Travelling with close friends was for me one of the best holidays of my life. I went travelling with 4 French friends, all girls, and our only rules were enjoying every moment to the max and see the most of the “Real California” that we could. We decided not to sleep in hotels but to stay in homestays with local people.
Although we only had a short two weeks to travel in California we made the best out of this incredible opportunity and had a wonderful experience.
We started our trip by staying in Los Angeles for 4 days. We couldn’t miss out on going to one of Anaheim’s famous amusement parks, so we decided to go to Universal Studios which fit nicely into our tight budget and was somewhere we had never been. We searched online to find discounted tickets and got lucky! The rest of our time in LA was spent visiting all the famous places like the Hollywood sign, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica. The city was full of young people and the laid-back vibe was felt everywhere we went.
Speaking about California is referring to National Parks and most beautiful landscapes and views in the world. We visited Death Valley and the Yosemite Park which are the two most famous national parks. We also went to the Grand Canyon, in nearby Arizona, and I was amazed by the incredible views which were some of the the most impressive I have ever seen.
Then, we travelled to Las Vegas, with it’s unique atmosphere, architecture combined with a enormous concentration of casinos and interesting people make this city a one-of-a-kind experience, that you can’t find easily anywhere else in the world. If you are not keen on gambling, there are still plenty of things to do here. You can easily stay for 2-3 days going to pool parties, restaurants, shows, hotels, the strip, shops and more. We suggest finding a hotel near the strip with free parking and then go enjoy relaxing at the pool for the day. You will find that there are endless places to go party and hang out in Las Vegas.
After Las Vegas we went to the beautiful Yosemite National Park which has different landscapes than the parks in Southern California. Located in the northern part of the state, Yosemite is filled with pine-forests and towering waterfalls with spectacular views of the valley.
For our last stop, we ended our trip in San Francisco, where we stayed for 4 days. We were so happy when we arrived, because everyone told us it was the best city in California and THE place to be and we soon found out that they were right! We felt right at home, since it’s very similar to being in Europe. Finding delicious European restaurants with organic food, enjoying the cool weather and way of life were perfect for us. One of our favorite highlights was going biking on the Golden Gate Bridge, which we loved! We would recommend going after 3pm once the fog has lifted, skies are blue and there are great views of the bay from the bridge.
We also went to visit Alcatraz where we learned the history of this island prison thanks to our helpful audio guides which had lots of different languages available. We recommend stopping by Pier 39 either on your way there or back as it’s located a short 5-minute walk from the Alcatraz meeting point. At Pier 39 we were be able to see sea lions and shop for local souvenirs in many boutiques. At Fisherman’s Wharf ( in Pier 39), we enjoyed one of many fish restaurants, and in particular the Boudin Bakery House where there is a quality bread we could also find in France and the famous Crab and Corn Bisque in a Breadbowl. In Union Square, you can also find tons of famous shops and restaurants. Union Street is full of little cafes and boutiques and it’s really beautiful. We also walked in the Castro District, one of San Francisco’s first gay neighbourhoods, where we discovered delightful colourful streets. For our last lunch we went on picnic and lay in the grass in front of a row of small houses known as the painted ladies.
As our trip came to an end, we were sad to be going back home, but we had a such a great time discovering the real California and visiting so many incredible natural wonders that we left with wonderful memories and an urge to come back again soon to discover more places of this incredible state!