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California Here We Come

USA
On this tour we will start in San Francisco, explore the Golden State’s stunning coastline and finish in San Diego, taking in the best of California. 
Tour Highlights:

San Francisco: Known for its hilly landscape, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, colourful Victorian houses and the historic Fisherman’s Wharf. In the bay sits Alcatraz Island - site of the notorious former prison. 

Monterey: Cannery Row, one-time center of the sardine-packing industry, was immortalized by novelist John Steinbeck. Equally famous is the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

17 Mile Drive: One of California’s top scenic drives, with beautiful beaches, seals and sea lions, the famed Lone Cypress, huge mansions and championship golf courses.  

San Simeon: Home to the legendary Hearst Castle. 

Solvang: A quaint Danish village.

Santa Barbara: The “American Riviera”.

Los Angeles / Hollywood and Beverly Hills: “The City of Angels” is the center of America’s film and television industry. 

Newport Beach: Offers one of the largest recreational harbours on the west coast.
San Juan Capistrano: California’s most famous mission, known for the “miracle” of the return of the swallows. 

San Diego: The Gaslight District, Historic Old Town, and Balboa Park are but a few of the world-class attractions here. 

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for San Francisco. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel in the heart of the city, with time at leisure before tonight’s Welcome Dinner.
We tour America's Favourite City, starting with a casual walking tour of Chinatown. Then we see Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf and other famous sights. Then we cross the Golden Gate Bridge and stop for panoramas of San Francisco and the Bay area. In Marin County we will see one of America's wealthiest communities, and the picturesque town of Sausalito.
This morning we cruise on San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island and the infamous former federal prison, which was home to the likes of Al Capone, “Machine Gun” Kelley and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud. There are videos, self-guided walks, an audio tour and talks on topics such as “Famous Escapes”. Afternoon at leisure to explore San Francisco at your own pace.
We drive to Salinas and visit the Steinbeck Center, a multi-media museum which brings to life the novels and personal world of author John Steinbeck, who was born here. We then proceed to the charming oceanside town of the artisans, Carmel, for a 2-night stay.
We visit historic Monterey, California’s old capital, to see Steinbeck's Cannery Row and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium - the largest aquarium in the west. Then we proceed to Carmel, considered the most beautiful spot on the coast. See why as we drive along the Del Monte Forest 17 Mile Drive where lavish mansions were built by tycoons in the 1920's. The views of the sea and rugged coastline are unsurpassed.
We continue the thrilling drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (acclaimed as the most beautiful drive in North America) where the mountains drop steeply to the sea. Passing the fantastic Pacific panoramas of Big Sur we arrive at San Simeon, home of the famous Hearst Castle. We visit this fabulous estate and explore the small kingdom of castles, fountains and European art treasures. You won't believe your eyes! We overnight in Solvang, reminiscent of a quaint Danish town.
We drive down the coast to Santa Barbara, noted for its architectural beauty. Here we will first enjoy a guided stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, which displays “California Natives” in its historic meadow and iconic redwood forest. After we visit historic downtown Santa Barbara, we will make our way to Los Angeles for a 2-night stay.
On our tour of Los Angeles we will pass by famous sights such as historic Olvera Street (birthplace of LA), Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, Beverley Hills and more. Our walking tour will take us into the heart of Hollywood where we will see the famous celebrity hand and footprints on the Walk of Fame, and also Awards Walk - home to the Academy Awards. Then we will head over to the Farmer’s Market, followed by a visit of the famous Getty Museum - an archietectural landmark with breathtaking views and a world-renowned art collection.
We begin the day with a casual stroll along the colourful and historic Santa Monica pier, before we head to Newport Beach (where the rich and famous moor their yachts) for a relaxing Harbour Cruise along the California Riviera. This afternoon we’ll visit one of the California’s famous old missions - the Mission San Juan Capistrano, surrounded by one of the oldest neighbourhoods in California, before we head to San Diego’s historic Old Town for our final 3 nights.
The city is known as the quintessential “Navy Town” rich with a vibrant maritime history. Its waterfront is graced by the famous 25 feet / 6000 pound “Kissing Sailor” statue. Our full-day tour will touch upon the old and new parts of this historic city including Mission Bay, the hilly peninsula of Point Loma with panoramic views of the bay and ocean, Cabrillo National Monument, the Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town and more.
Today we visit the world famous San Diego Zoo, voted the #1 zoo in the world. This non-profit wildlife sanctuary is home to more than 3500 rare and endangered animals representing more than 650 species, and a botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants. Enjoy the double-decker bus and “SkyFari” aerial tram ride during your visit. Later in the afternoon we will bid farewell to the city with a harbour cruise capturing the city at its best, followed by our Farewell Dinner.
We fly home with Air Canada Rouge.
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