California's Winelands Road Trip 

Sip, savour and swirl your way around Sonoma, Napa, Carmel and Santa Barbara.

An escape to California's wine country that entices wine lovers and foodies alike with scenic drives, rolling vineyards, Pacific Ocean air and beautiful beaches

You’ll start on the sidewalks of San Francisco, drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma’s fields of green and sip your way around Napa’s world-class wineries. And it doesn’t end there. Carmel’s tasting rooms delight with Cabernet Sauvignons and in the cool cradles of Santa Barbara’s valleys, buttery Chardonnays are the stars. Drive the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, landing on golden sands and dining in farm-to-fork restaurants before winding up in starry LA.

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San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa, Carmel and Monterey, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles

Ideal for
California lifestyle. Wine tasting and restaurants. City combos.

Recommended itinerary

San Francisco

Experience the City by the Bay

Your journey begins in California’s Golden Gate City where cable cars traverse nuttily steep hills and bohemian neighbourhoods boast independent boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. In San Francisco, culture collides with Pacific Ocean vibes and you’re just as likely to be ducking into museums and cathedrals as you are soaking up seafaring style.

What to do in San Francisco

Cable cars, culture and cocktails

With three nights here you can hire bikes and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, pop over to Pier 39 to see the sea lions and catch a ride on one of the iconic cable cars. Board the hop on and off open-top Big Bus and do everything from North Beach to Nob Hill in one day or go entirely your own way, from a whale watching tour to waterfront dining and coastal trails to craft cocktail bars.

Where to stay in San Francisco

Some of the best hotels in the city

Choose from prime location hotels such as The Handlery Union Square which comes with an outdoor pool or Hotel Caza which is just minutes from Fisherman’s Wharf. Have a stylish stay in a former fruit cannery at The Argonaut or sleep sky-high on the waterfront at Hyatt Regency. The Fairmont San Francisco is the luxury choice for balcony suites and wonderful bay and city views.


A whirlwind wine education

Wine-centric Sonoma’s vineyards, eateries and downtown tasting rooms are within an hour and half drive of San Francisco. In northern California’s wine country, it’s about slowing down and embracing the good life.

What to do in Sonoma

Wine trollies and tasting flights

Sip your first wow-worthy Pinot Noir in downtown Sonoma Plaza and return in the evening for fire pits and fairy lights in a wonderful restaurant. Spend a night here and you’ll have time to drive out to world-class wineries – taste the sparkly stuff at sustainable Gloria Ferrer Caves, book a tasting flight Buena Vista Winery and pair vintage wines with cheeses at Ram’s Gate Winery. Or, board the vintage Wine Trolley and let someone else transport you to three or four wineries throughout the day.

Where to stay in Sonoma

Hotels that are full of flavour

With a pool at your feet and hundreds of wineries within a 30 minute drive, Doubletree by Hilton Sonoma is a fantastic choice. Minutes from downtown, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa bottles up classic luxury whilst just off Highway 101 Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country puts you in grape crushing distance of Healdsburg’s wineries.


Every bit as delicious as you’ve heard

A twenty-five-minute drive from downtown Sonoma takes you to the beginning of the twenty-mile long fertile valley of Napa, where back-to-back wineries offer options for every palette, taste and budget.

What to do in Napa

Taste your way around the Valley

Surrounded by vine clad hills and mountains, Napa is home to nearly 400 wineries inclusive of contemporary cellar doors, grand chateaus and historic estates. Spend a night here and tickle your taste buds with a choice of casual eateries and Michelin-starred restaurants. Follow the locals to downtown Oxbow Public Market – the one-stop shop for fine wines and farm-fresh food – or pick up a paddleboard and glide across Napa River’s peaceful waterways.

Where to stay in Napa

Hotels in the heart of wine country

Rest your head at Napa River-facing Westin Verasa and make the most of the saltwater pool and Michelin-starred restaurant, book into the contemporary Andaz Napa which boasts a prime 1st Street location, or opt for purse-friendly Hotel Indigo, just ten minutes' drive from downtown.

Carmel & Monterey

A picturesque outdoor escape

Take the scenic coastal route to Carmel and Monterey, two dreamy west coast Californian beach towns just four miles apart. Monterey is famous for Cannery Row and whale watching whilst Carmel delights with storybook scenery, soft sands, cobbled streets and a fine dining scene.

What to do in Carmel & Monterey

Wine and dine on the Californian coast

Monterey Peninsula is entryway to the celebrated 17-Mile Drive. Take the car or hire a bike for this breathtaking Pacific Ocean route, stopping for the classics; The Lone Cypress Tree, Restless Sea, . Joe and Pebble Beach. See whales and sea lions throughout the year in Monterey, drive out to Carmel Valley’s wineries – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are specialities – or fill your days in Carmel (we recommend two nights here) with beach time, restaurants and the early 20th century architecture that makes the side streets so pretty.

Where to stay in Carmel & Monterey

Sea views and saltwater pools

On Cannery Row you can choose between Monterey Bay Inn or Intercontinental The Clement, both on the oceanfront with wonderful views. Settle in on Monterey Bay at the stylish Portola Hotel & Spa or escape the everyday at Carmel Valley Ranch, An Unbound Collection Hotel near the Santa Lucia Mountains where luxury meets adventure in the shape of golf, horse riding, hiking and saltwater pools.

Santa Barbara

The American Riviera

Sunkissed Santa Barbara is a tiny town with tremendous allure: Spanish style architecture, millionaire mansions, fairytale cottages, beautiful beaches and a world class restaurant scene. The drive from Carmel along the Pacific Coast Highway takes about four hours, although you might want to factor pulling over for a while as there are spectacular stops along the way.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur

What to do in Santa Barbara

Hit the beach, the wineries and the restaurants

Embrace Santa Barbara’s slow like honey pace and set aside two nights here. Pootle down to the Pacific Ocean, drive out to Montecito for the day or motor over to Santa Maria Valley and quench your thirst at some of California’s finest wineries. Stay closer to downtown and hit Hendry’s beach, shop on State Street and sail off at sunset on a harbour cruise.

Where to stay in Santa Barbara

From purse friendly stays to poolside scenes

Just off Highway 101, the great value Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn comes with an outdoor pool. If you want to be close to the fabulous Funk Zone and the beach, choose from the pretty rooms and ocean views at Hotel Milo or the boutique atmosphere at Riviera Beach House. Take luxury up a notch at Spanish-style Kimpton Canary or El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel; both boast beautiful rooftop pools and excellent restaurants.

Los Angeles

California’s cinematic city

Take the 90-mile drive along Highway 101 and experience firsthand Los Angeles' endless summer spirit, from Santa Monica's classic stretch of sand to Hollywood’s hiking trails. With fine art museums, palm-studded boardwalks and luxury shops, there’s something for everyone in this starry city.

Santa Monica

What to do in Los Angeles

Sand, sea and starry sights

Slide headfirst into the world of celebrity at The Academy Museum or opt for a different kind of starry experience viewing constellations at the magnificent Griffith Observatory. Rise early for the Runyon Canyon hike and stay up late for LACMA’s Urban Light. Time it right for a Walt Disney Hall concert or a show at The Hollywood Bowl. Give yourself three nights for enough time to throw down a towel on the beach, cruise through Jurassic World at Universal Studios and see Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ at The Getty.

Griffith Observatory

Where to stay in Los Angeles

Choose a stylish stay

Ten minutes from Universal Studios, The Garland Hotel is a gorgeous spot to soak up the sun before seeing the sights. For a taste of SoCal’s salty ocean lifestyle Shutters on the Beach is your chicest beachside retreat. And the icons? The Beverly Hilton is a wonderful choice for glam poolside lounging whilst The Hollywood Roosevelt, opposite the Chinese Theatre, is a hip hotel with a history of movie star guests.