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New Routes – Go Now, Santiago

Hit the heights in Santiago with hikes, festivals and fine wines

Why go? Few cities boast as eclectic a mix of urban charm and natural beauty as Santiago. Its thriving arts and dining scene buzzes to a backdrop of lush hillside parks and wild Andean peaks.

Santiago’s buzzing nucleus is the Plaza de Armas. Gaze up at its neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral while snacking on sopaipilla (fried dough rounds).

Elsewhere, soak up Latin art history at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombin before hitting the Museo Colonial, which houses artefacts from Chile’s dawn. January is also a timely month, with performers all set to hit the streets for the Santiago a Mil arts festival (3-22 Jan 2017).

Grab some fresh air climbing the stone stairs of Santa Lucia Hill (629m) or the imposing San Cristobal Hill (880m) in the lush Metropolitan Park – both afford excellent panoramas of the city.

Finish beyond the capital, exploring its tugged Andean setting. To the south-east lies the otherworldiy Cajon del Maipo, a web of snowy peaks, milky lagoons and glaciers. Or hike San Jose volcano (5,856m) for fine vistas, then end with a tipple at Maipo Valley’s vineyards, viewed by many as the finest in Chile.

Where to stay? Hotel Orly, an old French-style mansion, is well-placed in leafy Providencia district, near Metropolitan Park.

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