Beginning of main content

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. 


Trip Type
Flight 1
Flight 2
Flight 3
Flight 4
Flight 5

Search over 1,000,000 properties worldwide and 550 airlines worldwide.

Search over a million flights, hotels, packages, and more

No Expedia cancellation fee to change or cancel almost any hotel reservation.

Map

Lodging Near Carmel Mission Basilica

See all 448 Properties near Carmel Mission Basilica
Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café $150
Reviewed on May 12, 2019
See details
 
Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café

Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café

3665 Rio Rd, Carmel, CA
     
    4.2 of 5
    3.5 out of 5.0

    Great location. Good bed. Nice details overall. Good staff. Didnt like that phone charger outlet turn off with light. Silly. I dont prefer animals in my living habitat. Im alergic. Not great.

    Carmel Bay View Inn $161
    Reviewed on May 18, 2019
    See details
     
    Carmel Bay View Inn

    Carmel Bay View Inn

    Junipero Street Between 5th And 6th St, Carmel, CA
       
      4.2 of 5
      2.5 out of 5.0

      Great location, very close to Ocean Ave where all the restaurants and shops are. Also a short walk to the beach.

      Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea $179
      Reviewed on May 15, 2019
      See details
       
      Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

      Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

      13th and San Antonio, Carmel, CA
         
        4.3 of 5
        3.5 out of 5.0

        Amazing location with a very short walk to the beautiful beach. Quaint and charming cottage type rooms, gardens with exterior tables and chairs located throughout the lovely landscaped grounds. Helpful and friendly staff, clean and nicely appointed rooms of many different sizes. Highly ...

        La Playa Carmel $149
        Reviewed on May 8, 2019
        See details
         
        La Playa Carmel

        La Playa Carmel

        Camino Real at Eighth Ave., Carmel, CA
           
          4.4 of 5
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Great Location-nice staff-great breakfast-nice wine hour and milk and cookies at night

          Charming Carmel House - Short Walk To 2 Beaches
          Reviewed on Jan 20, 2019
          See details
           
          Charming Carmel House - Short Walk To 2 Beaches

          Charming Carmel House - Short Walk To 2 Beaches

          Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA
             
            4.4 of 5
            0.0 out of 5.0

            My girlfriends and I needed a relaxing mom’s weekend and chose to stay here. The interior was modern and the beds were very comfortable. It was spacious and the products that were provided, such as the body soap, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion were good quality. There was a t.v. & it ...

            Carmel Modern Hacienda Strolling Distance To Town W/3 Bedrooms & 3.5 Baths
            Reviewed on Feb 11, 2019
            See details
             
            Carmel Modern Hacienda Strolling Distance To Town W/3 Bedrooms & 3.5 Baths

            Carmel Modern Hacienda Strolling Distance To Town W/3 Bedrooms & 3.5 Baths

            Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
               
              4.9 of 5
              0.0 out of 5.0

              The vibe is a wonderful clean space with great spaces for gathering as a group. I could have happily sat on the deck soaking In the sun and enjoying the sounds of the birds and the distant surf all vacation. Even in the rain the views were enjoyable from inside with the huge windows. The beds were ...

              Breathtaking Views, Luxurious Furnishings, Relax in Carmel
              Reviewed on Jan 11, 2019
              See details
               
              Breathtaking Views, Luxurious Furnishings, Relax in Carmel

              Breathtaking Views, Luxurious Furnishings, Relax in Carmel

              Carmel, CA
                 
                5.0 of 5
                0.0 out of 5.0

                The house was wondeful, very clean, spacious and the outdoor space is fantastic! Paula was a wonderful host. She was accessible, not that we needed her for anything because it was perfect. Will definitely be back for another trip and highly recommend Paula’s house to anyone looking for a relaxing ...

                'carmel Tranquility' 2 Beaches a Short Walk From This Rose Garden Home
                Reviewed on Jan 18, 2019
                See details
                 
                'carmel Tranquility' 2 Beaches a Short Walk From This Rose Garden Home

                'carmel Tranquility' 2 Beaches a Short Walk From This Rose Garden Home

                Carmel, CA
                   
                  5.0 of 5
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  Our family of eight (parents and adult children with spouses) spend three nights in this lovely home and enjoyed every minute. One evening all eight of us walked back from dinner on Ocean Ave. One morning all of us spend a couple of hours walking along the beach road and beach. Mission Ranch is only ...