Walking tours are great! They’re free, open to interpretation and they get you up close and personal with the city. This walking tour takes in bits of Barrios Bellas Artes, Bellavista, Centro and Lastarria.
Begin at Santa Lucia Metro Station. You can also finish here, so take a look at the route and the weather for the day and see which way round you want to go, so that you’re not hiking uphill in the hottest part of the day. It can get super hot during the summer days here in Santiago, so always take water and put on suncream – you’ll roast otherwise.
This walkabout took me about four hours but it will change depending on how long you spend exploring each area and whether you visit the museums or churches, or stop for lunch. I have included the times that I arrived at each of the main points, but I did a bit of wandering so don’t be confused if you get there a lot quicker (or slower).
1. Santa Lucia Metro
11:00am. Get yourself to Santa Lucia Metro station (or thereabouts). Exit the Metro on the south side (the exit that is not Miraflores) and then head west (if you can look over the road and see the big grey National Library building, turn left). Turn left again down San Francisco street and then right onto Paris street.
2. Paris & Londres
11:10am. At the junction of Paris and Londres streets, you’ll find yourself in an architectural anomaly. These buildings were built in the 1920s to reflect the architectural styles of buildings in London and Paris.
When you’re ready, get yourself back up to the main road (Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins, commonly known as La Alameda or O’Higgins) and wander westwards (left). You’ll walk past the Plazuela Universidad de Santiago on the corner of Arturo Prat, and on past the incredible yellow and white facade of the Universidad de Chile building. Continue to Zenteno street and face north (turn right). You’ll be able to see the massive Palacio La Moneda building across the road, or if you’re not sure, look for the enormous pole with the Chilean flag.
3. Palacio de La Moneda
11:30am. (The Mint) is a beautiful and stately building that occupies an entire city block. It is built in the neoclassical style and first opened in 1805 whilst still under construction. It has gone through several eras of occupation, from being the Chilean mint, to the presidential residence and now housing governmental office space, including that of the President of Chile. It also has an modern international art gallery, the Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda built beneath the front lawn. Make sure you walk around the building – it’s just as beautiful from the other side. There’s fantastic architecture all the way along this walking tour, so be sure to keep turning your head and looking around.
4. Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago
11:40am. Head a block east and then turn left onto Bandera street. On this corner you’ll see the brilliant Santiago Stock Exchange Building (Bolsa de Comercio de Santiago). I’m not one to care what they’re doing in there, but the outside is awesome.
5. Bandera Street
11:50am. A few blocks up Bandera street and you’ll begin to see the many, many clothes stores. Look out for stores such as Orange Blue, Flamante, Meicys, BOW! and Nostalgic. If you like shopping take your time here – it looks a bit overwhelming at first but there are some awesome bargains tucked away.
6. Mercado Central
12:30pm. Continue on Bandera, then right onto San Pablo street, then the next left to find Mercado Central, Santiago’s Central Fish Market. The seafood, fruit and veg here is amazing – fresh, bountiful and cheap. Grab a handful of strawberries to sustain you on your walk. By now you’ll be at the Puente Cal y Canto Metro station – right across the road are the La Vega and flower markets. They’re easily reached if you want to nip over and explore.
When you’re done, head back down southwards, onto Paseo Puente. This is a little open air mall/walkway. Carry on, then take a left on Santo Domingo street, see the Iglesia Santo Domingo (church) and then take a right onto 21 de Mayo street. This will take you right down into Plaza de Armas.
7. Plaza de Armas
13:15pm. Plaza de Armas is a great big busy friendly square. It has the Museo Historico Nacional, an information point, an amphitheatre, a merry fountain and entertainment in the form of tarot readers, musicians, dancers and jesters.
8. Casa Colorada
9. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes & Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
14:15pm. Head left up Enrique Mac Iver street and right onto Monjitas street. Follow this street along to Bellas Artes Metro station. If you’ve had enough, you can leave from here, but I would recommend at least having a quick wander first. It’s a really cool little area. You could also head over to the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Museum of Modern Art) and/or the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts).
10. Cerro Santa Lucia
13:30pm. If you’ve still got lots of energy, head south on Santa Lucia street and enter the north end of the Cerro Santa Lucia. Cerro Santa Lucia is a tiered maze of cobblestone walkways, manicured gardens, turrets, towers and fountains. Take the steep stairways all the way to the top for an all-the-way-around view of Santiago. There are kiosks here with ice creams and drinks in case you need a little cooling down and topping up.
When you are ready to descend, follow the cobblestones downwards and you end up on the main road (Bernado O’Higgins) and only a small block away from where you started, the Santa Lucia Metro Station is up on your right. If you haven’t been, the Santa Lucia Markets are right across the road.
Note: This story was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question.