Puerto Varas is compact enough to explore by foot, which is the best way to view the wooden colonial homes built by German immigrants from 1910 until the 1940s. Eight of these homes have been declared national monuments, yet there are at least a dozen more constructed during the period of expansion that began with the installation of the railroad connecting Puerto Varas with Puerto Montt.
Walk up San Francisco from Del Salvador until you reach María Brunn, where you turn right to view the stately Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, built between 1915 and 1918. The neo-Romantic design of the church, made entirely of oak, was modeled after the Marienkirche in the Black Forest. Continue along María Brunn and turn right on Purísima, where you'll encounter the first group of colonial homes. The first is Gasthof Haus (1930), now run as a hotel; then Casa Yunge (1932), just past San Luis on the left; and on the right, Casa Horn (1925), where you turn left. If you'd like to see more, walk to Calle Dr. Giesseler and turn right, following the train tracks for several blocks, passing the Casa Opitz on the right (1913, and now a hotel) until you see Casa Maldonado (1915) on the left.
Turn left on Nuestra Señora del Carmen to view the five homes left and right, including the Casa Jüptner (1910). Double back and continue along Dr. Giesseler, turn left on Estación, and then right on Decher, passing the Casa Emhart (1920) and several other homes on the left. Continue through the forested road that winds up the hill to reach Parque Philippi (home to the giant cross, which is lit up at night and can be seen from downtown Puerto Varas), where you'll find an excellent lookout point. Double back, and turn left on Bellavista, right on Klenner, and left on Turismo; at the corner sits the eclectic Casa Kuschel (1910), with its Bavarian baroque tower. At the end of Turismo is the Avenida Costanera; turn right and stroll down the boardwalk.
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