If you are travelling to Patagonia, you’d probably like to go everywhere. However, as we told you in our blog How to plan a trip to Patagonia, it is best that you get there with a plan.
Determining first which places you will help you optimize your time and have a memorable journey.
In that pursuit, we have selected for you an array of cities that, for different reasons, stand out in the region; some by their beauty, others by their traditions, while several are strategic points along the main tourist routes.
Make sure you set foot in at least one of them!
According to Condé Nast’s Travelers.es magazine, Frutillar is a “must-see” place to visit in Chile due to its unique combination of arts, culture and natural beauty.
Less than 30 minutes from Puerto Varas, this charming city of German-like architecture - the influence of German settlers who arrived in the 19th century- is located on the shores of Llanquihue Lake, and it has spectacular views of the Osorno volcano.
Besides its beautiful landscapes, you can enjoy its exquisite gastronomy, from which sweet pastries and raft beers stand out.
If you like art, there’s the city’s spectacular Lake Theater off the lake, which hosts several cultural activities throughout the year. In the summer, one of the most important events of the region takes place: The Frutillar Musical Weeks. This classical music festival began 50 years ago, bringing renowned exponents from all over the world.
It is the starting point to discover the southernmost area of Chile, a place where you can live the country’s southern customs and traditions.
The arrival of German immigrants over two hundred years ago left a mark in the city’s history. In time, Puerto Montt became a strategic point for trade between Patagonia and the rest of the country.
If you want to try its cuisine, give the curanto of Angelmó a try. This delicious preparation can be made in a pot or a ground oven and includes potatoes, chapalele potato bread, seafood and sausages, among other ingredients.
A typical place we recommend you visit is the Copper Cathedral in front of the Plaza de Armas or main square, a structure which stands out because of its impressive copper dome.
Also, the Pelluco boardwalk area offers an ample array of restaurants and bars to enjoy great views of the gulf.
Ninety kilometres from Puerto Montt is the Chiloé Archipelago, surrounded by myths and composed of more than 30 islets, some of which are uninhabited until today. Capital city Castro is one of the oldest and magic-filled cities in Chile.
Forests, the sea, and country fields come together here, with a unique architecture and history full of myths and legends.
Traditional wood-pile constructions known as palafitos, found in the coastline, make houses in Chiloé seem like they are floating on top of the sea.
Moreover, speaking of traditions, make sure to catch the classic “minga”, a celebration in which friends and neighbours help people move their house from one place to another in the island with the help of oxen and wooden wheels placed under the structure, giving way to a traditional party.
Besides its cultural charm, Chiloé also stands out because of the beauty of its churches, which were built with native wood. Its construction technique is unique in the American continent. Therefore many of them were declared World Heritage landmarks by UNESCO. We recommend you visit the beautiful churches of San Francisco, Our Lady of Sorrows and San Antonio of Vilupulli.
Rivers, mountains, and forests surround this corner of Aysen Region. It is a "young" city, founded in 1929, which over the years has become an excellent operations base from which to explore magical places such as the Marble Cathedral, made of rocky formations in General Carrera Lake.
Close to Coyhaique is the Cerro Castillo National Reserve, where you can take one of the most spectacular hiking trails in Chilean Patagonia. Along with this path, the scenery depicts emerald lagoons, pristine rivers, and glaciers of different hues and dense forests of lenga and coigue trees.
Also, in a little more than an hour, lies Puerto Chacabuco, from where ferries depart towards the San Rafael Lagoon, in the Northern Patagonian Ice Fields.
It is known as the “city of rainbows”. The weather is unpredictable there; the mixture of rain and the sun helping to fill the sky with colour.
The setting surrounding Puerto Natales is wild and imposing. In its vicinities, you will find fjords, glaciers, beautiful valleys, and archipelagos.
Its history is linked to the adventurous Kawéskar and Aónikenk indigenous people, and to the English and German colonists who came to these parts hundred years later, who mainly grew livestock.
It is a strategic point if you are on your way to Torres Del Paine National Park, although the city has reinvented itself with a delicious cuisine, beautiful hotels, and cultural alternatives. Check out these must-see attractions in our "What to see in Puerto Natales” post.
Traveller's Choice Awards 2017 By Tripadvisor chose Punta Arenas among the Top 10 destinations in Chile.
It is one of the southernmost cities of the country, where Mother Nature surprises visitors with winds that can reach 200 kilometres per hour, while natural light can extend to 20 hours.
The initial migration flow to this city took place at the beginning of the 20th century when the Magallanes Strait was a strategic point on the route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Croats, English, and Spanish settlers arrived there, mainly.
Close to Punta Arenas, you can watch penguins in Magdalena Island or spot a humpback whale in the Francisco Coloane Marine Park.
The city is also the gateway to Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.
Make sure to visit Punta Arena’s attractions like the Sara Braun Municipal Cemetery, the Monument to the Shepherd, and the Nao Victoria Museum.
Remember to define your travel plans and itineraries before you jump into your adventure to Patagonia; this will help your budget and allow you to enjoy an enjoyable experience.
Moreover, make sure you do not miss these cities in Patagonia!