Chile’s capital is located in the central valley of the country and has a rich and fascinating history as well as a vibrant cultural scene. Santiago’s heritage is evident across the city, particularly in the architecture and buildings in downtown. However, the city mixes old with new and the with the city centre emerging to quite cosmopolitan.
But beyond the cityscape, Santiago boasts some truly stunning views of its natural scenery – particularly the snow-capped mountains. Hiking, climbing and in winter, skiing are all possible here. While modern Santiago has become quite the metropolis, its older parts are still well-maintained and home to numerous restaurants, gorgeous cafes and a variety of museums and art galleries.
An off-road vehicle is the best option for driving in Chile as it’s the ideal car for negotiating steep and mountainous roads and dealing with hazardous weather conditions.
The city is home to a whole host of fine museums including the unique Museo de la Moda – a fashion museum which is home to a huge collection of designer clothing. The exhibits include designs worn by famous stars such as Jean Paul Gaultier’s ‘cone bra’ as worn by Madonna.
The Andes Mountains are only a stone’s throw from Santiago. In addition to numerous outdoor activities being on offer here, such as horse riding, hiking and climbing, there are also excellent guided walking and hiking tours available.
For a glimpse into Santiago’s history, visit the area of Barrio Lastarria which is home to a variety of old buildings and stunning architecture. There are also numerous fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes in the areas as well as a good number of quirky independent shops.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city and head to Parque Bicentenario, which is a peaceful, lush park where you can hire a sun-lounger for the afternoon and soak up the sun. There’s also a great play area for kids as well as numerous paths for enjoying a stroll or a bike ride.
The Autopista Central is a toll road which runs into the city centre. To pass through the toll you’ll need a TAG. Alternatively, day passes are available to purchase from service stages.
Roads in and around Santiago are generally in good condition, however many roads in more rural areas might be poorly maintained.
The changes in weather can cause hazardous driving conditions and vary greatly depending on the time of year. Always account for poor weather and for some roads being closed.
Santiago is served by Comodoro Arturo Merino Ben√≠tez International Airport. Situated less than 20 miles northwest of the city centre, the airport is a 40-minute drive away from the city and is accessible via Costanera Norte and Diego Barros Ortiz.
The airport is the largest in Chile and serves multiple domestic and international flights. There are two terminals ‚Äì one for domestic flights and the other for international ones.