Of the 21 missions in California, this is in the top five for me. The mission in the South of Carmel, and on the North side of the Carmel River is well placed and well built. Since it resides on the Salinian Granitic Block it doesn't have as much historical damage as San Juan Bautista (40 miles to the North). This mission is well taken care of and well visited. It does have a fee to enter but it is nominal. I think 6.50 for adults and $2.00 for children. I think I remember $4.00 for seniors. It is very small and it is my recommendation that those who can afford it, leave a bit more money there either by buying from the store or a cash donation in the donation bucket.
The Gardens are very pretty and relaxing and the church is impressive. It doesn't have the size of the cathedrals in Europe or even some of the missions in the chain, but it does have a great historical feel as you walk in.
If you own or manage San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.