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    Carmel-by-the-Sea, a jewel town on the Californian coast

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    Martí Micolau

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    Nestled on the gentle cliffs of the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel-by-the-Sea (or more simply Carmel) is a jewel village, a rarity among American cities, famous for its tidy streets and chic shops, fairytale-style houses, its beautiful Mission, a not inconsiderable artistic vocation, an unspoiled beach and the astronomical prices of the real estate market.

    To give you an idea of ​​the singularity of this village, suffice it to say that here you will not find street addresses, street lamps, post boxes or parking meters: they have been officially banned!

    Lying on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel lends itself well as an intermediate stop for a road trip in California, especially if you have decided to travel the coast on Highway 1 or if you want to do the Monterey-Yosemite section, which we have already talked about.


    • Carmel: general information
    • Carmel: what to do and see
    • Carmel: where to sleep
    • Carmel: where to eat

    Carmel: general information

    The town is really small, so much so that it can be crossed easily walkinghowever, during the walk you will be attracted by numerous cafes, art galleries, shops, restaurants and trattorias. In the evening, join the many tourists who gather on the beautiful Carmel beach to admire the changing colors at sunset.

    You can enjoy much of the country on foot, but to explore the coast you will need to hire a car. In case, keep in mind that in the area the parking lots are generally free for the first 2 hours, as an alternative there is the garage of Carmel Plaza or the parking spaces that hotels make available for their guests (even if a little tight). Sometimes it may be a good idea to park in the free spaces of the scenic road (a panoramic road that winds along the curve of the beach).

    Carmel: what to do and see

    The Carmel California Mission
    • Carmel Mission (3080 Rio Road): one of the most beautiful missions of the Camino Real along the Californian coast. Founded in 1771, it is still active as a Catholic church and houses a museum, exhibits, and a small gift shop. Those who love art cannot miss it!
    • Tor House (26304 Ocean View Ave, Carmel Point, just south of Carmel Village): The famous stone house of poet Robinson Jeffers. Entrance fee of $ 10 and open from Friday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm.
    • Point lobos: this is a California State Park located south of Carmel on the Highway 1. The park is a rocky outcrop in the Pacific with some large kelp forests, nice trails and small coves (you can even go for a swim if you can resist the temperatures). Sometimes a few whales can be seen offshore.
    • Gravity Garden (Intersection of Highway 1 and Fern Canyon Road, Carmel Highlands): Artist Jim Needham created a rock sculpture garden stacked on top of each other without the use of adhesive material, bolts or support structures. Some of the sculptures are up to three meters high. Open every day, free admission.
    • The Barnyard: it is an area dedicated to shopping on the outskirts of Carmel, where numerous art galleries, antique shops and clothing boutiques are immersed in refined gardens, also suitable for those who simply want to stroll.
    • Carmel Beach: free beach with white sand and breathtaking views, 1,5 miles long and between the ends of Point Lobos and Pebble Beach.
    • Carmel River State Beach: inlet of blue water immersed in an ornithological reserve, characterized by soft white sand and cliffs dotted with cypresses. The tides are quite dangerous, so swimming may not be a great idea.
    • 17 Mile Drive: panoramic road with breathtaking views that stretches between Pacific grove and Pebble Beach. To cross it you will need $ 9,50.
    • Monterey: do not overlook the possibility of taking an excursion to visit Monterey, a nearby town with many places of interest.

    Carmel: where to sleep

    You can also visit the town by sleeping in a hotel in nearby Monterey, but if you prefer Carmel here are 3 tips:

    • Carmel Mission Inn, 3665 Rio Road
    • Carmel Valley Ranch, One Old Ranch Road 
    • Carmel Lodge, San Carlos Street & 5th Avenue

    Search all the hotels in Carmel

    Carmel: where to eat

    We recommend 2 places above all:

    Em Le’s Old Carmel Restaurant (Em Le’s) (Dolores between 5 and 6): This venue serves the best breakfast in Monterey County, but also stands out very well when it comes to lunch and dinner, with dishes based on local ingredients with a large selection of Californian and European wines.

    Mission Ranch: restaurant serving upscale food, with a breathtaking ocean view. A piano bar adds to the atmosphere on weekends. Sunday brunch is very popular.

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