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Carmel Mission

This tranquil 18th-century stone mission and museum offers a fascinating look into 200 years of spiritual and everyday life in Monterey County. 

The Carmel Mission, officially known as Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, is one of the oldest and most beautiful missions in California. It’s easy to while away an afternoon strolling the grounds of this sacred place, especially if you appreciate architecture, gardens, history, or photography. Although it’s a Christian place of worship, most anyone will feel a sense of faith and spirituality in the tranquil surroundings.

Start in the basilica, which was built in 1797 and is still used for worship today. The architectural style is clean and simple, as few skilled stonemasons were available in those days. The magnificent Casavant organ, complete with horizontal trumpets and elaborately carved casework, is a wonder to behold even if you’re not there to hear it played during a service. 

Explore the mission’s history through its four museums. The Harry Downie Museum looks at the restoration of the mission and bell tower, which was established in 1771. The Munrás Family Heritage Museum examines life in the Monterey area during the early 19th century through artifacts collected by one of the area’s oldest families. Admire the collection of decorative artworks in the Mora Chapel Gallery, including a marble and bronze memorial sculpture dedicated to the mission’s founder, Father Junípero Serra. Explore Padre Serra’s 18th-century convent in the Convento Museum, complete with restored living area, kitchen and guest room.

Guided tours are an excellent way to better understand the history of this U.S. National Historic Landmark. Group tours with local docents can be booked in advance via the website, and brochures are available for self-guided tours. 

Carmel Mission is located in the town of Carmel, 10 minutes by car from downtown Monterey. You can also get there by connecting buses from Monterey. No food is available to purchase at the mission, which is open daily except for Easter Sunday and Monday, Thanksgiving, and from December 24 through December 26. Church services are held on Sunday mornings. The mission hosts religious, cultural and community events throughout the year, so be sure to check their calendar on the mission’s website. 


Guide to Exploring Carmel Mission Basilica


Top Carmel Mission Basilica Hotel Deals

See all 953 Properties near Carmel Mission Basilica
Carmel Mission Inn RM494
Carmel Mission Inn

Carmel Mission Inn

     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Barnyard and Carmel Mission Basilica. Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive are also within 3 miles (5 km).

    La Playa Carmel RM1,159
    La Playa Carmel

    La Playa Carmel

       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Golden Rectangle, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Golden Bough Playhouse, Sunset Center and Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room. Galante Vineyards and Blair Estate Tasting Room are also within 10 minutes.

      Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea RM769
      Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

      Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Golden Rectangle, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica. 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach Golf Links are also within 3 miles (5 km).

        Carmel Bay View Inn RM420
        Carmel Bay View Inn

        Carmel Bay View Inn

           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Northwest Carmel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Plaza and Carmel Beach. 17-Mile Drive and Carmel Mission Basilica are also within 1 mile (2 km).

          Normandy Inn RM544
          Normandy Inn

          Normandy Inn

             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Northwest Carmel, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Galante Vineyards, Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. Pebble Beach Golf Links and Carmel Mission Basilica are also within 3 miles (5 km).

            The Hideaway RM561
            The Hideaway

            The Hideaway

               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Golden Rectangle, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wrath Winery, Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica. 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach Golf Links are also within 3 miles (5 km).

              Carmel River Inn RM536
              Carmel River Inn

              Carmel River Inn

                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Mission Fields, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of The Barnyard and Carmel Mission Basilica. Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive are also within 3 miles (5 km).

                Edgemere Cottages
                Edgemere Cottages

                Edgemere Cottages

                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Golden Rectangle, this bed & breakfast is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica. 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach Golf Links are also within 3 miles (5 km).