Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

VIÑA DEL MAR: The Vineyard of the Sea and The Garden City

Viña del Mar or translated into English as “The Vineyard of the Sea.” Viña is one of the nicest place I have ever been. The people are very nice, cute and exciting. It’s right by the vibrant Valparaíso, which is only 15 minutes away by car. However, it’s a completely different atmosphere. Viña is so laid back and if you want to know what the vibe here is like, keep in mind that it’s a sister city of Sausalito in California.

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It’s not complicated to stay in Viña as it’s so easy to get around and the weather is nice almost all year round. The majority of the area in Viña is easy to navigate, because streets are systematically arranged into Norte (north) with Poniente (West) or Oeste (East) and numbers labelling them. For example, Colegio Franco – Inglés is located within the block of the 1 Oeste with 2 Norte (East #1 with North #2.) Easy!

Main Streets
  • Avenida Libertad (Libertad Avenue)
    • Iglesia las Carmelitas
  • Calle Valparaíso (Valparaíso Road)
    • restaurants, café, pastry shops, bakeries and bars
    • shopping complexes
    • feria artesanal market
  • San Martín
    • feria artesanal market
    • Plaza Colombia
  • Avenida Perú (Peru Avenue)
    • Playa El Sol
    • Muelle Vergara

Apart from these blocks, there are few main avenues that you should check out. Firstly, an avenue that is right in the middle of Poniente and Oeste roads is the Avenida Libertad. It’s where the Iglesia las Carmelitas is. It’s a massive beautiful catholic church, standing proudly with the shades of the avenue’s trees.

Calle Valparaíso is a place to go as there are many places to eat, cafés, bakeries, pastry shops for an awesome Completo, bars, shopping areas, especially the feria artesanal or the craft fair that has lots of handmade products and souvenirs to buy.

Another street is the San Martín, where there is more feria artesanal by the beach and the Plaza Colombia.

Avenida Perú is so unique as the rocky barrier between you and the sea is so much fun to walk around and taking photos. Sometimes, the barrier is not enough to protect you from the crazy current of the Pacific and it can rain on you a tad. It’s so much fun and it’s a good walk for the sunset as well. It also leads you to the beach Playa El Sol and the unique site, Muelle Vergara that reaches out in the sea. Also, there are some touching arts and quotes on these rocks as well. It might takes longer than you expect to cover the distance of this avenue.

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In warmer days, it’s a great vibe to be by the beach as there will be so many people listening to live music from amateur bands or a fun gathering of young people.

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Things to see
  • Wulff Castle (Castillo Wulff)
    • Marina Avenue
  • Castle Hill (Cerro Castillo)
    • Presidential Castle (Castillo Presidencial)
  • Reloj de Flores (Flower Clock)
  • Botanical Garden (Jardín Botanico Nacional)
  • Casino Hotel del Mar
  • Quinta Vergara’s Art Museum
  • Estadio Sausalito
    • Laguna Saulito
  • Feria Libre Marga Marga
  • Playa Reñaca
  • Concón

There are so many things to see and do in Viña del Mar. First attraction you shouldn’t miss is the Wulff Castle, which is located by the Marina Avenue and just hanging over the sea. There are viewpoints to watch the Pacific hitting the rocky edges of Viña and there is also small beach areas where many seagulls and birds are watching you.

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Up on the Castle Hill, there is another castle of Viña. The Presidential Castle is hiding behind buildings by the waterfront but it’s elegance pop above those buildings and you can still see it from a distance.

Not too far, there is Viña’s signature, the Reloj de Flores. People can immediately tell that you went to Viña if you post a picture of you with this clock.

Viña is known as “The Garden City” for its greenery, gardens and plazas. One of the peak is the Botanical Garden. It’s massive and there are activities for everyone, kids, teens, adults or elders. There is a small pond in the middle of the garden that touches up this place.

Next, one of the very popular place, especially among the locals is the Casino Hotel del Mar. It should be so much fun to be inside playing, but it also offers you a great view of the ocean.

Next to the Casino is the Quinta Vergara’s Art Museum. This place is separated into 3 areas, the Vergara Palace, the amphitheatre and the petite garden.

Also, if you are a big football fan or if you are not, you still shouldn’t miss the Estadio Sausalito, which has been the host of many big matches, especially the Copa America. It’s also right by the small Laguna Sausalito.

In the middle of the streets, there is a cool fresh market where you can get some fresh fruits and veggies. I have never seen a bigger pumpkin like ones I saw here before. They are massive. The Feria Libre Marga Marga itself is also a huge market. Note though, it’s not open everyday, so check with the local before you plan to go there.

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If you are up for some excitement and rush, then you should definitely visit Playa Reñaca for some water sports. If you are interested, there is a very big surfing school right by the beach as well. You can click here to visit their website for more information.

But if you don’t like cold water, then you should go for the Dunas de Concón for some fun slides on the sand dunes. The sunset by these dunes is also incredible.

Events
  • Festival Internacional de la Canción de Viña del Mar
  • La Esmeralda of the Navy

There are 2 beautiful events in Viña that happened every year. Both events that I’ll talk about are so different and provoke different emotions.

In February, there is a big scale music festival that is even broadcast on Television and it’s known as “The Viña Festival.” It’s an international music festival with big stars such as the amazing Enrique Iglesias or Ricky Martin.

The other one is not so official but it’s something that people are waiting for every year. It’s the arrival of La Esmeralda, which is a brave navy navigation ship that stops by Viña, so that the family and friends can greet their beloved and brave navy men. It’s so touching.

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The culture and people of Viña del Mar is my kind of vibe. I really like this place that I make it my other home and that I’ll always look forward to go back to, especially to the nicest people and friends.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Wow!!!! How beautiful.
    How romantic the catle Hill would be, and how fantastic Feria Libre Marga Marga market.
    I want go there

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