Valdivia is located at 842 km south from Santiago.

If you go to Valdivia you must visit : The Mercado Fluvial, at Muelle Schuster located in Prat avenue at Maipú, is one of  the main attractions in Valdivia and is worth a visit.  You can also take a look at the pelicans and sea lions by the Mercado Municipal, which has lots of crafts shops where you have the opportunity to buy souvenirs and eat at some restaurants. The giant sea lions by the fish market (most hang round because they're fed scraps of fish by the market stall owners) make for great photo opportunities. The fish market in Valdivia closes early so get there early.  

The best way to explore Valdivia city is in a boat tour that depart from Muelle Schuster.  There is a variety to choose from:  yachts, catamarans to antique steamers. These tours are avaible mostly in summer, and you can also hire a private tour .  On the tour to Corral you have the opportunity to  visit the 17th century historic forts and apart from the history you have the opportunity to do some bird watching also.  

Another lovely experience is to visit the botanical garden in Valdivia which was created in 1957 and features a classified collection of native trees and other plants from other parts of the world.

There are also plenty of interesting musuems to visit.  The Universidad Austral de Chile maintains a historical museum, a contemporary art museum and an indigious muesuem.  They are all located on the Isla Teja across from the feria fluvial.  The CES, Centro de Estudios Scienficos has on going exhibits as well.  Oh and don't forget to visit the Beer Museum at Cerveceria Kuntsman.

The Parque Oncol and Parque Curinaco are near by and a way to century old native rainforests.   There are three rowing clubs in Valdivia which offer economical rowing courses for those that stay for longer periods of time.  

Note:  Lonely Planet makes Valdivia sound more pretty than it actually is.  Some visitors find the neighboring towns including Puerto Varas and Frutillar more charming, so plan accordingly if you are short on time.