Valparaiso is awash with colour, art, character and charm. It is Chile’s sixth biggest city, but has the second biggest metropolitan region after the capital Santiago. Valparaiso is also known as “The Jewel of the Pacific”, owing to its enviable location halfway down the long stretch of Chilean territory on the Pacific coast. Valparaiso is home to one of the South Pacific’s major seaports, and this has been a factor in its multicultural development, as ships trading between the Atlantic and Pacific in the 19th century used to stop here before traveling through the Straits of Magellan, bringing exotic influences with them. Valparaiso could well be considered the cultural capital of Chile, given that is has long been home to artists, writers, intellectuals and poets, who have been inspired by the city’s idiosyncratic geography and architecture, which have helped shape its identity. Valparaiso is a maze of hilly streets that delight visitors as much as confuse them. The hills can be scaled by the city’s endless sets of staircases, or historic funicular elevators which afford passengers panoramic views out over the city as they ride up towards one of Valparaiso’s many viewpoints. Cerro Concepcion is one of the most popular high points of the city, so put this on your must-see list.