Where to eat and stay, and what to do in this colourful city on Chile's coast...
Valparaíso travel guide for wine lovers
Only an hour by car from Santiago, the coastal city of Valparaíso is a must-visit – and a UNESCO World Heritage site – which Peter Richards MW describes as a ‘colourful, chaotic and delightfully ramshackle world.’
The sea views, hilly streets, colourful houses and street art make it feel similar to Lisbon or San Francisco, and it’s a great base to venture out to the Casablanca and San Antonio Valley wine regions.
For a fresh seafood feast, pay a visit to Tres Peces. With an evolving menu depending on what the latest catch is, you’ll enjoy the best of Valparaíso’s local produce. Dine on the top floor, which opens on to a terrace with views over the sea. If it’s on the menu, try the machas parmigiana; whatever you may think of seafood and cheese pairing, these razorclams (not the long ones as we know them, but tiny ones) are covered in parmesan and baked – and delicious. Recommended by Ellie Douglas.
For sublime food, a vast wine list and trendy interiors, head to Puertoclaro for a meal – or at least enjoy a drink in their outdoor courtyard space. Their tasting menu for 27 pesos offers great value; be sure to try the ‘Pesca fresca del día con “leche de tigre” y chalaca peruana’ – a ceviche style dish in a ‘tiger sauce’ full of fresh zingy citrus and chilli heat. Recommended by Ellie Douglas.
For some fine Italian-Chilean fusion food, this buzzy, trendy eatery sports high bare walls and an Italian style menu. Pared-back seafood and vegetable dishes abound, while you can also try specific wine-based sauces and the black ravioli with salmon is a real treat. Recommended by Peter Richards MW.
This bustling, colourful food market is like a microcosm of the city, housed in a historic, if slightly unkempt building. There are traditional-style cafés and restaurants upstairs should the produce make you peckish; Desayunador La Paloma serves the best Malaya pork sandwich in all Chile, according to local resident and WineBox hotel (see below) owner Grant Phelps. Recommended by Peter Richards MW.
For wine lovers, a drink at Café Vinilo (Calle Almte Montt 448) is recommended for its eclectic wine list and vinyl playlist. Recommended by Peter Richards MW.
One of Valparaíso’s best hotels, located on the Cerro Alegre not far from Pasta e Vino (see above). A beautifully restored former mansion with just 20 rooms, stunning views, an infinity pool, spa and a true sense of this city’s grandeur. Recommended by Peter Richards MW.
One of Valpo’s breed of hip boutique hotels, along with the likes of Fauna and Zero (see below). Great views, elegant interiors, an engaging wine list and spa facilities all hit the mark. Recommended by Peter Richards MW.
For something more traditional, try the Zero Hotel, painted sky blue with wooden shutters. With just nine rooms, Patricia Tapia declares it his favourite in his weekend Chile guide, as ‘an old house transformed into a small, warm and very well located hotel.’ Recommended by Patricio Tapia.
Grant Phelps, ex-winemaker for Casas del Bosque, has created a wine and graffiti-themed hotel out of shipping containers. Determined to help link Valparaíso to the local winemaking regions, the hotel can organise winery tours and tastings for guests. As well as brightly coloured graffiti, there are nods to wine in the design throughout; tables made out of old barrels, hanging lamps out of wine bottles and rooms named after grapes. The rooftop also boasts one of the best views in the city. Recommended by Ellie Douglas.
There’s breakfast or dinner with a view from this hotel, which has a top floor restaurant overlooking the Valparaíso coastline (pictured top). There are also rooftop hot tubs for guests to enjoy. If you’re trying to travel in a more environmentally-friendly way, there is a strong focus on sustainability here. Recommended by Ellie Douglas.
Things to do in Valparaíso
As Richards explains, when in Valparaíso, you should be ‘discovering the quirky spirit of the place for yourself’.
He recommends ‘spending the afternoon riding the funiculars, getting lost in backstreets, enjoying the views over the port and maybe taking in the odd museum if the weather is poor’. Museums include Museo de Historia Natural, or La Sebastiana, Pablo Neruda’s typically cluttered and eccentric local house.
You can also explore the street art found throughout the city. In particular, follow the wine and street art ‘self guided’ tour, created in association with Wines of Chile towards the end of 2018.
And of course, visit the local wine regions of Casablanca and San Antonio. Many wineries offer tours and tastings, and several have restaurants. Plan and book in advance to secure your place.
Valparaíso is a one-hour drive from the Chilean capital of Santiago. British Airways flies to Santiago from London. American Airlines and LATAM fly from New York to Santiago.