Famous for white-sand beaches that stretch from Caleta Abarca north through the suburbs of Reñaca and Concón , fabled Viña del Mar is also Chile’s Ciudad Jardín (Garden City) for its Mediterranean cityscapes—one of its signature symbols is the Reloj de Flores, the “Clock of Flowers” at the Avenida Marina approach from Valparaíso .
In the immediate post-independence times, though, what is now Viña was puro campo, a bucolic countryside that was part of the Carrera family’s Hacienda Las Siete Hermanas. The Carreras, who were among Chile’s founding families, sold the hacienda to the Alvares-Vergara family, who, as the Santiago-Valparaíso railroad increased land values, sold off parts of the property to wealthy Valparaíso  businessmen, marking a transition from semi-rurality to elegant residential suburb and beach resort.
Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, though, Viña became a more democratic destination and even began to pull Argentine tourists from across the Andes—even though its constant fogs, cool sea breezes, and cold Pacific currents can make entering the water without a warm wet suit a forbidding experience.
Once Chile’s prestige beach resort, Viña has lost ground to competitors such as La Serena (whose seaside climate is only slightly milder) but still gets plenty of weekend and summer beachgoers from metropolitan Santiago .
Like Valparaíso , Viña del Mar relies exclusively on bus transportation to and from the city.
Viña’s Aeropuerto Torquemada has no commercial flights, but LanChile/LanExpress (Av. Valparaíso 287, tel. 0322/690365) and Sky Airline (Ecuador 78, tel. 0322/695345) both fly out of Santiago.
Viña’s bright new Terminal Rodoviario (Av. Valparaíso 1055, tel. 0322/752000) is about 300 meters east of Plaza Vergara. Carriers and services are almost identical to those from Valparaíso; all northbound and international buses from Valparaíso stop in Viña.