Viña del Mar's central square, Plaza Vergara is lined with majestic palms. To the west on Avenida Valparaíso is the city's main shopping strip, a one-lane, seven-block stretch with extra-wide sidewalks and numerous stores and sidewalk cafés. You can hire a horse-drawn carriage to take you from the square past some of the city's stately
Just about 2 miles North of the Casino is a Seal Spotting area. You cannot miss it! There are plenty of signs and parking places. The Seals are not always there, and they do not always make themselves available for great photos.
When I arrived, it was just rocks, but then one (shy) one arrived. Then a second equally shy seal showed up. If they are not there, oh well. You get a great view of the coast.
If you would like to try something rather touristy in Viña then you could go on a horse and carriage ride around the town. The locals call them Victorias. It is an unusual and relaxing way to take in some of Viña´s sites, and very romantic!
The older part of Viña del Mar is the area around the plaza and the main street. It is worth taking a walk around the area to appreciate some of the older buildings architecture in the city.
There are plenty of restaurants and shops in the area on Avenida Valparaiso, the main plaza (Plaza Jose Francisco Vergara) and not far from here is the bus terminal to Santiago.
On one such walking trip I came across a building that dates back to the early 1900´s. Turns out to be the Club de Viña, an old gentleman´s club.
Not far from here also is the old Parroquia de Viña del Mar.
If you go past the plaza and cross over the Puente Libertad and walk up Av Libertad you will see the Palacio Carrasco Cultural Centre and not much further on where it intersects with 6 Norte is an old cathedral.
Valparaiso is actually another city but it is very very close to Viña around the bay to the south. Valparaiso is a lot older than Viña and is a port city. It is a "must see" for any trip to the coast of Chile.
You should go up the Peral Asensor (cable car) just past the Plaza Sotomayor up Cerro Alegre and take a walk through to Cerro Concepcion where you could eat lunch overlooking the bay at the Turri. Go down the Concepcion Asensor. Walk to Cerro Artilleria and go up that Asensor also and appreciate the great view of the port and harbour from here. There is a naval museum up here too and lots of old buildings to look at.
One of my favourite things to do in Viña is to head towards the beach - not to go swimming - but to walk along the pathways and watch the world go by. There are little street stalls with artesania and jewellery and local street food for sale.
You can see the Vergara Pier near the stalls. You used to be able to walk along it but it has been closed as it is needing repairs and is dangerous.
Viña del Mar has the closest casino to Santiago in a stunning building which is nice to visit even if you aren´t interested in gambling. The building also houses a the 5 star Hotel del Mar and has comedy shows and singers occasionally.
Check out the Enjoy Casino webpage for details on shows.
As Viña del Mar is known as "The Garden City" one of the typical things to do in Viña del Mar is visit the flower clock. The clock actually does work and is surrounded by beautifully maintained flower beds.
It looked as Vina del Mar was an ideal place to come with kids. Along the sea shore there were several facilities with kids toys, like just behind Vergarra pier there was a court with small vehicles were the kids could race (of course at low speed).
There were also jump castles, and near the casino there were ponies to ride on, och yes big fun for the kids.
As we walked further on along the sea shore, we arrived at Vergarra Pier.
This really looked like industrial archeology.
Vergarra pier was inaugurated in 1938. At the beginning was a coal loading area. Later it was used by CRAV (The Sugar Refinery Industry).
It was rebuilt in 1983. The aim of this was to promote the tourism in the place. It is located between two beaches, Playa Acapulco and Playa el sol.
Despite the grey weather, it was nice to walk along the sea shore.
At several place you could see beautiful sand sculptures.
Of course when you visit this place in summer time, it must be more beautiful. As when we visited Vina del mar it was winter time, grey and wet, and of course with less color.
But anyway it always gives a special feeling walk along a big Ocean. Also because of the fact that our during our Trans South America trip we would be travelling from one Ocean to another.
Our guide told us that it was a kind of a tradition to bade in the ocean on both sides, but as the temperatures were not so . . . I found it no good idea at all ...brrrr so cold.
Wulff Castle - Castillo Wullf - Chateau Wulff
At Cerro Castillo (Castle hill) you find many castles and palaces, like the Palacio Presidencial, the presidents summer palace, the gardens can be visited.
Closer to the Pacific Ocean, you find the Wullf castle. This Wulf castle now houses the Museo de la Cultura del Mar.
Gustavo Wulff, a German Merchant, ordered its building, with a beautiful German and French style, beside the Pacific sea.
Initially, in 1906, the house was built with stones, later in 1920 a tower and a new part of the house, with an English style were added.
When Mr. Wulff died, the Castle was owned by Esperanza Abarca Matta.
Nowadays is a Historic Monument, and it is property of the Viña del Mar City Council.
Brunet Castle - Castillo Brunet - Chateau Brunet
At the other side of the river (Estero Marga Marga), you find Cerro Castillo (Castle Hill).
One of the castles is Brunet Castle.
It was designed by architect Alfredo Azancot. It was built in a Medieval Style; it looks like a castle from a fairy tale.
At the corner of 4 Norte and Calle Libertad, you find a beautiful Villa, it is the Palacio Carrasco.
This Palacio Carrasco is now used as cultural centre which houses temporary exhibitions.
By the way, at the same grounds, just around the corner you find the museo archeologico Fonck, see previous tips.
Best way to discover Vina del Mar is on foot, with a street map it is pretty easy, also because the city is formed by straight streets forming square blocks, so it is pretty easy to find your way, and on the map the horizontal streets were all named Norte with a number (from 1 Norte up to 15 Norte), and the vertical streets were named Poniente with a number (like 1 Poniente up to 6 Poniente), and further on there was the same system wit a number of Oriente streets.
So it was not possible to loose tracks over here.