Picking an overseas travel adventure can prove to be quite a challenge... especially if you're looking to explore Southern Europe. There are so many wonderful locations to choose from! So, to make things easier for you, we've rounded up our top five Southern European destinations. Yet, no matter where you choose—whether it be the lavender fields of Provence, the vineyards of Tuscany, or Croatia's cinematic Dalmatian Coast—you're guaranteed to have a trip of a lifetime with Classic Journeys.
TOP 5 TRIPS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE:
Passionate flamenco vs. the cooling splash of the Alhambra’s pools. The gleaming simplicity of white-washed mountain villages vs. the gaudy Gaudî masterpieces of Barcelona. Vast plains studded with gnarled olive trees vs. the soft, decadent beaches of the Costa Brava. Spain is an intense and exciting land full of contrast. Our Culture + Walking and Family adventures introduce you to the people of Spain and immerse you in their diverse lives. From the intricacy of Moorish palaces to stylish cosmopolitan promenades, you’ll get an unforgettable look at a country where a thousand years of fierce history and easy-going 21st style blend perfectly in culture, architecture and truly remarkable food.
The seductive power of France is irresistible. You can try to wave off the lunchtime splash of Bordeaux, but the glass always seems to find your lips. When a maman leans out her window on folded arms and cocks her head in that come-here-and-tell-me-who-you-are way, what can you say but, “Of course.” If a breeze heavy with lavender tugs at your senses, it’s almost impossible not to give in. Our Culture + Walking, Culinary and Family trips go happily with the French flow, whether we’re on a lazy low-tide walk at Mont-Saint-Michel or catching the rays on the ramparts of a clifftop castle overlooking the Dordogne River. The cuisine is remarkable, the hotels are magnifique... and with your local guide, you’ll slip easily into la vie française.
Visit Italy every year forever, and you’d never have to repeat yourself. Each region—sometimes it seems like each village—is its own unique and totally irresistible destination. From the alpine breezes that cool the villas on Lake Como to sun-warmed Sicily, the culture, climate and terrain couldn’t be more different. For something more rustic and off-the-beaten-path, head for Apulia in the heel of Italy’s boot. For the flip side of Italian sophistication, our Family trip to Venice, Florence and Rome is a wonderful introduction to the best of the best. Or hobnob with rural shepherds—and the yacht set—on a visit to Sardinia that also includes the nearby French island of Corsica. Your options also include our best-selling trips to Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast.
This is how it feels to be royalty. Funded by centuries of discovery and empire, Portugal has more regal grandeur than any other country we know. Of course, the great cities of Lisbon and Porto are rich with imperial landmarks. Our hotels here are distinctive and very gracious. But Portugal also has more hours of sunshine a year than any other European country, perfect for exploring. So we taste the country’s treasured port wines on walks in the mountainous vineyards where they’re born. On a glorious coastal trail, you’ll face the churning surf that Henry the Navigator conquered to explore Africa and the New World. And we’ll come face to face with the Portuguese people from salt-panners to winemakers. When you join Classic Journeys on a Portugal walking tour, you’ll get a true feel for the unique tempo and personality of this kingdom by the sea.
Croatia is the country where we would live if we could live anywhere. Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe Dalmatia’s Adriatic coastline or Istrian vineyards that Napa should envy. Think cinematic Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing on “Game of Thrones”), Rovinj perched on the tip of a peninsula, and harbor-side Hvar. This is a country where you can do an artisanal olive-oil tasting lesson, take a country walk a million miles from anywhere, and rest up afterward at your 5-star hotel by the sea, all in the same day. The Croatians are warm hosts and—from vintners to truffle hunters—just about the most engaging people ever.