La Serena, Chile
Chile’s second-oldest city and the thriving capital of Región IV, La Serena is doubly blessed with some beautiful architecture and a long golden shoreline; making it a kind of thinking-man’s beach resort. The city absorbs hoards of Chilean holidaymakers in January and February, though it’s fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Sauntering through downtown La Serena rewards with dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and pretty plazas. Some of the city’s architecture is original colonial, but most of it is neocolonial – the product of Serena-born president Gabriel González Videla’s ‘Plan Serena’ of the late 1940s.La Serena also has numerous attractions in the surrounding countryside, with charming villages and pisco vineyards aplenty, as well as international astronomical observatories that take advantage of the region’s exceptional atmospheric conditions and clear skies.

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