Panting adventurers stumble to the top of the Cerro Santa Lucia, smiling triumphantly as they catch sight of the dainty lemon-hued chapel. It hides shyly behind fountains and dripping moss. By the time they have taken in the views of skyscrapers giving way to glorious snow-capped mountains, all thoughts of the climb have been forgotten. Back on ground level, the Plaza de Armas is buzzing with performance artists and street food vendors.
The area around Santiago is one of the world’s largest producers of red wines with some of Chile’s oldest wineries.
For a quick, affordable lunch, try Peruvian tamales and Chilean mote – a wheat and peach drink-cum-snack. Santiago has a number of trendy wine bars, but venturing up to the mountains and into the vineyards is also highly recommended. Pack a picnic, rent a bike and it is almost France – only with more impressive mountain scenery. Santiago is a city ripe for romance.