A typical landscape in Frutillar, Chile

A typical landscape in Frutillar, Chile

The beautiful city of Frutillar has a population of about 5 thousand. Frutillar is located at 51.5 miles from Osorno, at an altitude of 229.6 feet. Frutillar grew in 1856 as an embarking dock. Soon there were commerce houses, tanneries, mills, brewery and an alcohol distillery. Frutillar got to have four docks. With the arrival of the railroad to the city, in 1907, the station and a locality of High Frutillar (Frutillar Alto) were born.

The city of Frutillar has beautiful old houses in a German style with gardens. In one of them there’s a Chilean palm tree, the most southern of the world. Frutillar experienced a strong tourist re-activation in the last two decades; the locals restored their typical houses and set up a promenade, next to the most beautiful beach in the Llanquihue Lake (lago Llanquihue). It’s surrounded by trees and gardens, where the begonias reign. To the south of the promenade there are Lleuques (Prumnopitys andina), small trees whose fruits look like grapes; these are one of the seven species of the native coniferous trees in Chile.

Along this renewal of Frutillar rose a tourism that today surpasses the area of the city, extending through the coastal road and the hills surrounding the city; it includes hotels, lodging houses, restaurants and tea houses. Every year Frutillar organizes the Musical Weeks (Semanas Musicales). And also there’s the German Colonial Museum (Museo Colonial Alemán). All this makes it the most coveted summer center of the Llanquihue Lake.

It’s recommended to take a walk along the Promenade (Costanera) in Frutillar, which has an excellent beach, a beautiful view to the volcano and an active summer life. It has an environment of well taken care gardens and nice bungalows. On a small peninsula we find the Lake’s Amphitheater (Anfiteatro del Lago), a center for concerts and events that will host the Musical Weeks of Frutillar (Semanas Musicales de Frutillar). In addition to the concert hall, it counts with restaurants, stores and an amphitheater with a floating backdrop, which varies according to the level of the lake. It can be visited.

A pleasant trip in Frutillar is the Edmundo Winckler Forest Reserve (Reserva Forestal Edmundo Winckler). This reserve is an experimental forestry center belonging to the University of Chile (Universidad de Chile). There is an environmental interpretation trail, which runs for 2,624 feet through native forest, of the Evergreen Forest of the lakes type, preserved in its pre-colonial condition, counting with reserve areas and exotic plantations for the study of forest species. At its Nursery, native species are sold. The Reserve is open in January and February, from Monday to Sunday between 9 am and 7 pm; and between March and December, from Monday to Saturday, between 9 am and 4 pm. An informative leaflet is provided and, during summer, the visit includes a guide. The admission ticket costs $1,500 for adults and $700 for children.

The cemetery of Frutillar is beautiful and is very well taken care; through its headstones you will recognize the founder colonists. From there you get the best view to the bay.

Frutillar, located near Llanquihue Lake in the South of Chile

Frutillar, located near Llanquihue Lake in the South of Chile

The German Colonial Museum of Frutillar is a must see. There are buildings typical of the period, as well as furniture and machinery dating back to the second and third generation immigrants. By then, they have already dominated the forest, opened crop fields and incorporated its products to the national market.

The German Colonial Museum of Frutillar is located between beautiful gardens and ancient tress belonging to the Richter family and was created in 1972. Its property, of more than 7.4 acres is still expanding. It’s a project implemented in conjunction with the German government, the Municipality, the Museum Department of the Southern University of Chile (Dirección Museológica de la Universidad Austral de Chile), private parties and the community of Frutillar.

Visiting hours are from December 15 to March 15, from Monday to Sunday, from 10 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 8 pm; the rest of the year from 10 am to 2 pm and 3 pm. It’s closed on December 25 and January 1. The admission ticket costs $1,500 for adults and $500 for children.

The German Colonial Museum of Frutillar with its five buildings, all built on wood, is distributed in the style of the limits of an old ranch. These buildings are:

The Llavería: Next to the entry, there we find the museum administration’s office.

The Mill (El Molino):

The mill was brought here from a site on the lakeshore. It is water-driven, the bladed wheel being turned by water fed along a wood-lined channel.

In its interior there are the machineries and big stones that would grind the flour. Just like this mill, there were others around the Llanquihue lake for the production of the neighbors.

Casa del Herrero: The forge is the exhibit which best represents the life of the early colonists. There is a collection of the machinery and tools which were vital for farm work in a remote area, where self-sufficiency in the maintenance of farm implements was essential.

A view of Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano from Frutillar city

A view of Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano from Frutillar city

El Campanario: A circular bird barn, covered with a conical roof supported on a single central pillar. The interior is an unobstructed circular area some 65.6 feet in diameter. It looks lie a circus tent, but made on wood. The belfries were not from the are of the Llanquihue lake, but from the wheat fields, less humid, on the hillsides of the Coastal mountain range, between La Unión, on the North, and Negro River (Río Negro), on the South. It’s a sample of the native architecture, today about to disappear.

The belfry used to serve for gathering sheaf of wheat grains and make the “threshing with mares” under cover, due to the rains; the animals would turn around the central column stepping on the grains.

In its interior there are agriculture and domestic machinery. Among them, butter beaters and other destined to elaborate beer, cured meats or syrups. There are also stones for grinding grains, a “cabrita and a “victoria” (calashes or light carriages pulled by horses), both with passengers.

Casa Patronal: Called “country house”, was built on a hill in 1989. It’s representative of the economic rise of the German agriculture. It depicts a idealize representation of a main house of a ranch, built with the finest native wood.

Musical Weeks of Frutillar: The concerts are offered in the afternoons in the Municipal Gym (Gimnasio Municipal), for about one thousand persons, and at midday at the Catholic and Lutheran church. The Symphonic Orchestra of Chile (Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile), the symphonic band of the Air Force, chamber groups, the Chilean National Ballet (Ballet Nacional Chileno) and national and foreigner soloists participate. This is a very popular event; therefore make reserve your admission ticket and lodging. These are held between January 27 and February 5, and last 10 days.

High Frutillar

High Frutillar is located at 2.4 miles of Frutillar, along the railroad station and the Pan-American Highway. High Frutillar grew as a railroad station with the inauguration of the railroad in 1907. Today High Frutillar has industries, services, commerce, gas station and a health center.

Between Frutillar and High Frutillar shared cabs (colectivos) are available from very early in the morning until midnight. Between Osorno and Puerto Montt, through the Pan-American Highway, buses circulate each 30 minutes; they stop at the High Frutillar terminal. There are taxis as well.

In High Frutillar there are about dozen lodging houses that are cheaper than the ones at Frutillar. Buy dairy products from the Cafra cooperative and Lindermann cured meats, both with local factory with and a sales point at the place.


(Hidden Port)

Llanquihue has a population of about 10 thousand and is located at 63.3 miles from Osorno. This important center of the agriculture industry is located on the banks of the Maullín river (río Maullín), which flows into the Llanquihue lake. The first German settlers arrived here in 1852, in farms contiguous to the river; they implemented a dock to have communication links with Puerto Varas. The locality of Llanquihue was created with the sales of the first urban sites in 1893, but it only grew until 1911, with the arrival of the railroad. Llanquihue used to be called before “Drainage”.

In the city of Llanquihue it’s recommended to visit the coastal route, where is the Gymnastics Club (Club Gimnástico). You can go down to the beach that has a wooden dock of 351 feet, today used as an embarking dock for boats trips. In the water you will see two replicas of black necked swans.

The factory of Llanquihue Cured Meats (Cecinas Llanquihue) was founded in 1911, and its products are considered the best in Chile. Nearby is the bridge over the Maullín river, where you will be able to see the drainage of the Llanquihue lake and the railroad bridge, built in 1911, much used by fishing amateurs.

Churches located at the banks of the Llanquihue Lake

The churches around the Llanquihue lake manifest an European style. These were built by settlers and priests that came from Germany. Except the smaller ones, they all have three naves divided with columns. In between the naves there are arches of half point or pointed according to the style. Among the styles used in the construction of the churches stand out:

The Romanic: More often used in the interiors, however not present in the churches of the Llanquihue lake.

The Gothic: The Romanticism of the XIX century generated a rise of the Neogothic that was related with the religious architecture, typical style of many big churches and small chapels with ogival arches. This style was the starting point for developing magnificent construction techniques.

The parochial church of Puerto Varas, was built between 1915 and 1918. Its style is Neoromanic and its model was the church of Marienkirche of the Black Forest. The church was started to be built on 1915 and was consecrated in 1918. It’s located over the hill and it has a cross floor plan, naves of different heights and a dome at the crossing with half point arches.

The Presbyter Mellwig, a Jesuit priest, built the first chapel in Puerto Varas and in 1880 built the church of Frutillar, among others.

The small Lutheran Evangelist de los Bajos church (iglesia Evangélica Luterana de los Bajos) has one nave and it’s covered with planks of corrugated metal.

The church of Puerto Octal was built in 1911 with Neogothic style. In its interior there’s an amazing vault at the crossing with ogival arches; its high location contributes to make it more slender.

Miguel Majevsky, itinerant teacher in the region built, in 1867, the church of Playa Maitén. Simple, with elegant details, its tower is small with side walls slightly curved.

The church of Puerto Fonck is also a piece of work by Miguel Majevsky and was built a little bit after the one in Playa Maitén and its sets apart from this one, since it doesn’t have a portico and there’s a rose window in the facade.

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