I came to Valparaíso, Chile, early in the morning after a 13-hours night bus drive from Pucón. Again, as many times during my trip in South America, I had the wrong map of where the bus will leave me and I had to figure out how to get to my hostel without the internet. Luckily, I chose the right bus to get to Plaza Sotomayor and in front of me hills with colorful houses started popping out. This Chilean city is definitely a destination where it is good to have a lot of energy for walking up and down. They have a few elevators which help (and the rides are really cheap), but they are not always where you need them. Or not working, as it was case with the elevator going up to Cerro Alegre where my hostel was situated. But the hills also mean there are a lot of great views of the city on every corner. Or from many windows, as was this awesome view on the photo below at my Karamba Hostel (which I absolutely recommend staying in).
Before writing about my walking tour, I have to say a few words about the safety in this city. I have been warned from a few people that I have to be very careful, because there are a lot of street pickpockets and thieves around, especially in narrow and dark allies that Valparaíso is full of. So I have been careful with my backpack, trying not to show my phone around too much, and I did not have any bad experience. However, maybe it is a city you have to be a bit more careful when visiting, so be aware of your surroundings.
I have made a round self made walking tour of Valparaíso, starting on Cerro Alegre (because my hostel was there) and visiting also the waterfront, Cerro Concepción, Cerro Bellavista and Cerro Florida. So here is a guide to what to see in Valparaíso in 24 hours!
Casa Crucero and Paseo Yugoslavo
Picture perfect spot at Casa Crucero describes this city so well: colorful houses, hills and turns. Head on to Pase Yugoslavo and admire the Palacio Baburizza, the view of the port and surrounding hills.
Plaza Sotomayor and Muelle Prat
City’s main square Plaza Sotomayor is known for the blue-colored palace Edificio de la Comandancia Naval and the naval monument the Monomuento a los Héroes de Iquique. It fronts the port Muelle Prat where you can see little fisherman’s boats and big container ships.
Calle Serrano is an interesting site for sure – half destroyed buildings covered with graffiti art. If you are lucky an old tram will pass by when you are walking there for even stronger feeling of stepping back in history.
Calle Prat, Calle Esmeralda and Plaza Anibal Pinto
A walk among stores, restaurants and business buildings located on the streets Calle Prat and Calle Esmeralda will get you to a lovely little square Plaza Anibal Pinto. This square was declared by the Chilean state as Zona Típica, which means it is protected because it is a special representation of evolution of the community.
This iconic promenade offers picturesque houses in a row, painted in different colors and all very unlike Valparaíso tidy. But it’s a nice site to see and you get jet another gorgeous view of the surrounding hills and the Plaza Anibal Pinto.
Plaza Victoria and Ascensor Espiritud Santo
Lovely Plaza Victoria is the city square where people gather before going to mass at the Catedral de Valparaíso. It is also the square one has to pass to get to the Ascensor Espiritud Santo which will spare you the walk up to Cerro Bellavista and Cerro Florida.
Museo a Cielo Abierto
Museo a Cielo Abierto – open air museum – represents 20 wall arts on Cerro Bellavista. It was the first museums of its kind in Chile and it opened in 1992. The area is also full of other interesting graffiti art.
Casa de Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet, diplomat, politician and recipient of a Nobel Prize in Literature. He had three very interesting houses in Chile, one of them is called La Sebastiana and is situated on Cerro Florida in Valparaíso. Today it is a museum dedicated to the poet. I did not enter the museum, but enjoyed again one of magnificent views of the city and they bay while I read some of Neruda famous love poems.
Ascensor Reina Victoria
One of 16 elevators in the city and one of the oldest is the Ascensor Reina Victoria, which was built in 1902 and dedicated to the Queen Victoria. It is also the elevator where you can buy coffee while waiting for your ride.
On Calle Templeman the houses are not only colorful but their facades are also art pieces. This street is also known for the “We are not hippies, we are happies” sign. It’s a vibrant neighborhood worth exploring.
One more must see part of the city, where you can wonder narrow streets full of different art and more color, if this is even possible. Paseo Gervasoni is one of my favorite parts of the city, partly also due to absolutely great pie and coffee I had here.