48 hours in Big Sur

Where to stay

All of the 39 rooms at the Post Ranch Inn offer panoramic vistas of the mountains or the ocean. Beds are outfitted with organic linens and the property boasts two hot, cliff-top infinity pools.

Glen Oaks Big Sur is a chic, mid-century modern spot featuring fireside accommodations with recycled wood beds. Choose one of the cabins or cottages, which sit among a redwood grove and beside the flowing Big Sur River. 

Post Ranch Inn

Day 1

Kick off your trip with breakfast at Big Sur Roadhouse, an elevated diner. Fuel up with a pesto, mushroom, and sun-dried tomato scramble or, if you're feeling indulgent, one of their homemade doughnuts. 

Choose your afternoon adventure:

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  • Option 1: Culture

    The Henry Miller Memorial Library is not your typical library. While it doesn’t lend books, it does sell a vast collection of them in the house of writer Henry Miller’s best friend Emile White. The quirky shop and hangout also throws events like art shows and concerts. 

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Though there are many worthwhile hikes in Big Sur, the Tanbark and Tin House Trail is one of the best. Located in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the six-mile trek begins with a steep, steady ascent along a clear river surrounded by redwood trees. The way down includes magnificent coastal views.

Nepenthe’s wraparound veranda is where you want to be for lunch. Perched high above the ocean, the restaurant is known for its Ambrosiaburger. Order the vegetarian version with a side of vinegary garbanzo-kidney bean salad. On your way out, peruse The Phoenix Shop, a gift store filled with souvenirs from local artisans.

For dinner, head to Big Sur Bakery. The cozy ranch space is the perfect setting for a Californian meal of seasonal vegetables, wood-fired pizzas, and mains like Alaskan halibut with Dungeness crab, creamed broccoli leaves, shelling beans, baby turnips, and basil.

While retreat center and educational institute Esalen hosts a range of engaging workshops, like painting and massage, its majestic hot springs are the real draw. The natural sulphur baths are open to the public from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. each morning for moonlit dips, just be sure to make a reservation in advance.

Day 2

Start your day by sampling eggs Benedict, homemade granola, or huevos rancheros at Deetjen’s Restaurant. Sip on their bracing coffee in the magnolia-covered courtyard. 

Choose your adventure:

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  • Option 1: Culture

    Established in 1889 to help ships navigate Big Sur’s rough waters, the Point Sur Lighthouse now holds year-round, guided walking tours. Atop a giant volcanic rock, the lighthouse and surrounding buildings were once a naval facility. 

  • Option 2: Fitness

    Biking along Highway 1 should be a bucket-list item for any cyclist. The twisty road features challenging inclines, tight turns, and stunning seascapes. Big Sur Adventures offers electric and standard bike rentals, as well as tours that range from two to three-and-a-half hours.

Grab a sandwich at Big Sur Deli, a family-owned delicatessen. Try the Big Sur Hippie, which comes with avocado, sprouts, Monterey Jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, and soy bacon bits.

Make a reservation in advance for dinner at Sierra Mar, the fine-dining restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for a striking view from any table, and the evolving, four-course, prix-fixe menu may showcase dishes like black cod with Hakurei turnips, eggplant, and shiso, and Monterey Bay squid with tomato and coriander. The eatery has one of the country’s largest wine collections, with over 15,000 bottles perfect for toasting the conclusion of your visit.

48 hours in Milan

There are over 100 miles of cycling paths inside the city.