The second I arrived in Valparaiso, it was love at first sight.
There was just something about it – something about the rolling hills overlooking the Pacific, or the colorful buildings – that was impossible not to love.
About two hours west of Santiago, Valparaiso has much more character than Chile’s capital. Steep streets lined with brightly colored buildings wind up and down the city’s many hills, and walking down them is like walking in a museum. What we in the US consider to be graffiti, they call street art. Not only is “graffiti” legal in Valparaiso, the city actually invites (and sometimes pays) street artists from all over the world to visit the city and contribute to its extensive collection of artwork.
During my three months living there, I never stopped being awestruck by the amount of beauty that surrounded me, and almost three years later Valparaiso still holds a very special and very large piece of my heart.
I don’t think that Chile gets enough love as a destination. Santiago may not have been my favorite city in the world, but there is so much more to this country than its capital. Valparaiso is among the most vibrant, quirky, and welcoming cities I have ever been to – it truly was love at first sight, and I can’t wait to go back!
Were there any cities that were love at first sight for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!