Big Sur, United States
When to go
In summer, it can be foggy in the morning, though this usually clears by afternoon. Beware of tailback traffic, which might spoil your ocean drive, between Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Labor Day (first Monday in September). For the clearest views, opt for spring or autumn. Remember, the elevated coastal position means it can get quite cold, even for California.
PlanesThe region’s main hub is in Monterey. United Airlines (www.united.com) flies from San Francisco; American Eagle (www.aa.com) will get you there from Los Angeles. If you’re coming here to kick off a road trip, aim for an international airport in LA or San Francisco and then pick up a hire car.
TrainsThere’s an Amtrak-served station in Salinas, which will hook you up with Napa, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego (www.amtrak.com).
AutomobilesA car will come in handy for cruising down the coast. The curving, cliff-hugging Highway One is breathtaking and beautiful – you’ll want to stop often, so it’s a good idea to be in charge of your own vehicle. The region is roughly 130 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles.
TaxisThere aren’t many streets you’d walk along flagging down a cab – it’s far wiser to ask the hotel to book one for you. In Carmel, call +1 831 624 3885.
Your own convertible, an ocean-side highway and some unironic blasting of The Beach Boys – a California road trip is driving as it's meant to be. Farmhouse Inn, a romantic ranch in wine country, is a great starting point for your adventure, once you've sampled the Michelin-starred food and some local blends (and slept it off, of course). Make a stop at Big Sur for some intimate isolation and dramatic Pacific views at Post Ranch Inn. Alternatively, follow in the tyreprints of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and take your own feast-fuelled trip around Tuscany (Michael Caine impressions optional). Or, hire a car in Naples, and put Monastero Santa Rosa's address into the sat nav – you'll follow the jaw-dropping Amalfi coastline before tackling a death-defying uphill road to the hotel.