The central Californian town of Monterey – made famous by the Nicole Kidman HBO sensation Big Little Lies as well as several John Steinbeck novels – is the kind of California you dream about.
We challenge you to not breathe a deep sigh of relaxation as you arrive in Monterey. Unassuming yet luxurious, bustling yet calm with ridiculous sunsets and unspoiled sea views, what’s not to love? You’re also moments away from the gorgeous Pacific Coast, Big Sur, Carmel Highlands, oh and a very popular aquarium, too. Take a look at our favorite hotels – all bookable on Culture Trip.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Minutes away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the buzzing Cannery Row, this charming boutique hotel offers a modern design with a warm coastal vibe and an intimate atmosphere of style and comfort. The beautifully finished bedrooms keep that cool Cali ocean vibe going – with muted colors, popping pastels and bathrooms worthy of a luxury spa. Surrounded by downtown Monterey and its incredible shopping and dining options, you’ll never need anything else here.
In the heart of downtown Pacific Grove and just a short walk from the beach, this historic hotel is a great choice if you’re keen to immerse yourself in the rich history of the local area. Built in 1889, this inn is registered as a National Historic Landmark, and the rooms reflect this in their old-fashioned yet romantic and luxurious decor – such as claw-tooth bathtubs and antique potbelly fireplaces. Centrella is a real find in the center – no kidding – of the action.
Overlooking Monterey Bay and nestled on the coastline of Pacific Grove, this comfort-friendly hotel is ideally located adjacent to Lovers Point Beach and Park – and just a short walk from the beloved Monterey Bay Aquarium and historic Cannery Row. The clean, comfortable and modern rooms – some with an ocean view – include a complimentary breakfast and a 24/7 concierge. You can even watch the sunrise from the patio if you get up early enough.
Located in a quiet, secluded area near downtown Pacific Grove, Sunset Inn offers 22 cottage-style guest rooms. The New England-style accommodation is decorated in relaxing shades, and the hotel staff pride themselves on their curated personalized service. Pacific Grove was once named Most Romantic City by Life magazine, and this couldn’t be more accurate. Sunset Inn is just a short stroll away from Pacific Grove Golf, the Point Pinos Lighthouse and Asilomar Beach, where plentiful romantic evenings await.
Also placed conveniently in Pacific Grove, this hotel features 40 guest rooms on nearly two acres (0.8ha) of land. Just 0.6mi (1km) from the beach, a five-minute drive from Monterey Bay Aquarium and a further five minutes to Cannery Row, its location is unmatched – surrounded by trees, coast and frequented by the famous Monarch butterfly. Rooms are comfortable, modern and spacious, and there’s even a fire pit and hot tub.
Speaking of butterflies: next door to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, you’ll find Butterfly Grove Inn, offering a quiet boutique experience. The understated rooms feature 40-inch flat-screen HDTVs, plus microwaves, minifridges and free wifi – with some also offering gas-burning fireplaces. The service is wonderfully friendly, and complimentary breakfasts and an outdoor pool are on offer – plus a few classic cars dotted about the place. The inn is also minutes away from downtown Monterey and the bucket list-worthy 17-Mile Drive in Carmel.
Not convinced? Find everything you’re looking for at one of the best hotels in Monterey or venture further afield and book a stay at one of the most incredible hotels in San Francisco. You can then enjoy seaside views at one of the best restaurants in Monterey or explore the best beaches near San Francisco. While in the area, make sure to also check these must-visit attractions in San Francisco off your bucket list.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.