Funicular railways of Valparaíso

Historical monuments that take us back to another period in time, but that nowadays are considered an icon of Valparaíso and part of what makes it so unique.

Banco de Imagenes Fundación Imagen de Chile
Banco de Imagenes Fundación Imagen de Chile

The capital of the fifth region, Valparaíso, is nationally known for its cultural, historical and heritage values. Its hills invite us to discover them and to fall in love with the different works of arts that cover its walls and stairs. A city that has known how to keep its essence, despite the passing of time, and it has become one of a kind.

In 2003, the historical center of the city was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, organization that decided to highlight the different and unique aspects of Valparaíso. Its architecture influenced by immigrants and developed according to the geographical aspects of the city, unique landscapes, a vibrant artistic scene, and means of transport that definitely don’t go unnoticed, such as the trolley and funiculars, internationally known as funicular railways of Valparaíso

It was after 1883 that the authorities decided to implement a new way of moving around the city, in order to lighten the burden of those inhabitants that had to walk dozens of steps to reach the city’s center or walk back to their home. Around 30 funiculars were created, which were located in different parts of the city.

They are currently 16 funiculars throughout the city, all them declared Historical National Monuments, but only 7 of these are working. Due to the great value of these lifts, authorities are currently undertaking the restoration and modernization of 9 of them, while also maintaining the unique elements of each of them.

Juan Ernesto Jaeger | Imagen de Chile

Juan Ernesto Jaeger | Imagen de Chile

Among these monuments, a few of them stand out above the others, whether it is because of the place where they are located, their beauty, the amazing view that they provide or their unique structure. Some of them are:

Polanco Lift: Although these monuments are commonly known as “ascensores” (elevators in Spanish), the Polanco is the only one that actually works as one, since it moves in a vertical way. In order to access to this elevator, people have to go through a tunnel; after reaching to the elevator they will ascend a total of 60 meters. The top part of it offers an amazing panoramic view of the city. To get off the lift, people have to cross a bridge to the Cerro Polanco.

Artillería funicular railway: The most popular and the most photographed funicular of Valparaíso. It was built with the purpose of transporting officials and sailors from the Naval School, and is known for its wide and colourful carts. It also provides a spectacular view of Valparaíso.

Reina Victoria Lift: This funicular runs through the famous Cerro Alegre, a popular area for its variety of services, such as restaurants and accommodation. One of the biggest attractions of this elevator is the privileged view of Cerro Concepción and Cerro Cárcel. It is also recognized as the steepest lift in Valparaíso.

El Peral lift: This funicular connects different patrimonial parts of the city, joining the Plaza de la Justicia and the Yugoslavo walk located in Cerro Alegre. From its top station it is possible to admire the Pacific Ocean, along with enjoying its exhibition room.

Concepción lift: It was the first funicular in being inaugurated and located on the hill by the same name. This lift connects Prat street and the Gervasoni walk, one of the most important lookout of the city, offering a complete view of the financial district and the ocean.