Valparaiso has been declared a World Heritage Site, which recognises it;s historical importance and every-day beauty. There is so much to see and do, but to only clock off the main sights somehow misses the point. This is a place in which to walk, catch the funicular railway, walk some more, relax in a café and then explore some more. Time passes effortlessly.
Speaking of the funiculars, known locally as 'ascensores', you will fond many of them throughout Valparaíso, some built as early as 1883. Local people use them to get to and from their homes high up in the picturesque hillside neighborhoods. These are a must do when you visit the city as you will get to see some amazing views from them as you go up.
Muelle Prat (Prat Wharf) can be found at the foot of the Plaza Sotomayor, the main square of Valparaíso. Muelle Prat is the only wharf where the public can closely watch the loading and unloading of the ships from a safe distance. You will find a typical handicrafts market at this wharf and boat trips around the harbour can also be taken from here. From Plaza Sotomayor you can head south along Cochrane street where you will come across Plaza Echaurren. You can pay a visit to the Iglesia La Matriz del Salvador church just off the square. It was originally built in 1559. Go back to Plaza Echaurren and along Cochrane street until the end of it where you will see the Aduana (Old Customs house) and Ascensor Artillería. Take this funicular/elevator up the hill to Paseo 21 de Mayo walkway where you will some stands selling handicraft but more importantly it has a magnificent view of Valparaiso. From this short walkway you will see some stairs leading up to the Museo Marítimo Nacional (National Maritime Museum).
It's possible to visit one of Pablo Neruda's three houses in Valparaíso. His other two houses are in Santiago and Isla Negra on the coast and this one, known as La Sebastiana, is perched high up on a hill with spectacular views of Valparaiso and its bay. Neruda spent less time here than in his other houses though as always, he left his unforgettable mark there.