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Home Cruises Barcelona to Valparaiso MSC Magnifica 2023-01-07

Barcelona to Valparaiso MSC Magnifica departing 7 Jan 2023

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MSC Magnifica
Ship
Cruise Line
Embark
7 Jan 2023
Duration
34 Nights
From / To
Barcelona / Valpraiso (Santiago)
Ports of call
Barcelona - Lisbon - Funchal - Mindelo - Salvador

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Itinerary

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Date Date
Location Location
 
In In
Out Out
Date 07/01/2023
Location Barcelona
In 08:00
Out 18:00

One of the busiest cruise ports in the Mediterranean, the seaside city of Barcelona is known for its iconic architecture, colourful culture, and world-class drinking and dining.

Explore Antoni Gaudí’s surreal Sagrada Família, the famous boulevard of the Ramblas, the medieval Barri Gótic, and the Museu Picasso. But there’s even more to discover in this sprawling Spanish city, an MSC Mediterranean Cruises destination: from hidden tapas bars and fabulous food markets to Europe’s biggest football stadium.

Date 08/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 09/01/2023
Location Lisbon
In 08:00
Out 18:00

Strung out over a series of hills facing the glistening waters of the broad estuary of the Tejo, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most handsome cities. Although its modern suburbs are ungainly, the historic centre is relatively compact and easy to explore in just a day when your MSC cruise takes you to the Lisbon.

The oldest part of the city, the warren of streets that make up the Alfama, sits below the spectacularly sited Moorish Castelo de São Jorge, its ruined walls facing another hill, the Bairro Alto or upper town, famed for its bars, restaurants and vibrant nightlife. The valley between these hills makes up the Baixa., or lower town.
The tall, imposing buildings that make up the Baixa (Lower Town) house some of Lisbon’s most interesting shops and cafés. A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to reach via a narrow walkway the impressive Torre de Belém (Tower of Belém), an iconic symbol of Lisbon. It typifies M anueline style that was prominent during the reign of King Manuel, its windows and stairways embellished with arches and decorative symbols representing Portugal’s explorations into the New World.
Built as a fortress to defend the mouth of the River Tejo, it took years to complete, though when it opened in 1520 it would have been near the centre of the river – the earthquake of 1755 shifted the river’s course. Today, visitors are free to explore the tower’s various levels, which include a terrace facing the river from where artillery would hav ed been fired.
You can then climb a very steep spiral staircase up four lev el – framed view of the river – to a top terrace where you get a blowy panorama of Belém.

Date 10/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 11/01/2023
Location Funchal
In
Out 18:00

As you arrive in Funchal on an MSC cruise, your ship will cast anchor in a bay protected by mountains rising straight up behind the port. The name, Funchal, derives from that of the fennel plant, the funcho still used today in the traditional sweets known as rebuçados de funcho, that one can find anywhere on the island of Madeira.

An excursion will take you around the town centre, to visit historic churches, from the A Sé Cathedral, with its inlaid ceiling, to the majestic Church of the Incarnation, to the church of Carmo without a vault.
Another MSC excursion will take you up to the village of Monte, from where one can admire a spectacular view of the Funchal bay. You can visit its 18th century church and the tomb of the last Austrian emperor, Charles I, and stroll around the magnificent botanic gardens. But if you like heights, there’s nothing more impressive than the Cabo Girão and its 589 metre tall cliffs, amongst the highest in the world, at the foot of which lie the cultivated lands known as Fajãs do Cabo Girão.
If you’re looking for an equipped beach during your MSC cruise, another excursion will take you to Machico. Founded in the 15th century, it hosts the oldest religious building on the island, the Capela dos Milagres, and the fortresses of São João Baptista and Nossa Senhora do Amparo built in the beginning of the 16th century.
The more lively tourist attraction is instead in Calheta, on the south-west coast. Splendid yachts cruising across the Atlantic are moored in the port and if you want to go for a swim there are two beautiful beaches of golden sand; in spite of the modern structures Calheta dates back to the mid-15th century. This is where they make the “Aguardente”, the best white rhum, and fundamental ingredient of Madeira’s typical drink, the “Poncha” .

Date 12/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 13/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 14/01/2023
Location Mindelo
In 08:00
Out 18:00

Mindelo is a portcity on the Cape Verde in the northern part of the island of São Vicente. Mindelo is also the seat of the parish of Nossa Senhora da Luz, and this island’s municipality. São Vicente is a small volcanic island integrated in the group of the islands of Barlavento, between Santo Antão, on the West, and Santa Luzia, on the East. The island was discovered on January 22 of 1462, but it was uninhabited until 1838, when the British decided to install a coaling-station in Mindelo to supply the ships that navigated in the Atlantic routes. During many centuries, São Vicente was used for cattle pasturage, namely goats and temporary hunt-preserve. Nevertheless, the excellent port characteristics of the Bay of Mindelo made the island in one of the most important worlds trade post for the supply of coal to the ships that crossed the Atlantic, and it soon became the uppermost place where foreign going ships came for coal supply.

Date 15/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 16/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 17/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 18/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 19/01/2023
Location Salvador
In 07:00
Out 18:00

High above the enormous bay of Todos os Santos (All Saints), where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return, Salvador de Bahia has an electric feel from the moment you arrive.
This is the great cultural and historical centre of Brazil, where Afro-Brazilian heritage is strongest and where capoeira, candomblé and samba de roda were created.
MSC South America cruises offer excursions to the centro histórico of this magical place, a melange of narrow cobbled streets, peeling purple walls, grand Baroque churches, kids kicking footballs, rastas, locals sipping bottled beer on plastic chairs, the wafting aroma of herbs and the almost constant beating of drums, especially as the sun sets. Beyond the old town Salvador is a vast, sprawling city, with a vibrant beach life, modern skyscrapers and plenty of favelas.
The centro histórico is the traditional heart of Salvador; it’s built around the craggy, 70m-high bluff that dominates the eastern side of the bay, and is split into upper and lower sections. Cidade Alta (or simply “Centro”) is strung along its top, linked to the less interesting Cidade Baixa (the old commercial centre, aka “Comércio”) by precipitous streets and the towering Art Deco lift-shaft of the Elevador Lacerda. Cidade Alta is the cultural centre of the city, and the section known as the Pelourinho is the groovy old district with colourful and hilly winding streets, its most vibrant and beguiling neighbourhood.
The best spot to begin a walking tour of the city is at the Praça Municipal, the square dominated by the impressive Palácio do Rio Branco, the old governor’s palace which was in use until 1979. The fine interior is a blend of Rococo plasterwork, polished wooden floors and painted walls and ceilings.

Date 20/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 21/01/2023
Location Rio de Janeiro
In 07:00
Out

As you’ll be able to appreciate when you cruise the Atlantic Ocean with MSC Cruises, in its position on the southern shore of the magnificent Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro has, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most stunning settings in the world.

Extending for 20km along an alluvial strip, between an azure sea and forest-clad mountains, the city’s streets and buildings have been moulded around the foothills of the mountain range that provides its backdrop, while out in the bay there are many rocky islands fringed with white sand.
The aerial views over Rio are breathtaking, and even the concrete skyscrapers that dominate the city’s skyline add to the attraction. As the former capital of Brazil and now its second-largest city, Rio has a remarkable architectural heritage, some of the country’s best museums and galleries, superb restaurants and a vibrant nightlife – in addition to its legendary beaches. A shore excursion on your MSC South America cruise can be the opportunity to visit the Pão de Açúcar.
The Sugar Loaf Mountain rises where Guanabara Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its name may simply reflect a resemblance to the moulded loaves in which sugar was once commonly sold. Alternatively, it may be a corruption of the indigenous Tamoya word Pau-nh-Açuquá, meaning “high, pointed or isolated hill”. On the top of Corcoavado Mountain instead the Art Deco statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), arms outstretched in welcome, stands 30m high and weighs over 1000 tonnes. It was supposed to be completed for Brazil’s centenary independence celebrations in 1922, but wasn’t actually finished until 1931.
In clear weather, fear no anticlimax: climbing to the statue is a stunning experience, with the whole of Rio and Guanabara Bay laid out before you.

Date 22/01/2023
Location Rio de Janeiro
In
Out 18:00

As you’ll be able to appreciate when you cruise the Atlantic Ocean with MSC Cruises, in its position on the southern shore of the magnificent Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro has, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most stunning settings in the world.

Extending for 20km along an alluvial strip, between an azure sea and forest-clad mountains, the city’s streets and buildings have been moulded around the foothills of the mountain range that provides its backdrop, while out in the bay there are many rocky islands fringed with white sand.
The aerial views over Rio are breathtaking, and even the concrete skyscrapers that dominate the city’s skyline add to the attraction. As the former capital of Brazil and now its second-largest city, Rio has a remarkable architectural heritage, some of the country’s best museums and galleries, superb restaurants and a vibrant nightlife – in addition to its legendary beaches. A shore excursion on your MSC South America cruise can be the opportunity to visit the Pão de Açúcar.
The Sugar Loaf Mountain rises where Guanabara Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Its name may simply reflect a resemblance to the moulded loaves in which sugar was once commonly sold. Alternatively, it may be a corruption of the indigenous Tamoya word Pau-nh-Açuquá, meaning “high, pointed or isolated hill”. On the top of Corcoavado Mountain instead the Art Deco statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), arms outstretched in welcome, stands 30m high and weighs over 1000 tonnes. It was supposed to be completed for Brazil’s centenary independence celebrations in 1922, but wasn’t actually finished until 1931.
In clear weather, fear no anticlimax: climbing to the statue is a stunning experience, with the whole of Rio and Guanabara Bay laid out before you.

Date 23/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 24/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 25/01/2023
Location Buenos Aires
In 08:00
Out 18:00

Buenos Aires is a must-see on your MSC South America cruise to Argentina. Its heart is the spacious, palm-dotted Plaza de Mayo, the ideal place to begin a tour of the area and explore its historical and political connections; its mismatched medley of buildings includes the famous Casa Rosada, or government house.
An amble westwards from the plaza will take you along Avenida de Mayo, the city’s major boulevard, offering an impressive display of Art Nouveau and Art Decoarchitecture. At its western end, Avenida de Mayo opens onto the Plaza del Congreso, presided over by the Congreso Nacional building, the seat of the federal parliament.
Casa Rosada, a typically Argentine blend of French and Italian Renaissance styles, stands on the site of the city’s Spanish fort, begun in 1594 and converted in 1776 to the viceroy’s palace. In 1862, President Bartolomé Mitre moved the government ministries to the building, remodelling it once again.
The final touch was added in 1885, when the central arch was added, unifying the facade. Behind the Casa Rosada, the Plaza Colón features a gigantic Argentine flag and a Carrara marble statue of Christopher Columbus, looking out to the river and towards the Old World.
MSC South America cruises also offer excursions to the north of Buenos Aires, where the four residential barrios of most interest to visitors – Retiro, Recoleta, Palermo and Belgrano – each retain a distinctive character. Nearest to the centre, Retiro and Recoleta – known jointly as Barrio Norte – have chic streets lined with boutiques, art galleries and smart cafés. Recoleta is associated primarily with its magnificent cemetery where, among other national celebrities, Evita is buried.
Both barrios also share an extraordinary concentration of French-style palaces, tangible proof of the obsession of the city’s elite at the beginning of the twentieth century with established European cities

Date 26/01/2023
Location Buenos Aires
In
Out

Buenos Aires is a must-see on your MSC South America cruise to Argentina. Its heart is the spacious, palm-dotted Plaza de Mayo, the ideal place to begin a tour of the area and explore its historical and political connections; its mismatched medley of buildings includes the famous Casa Rosada, or government house.
An amble westwards from the plaza will take you along Avenida de Mayo, the city’s major boulevard, offering an impressive display of Art Nouveau and Art Decoarchitecture. At its western end, Avenida de Mayo opens onto the Plaza del Congreso, presided over by the Congreso Nacional building, the seat of the federal parliament.
Casa Rosada, a typically Argentine blend of French and Italian Renaissance styles, stands on the site of the city’s Spanish fort, begun in 1594 and converted in 1776 to the viceroy’s palace. In 1862, President Bartolomé Mitre moved the government ministries to the building, remodelling it once again.
The final touch was added in 1885, when the central arch was added, unifying the facade. Behind the Casa Rosada, the Plaza Colón features a gigantic Argentine flag and a Carrara marble statue of Christopher Columbus, looking out to the river and towards the Old World.
MSC South America cruises also offer excursions to the north of Buenos Aires, where the four residential barrios of most interest to visitors – Retiro, Recoleta, Palermo and Belgrano – each retain a distinctive character. Nearest to the centre, Retiro and Recoleta – known jointly as Barrio Norte – have chic streets lined with boutiques, art galleries and smart cafés. Recoleta is associated primarily with its magnificent cemetery where, among other national celebrities, Evita is buried.
Both barrios also share an extraordinary concentration of French-style palaces, tangible proof of the obsession of the city’s elite at the beginning of the twentieth century with established European cities

Date 27/01/2023
Location Montevideo
In 08:00
Out 17:00

As you sail on an MSC cruise to South America, Montevideo is the port for you. Founded in 1726 as a fortress against Portuguese encroachment on the northern shore of the Río de la Plata, it had an excellent trading position and, following a turbulent and often violent early history, its growth was rapid.

A shore excursion on your MSC South America cruise can be the opportunity to discover Montevideo. It may appear humble at first, but this is a seriously cool, confident city. If you’ve ever seen a fictionalized version of Havana on TV or film, it’s quite possible it was actually shot in Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja, so reminiscent are its streets of those in the Cuban capital.
Dotted among the crumbling houses and cobbled streets are endearingly bizarre (and mostly free) museums and galleries, while the highlight is the glorious Mercado del Puerto. A good place to start a walking tour of the Ciudad Vieja is the Puerta de la Ciudadela, dating to 1746, marking the original site of the Citadel of Montevideo on the Plaza Independencia.
This square commemorates the emergence of Uruguay as a sovereign nation, and a 17m-high statue and mausoleum of José Artigas, the man credited with kick-starting Uruguay’s independence campaign against Spain and Portugal, stands aptly in the centre.
The area around the plaza contains eclectic architectural styles from different periods, from the Torre Ejecutiva where the president performs his duties, to the bulbous tower of the Palacio Salvo, built on the reported site of the first ever performance of tango. Tucked behind the plaza’s south-western corner is the celebrated Teatro Solís, the most prestigious theatre in the country, completed in 1856 and remodelled a few times thereafter.

Date 28/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 29/01/2023
Location Puerto Madryn
In 08:00
Out 19:00

Puerto Madryn, where you will stop on your MSC World Cruise, is on the shores of the beautiful and protected Nuevo Gulf.

The city is the gateway to the incredible Ecocentro, east of the city, an ecological treasure of the Valdés Peninsula where you can discover the rich marine life in the area.

The Welsh landed here for the first time in 1865, but development was slow until the arrival of the railway two decades later, when Puerto Madryn became the port for the villages in the lower Valley of the Chubut River.

The Parque Histórico Punta Cuevas marks the first Welsh settlement in Patagonia with the Monumento al Indio Tehuelche, a statue that celebrates the centenary of the arrival of the Welsh and pays homage to the Tehuelche. From here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Nuevo Golf at sunset, lit up by the lights of the city. Along the promontory lies Puerto Madryn’s most important attraction, the outstanding Ecocentre. This interactive museum promotes awareness and respect for marine ecosystems. You can take an MSC day trip to go dolphin and sea lion watching out
at sea, or to visit the Valdés Peninsula and Punta Tombo.

The Valdés Peninsula is one of the most important marine reserves in the world, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Nothing can prepare you for the amazing richness of the marine environment that surrounds it – and in particular the southern right whales which migrate here every year to swim in the waters off the town of Puerto Pirámides – nor for the immense colonies of animals living on the Peninsula’s steep, crumbly cliffs. Punta Tombo is home to the continent’s largest colonyof penguins; the noise produced by the black and white Magellanic penguins is deafening, but walking through this avian metropolis, surrounded by the strangest sounds and tottering birds is a unique experience.

This is just one of the fantastic destinations of our cruise around the world: MSC World Cruise 2020!

Date 30/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 31/01/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 01/02/2023
Location Ushuaia
In 07:00
Out

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego and the province’s main tourist hub, is located at the southern end of Isla Grande.

Boasting a spectacular location, sandwiched between the mountains – including Cerro Martial and Mount Olivia – and the sea, Ushuaia extends down the hill towards the arm of land that surrounds the Bay, where the ship will stop during your MSC WorldCruise.

The city is protected from the icy Southwest winds and occasional storms that occur in the Beagle Channel. Interesting excursions include the small islands in the middle of the channel in front of the city, with their colonies of seabirds, and the nearby Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is the most populous and popular city in Tierra del Fuego, and depends largely on the thriving tourism industry, which capitalises on the beauty of the area’s natural landscapes.

Overlooking the sea is the Antigua Casa de Gobierno, a late-20th century building that was originally the Governor’s mansion before being used by the local government and then as a police station. It has been restored so as to return
it to its original use, so you can get an idea of how the rich lived in Ushuaia at the dawn of the city. The Fin del Mundo Museum houses exhibitions that focus on the region’s history and wildlife, as well as the polychrome figurehead of the Duchess of Albany, an English ship wrecked on the eastern end of the island in 1883. The Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, 12 km west of Ushuaia, is 630 sq. km of rugged mountains, sinuous lakes, southern beech forests, marshy bogs, sub-Antarctic tundra and lush coasts. It extends along the border with Chile, from the Beagle Channel to Sierra Inju-Goiyin, north of the huge Lake Fagnano, which you can also visit on an MSC Cruise day trip, combined with Lake Escondido.

This is just one of the fantastic destinations of our cruise around the world: MSC World Cruise 2020!

Date 02/02/2023
Location Ushuaia
In
Out 16:00

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego and the province’s main tourist hub, is located at the southern end of Isla Grande.

Boasting a spectacular location, sandwiched between the mountains – including Cerro Martial and Mount Olivia – and the sea, Ushuaia extends down the hill towards the arm of land that surrounds the Bay, where the ship will stop during your MSC WorldCruise.

The city is protected from the icy Southwest winds and occasional storms that occur in the Beagle Channel. Interesting excursions include the small islands in the middle of the channel in front of the city, with their colonies of seabirds, and the nearby Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is the most populous and popular city in Tierra del Fuego, and depends largely on the thriving tourism industry, which capitalises on the beauty of the area’s natural landscapes.

Overlooking the sea is the Antigua Casa de Gobierno, a late-20th century building that was originally the Governor’s mansion before being used by the local government and then as a police station. It has been restored so as to return
it to its original use, so you can get an idea of how the rich lived in Ushuaia at the dawn of the city. The Fin del Mundo Museum houses exhibitions that focus on the region’s history and wildlife, as well as the polychrome figurehead of the Duchess of Albany, an English ship wrecked on the eastern end of the island in 1883. The Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, 12 km west of Ushuaia, is 630 sq. km of rugged mountains, sinuous lakes, southern beech forests, marshy bogs, sub-Antarctic tundra and lush coasts. It extends along the border with Chile, from the Beagle Channel to Sierra Inju-Goiyin, north of the huge Lake Fagnano, which you can also visit on an MSC Cruise day trip, combined with Lake Escondido.

This is just one of the fantastic destinations of our cruise around the world: MSC World Cruise 2020!

Date 03/02/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 04/02/2023
Location Punta Arenas
In 08:00
Out 19:00

Punta Arenas is a city near the tip of Chile’s southernmost Patagonia region. Located on the Strait of Magellan, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it’s often used as base for excursions to the surrounding wilderness and Antarctica. The Plaza Muñoz Gamero has a memorial to explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and the Museo Nao Victoria features a replica of one of his galleons.

Date 05/02/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 06/02/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 07/02/2023
Location Puerto Montt
In
Out 18:00

Established in the 1850s by German settlers, Puerto Montt is beautifully situated on the Seno de Reloncaví (Strait of Reloncaví) – where your MSC cruise ship awaits you –, with snowcapped mountains clearly visible beyond the sound on a good day and the Osorno vulcan behind.

Puerto Montt is a large, busy city with traffic-choked streets.

The town stretches along the bay, with Avenida Diego Portales running east along the seafront towards the Plaza de Armas – the centre, surrounded by banks, cheap bars and restaurants. West of the main bus terminal, Avenida Costanera takes you to the busy passenger port with a feria artesanal (craft market) and the Angelmó fishing district.

While enjoying your MSC World Cruise, you can take day trips from Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas. Dominating the southwestern corner of the lake, it has become a popular resort town and backpacker haunt, with unparalleled sunset views of the two nearby volcanoes, Osorno and Calbuco.

Rivalling Pucón in terms of nearby outdoor attractions, Puerto Varas does not feel too crowded despite its popularity, and makes an excellent
base for volcano-climbing, white-water rafting, kayaking and cycling. Though the town is spread out over 3km of lakefront, most services, hostels and restaurants are located within a couple of blocks of the little Plaza de Armas.

The town’s German colonial architecture gives it a European feel, and notable early twentieth century buildings like the Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (1915-18) and private residences include Casa Kuschel, on Klenner 299 (1910), Casona Alemana (1914) at Nuestra Señora del Carmen 788 and Casa Angulo (1910) at Miraflores 96.

This is just one of the fantastic destinations of our cruise around the world:MSC World Cruise 2020!

Date 08/02/2023
Location At Sea
In
Out
Date 09/02/2023
Location Valpraiso (Santiago)
In 08:00
Out

Of Chile’s 4000km-plus coastline, the brief central strip between Rocas de Santo Domingo and Los Vilos is the most visited and developed. Known as the Litoral Central, this 250km stretch boasts bay after bay lined with gorgeous, white-sand beaches, and a string of coastal resort towns.

Valparaíso and Viña del Mar sit next to each other near the middle of the strip. They are geographical neighbours, but poles apart in appearance and atmosphere.

Viña is Chile’s largest beach resort and one of its ritziest. With its high-rises, casino, and seafront restaurants, as well as the beaches and clubs in nearby Reñaca, Viña typifies modern hedonism.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Valparaíso, on the other hand, has far more personality, with ramshackle, colourfulhouses spilling chaotically down the hills to the sea (but no decent beaches). “Valpo” is Chile’s principal port and naval base, and also perhaps the country’s liveliest and most vibrant city. The nightlife and excellent seafood attract much of Santiago to its bars and restaurants at the weekend, as does the nearby beach
resort of Viña del Mar. For stretches of sand, you’ll need to head south or north.

Closest to Santiago, via the “Autopista del Sol” (Ruta 78), are the resorts south of Valparaíso, which are busier and more developed. The one spot besides the beaches where you might want to spend some time in Viña del Mar is the lovely Quinta Vergara park, where the manicured grounds are home to a vast array of exotic imported plants. It is located a couple of blocks south of Plaza Vergara behind the Metrotrén Estación Viña, with the futuristic-looking Anfiteatro, home to the annual music festival, as its centrepiece.

Date 10/02/2023
Location Valpraiso (Santiago)
In
Out 19:00

Of Chile’s 4000km-plus coastline, the brief central strip between Rocas de Santo Domingo and Los Vilos is the most visited and developed. Known as the Litoral Central, this 250km stretch boasts bay after bay lined with gorgeous, white-sand beaches, and a string of coastal resort towns.

Valparaíso and Viña del Mar sit next to each other near the middle of the strip. They are geographical neighbours, but poles apart in appearance and atmosphere.

Viña is Chile’s largest beach resort and one of its ritziest. With its high-rises, casino, and seafront restaurants, as well as the beaches and clubs in nearby Reñaca, Viña typifies modern hedonism.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Valparaíso, on the other hand, has far more personality, with ramshackle, colourfulhouses spilling chaotically down the hills to the sea (but no decent beaches). “Valpo” is Chile’s principal port and naval base, and also perhaps the country’s liveliest and most vibrant city. The nightlife and excellent seafood attract much of Santiago to its bars and restaurants at the weekend, as does the nearby beach
resort of Viña del Mar. For stretches of sand, you’ll need to head south or north.

Closest to Santiago, via the “Autopista del Sol” (Ruta 78), are the resorts south of Valparaíso, which are busier and more developed. The one spot besides the beaches where you might want to spend some time in Viña del Mar is the lovely Quinta Vergara park, where the manicured grounds are home to a vast array of exotic imported plants. It is located a couple of blocks south of Plaza Vergara behind the Metrotrén Estación Viña, with the futuristic-looking Anfiteatro, home to the annual music festival, as its centrepiece.

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