Your first stop in Chile is Santiago.
This is where modern architecture meets traditional, colonial-period architecture. The city’s landmark is Iglesia de San Francisco, the country’s oldest church. Also worth seeing are the Presidential Palace, Plaza de Armas and the Central Market, where you can taste some local specialities.
Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago's local hill, offers a phenomenal view over the city. It is located in Bellavista, the city’s bohemian quarter, along with the mighty statue of the Virgin Mary.
During your time in Santiago, do a day trip to Valparaiso. This port city is located in a beautiful bay on the Pacific Ocean. The historic, picturesque old town Cerro Alegre is situated on a hill and can be reached either on foot or by funicular. With its lovingly renovated houses, colourfully painted facades and creative street art, Valparaiso is one of South America’s most colourful cities.
Santiago offers great accommodations for €12 in an eight-bed dorm.
Continue by plane to Punta Arenas, for about €100.
The city has many European influences and several cultural attractions to visit. Get to know Punta Arenas’ history in the Museo Regional De Magallanes, discover the Plaza Muñoz Gamero with the Magellan Monument or visit the Cementerio Municipal, one of South America’s most magnificent cemeteries.
At the harbour, you can buy fresh seafood or enjoy fish dishes at the local fish market. Additionally, you can book tickets for a trip to Isla Magdalena. The island is located off the coast of Punto Arenas and is home to about 70,000 penguins.
Staying overnight at a hostel will cost €12 for an eight-bed dorm.
Continue your trip by bus to Puerto Natales for approximately €10.
Located in Patagonia’s western part, this city is the gateway for excursions to the Torres del Paine National Park, which offers an incredible variety of landscapes, from crystal clear rivers, granite rocks and grasslands to glaciers, mountain lakes and swamps.
Discover this breathtaking nature on a guided day hike to the foot of the Torres del Paine. The route passes El Chileno Mountain Lodge, which has a fantastic view of Nordenskjöld Lake and Almirante Nieto. The ascent up the Torres del Paine, which means “Blue Towers,” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
At the end of your hike, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the National Park’s impressive landscape. This experience includes hostel pickup/drop-off, trekking equipment and lunch from €130 per person.
Spend the night at a hostel in Puerto Natales for €19 in a four-bed dorm.
From Puntas Arenas, fly back to Santiago for about €100, and take a bus to La Serena in the north of Chile for about €30.
This popular holiday resort with its colonial buildings and numerous churches is the second-oldest city in Chile. The archaeological museum, with exhibitions about the area’s settlement and history of the indigenous peoples, and the big handicraft market on the Plaza de Armas are worth seeing. Make sure to visit the town’s lighthouse, located on a picturesque, eight-kilometre-long sandy beach.
Tongoy Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Chile, is also only a bus ride away from La Serena. Spend a few relaxing days on the beach here, unwind in the Pacific Ocean’s turquoise-blue waters and just breathe.
Take another day trip to the mystical Fray Jorge National Park or to Coquimbo, where you can take a tour through the charming harbour or visit the traditional fish market.
Stay overnight in La Serena – a bed in an eight-bed dorm costs just €15 per night.
Your last stop is San Pedro. There are flights from La Serena to Calama from €100, from which you’ll take the bus for €5 to San Pedro de Atacama.
This small village lies in the middle of the Atacama Desert and offers a spectacular landscape about 2,400 meters above sea level. From San Pedro de Atacama, you can explore the Great North. Hike through the Atacama Desert (the world’s driest desert), visit El Tatio (the geothermal field), or take a bath in the hot springs around the desert city.
A trip to the Valle de la Luna is also an unforgettable experience, as you can admire the world’s most beautiful starry sky there.
An overnight stay in town costs €18 for a four-bed dorm.
Salar de Uyuni
From the driest sand desert, continue to the largest salt desert in the world. The Salar de Uyuni is located just across the border in Bolivia and is an absolute must-see.
You’ll spend four days in the surreal landscape and visit remote places that seem to be from another world. The Salar de Uyuni’s salt crust extends for more than 10,000 square kilometres. During rainy season, it turns into the world’s largest salt lake, resembling a gigantic mirror in which the snow-covered mountains and blue sky are beautifully reflected.
Cruise back and forth over the border with a jeep on the Altiplano’s deserted plateaus, past active volcanoes to shimmering, fairy-tale lagoons. Don’t miss the chance to admire flamingos in Laguna Blanca’s turquoise waters, learn about salt mining and visit the cactus island Isla Incahuasi.
Book this adventurous four-day-tour from only €130 – it includes pick-up and drop-off in San Pedro de Atacama, transport, a guide, accommodation and all meals.
From San Pedro, take the bus for €5 back to Calama and get on a plane to Santiago – flights start at €50.
In the vibrant capital, visit the trendy Barrio Lastarria district, where you can end your trip with delicious drinks. Don’t forget to do some last-minute shopping to buy gifts for your loved ones.
Soak up as much of Chile as possible before grabbing your flight back home.