Valdivia boasts German-style architecture and two picturesque rivers, the Valdivia and the Calle-Calle. Valdivia is home to excellent museums, leafy parks and a historic steam train, while the surrounding region can be explored on riverboat cruises.
Things to do in Valdivia
The city’s bustling riverside market, Feria Fluvial, features stalls selling fresh seafood, meat, fruits and vegetables in addition to handmade arts and crafts. Watch as the local sea lions waddle up to the shore for scraps from the fishmongers.
Learn about Valdivia’s past at the Maurice van de Maele Historical and Anthropological Museum. Step inside the beautiful riverside mansion to discover collections highlighting pre-Columbian history to the present day. Marvel at Mapuche Indian artefacts and items from early German settlements, then browse the adjacent Contemporary Art Museum to see prominent pieces of work from local artists.
Need a break from sightseeing? Pack a picnic and head to Parque Saval, a 30-hectare riverside park perfect for scenic strolls and birdwatching. If you’re travelling with the kids, head to the Botanical Gardens to learn about native Chilean plants, trees and flowers.
Jump aboard the famous Valdivian steam train, which dates back to 1913 and is the only one in the country still operating. The railway borders the beautiful Calle Calle River and stops at Pishuinco and Huellehue, where you can sample regional cuisines and browse traditional souvenirs.
Getting around Valdivia
You can access Valdivia by flying into Pichoy Airport, located 32 kilometres from the city centre, or by catching a three-hour bus from Puerto Montt. The compact streets of Valdivia are best explored on foot, while buses and taxis are available to travel further afield.