Travels to Chile promise incredible culture, a chance to wine and dine, and a sense of discovering the undiscovered. Find luxury off the beaten path, and explore a corner of the globe that hasn’t been overrun by tourism. Chile is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as foodies and literary fans. With two Nobel Laureates of Literature, as well as being the birthplace of many famous writers, it has deep connections with icons who have shaped modern society. Thus, this thin sliver of land being known as the Nation of Poets.
Plan your next holiday here and you won’t be able to escape the remarkable culture and heritage. The combination of jaw-dropping natural beauty, amazing links with literature, and stable political climate make it one of the most desirable countries to visit in South America. And what will complete your Chilean travel experience is the succulent red wines and diverse beer selection, the signature wine tastings and gourmet tours, and the country’s spectacular coastline where sunsets are simply divine.
Santiago is the country’s soulful capital, and a place where travellers dive headfirst into local life. Explore the bustling markets of the city, enjoy a bespoke cooking class, or indulge in a gourmet lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the busy streets. This is also the best destination for those who desire luxury hotels, art, shopping and nightlife with chic, European-style surroundings.
Head north to Coquimbo Valley, Atacama and Aconcagua to experience a slower pace of life in the countryside. Or explore Central Chile where the Maule Valley offers incredible hikes, the Colchagua Valley rustles up the country’s most prestigious red wines and famous empanadas, and the Curico Valley marks the start of one of Chile’s main wine routes. Similarly, the Maipo Valley is worth is a visit for the finest vintage wine estates around.
Foodies will love the Casablanca Valley and the Valparaiso coastline, where lunch spots are plentiful and views are wonderful from the funicular railway. Just an hour away from Santiago, it’s the perfect day trip with sun, sea and sand.
In the south, you can go on an adventure visiting national parks marked by volcanoes, hot springs and dramatic waterfalls. The Bio-Bio and Itata Valleys are excellent for outdoor activities and are also known as the cooler regions for wine production.
With the Atacama Desert in the north to the central region where the weather resembles the Mediterranean, there’s somewhere to go year-round. Many visitors find that the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May) are ideal as the weather is warm and crowds are few. The summer months (December to February) attract the most tourists, but even when it gets busy there’s still a sense of being off the beaten path in many of our tour locations.
During the winter (June to August), temperatures are much cooler, but rarely ever falling below 15°C / 5°F (although some regions will see snowfall).
For festivals, summer is the time to book your trip. Or to catch the wine harvest, plan to arrive from late February to May. Wine harvesting festivals known as Vendimias feature grape stomping, music, food and tastings. Chile's wineries are open throughout the year though, and can be fantastic for tours from summer to winter.
The region of Colchagua is home to some of the best modern wineries in Chile. By combining new technology with innovative processes, the wineries of the Colchagua Valley make the area one of the most promising hotspots for wine connoisseurs. Producing largely reds, many of which are world-class, the region boasts some of the most influential varieties across the world.
You’ll find a range of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and the Syrah grape varieties. Compared to its northerly cousin Maipo, temperatures are cooler yet still of a Mediterranean style climate. This means that the white wines benefit closer to the coast where there’s a delightful ocean breeze. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are a must by the sea.
The other main wine destination to visit is Santiago, the capital of Chilean wines. There are organic vineyards and exclusive wineries surrounding the city – and more hectares of vines than Bordeaux in France!
Bio-Bio and the Itata Valleys in the south are renowned for their refreshing whites and lovely light red wines due to the cooler temperatures. Winegrowers get to work with varieties such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Viognier, offering a unique tasting experience for wine enthusiasts travelling outside of the capital.
Escape to a boutique hotel by Relais & Chateaux, or let us help you hand-pick luxury accommodations at the most exclusive wine country hotels in Chile. Whether you want access to vineyards and wine tastings, gourmet dining experiences or luxury spas, our team can help you find the perfect place to stay.
If you’re staying in Santiago, you’ll find this location to be the most convenient base. With over 126,000 hectares of vineyards distributed mainly around the city, you can plan a number of different tours and tastings. Just over an hour away is the seaside, so you won’t miss out on the beauty of the Chilean coastline. It’s also the safest capital in South America, making it suitable for walking around at night when you’re frequenting the wine bars. We also recommend it as a family-friendly place to stay if you’re looking to combine a holiday with children and some winery tours.
Wine and fine dining are bedfellows in Chile, with many restauranteurs and world-renowned chefs calling this remarkable destination their home. Local and native Chilean ingredients are the heart of the culinary narrative, telling a story of cultural diversity and a fusion of different worlds. The cuisine here is flavoured by traditional Spanish influence, bound by indigenous Mapuche staples, and fortified with European styles from Germany, Italy and France.
To taste a unique menu that embodies the best attributes of the local region, book a table at Clos Apalta Restaurant in the Colchagua Valley. At Clos Apalta, you can enjoy lunch under the vineyard pergola, visit the kitchen’s special herb garden, and watch world-class winemaking in action.
Wine Paths creates customized wine and food holidays to luxury destinations like Chile. To find out more about the Chilean wine country, get in touch with our local expert Claudio.