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Secrets of Santiago

A nation that spans frozen fjords and dusty deserts, Chile claims the top spot in our Best in Travel list this year, making it the number-one country to visit in 2018. In the midst of these epic landscapes is the capital, Santiago – its skyscrapers rising tall against a backdrop of snowy sierras. Long bypassed by visitors to Chile, this city is currently undergoing a renaissance, with a lively arts scene, revived urban spaces and an evolving food culture. Here are eight stops to make on your own pilgrimage.
The Former National Congress Building’s gardens.
The National Congress Building
Iglesia de los Sacramentinos, as seen from La Diana’s colonnade
Repurposed lamps at La Diana.

Ride a cable car for epic views

Anyone seeking to get their bearings in Santiago should start by boarding the Cerro San Cristóbal cable car. Gliding over the city’s botanical gardens, the skyscrapers of Santiago’s business district fade into the haze. On the hill above stands a 22-metre statue of the Virgin Mary, her arms outstretched, as if beckoning the car to the summit. At her feet, visitors gaze out at ranges of distant Andean peaks that mark the border with Argentina. As fortune would have it, the food carts in Mary’s shadow offer some of the tastiest empanadas in town, and Chile’s beloved mote con huesillo (husked wheat and peach juice) never tastes sweeter than when slurped from this sunny perch.

Single cable-car ride £1.50; telefericometsantiago.cl

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - April 2018
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