Valparaiso Chile is the capital of the Valparaiso region and one of the busiest seaports in the country. Situated along the Pacific coast, this picturesque area is the third-largest populated area in the country, behind Santiago and Concepcion. Historians estimate the city, surrounded by the mountains of Concepcion and Alegre, was founded in the late 1500s. Because of the architectural and cultural past that permeates the city, Valparaiso Chile was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. It is also the seat for the National Congress.
With its Mediterranean climate, Valparaiso travel can be scheduled anytime during the year. Temperatures are warm during the summer season, from October to March, and milder temperatures prevail during the winter season, which runs from about April to September. The rainy season in Valparaiso Chile takes place predominately during the winter months, but the city is still a pleasant place to be during this period.
There are plenty of things to do when planning a vacation in Valparaiso. Areas of interest within the city include the Muelle Prat Wharf, where visitors can see commercial ships from around the world docked in the harbor, buy handcrafted items from local shops and vendors, see the sights along winding cobblestone streets, or arrange a boat trip around the harbor. Sightseeing in the neighborhoods that depict the neoclassical and Art Nouveau style, as well as nineteenth-century architecture and vintage mansions is easily done through Valparaiso tours of the city both on foot and by rail. Lifts to access the rails are accessible throughout the city.
A vacation in Valparaiso holds many adventures for tourists, including the funicular railways. These colorful trains travel around the city providing residents transportation to and from their homes, which dot the hillside neighborhoods situated along steep slopes overlooking the harbor. The funiculars are ideal for seeing panoramic views of the city and harbor while traveling along the hilltops, particularly if you're interested in a birds-eye view of the historic architecture.
There are several museums in the city worth visiting during a vacation in Valparaiso, including the Monument of the Heroes of Iquique, commemorating the War of the Pacific begun in 1879 among Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, and the Naval and Maritime Museum, which is found behind the monument and the crypt. Both are located in Sotomayer Plaza. A fine example of the Art Noveau architectural style is seen in the architecture at Palacio Baburizza, built in 1916. Today, the palace is designated as the Fine Arts Museum, with a fine collection of European and Chilean paintings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The Casa Mirador de Lukas museum has an excellent collection of drawings of Valparaiso spanning many years, and those interested in local history should also consider visiting La Sebastiana, home to poet Pablo Neruda and today a museum with a variety of exhibits and collectibles, as well as St. Paul's Church, which was built in 1858. The church maintains the grand organ donated in 1901 by the British.
A scenic walk along Paseo Gervasoni features elaborate nineteenth-century homes, and along Paseo Atkinson there are more examples of vintage turn-of--century homes and the Lutheran church built in 1897. A popular Valparaiso travel experience is a night tour of the city, where the evening begins at a local restaurant featuring traditional food and then continues at pubs and dancing venues.
When planning your Valparaiso travel itinerary, you might also include a tour of the nearby vineyards and wineries in the Casablanca, San Antonio, and Maipo valleys. Chilean wineries are growing in international prominence, and wine tours are a great way to taste the local products and learn about one of the world's new wine destinations. Vacation packages are often able to bundle various tours along with Valparaiso hotels and transportation, and if you're looking to save money on your trip, searching for travel deals ahead of time is often the best way to go.