Flower Power, Hippies, alternative lifestyles, Surf’s Up, powerful music, beautiful roads, dizzying mountains, active continental shelves, vineyards as far as the eye can see. Short for CAL by abbreviationfinder, California has it – just what you’re looking for and more. Some trend-setting laws come from California when they dared to be first, today a matter of course in other parts of the world. Environmental thinking has gained a strong foothold in the state and here also gather others who are at the forefront of their areas.
California – 23 days
Day 1 Departure from Sweden – San Francisco
Departure from Sweden with scheduled flights. Upon arrival in San Francisco you will be met for a transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 and 3 San Francisco
Two days on your own to explore San Francisco. As this is one of the few cities in the US that is walkable, has good local traffic and poor parking, we have chosen not to include any rental car during these days. The entire city spreads out over a number of sunny hills along the Pacific coast, some with famous names such as Twin Peaks and Nob Hill. San Francisco is a genuinely innovative and pleasant city, with wonderful sea breezes and open people. The streets are known for being dangerously steep and if you drive around with one of the city’s cable cars you will see fantastic surroundings and lots of colorful charming houses lined up. The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1937, is the symbol of San Francisco. Walk over or enjoy a jog along the beautiful bronze views. The Golden Gate Bronze Green Park is a very cozy area to have an ice cream and relax for a while. A good way to start your day in the city is to hop on a “cable car” and go up and down the roller coaster-like streets. If you decide to pass Fisherman’s Wharf, then also take a turn past Pier 39 on the way to Alcatraz Island, this is where the sea lions live. Alcatraz Island is definitely on the “to see” list. For all hippie-inspired people, Haight Asbury is the place where the summer of love 1968 was born. You will come across lots of hippie shops selling vintage clothes and Jimi Hendrix paintings.
Day 4 San Francisco – Foodie Fest
Today you will be picked up by your private culinary guide after breakfast. Your guide for the day is not a traditional tourist guide but one of San Francisco’s most respected food writers who will give you a unique insight into the city’s food scene. The program that follows must therefore only be seen as an example of how the tour can be set up. Your first stop will be the Ferry Building, where you can taste local, organic ingredients. The tour then continues to the Valencia Corridor, home to some of the most innovative food producers in this hip part of the city. Among other things, you get a “behind-the-scenes look” at San Francisco’s only chocolate factory, as well as the best bakery in the city. End your excursion with a cup of coffee and candy exploration of the Hayes Valley, the city’s busiest neighborhood, filled with restaurants and grocery stores. After trying the locally roasted coffee from a mobile café, you walk on to a charming confectionery with goodies from around the world. In time for lunch you are back at your hotel. The afternoon on its own.
Day 5 San Francisco – Yosemite National Park
During the morning you pick up your rental car and take yourself out of the big city at your own pace. The drive to Yosemite takes about four hours but you have the whole day on you so drive at a leisurely pace and stop where it suits you. In the afternoon you arrive at the magnificent national park. You may have time to explore a small part of the park on your own with your car before dark and it is time to check in at your hotel.
Day 6 and 7 Yosemite National Park
For two full days, you will explore Yosemite together with one of the national park’s most respected and experienced guides. The days will be adapted to your personal wishes and conditions. Yosemite National Park was founded in 1890. The park covers an area of over 3,000 square kilometers and is located on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. The park has been a World Heritage Site since 1984 and is well known for its granite cliffs, waterfalls and above all for its huge trees and the biodiversity you can find here. Some of the trees that grow in the park are several thousand years old! One of the main attractions is “the Upper Yosemite Falls”, which has three falls of a total of 740 meters. There are hiking trails here, both for those who want to go for a little walk and for those who want to go for a walk for several days. Mirror Lake is the name of one of the most famous lakes in Yosemite National Park.
Day 8 Yosemite National Park – Napa Valley
In the morning, check out from your hotel to begin the approximately four-hour drive to California’s wine district. Feel free to stop at some wineries along the way. Napa and the Sonoma Valley are America’s largest and most famous wine districts. Here you will find a very pleasant environment and wonderful atmosphere. 100s of wineries are located on a relatively small area and most offer wine tasting. In the area there are also several restaurants of very high class.
Day 9 Napa Valley
You spend your day with one of the region’s best wine guides. You will have exclusive access to some of the most prestigious private vineyards, meet the winemakers in person, try their best wines and enjoy high-class lunches. Napa is the most famous wine district in the United States and here the vineyards are next door. Farthest south of the Napa Valley is the city of Napa. Several blocks by the river in the center have been renovated and offer nice shopping and several good restaurants. The valley itself is not that big, about 5 km wide and 25 km long.
Day 10 Napa Valley – Sonoma
You have the day on your own to explore the Wine District during your short trip from Napa to Sonoma. One suggestion might be to visit Yountville which is charming and has some upscale restaurants and a collection of shops housed in an older warehouse building. Around St Helena are many famous wineries and a number of excellent restaurants. Here is also the Greystone Culinary Institute of America where gourmet chefs are trained.
Day 11 Sonoma
Today you explore the Sonoma Valley with your private wine guide. The city was founded as the last and northernmost of the 21 Spanish mission stations built in the 16th century. Many old buildings from the beginning of the 19th century are well preserved and can be visited in the middle of the city, around the square. Sonoma remains quaint, with great restaurants and tasting rooms. Sonoma Valley makes mostly white wines and here is Sebastiani which is worth a visit. The oldest wineries in the Sonoma Valley are Buena Vista and Glen Ellen. Well known and perhaps the most beautiful is Chateau St Jean.
Day 12 Sonoma – Big Sur
Today it’s time to start the classic car journey along Highway 1. First you pass San Francisco again before entering classic land. The destination for the day is in Big Sur, just under an hour south of Carmel. In total, you will have about four hours of driving. You drive south through California’s kitchen garden. You travel through large fruit and vegetable farms, such as Gilroy with the world’s largest garlic farms. Monterey is well known and its fishing port, Cannery Row, is worth a visit, as is one of America’s premier sea aquariums. You continue on the famous 17 Mile Drive which runs along the coast and gives a dramatic taste of California’s famous coastal road. Here is one of America’s most exclusive golf courses, Pebble Beach. In the afternoon, you reach Carmel by the Pacific Ocean. The city is very charming and known for the fact that many artists and writers have chosen to settle here, including our own Vilhelm Moberg. Clint Eastwood was mayor here for a while. Do not forget to set off towards the goal for the day in time when the sunset in Big Sur is really spectacular.
Day 13 Big Sur
California will not be more Californian than the majestic coastal region of Big Sur. You come here to experience the mighty American nature area, where outdoor life is combined with culture, hippie heritage with subtle luxury and tranquility with adventure. It is not clear exactly where Big Sur begins and ends. But most agree that the area stretches from the Carmel River in Monterey down to San Carpoforo Creek in San Luis Obispo, a distance of 140 km. The well-known and insanely curvy Highway 1 is the only route. Big Sur is the heart of California in more ways than just the geographical. Here, NorCal’s mighty vegetation and down-to-earth attitude are combined with SoCal’s laid-back pace and sun worship. Big Sur has always attracted visionaries and nature lovers from all over the world. Some of the highlights in the area are Point Sur Lighthouse which is located on a large cliff and has the only turn-of-the-century lighthouse available to the public in California. To visit this, according to the statement super-haunted place, one must take one of the official guided tours. South of Big Sur Village is Pfeiffer Beach, perhaps California’s most dramatic beach, with its famous stone arch. Not suitable for swimming, rather life-affirming hikes in the wind. Bixby Bridge is one of the world’s most photographed bridges, also one of the longest cement bridges in existence. The bridge was built in 1933 and has become one of Big Sur’s most famous symbols.
Day 14 Big Sur – Morro Bay
Take a quiet morning before continuing south. At lunchtime you reach Hearst Castle. The newspaper king Randolph Hearst built a fantastic castle with over 100 rooms. In these rooms, art of all kinds from all over the world was gathered. It was not only paintings, ceramics and sculptures but also fantastic mosaics and more. The castle’s swimming pool is built entirely of marble. Half an hour to the south is pleasant Morro Bay which is your destination for the day.
Day 15 Morro Bay
Morro Bay is close to San Luis Obispo and the coastal town of Pismo Beach. There are plenty of restaurants in the center of town, you can walk on the beach, check out the fishing boats and enjoy the fresh sea air. The lump out at the water’s edge is a volcanic tap, a lump that remained after a volcano a long time ago. For wine lovers, there are several wineries in the region.
Day 16 Morro Bay – Santa Monica
Today you end your journey along Highway 1 by driving the last hours down to Santa Monica on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Feel free to make a stop in Solvang, a city that was founded in 1911 by emigrants from Denmark. There are now half-timbered houses, windmills and Danish pastries and most of the names are Danish. You continue to Santa Barbara which is beautifully situated on the coast and is a very popular, exclusive place of recreation before you arrive at your hotel in Santa Monica.
Day 17 18 and 19 Santa Monica / Los Angeles
Santa Monica, the city on the Pacific coast with its sung name, is not far from Los Angeles. With Beverly Hills and Venice Beach as world-famous neighbors, this seaside resort has become a given stage for all California travel. Santa Monica is not only close to Los Angeles but also has its very own life and its own spectacular sights! Santa Monica’s pier, a long wooden bridge, was completed in 1921. The marina is the oldest on the west coast of the United States. Santa Monica is also known for the friendly atmosphere that prevails here, which the many street musicians also contribute to. The many boutiques and welcoming restaurants line the main pedestrian street. Shopping becomes a real pleasure, and to be able to revel in local specialties is a culinary experience. The landscape is magnificent, and it arouses strong feelings in the visitors when they get to see the large estates where the stars live. Add to this the mild climate and the cooling winds of summer and you have a dream destination. The Californian Dream in true vintage! One of the days will be a sign of art when you take a trip with a former curator from Christie’s, today an advisor to some of the city’s big stars. Like other trips during the trip, the day will be adapted to your wishes and conditions. Some galleries that could be included are Blum and Poe, Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Regen Projects, Gagosian and LA Louver. You can also get guided tours by curators at museums such as the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) or the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
Day 20 Santa Monica – San Diego
After about three hours of driving south along the highway, you will reach San Diego, near the Mexican border. The city is a wonderful mix between the United States and Mexico and especially known for having two of the United States’ most famous zoos here. There is a wide range of activities with the long beaches and many golf courses. Many people choose to take surfing lessons, and for those who do not want to swim in the sea, there are indoor pools on Mission Beach to try! There are several long beaches around San Diego and with the warm climate it is always possible to swim. After a day at the beach, it’s cozy to round off with a few drinks at a bar. Gaslamp Quarter is the best area for restaurants, bars, shopping and cafes.
Day 21 San Diego
Many who visit San Diego take a day trip to Tijuana. Tijuana is the nearest city in Mexico. There are many travel agencies in San Diego that offer trips to Tijuana and we recommend that you hire one as the experience and safety will be better. Tijuana is a major tourist city and if you want to visit Mexico “for real”, we recommend that you visit the country on a longer trip. If you want to get a Mexican feel without leaving San Diego, we recommend that you visit the Old Town, north of downtown San Diego. Here you will find 18th century houses, handicrafts, Mexican music and food. Well worth a visit!
Day 22 Return home
Day 23 Return to Sweden