Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Nestled between the world’s largest ocean, driest desert, longest mountain range, and southernmost grasslands, is Santiago de Chile. It’s no wonder that this South American capital is a city of extremes. Bienvenidos a Santiago, a cosmopolitan city where you can be whoever you want to be. Dine out in elegant business districts, grab a Churro in an urban park or hand-pick fresh seafood in a historic market hall. Delve into classic art museums or get inspired by bohemian street art. Escape the heat in modern, air-conditioned malls or find sanctuary in historic cathedrals. Treat your palate to a fine wine, or down a beer in one of the city’s favorite bars. No matter what you are looking for, Santiago has it all. Framed by mountain ranges, Santiago is often shrouded in a hazy cloud. In this soft light, the well-worn stones of the city’s oldest districts recall the atmosphere of the old Europe. Chile is the ’Country of Poets’ and its romantic urban parks that show us the simple delights of the old days, before the digital world arrived. Outside of the historic district Santiago is buzzing with energy and growth. Shiny skyscrapers tell a story of a thriving city with its eyes fixed on the future. Free-spirited students, artists, and businesspeople make this one of South America’s most progressive cities. The central Plaza de Armas is the perfect starting point for first-time visitors. Browse its arts stalls or have a drink in one of the square’s lively cafés to mingle with friendly “Chilenos”. Admire some of the city’s oldest buildings and step into the Metropolitan Cathedral, a place for devotion and contemplation. Still in the plaza, make your way up the historic bell tower of the National History Museum. See how 16th-century Spanish conquistadores planned the capital around Santa Lucía Hill, the spot where the city was founded. Of course, thousands of years before the Spanish arrived, Chile already had a thriving civilization. Today, only a few indigenous groups remain. The Civic District along Ahumada Boulevard is home to La Moneda Palace, which was the colonial mint and is now the seat of Government. The original palace was bombed when General Augusto Pinochet seized power in 1973. The Museum of Memory and Human Rights reminds visitors of the thousands of victims of his repressive rule. The people fought back and Chile is now a prosperous and free nation. As the country’s beloved poet Pablo Neruda once said: “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” Since the 1990s Santiago has flourished and is today one of the hippest capitals in South America. Don’t miss Parque Forestal This green corridor gives access to some of the city’s most remarkable art museums and sculptures. Take a peak inside Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho, a monumental train station turned exhibition space with café and restaurant. Rent a bike and head to Providencia to see the jumble of artworks in the Parque de las Esculturas. Keep riding northeast to Vitacura to feed the swans in Parque Bicentenario or pull up a beach chair. To the south of the city is Pirque, where you can tour the famous Concha y Toro winery. The experience will make you a connoisseur of the region’s chardonnay and the viña’s tasting sessions are a feast for the senses. If you’d rather drink a cold “cerveza", visit a sidewalk café in the central Bellavista neighborhood. Browse craft shops, look for precious antiques, and check out the area’s colorful street art. From Bellavista,which is Spanish for “beautiful views”, you can scale the city’s revered hill, Cerro San Cristóbal. take one last look at sparkling Santiago before you set out to explore Chile’s many natural treasures.