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World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Chile > Santiago

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Santiago tours and excursions

Santiago tours

Walking tours

The four-hour walking tour takes place twice daily and starts by exploring the sights of Santiago's main square, Cathedral and City Hall, before taking in the colourful neighbourhoods of Lastarria and Bellavista. Tips are welcome.

Tel: +569 9236 8789.
Website: http://www.freetoursantiago.cl/portada.html

Bike tours

La Bicicleta Verde proudly boast that Sir Paul McCartney and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler are former patrons, and their four routes around Santiago certainly cover some legendary sites from the past.

Tel: +562 2570 9939.
Website: http://www.labicicletaverde.com

Santiago excursions

Valparaíso

Valparaíso is a ramshackle city of multi-coloured mansions and houses balanced precariously on steep hills overlooking a historic port, two hours from Santiago. The heritage of Valparaíso is so unique that UNESCO declared the city a World Heritage Site in 2003. Every corner turned, alleyway walked or staircase climbed reveals a vibrant street scene or sweeping view of the sea and city - it is easy to see why artists and intellectuals have traditionally been attracted to the place. Among the best-known former residents is the poet Pablo Neruda, whose delightfully disordered former home La Sebastiana, Ricardo Ferrari 692 (tel: +563 2225 6606; www.lasebastiana-neruda.cl) is open Tuesday to Sunday 1000-1800 as an intriguing museum.

Viña Concha y Toro

Chile's wines have soared in international reputation and some of the country's best-known tipples are produced in the village of Pirque, just southeast of Santiago. Chile's largest winery, Concha y Toro is surrounded by seemingly endless fields of vines and blessed with spectacular views of the Andes. There are guided tours of the grounds and the adobe storehouses, which are full of huge oak barrels. Tours in English take place daily at regular intervals throughout the day. It can take one to two hours to reach the vineyard and you need to make a reservation in advance. Take the Metro to Plaza de Puente Alto on Line 4, then take the MetroBus or taxi to the winery, which is slightly more than five minutes away from the Metro station.

Tel: +562 2476 5000.
Website: http://www.conchaytoro.com

Featured Hotels

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W Santiago

Starwood Hotel's W chain has landed in Santiago, with a blaze of imaginative lighting, colourful fittings and quirky furnishings. Compared with many of the W hotels around the world, this is tempered slightly by Chile's conservative tastes – no bad thing. The 168 rooms are well appointed. The level of service is unsurprisingly high. The rooftop pool is an interesting place to spend a few hours relaxing, and the bar is excellent.

NOI Vitacura

Overlooking the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, NOI Vitacura provides a sanctuary from the urban bustle of the capital. This sleek high-rise hotel oozes style through its contemporary design and sophisticated suites. The rooftop terrace offers a late night bar, pool and unbeatable views of the Andes on a clear day.

ChilHotel

Perhaps the most sensible option of any of the these listings, ChilHotel is practical, comfortable and affordable. On a quiet street within easy walking distance of the Metro in Providencia, it is the sort of place you would be happy to put your parents on a visit to the city with its good-value rooms (although some err on the small side) and polite service.

Hotel Foresta

This beautifully located hotel (right by Cerro Santa Lucía) has been around for a while. It has kept its old style, which means it is chock full of character, although sometimes this spills over into a slightly cluttered feel. However, the service is very attentive and with the arty district of Lastarria right next door, it is one of the best and most affordable options in town.

Ritz Carlton

Setting the standard for hotel opulence in Santiago, this is where the service is impeccable, Egyptian sheets adorn your bed and there is just about every luxury you could possibly desire within the hotel's walls. Gyms, swimming pools, three restaurants and an internationally renowned sommelier are all available to those lucky enough to stay here.

Happy House Hostel

A superb, ambitious renovation makes this colourful converted Barrio Brasil mansion the place to head to satisfy your old bohemian instincts - even though you now have more cash in your pockets. With everything from a games room to a delightful patio with views right over the city, this lovely relaxed place is for former backpackers who can afford to indulge themselves a bit more.