Northern California - 2015

5 out of 5 stars

8 days

from £1750 pp

Trip available from May 2015 to Oct 2015.
"Trafalgar thought of everything"
Norman , Jul 2014

A showcase of California's many sides: the culture of San Francisco, the wines of Sonoma and Napa, the coastal retreat of Monterey and the beauty of Big Sur, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.

It's Insider moments like… stepping inside the café owned by Jordan Champagne and her husband Todd, who've been running Happy Girl Kitchen for a decade. Their ‘open kitchen' policy means you can see your meal being transformed from fresh and local organic produce. Keeping the traditions of Monterey's canning community alive, you could even taste of some of the preserves, chutneys or pickled vegetables they produce. It's also witnessing the region's farming lifestyle first hand as you meet an expert in Salinas Valley's agricultural industry.

Trip type:
Regional Explorer
Trip code:

Large Map

Trip Itinerary

  • 1.


    Welcome to San Francisco, the City by the Bay! After checking in at your hotel, enjoy a real San Francisco treat and dive into exploring on your own at nearby Pier 39, the famed marketplace filled with shops, attractions and street performers angling for oohs, aahs and cheers from the crowd. Be sure to visit the “Sea Lebrities,” the pier's resident sea lion population. At 6 p.m., gather at a local restaurant with your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception.


    Welcome Reception


    Hyatt Regency San Francisco

  • 2.


    As the mist rises over the bay, the great city of San Francisco stands before you. Embark on a morning exploration that takes you from Fisherman's Wharf to fashionable Union Square. Explore a Unique Insight, the Cable Car Museum, a celebration of San Francisco's rail transit history, focused on exploring the positive impacts streetcars and cable cars have made on the quality of urban life in this great city. There's a story around every corner of San Francisco, and you have some time this afternoon to follow your own path before gathering for a guided tour of the oldest Chinatown in the United States. Sample fortune cookies, a Local Speciality, and then celebrate your discoveries at a sumptuous Chinese banquet Regional Meal at a local restaurant.


    Full Breakfast,Regional Meal

  • 3.


    Napa Valley's sun-dappled fields, lush vineyards and fragrant flowers provide an idyllic backdrop for your next adventure. After checking in at your hotel, board the Napa Valley Wine Train's lovingly restored Pullman cars for a taste of the golden age of rail travel. Journey through the sparkling sunlight of a Napa afternoon as you indulge in a gourmet Regional Meal and wine tasting. This afternoon, enjoy free time in Sonoma Square.


    Full Breakfast,Regional Meal


    Embassy Suites Napa Valley

  • 4.


    Rise early this morning for an unforgettable optional hot air balloon ride over the lush Napa Valley. Then visit the California State Railroad Museum. Tour the 21 meticulously restored locomotives, train cars and numerous exhibits illustrating how railroads shaped people's lives, the economy, and the unique culture of California and the West. Then, travel from the fertile Sacramento River valley to the alpine splendour of Lake Tahoe, its clear blue waters surrounded by evergreen pines and rocky outcrops. If you like, enjoy an optional sunset dinner cruise on the lake as you savour the magnificent views and magical mountain light.


    Full Breakfast


    Lake Tahoe Resorts Hotel at Heavenly

  • 5.


    Lying just east of the Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake feels like another world. Its salty waters and limestone formations called “tufa towers” were once part of a great inland lake that covered most of Nevada and Utah. Currently, migrating birds use Mono Lake as a resting point on their journeys to South America or tropical seas. Snow-covered for much of the year, stunning Tioga Pass is the perfect entry point to the Golden State's most famous national park, Yosemite. Descend from the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Yosemite Valley, passing the misty splendour of Bridal Veil and Yosemite Falls. Gaze in wonder at the granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome.


    Full Breakfast


    Yosemite Lodge at the Falls

  • 6.


    Head west today into Salinas Valley and join an agricultural education tour to learn about fruit and vegetable production and advanced farming techniques of the region with a Local Expert. Then cruise scenic 17-Mile Drive past the famed Lone Cypress Tree and Pebble Beach Golf Links. Travel north to Monterey for a Be My Guest experience. Your hosts share their knowledge and love of food with you this evening as you dine on a meal of the freshest, locally sourced produce of the region. Participate in the creation of your meal, an experience meant to empower you as a diner with an understanding of the farm-to-table experience.


    Full Breakfast,Be My Guest Dining


    The Portola Hotel and Spa at Monterey Bay

  • 7.


    Experience the glories of the California coast on your day trip to Big Sur, but first stopping in the quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Browse the many shops, wander down to the water's edge or enjoy a cappuccino at a cafe. Then on to hidden coves with sandy beaches, towering redwoods touching the sky and dolphins and sea lions cavorting in the clear waters—Big Sur's natural majesty will take your breath away. Return to Monterey for a tour of Cannery Row, made famous by native Californian John Steinbeck. Enjoy some free time at lively, picturesque Fisherman's Wharf, home to restaurants, shops and vibrant street life, or join an optional tour to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. Tonight, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a festive Farewell Dinner including a wine pairing.


    Full Breakfast,Farewell Dinner

  • 8.


    When Isaac Graham settled in the hills outside of Santa Cruz in the 1830s, Mexican authorities named his rowdy settlement “Roaring Camp.” Today, journey back in time to the era of lumberjacks and sawmills in a re-created 1880s logging camp, complete with a general store and railroad depot. Luckily, Graham and his lumberjacks didn't cut down the massive redwoods just minutes away in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Walk among the awe-inspiring trees—some of the largest living things on earth—and admire these treasures of California. End your journey where you began, in the golden city of San Francisco. Take a transfer to San Francisco International Airport or return to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco if you wish to extend your stay. Please do not schedule any flights before 3pm.


    Full Breakfast

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Be My Guest

    Enjoy a dinner of locally sourced food with your hosts in Monterey.
  • Local Expert

    Join an agriculture education tour in Salinas Valley where you will discover what makes Monterey County the number one produce-growing region in the world.
  • Local Speciality

    Taste and learn about baking fortune cookies in San Francisco.
  • Unique Insight

    Explore the Cable Car Museum in San Francisco to explore the positive impacts that streetcars and cable cars have made on the quality of urban life in this great city.

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.

What's Always Included

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of San Francisco.
  • Scenic drive along spectacular 17-Mile Drive and ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train.
  • See quaint Carmel and Big Sur.
  • View Mono Lake.
  • Visit the California State Rail Museum, "The Salad Bowl of the World" in Salinas Valley, Lake Tahoe, breathtaking Yosemite National Park, Monterey, Roaring Camp and Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.


  • 3 dinners

    (including Be My Guest, Regional Meal and Farewell Dinner).
  • 7 full breakfasts.

  • Regional Meal lunch.

  • Welcome Reception with light appetisers.

Travel Highlights

  • Audio Headsets are provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • A travel wallet with your documentation.
  • 7 nights First Class accommodation
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • Airport transfers are provided on the first and last day of your guided holiday

Airport Transfers

Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page

Optional Experiences


Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.


  • Napa Valley Hot Air Ballooning

    Adult Price: $260.00 Rise early for the experience of a lifetime! Your hot air balloon flight begins at sunrise in the most scenic areas of the Upper Napa Valley – Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Calistoga, Capay Valley – as determined by the winds. Soar peacefully in colorful hot air balloons and float silently above the trees and fields, lush vineyards and orchards and world-renown wineries. The sensation of ballooning is very gentle and its calming effect seems to put the world below into perspective. Your pilots are all experienced, professional and FAA commercially rated. They are familiar with the valley and dedicated to ensuring that your ballooning experience is safe, informative, memorable and fun! Duration: 3.5 hours (Weather-permitting).


  • Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Adult Price: $41.00 The multi award-winning Monterey Bay Aquarium is no ordinary aquarium. The aquarium, which is located in a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, is one of the largest and most respected aquariums in the world. Your visit is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip to California! You will have ample time to explore the various exhibits at your own pace. Favorite exhibits include “Kelp Forest,” “Sea Otters,” ”Rocky Shore,” “Splash Zone,” “Giant Octopus,” “Jellies: Living Art” and “Outer Bay.” Duration: 3 hours.

San Francisco

  • Golden Gate Bridge Walk & Sausalito

    Adult Price: $40.00 Begin your afternoon adventure with a wondrous cruise across the bay, passing haunting Alcatraz Island - catching an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge - before arriving in the quaint seaside community of Sausalito. Leisurely browse the charming shops or have lunch along the picturesque bay. Time to walk off those calories with a stroll across the 1.7 mile span of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. Learn how the bridge was an engineering marvel and about the people who gave so much time to build this icon of San Francisco. Duration: 3.5 hours. (Minimum: 10 guests).

Lake Tahoe

  • Dinner Cruise on the MS Dixie II

    Adult Price: $84.00 Cruise crystal blue Lake Tahoe and stunning Emerald Bay aboard the beautiful paddlewheeler MS Dixie II. Enjoy fine dining and an eclectic mix of favorite music, accompanied by exceptional vistas of the alpine waters and surrounding Sierra mountain range. A narration featuring intriguing stories about the lake’s Fanette Island and historic Vikingsholm mansion will whet your appetite for your dinner. Tour length: 4 hours (Minimum: 20 guests).
Prices & Availability
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