10 Best Things To Do In Viña del Mar, Chile

things to do in vina del mar
Deanna
Deanna
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Viña del Mar (Vineyard of the Sea) is Chile’s “Garden City” and tourist hotspot northeast of Valparaiso. The city is connected to the capital (Santiago) by rail and bus. Influenced by the Humboldt Current, Viña del Mar is blessed with a Mediterranean climate. The sea is warm enough for swimming and water sports, and the sunsets are always spectacular. The city’s beach resorts and promenade are popular hangouts along the coast. At night, the shore is lit with lights from theaters, exclusive clubs, and casino signs. Viña del Mar is also known for its wide and open green spaces, national monuments, and iconic buildings dating back to the golden age of the last century. Read more and feast your senses on the best things to do in Viña del Mar, Chile.

1. Savor sun and surf at Reñaca Beach

Playa Reñaca
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JordiCubero used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Reñaca Beach to the north of Viña del Mar is always open. Anyone can enjoy its fine sand and blue waters. Nevertheless, this stretch of coast is associated with the privileged. Be prepared to spend more lavishly because the area is also littered with upscale retailers and massage/spa facilities catering to the affluent. The pulse of activity in the pubs and bars at night match the flurry of fun and games that happen in daylight. Summer in Chile starts from December to March, and these are the busiest months for Playa Reñaca.

Reñaca Beach

Address: Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile

2. Visit key landmarks at Quinta Vergara Park

Quinta Vergara Viña
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eduardo Cortes used under CC BY 2.0

Parque Quinta Vergara used to be the property of the Alvares-Vergara family. Jose Francisco Vergara founded Viña del Mar. Its landscaped grounds complement the neo-Gothic, white Venetian home built in 1910. Its parquet floor is a sight to behold, and the 60 classical artworks displayed in Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, within the Palacio, are some of Chile’s best. Quinta Vergara Amphitheater is located within park grounds as well. Every year in February, this open-air venue hosts the oldest and biggest music festival in Latin America. Viña del Mar International Song Festival features local and international talents who perform in front of 15,000 spectators. The audience of this festival is the most critical in the continent, and has been given the nickname “El Monstruo”. For an aspiring pop star, El Monstruo’s acceptance usually brings the artist success.

Quinta Vergara

Address: Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

3. Discover the intricacies of Rioja Palace

Palacio Rioja
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carlos yo used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fernando Rioja Medel moved to Chile from Spain in the late 19th century and established the Chilean Tobacco Company and Spanish Bank. What is now Decorative Arts Museum Rioja Palace was the Rioja Ruiz family home from about 1912 to 1956. It was established as a museum in 1979 and embellished with decorative highlights from various styles (Baroque, Rococo.) It also has French neoclassical elements, like great access stairs and dining room apse. The building has immense historical and artistic value and is preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. The palace is surrounded by a park adorned by different types of trees. There is a palmarium (greenhouse) designed to grow exotic plants and orchids.

Decorative Arts Museum Rioja Palace

Address: Quillota 214, Viña del Mar, Región de Valparaíso, Chile

Website: Decorative Arts Museum Rioja Palace

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 1:30pm, 3pm - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)

4. Find tranquility at Palace of Cerro Castillo

Palacio Presidencial del Cerro Castillo - Escorzo 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 3BRBS used under CC BY-SA 3.0

La Moneda in downtown Santiago is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. In summer, the President of Chile takes up residence at Palace of Cerro Castillo in Viña del Mar. The site is a historic monument constructed in 1929 for the purpose it still serves. The building is built in a Spanish Colonial Revival style, which became popular in the early 20th century. The architecture captures the feeling of new colonial Spain when the empire was widespread in North America. Palace of Cerro Castillo consists of three floors above ground and a basement. The grounds are landscaped and had been expanded from its original scope. The grounds are open to public viewing.

Palace of Cerro Castillo

Address: Castillo 398, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

5. Admire the fascinating Flower Clock

Reloj de Flores, Viña del Mar, Chile
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CARLOS TEIXIDOR C... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Reloj de Flores (Flower Clock) is a charming installation fronting the Pacific at the very foot of jagged and rocky Cerro Castillo. In 1962, football fans from all around the world descended on Viña del Mar for the World Cup. Before they arrived, the botanical landmark was a fully functional timekeeper. Veteran clockmakers from Neuchâtel, Switzerland made the original clock. Its hour hand at 8 feet (2.44 meters) long, and the minute and seconds hand at 10 feet (3.05 meters) long. The clock, however, has since been replaced by a modern GPS-guided timepiece. You can still tell time with it, and the flowers bloom despite petty vandalism and inclement weather. The 7,000 flowers making up the clock face are year-round blossoms and grown so as not to impede the roundabout flow of time.

Reloj de Flores (Flower Clock)

Address: Alamos 590, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

6. Explore Wulff Castle

Castillo Wulff, Viña del Mar
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nereidas used under CC BY-SA 3.0

What home would be more fitting to the heritage center of Viña del Mar than a neo-Tudor castle on a rocky promontory? A German trader bought land in the early 20th century, and what used to be a wooden house became a castle in 1917. Gustavo Adolfo Wulff Mowle’s castle home changed hands, was remodeled many times, and has become synonymous with eclecticism. The castle is made mostly of stone and adorned with crenellations, turrets, and parapets. A bridge with a glass floor is a strange place to watch the waves below, but the round tower at the end of it may hold a few more surprises. Wulff Castle is a local landmark worth visiting.

Wulff Castle

Address: Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 1:30pm, 3pm - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)

7. Chill out at Caleta Abarca Beach

Caleta Abarca
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Beatrice Murch used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Caleta Abarca Beach is south of the city proper and almost always filled with people. You’ll find them dodging waves in the water, lounging in the sand, or chatting in cafes. The beach is protected from the violence of the Pacific Ocean by a cove. It’s a great place to swim and relax in the water. A sea of beach umbrellas greets first-timers to this popular beach in Viña del Mar. Its warm waters make it one of the most visited beaches in the summer. You might be interested to know that a church and convent are just over the cliff. You can visit these places as well if you’re not pressed for time.

Caleta Abarca Beach

Address: Av. España, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

8. Photograph rare plants at Viña del Mar Botanical Garden

Flores en el Jardín Botánico de Viña del Mar
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 3BRBS used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Jardin Botanico Nacional (Nacional Botanical Garden, Viña del Mar Botanical Garden) is impressive in its sheer size and verdant richness. About 3,000 plant species and 50 species of birds are nurtured in a place where conservation and creation exist harmoniously. There are forests of trees and intertwining walkways where you could lose yourself in nature for hours. You will see impressive growths of endemic Chilean cacti, which are celebrated in the plant world for their special characteristics. The collection of flora from Easter Island, Juan Fernandez archipelago, and other rare finds make the garden a compelling place to visit. Jardín Botánico Nacional Viña del Mar has a dedicated picnic area, a lagoon, and many other charming features.

Jardin Botanico Nacional

Address: Camino El Olivar 305, El Salto, Vina Del Mar, Región de Valparaiso 2520000 Chile

Website: Jardin Botanico Nacional

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 4am - 4pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 2pm

9. Learn about pre-Columbian Chile at Museo Fonck

Moai outside Museum of Archaeology and History Francisco, Viña del Mar - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Colin W used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Moai statue standing outside the Museo de Arqueología e Historia Natural Francisco Fonck is one of the extant statues discovered in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) off the coast of Chile. The Moai statue warms you up for an archeological journey through pre-Columbian Chile. Corporacion Museo de Arqueologia e Historia Natural Francisco Fonck is dedicated to the Prussian anthropologist Franz Adolf Fonck. Fonck was a medical doctor and naturalist who dedicated his life to exploration. Exhibits related to Rapa Nu, the Mapuche, and Moche indigenous cultures, and Chilean fauna are on display as well. If you don’t speak Spanish it would be advisable to visit the museum with a guide.

Museo de Arqueología e Historia Natural Francisco Fonck

Address: 4 Norte 784, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

Website: Museo de Arqueología e Historia Natural Francisco Fonck

Opening hours: Mon: 10am - 2pm, 3pm - 6pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 10am - 2pm

Price: 3.5 USD (adults); 0.64 USD (children)

10. Check out the exhibits at the Artequin Museum Vina del Mar

Artequinvina sala principal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user PolaroidL used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A guided tour is the best approach to Artequin Museum Vina del Mar, a children’s museum proud of its educational and didactic exhibits. The guided tours are designed to pique the interest of young people to take a creative approach in teaching-learning. Original paintings and sculptures as well as familiar reproductions adorn the museum. The playful atmosphere is undeniable despite the presence of classic artworks and collections spanning a span of history from Egyptian civilization to the 20th century. There are workshops and art classes offered for all educational levels facilitated by trained educators. The museum itself produces the educational materials used in the guided tours and workshops.

Artequin Museum Vina del Mar

Address: Alcalde Prieto Nieto, Parque Potrerillos 500, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

Website: Artequin Museum Vina del Mar

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 10:30am - 5:30pm

Price: 2 USD (adults); 1 USD (children and students)

A stunning jewel in Valparaiso

Viña del Mar is a stunning jewel in Valparaiso. Come summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, you can let its warm waters and green spaces soothe your worries away. Quench your thirst for adventure at Viña del Mar!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Deanna is a pediatric physical therapist from the Philippines who's been writing online content since 2012.

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