Day Trips From Santiago de Chile

by on 18th October, 2022

Most people travelling to Chile will pass through its capital, Santiago, at some point during their trip.

Santiago’s official name is Santiago de Chile. This stunning city has some fantastic day trips for those who linger longer.

Excursions vary from wine tasting to skiing to street art. Such variety stems from Santiago’s dramatic geography — the snow-capped Andes flank Santiago’s eastern side, with 6,000m (19,690 ft) giants within 12 miles (20km) of the centre. Drive 60 miles (100km) west, and you’ll meet the Pacific Ocean.

Incredible natural and cultural attractions are spread between the coast, nearby forests, and mountains. Indeed, there are lots of outdoor adventure activities in the nearby El Cajón del Maipo river gorge, southeast of Santiago.

Let’s look at the best day tours from Santiago de Chile, from beach trips to world-class wineries to towns where Nobel prize-winning poets once lived.


Valparaiso street art Chile



What Are the Best Day Trips From Santiago, Chile?

The centre of Santiago is reasonably flat, making it ideal for city tours and strolling.

However, some of the best day trips from Santiago require a little bit of travel. Let’s look at those no more than two hours’ drive away from the centre.


When Is the Best Time to Visit Santiago de Chile?

Santiago is a year-round destination, depending on your interests, with everything from summer hikes to winter skiing possible. Much of the city stands at around 500m/1,640ft, so high altitude is not a problem.

Most people visit in summer (October to March) when temperatures are warm. It can get hot from December to February, reaching 35°C / 95°F.

In winter (May to September), daytime temperatures range from 15°C / 60 °F to as low as 0°C / 32°F.


Cumbres lastarria hotel, Santiago, Chile



Santiago de Chile City tour

There are myriad half and full-day city tours around Santiago de Chile. We recommend taking a guided tour to help with the logistics and to learn from a local expert guide.

Highlights include visiting Santa Lucia hill, where Santiago was founded in 1541. The Plaza de Armas is a must, home to the Cathedral of Santiago and the National History Museum (Museo Historico Nacional).

The nearby Government Palace is worth a visit, as is a stroll through the surrounding streets: check out the bohemian Bellavista, vibrant and artsy Barrio Italia, and the cultural spirit of the historic centre (Centro Historico).

Other highlights include:

  • San Francisco Church
  • La Chascona Neruda’s museum
  • The Santiago Baháʼí House of Worship
  • Museo de la Memoria y de los Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Museum)
  • Central Market and Fish Market
  • Parque Bicentenario (think Central Park)


Cathedral, Plaza de armas, Santiago, Chile



Valparaíso and Viña del Mar Day Trip

Distance from Santiago: 84 miles/135 km (2 hours by car)

Valparaíso highlights: Street art, galleries, views, Nobel-prize-winning writer

Viña del Mar highlights: Beach, seafood

These two towns sit side-by-side and make a great day trip or, for those with more time, a two-day visit to allow more time to explore.

Valparaíso, known as Valpo to the locals, is a delightful and colourful seaside city and port. Street art bedecks numerous winding streets pocked with boutique shops, art galleries, and hotels, which led to UNESCO declaring the area a World Heritage Site.

Poet Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. You can visit his home, which sits atop a hill, affording great views. We recommend taking the funicular car to the city’s highest points and wandering back through Valparaíso’s streets on the way down.

Next door to Valpo is Viña del Mar, a classic beach town, with the nearby Reñaca and Concón offering more laid-back options for those with more time. Catch some rays, enjoy a Pisco sour, and try stupendous seafood straight from the sea. To be more active, visit the giant clock made of flowers (Reloj de Flores).




Isla Negra Day Trip

Distance from Santiago: 68 miles/109 km (1.5 hours by car)

Highlights: Pablo Neruda’s house

The small town of Isla Negra is home to the third of the three Pablo Neruda houses you can visit in Chile (the others are in Santiago and Valparaíso). Many consider Isla Negra’s place to be the most interesting, it being much different to the others because it’s in the form of a boat.

We recommend a guided trip to help you get the most from the tour, especially if you are unfamiliar with Neruda’s work. Isla Negra is a peaceful, quiet town where it’s easy to while away a few hours listening to the Pacific Ocean rhythmically pounding the nearby craggy rocks.

Isla Negra can tie into a full-day trip with Pomaire.


Pomaire Day Trip

Distance from Santiago: 41 miles/62 km (1 hour by car)

Highlights: Pottery, enormous empanadas

Nearby natural clay deposits have made Pomaire a potter’s paradise. The town now produces a red clay pig as its symbol — look out for them in restaurants and homes across Chile.

We recommend visiting Isla Negra in the morning and then coming to Pomaire on the drive back to Santiago. Why? The town is also famous for giant empanadas, ranging from a kilo (2.2lb) to a mammoth 10kg (22lb). Remember, it’s good to share.


empanada recipe made by alan



Cajón del Maipo Day Trips

Distance from Santiago: 37 miles/60 km (1 hour by car for rafting)

Highlights: Rafting, hot springs, wine tasting, BBQ, trekking

Cajón del Maipo is Santiago’s adventure playground, a gorge situated a short drive to the city’s southeast.

The Maipo volcano on the Chile/Argentina border births a stream that becomes the mighty Maipo river. Before the river reaches Santiago, it carves through the mountains, creating a beautiful gorge ripe for exploration.

Choose from exhilarating white-water rafting, hikes, and a gentler stroll to the picturesque El Yeso reservoir (allow extra time to drive to El Yeso). There are hot springs, barbecues, horseback riding and views for all to enjoy in Cajón del Maipo. We recommend booking these trips in advance and with a guide.

Example hikes:

  • El Morado Glacier (6 miles/10km)
  • San Jose Volcano + hot springs (5 miles / 8km)


Maipo Valley Wine-Tasting Trips

Distance from Santiago: 28 miles/45 km (45 mins by car)

Highlights: Wine tasting

Maipo Volley offers numerous day trips or overnight stays at wineries. Day trips are best organized with a driver if you wish to try the wines. For longer trips, hire a car to drive around for a few days and visit several vineyards.

Remember: Chile has strict drink-driving laws. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol.

Maipo wines, both red and white, are famous worldwide. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates, but there are plenty of other cold-weather varieties, like Merlot, Carmenère and Sauvignon Blanc. Some famous wineries include:

  • Casillero del Diablo (part of the Concha y Toro Winery)
  • Santa Rita
  • Cousiño-Macul
  • Undurraga


Wines, Casa Coupage, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Casablanca Valley Wine Tasting Trips

Distance from Santiago: 49 miles/79 km

Highlights: Wine tasting

As with Maipo, the Casablanca Valley can be visited by renting a car or on a guided tour. Another option is to take a bus from Santiago to Casablanca and hire taxis to take you to and from the wineries.

The Casablanca valley lies west of Santiago, en route to Valparaíso. Vineyards produce world-famous Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon wines. Some famous vineyards include:

  • Matetic Vineyards
  • Casas del Bosque
  • La Recova
  • Emiliana Organic Vineyards
  • Kingston Family Vineyards


Viu Manent Winery in Santa Cruz, Colchagua Valley, Chile


Valle Nevado Day Trips

Distance from Santiago: 41 miles/66 km (1.5 hours by car)

Highlights: Skiing and snowboarding

Valle Nevado translates as “snow valley” and is the perfect place to learn to ski. Santiago’s winter (June to September) brings snow to many surrounding mountains, turning them into a winter sports paradise. Choose from ski resorts or hotels for your perfect getaway.

During the summer months (October to April), Valley Nevada is a great day trip for stunning mountain views.


What Are the Best Day Trips From Santiago de Chile?

These are some of our favourite day trips from Santiago de Chile. There is plenty to interest every traveller, from culture and fine dining to surfing and hiking.

Indeed, you’re never far from adventure in Santiago and many of our Chile tours spend time there. The city is a great place to get to know Chile before heading further afield, perhaps to Patagonia or Atacama.

Contact us to start planning your trip.


Facts about Santiago de Chile

  • Founded: February 12, 1541
  • Population: 6.3million (8 million including Metropolitan area)
  • Altitude: 520m/1,706ft
  • Currency: Chilean Peso
  • Climate: Semi-arid Mediterranean. Check this weather guide for more.
  • Summer: October to March


Funicular Station, Pio Nono, Santiago, Chile




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