Santiago is close to some fine, and frequently overlooked, attractions, from national parks and thermal springs to sleepy villages and lush vineyards.
The obvious main attraction is the Andes, with the Cajón del Maipo river valley providing good access into the cordillera, leading to the small but spectacular Monumento Nacional El Morado. In winter, skiing is a terrific possibility, several excellent resorts are just a 90min drive from the capital and increasingly offer year-round activities like hiking and mountain biking. Wineries are another of the area’s highlights, with some of Chile’s oldest and most famous vineyards within easy striking distance.
Towards the coast, Parque Nacional La Campana offers excellent hiking, while Pomaire, west of the capital, is a picturesque village known for its ceramics. North of Santiago, head for the colonial town of Los Andes, surrounded by picturesque villages and mountain scenery.