine
Chile is renowned as a producer of some of the best wines in the world. Therefore, your trip to Santiago must include some wine tasting. You can go on a vineyard tour through the plains of Chile. But if you stick to Santiago, you will be able to enjoy all those wines in local restaurants and bars.
And while you are at it, be sure to indulge in local breads as well. The people of Santiago have a special relationship with baked goods. The ovens of many local bakeries produce fresh breads, buns, and other treats twice a day. People are lining up to get their portion of the still hot treats for breakfast and ‘tea time’. The variety of baked goods is mindboggling, so you can try something new every day.
2. Take a walk through the city
Santiago is a big and eclectic city. It’s a mix of old and new, and the older parts hide many interesting secrets. Those range from tiny gardens to even smaller food stalls that serve amazing local delicacies.
The best way to explore the city and truly experience its unique atmosphere is on foot. However, as it’s quite big and tricky to navigate, you might need to start with guided tours in Santiago. Those will take you to all the most popular attractions. And you’ll be able to memorize the routes so you can explore more of the popular city areas later on.
However, you shouldn’t forget that Santiago is a big city that attracts many tourists. Therefore, pickpockets, muggers, and other unsavory characters are quite common. To avoid meeting them, you should stick to big busy streets and ‘good’ neighborhoods. You also shouldn’t wander the streets after dark without a trusted guide.
3. Take a ride in the metro
While all the beauties of Santiago are above ground, a ride in Santiago Metro is a must if you want to truly experience the city like a local. This underground railway is the third largest in Latin America. It’s extremely busy as trains carry thousands of people through 107 stations.
The network keeps growing and today it’s one of the best examples of how Santiago is turning into a major urban metropolis.
4. Shop at local markets
Mercado Central and La Vega are the biggest markets in Santiago, but there are many others that you can visit during your stay. If possible, try to see as many as you can and enjoy some of the many local dishes cooked right before your eyes. All the ingredients in them are guaranteed to be fresh as they come from the same market.
Santiago markets are brimming with noise and activity. They can give you a better experience of the city than museum halls. A trip to a market in the morning can help you understand the local culture better. And you will definitely get to witness some famed Chilean generosity and passion in the people around you. In addition to that, you’ll get fresh, cheap, and delicious food.
5. Take in the views
Santiago lies right at the foot of Andes, so it’s easy to get high up and simply enjoy the spectacular views. Be sure to catch at least one sunset, especially if you are on a romantic trip.
If you feel daring, you can get higher up, close to the mountain tops and have fun with some skiing. And then simply go back down and enjoy a delicious dinner is a restaurant with an ocean view.