Whether you are an occasional visitor or a Carmel resident, our walking tour is the perfect way to get to know the culture, sights and food of Carmel-by-the-Sea!
Some of the tasting stops may include:
- A cheese shop that sells specialty food and wines
- A European restaurant with a 34,000 bottle wine cellar
- A delicatessen with house-made cheeses, exotic salumis and all the fixings for a traditional Italian feast
- A gourmet specialty shop that specializes in hand-crafted, flavored vinegars and olive oils from all over the world
- The wine tasting room of a local winery
- Chocolates and other confections that are handmade in Monterey
- Other restaurants and specialty shops in the area!
On this tour, participants will:
- Learn why there are no addresses in the Golden Rectangle
- Discover the history of several of Carmel's oldest and most unique buildings
- Encounter a city walk the way many locals do, through hidden passages
- Exercise and feel good about your culinary expedition
- Be inspired to keep exploring
What Is Not Included?
- A bottle of water is not included in the ticket price. You may want to bring your own bottle of water or purchase a beverage at the meeting location.
- Gratuity is not included in the ticket price. Leaving a gratuity is at your discretion, and the standard gratuity in the service industry is 15%.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Yes, tickets must be purchased in advance. Tours often sell out so we suggest purchasing your tickets early to guarantee your desired tour day. You can buy your Carmel Food Tour tickets with Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
- Do we only walk around and sample food?
- Absolutely not! Carmel Food Tours combines architectural commentary, historical facts, local culture and culinary insight into a unique 3-hour experience. Imagine walking through Carmel sampling delicious foods from unique restaurants and specialty shops, while learning about Carmel from real locals - it's informative, insightful and entertaining. Not to mention tasty!
- How much walking is involved? Is it a fast-paced tour?
- The Carmel Food Tour covers about 1.2 miles with easy walking, pretty much on level ground, with stops for food tasting, restroom breaks and cultural presentations. The tours generally last between 3 and 3.5 hours and participants can expect to be standing or walking for a majority of the time. We walk at a moderate pace and also provide at least two resting locations for 30-45 minutes total. We recommend that you wear comfortable - and sensible - shoes. High heels are discouraged.
- How many stops are on the tour?
- We will visit 6 specialty shops or restaurants on the tour and enjoy a tasting at each one. We will have items from two local businesses to taste at our last stop.
- What restaurants will we visit on the tour?
- Our tasting locations are subject to change, but we will likely visit a cheese shop, a European restaurant, an Italian delicatessen and a few other restaurants and specialty shops in the area!
- What is the weather like in Carmel – do I need warm clothing?
- The weather is typically pleasant, but layered clothing is a smart choice. We will provide you with a disposable rain poncho if the weather is inclement.
- Will the tour still happen if it’s raining?
- Yes, we run tours rain or shine! Our experience is that food tastes even better in the rain. If you don't have your compact umbrella with you, there's no need to worry: We have disposable yellow rain ponchos that are almost certain to make you feel like a kid again.
- How much food is served on the tour?
- Our vendors serve enough food that for most participants, lunch afterwards is not necessary. With a variety of drink and food tastings combined with pauses for architectural, cultural, and historical insight, most participants are comfortably full after their tour. However, our food tours are not intended to replace two meals, so please consider eating breakfast before the tour.
- What types of foods are served on the tour?
- Food is provided by ethnic eateries, specialty food shops and local restaurants. Much of the food sampled on the tour is locally grown and/or produced. Tastings may vary from tour to tour, but we will sample both sweet and savory items.
- What if I have dietary restrictions or allergies?
- Please be sure and let us know if you (or anyone in your group) has a dietary restriction (e.g. vegetarian, celiac, allergy, etc.) when you purchase your tickets. As long as we know in advance, we can accommodate your needs.
- I’m on a diet, can you substitute low-calorie options?
- You may not have another chance to try these specially-selected food items, so for these three hours we invite you to gently place your diet (Atkins, South Beach, etc.) in a box, tie it with a bow and put it aside.
- Are there vegetarian options on the tour?
- We endeavor to provide alternative tasting options for vegetarians. Be sure and let us know any dietary restrictions when you purchase tickets for your tour.
- Are there vegan options on the tour?
- While a few of the tastings are vegan-friendly, many of them are not. Unfortunately, the tour visits several specialty shops where vegan options are not available. For example, we are unable to provide a vegan substitution when we visit a specialty cheese shop. While vegans are welcome to take the tour and learn about the history and culture of Carmel, we will not be able to provide vegan-friendly tastings at several of the tasting stops.
- Are any beverages served on the tour?
- Carmel Food Tours has one wine tasting included on the tour. You may bring your own bottle of water or purchase a beverage at the meeting location.
- Is there a wine tasting included on the tour?
- Yes. One of our stops includes a small sampling of locally produced wine.
- Does the tour end at the same place we meet?
- No, but the Carmel-by-the-Sea Gourmet Food Tour finishes less than 3 blocks away from the meeting point. Detailed instructions are provided after ticket purchase with starting and ending point locations, and all participants receive a map with return directions at the beginning of the tour.
- What about taking children on the tour?
- Our tour is definitely geared more toward adults, however well-behaved children are welcome with a paid ticket. We recommend the tour for those 13 and up. The tour is three hours long and some children have a limited attention span; therefore the tour may not be appropriate for them. Parents, who know their children best, should assess the situation individually. Since there is a lot of standing, walking and listening, please consider this when deciding whether the tour is appropriate for your child.
- Can I bring my infant or toddler on a tour?
- All participants over 3 years old must purchase a full-priced ticket. The content of this tour is geared more towards those interested in foodie facts, Carmel culture, and “grown up” food. Therefore, we do not recommend bringing along an infant or toddler since the 3-hour tour is typically not enjoyable for younger children. However, if you have an infant or toddler who is 3-years-old or younger and would like to discuss bringing them on the tour, please click on the "Contact CarmelFood" link to the left of the page. We handle these requests on a case-by-case basis.
- Does this tour have anything to offer to a local?
- Definitely! Many of our attendees live right here in Carmel. Locals often attend to learn about the town. Our knowledgeable guides will tell you exciting secrets about Carmel and perhaps introduce you to a few new favorite eateries!
- Are bathrooms available during the tour?
- Yes, bathrooms are available during the tour at selected tasting locations.
- Is there parking near the tour meeting point?
- Yes, there is public parking located near the meeting location. Specific parking details are included in the meeting location directions after purchasing ticket(s) such as location, pricing and hours. We recommend that you do NOT park on the street within the business district because there is a strict 2-hour limit and the tour is 3 hours long. Yes, they will even ticket you on Sundays.
- Can I shop during the tour?
- We ask that you please wait to shop until after the tour so that we can stay on our food-tasting schedule and continue with the informative tour and food tastings in a timely manner. The tour group is scheduled to arrive at each tasting location at a specific time so the food is freshly prepared for the participants. Consider allowing time at the end of the tour to return to your favorite locations and/or stores.
- Are cameras allowed on the tour?
- Absolutely! Cameras and filming are allowed during the tour. We strongly encourage participants to capture their memories, and we appreciate you sharing them with us. Our Facebook page accepts uploads, and we would love to have others considering our tour see what a great time you've had.
- Is the tour wheelchair and baby stroller accessible?
- Carmel is fond of its many trees, which sometimes affect the width and/or the smoothness of sidewalks. Restaurants and specialty shops are often cozy and may ask you to leave your stroller outside if they are full. There is one short flight of stairs on the route which we can direct you around, and there is one step into our final tasting location. You are the best judge of your abilities to push, maneuver and/or assist over and around any obstacles.
- Are tours pet-friendly?
- Even though you are visiting one of the most pet-friendly cities on earth, animals are not allowed inside places that serve food (with a notable exception that we'll mention on the tour). Please leave your pooches snuggled up in their beds. If you will be accompanied by a service animal please let us know when you book your tour.
- Does the tour leader accept gratuities?
- If you feel that the tour leader met or exceeded your expectations you are welcome to reward him/her as an expression of your appreciation. Leaving a gratuity is at your discretion, and the standard gratuity in the service industry is 15%.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes, Gift Certificates are available for all tours offered. To purchase a gift certificate, please contact us directly by clicking the "Contact CarmelFood" link to the left of the page. A member of the Carmel Food Tours staff will respond with payment instructions and further information.
- Can I book a private group tour?
- Yes, Carmel Food Private Group Tours are available. To set up a private tour, please contact us directly by clicking the "Contact CarmelFood" link to the left of the page and a member of the Carmel Food Tours staff will respond within 24 hours.
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity takes place rain or shine.
- The activity runs regardless of weather conditions. In the rare situation where the seller is forced to cancel the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule to another time (subject to availability).
- All participants 21 and older must bring valid ID.
- We require a valid ID proving you are 21 or older if you would like to participate in the wine tasting portion of the tour. Please make sure you have it with you as the vendors will need to verify this information before you can participate in the wine tasting!
Carmel Food Tours
Become acquainted with the unique history and culture of this magical city, discover hidden passageways and delight in specially-selected tastes that will give you insight into all Carmel-by-the-Sea has to offer. Get answers to important questions, like "Without addresses how do you know where things are?" During this leisurely stroll through the heart of Carmel, we'll answer this question and more while we enjoy a variety of food and wine from local restaurants and boutique shops.
Carmel Food Tours was founded in 2012 with the intention to stimulate your senses, increase your knowledge of the jewel that is Carmel-by-the-Sea, and expose you to some unique tasting experiences that you may not seek out on your own.
Carmel Food Tours is locally owned and operated. As a home-grown, independent small business, we take great pride in our city and its incredible surroundings, and go the extra mile to make sure each and every customer has an experience that is both pleasant and memorable. Join us!