Exclusive experiences that will take you off the beaten path
For a vacation that’s not like everyone else’s
When you travel, average is easy. The real joy comes from discovering yourself in remarkable experiences that tourists can’t even imagine. Step off the beaten path with Classic Journeys, and the culture, history and everyday life of a region comes alive. Whether you’re at at a remote vineyard that appears on no map or basking in privileged access to a legendary site, these exclusive experiences take you where other travelers never get the chance to go.
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In a world where a prized black truffle can sell for $500 a pound, truffle hunters are understandably secretive about where they unearth their treasures. So it’s a rare privilege when – sworn to secrecy – you are allowed to tag along with one of our friends and his truffle-sniffing hound. The lumpy black fungus grows deep in the soil. Finding even one is a huge success. Later, if you treat yourself to a few shavings on a plate of risotto, you’ll appreciate like never before this strange, wonderful and profitable tradition.
In vast India, an elite group of families descend from the maharajahs and maharanis. Today, in Jaipur, we meet and chat with recent generations of the Royal Family. Away from the family’s city palace, you’ll encounter them at their farmhouse in a private sanctuary in the countryside near the Amber Fort. While other visitors to the region are satisfied with museum visits, you’ll be welcomed into their home with refreshments and fascinating conversation.
Other travelers hope for a table at one of Provence’s top-rated tables. You? You actually spend a few hours in the kitchen Chef Alain whose restaurant has earned Michelin stars for 16 years. He shares the secrets of selecting the ingredients for cuisine à la Provençale. In his kitchen full of fresh Mediterranean produce, you roll up our sleeves, fire up the stove, and get a firsthand lesson in creating the region’s vibrant flavors. And then you sit down to the lavish dinner you helped prepare – a gourmet experience your friends will envy.
Villa Le Barone is the Tuscan fantasy, just 30 kilometers or so from Florence. Built as the home of the Renaissance della Robbia family, this classic villa-hotel is owned today by a Count and Countess who are your very gracious hosts. The pool is cool on a sunny Chianti day. The gardens are thick with roses and chestnut trees. Dinner on the terrace overlooking the village of San Leolino will have you grasping for adjectives…and wishing the moment would never end.
Breakfast at Stonehenge. Three little words say it all about how you experience one of the world’s most famous places. While 4,000 or more tourists swarm there every day, we arrange exclusive access for a private touch-the-stones visit when the site is closed to the rest of the world. It’s rare chance to feel the solitude and mystery of Stonehenge in a way that other visitors never can.
In Morocco, the wealthy and well connected don’t flaunt their good fortune. In classic tradition, their city homes turn plain faces to the street. But inside? Step through the low door, along a path lit with lanterns, past an interior pool with just the subtlest burble of a fountain. And there you are in a grand private home, once featured in a book about the country’s finest interior design. After the noise and jangle of the city’s streets, it’s remarkably quiet here as you savor a wonderful meal, prepared just for you.
In the Scottish village of Fife, there’s a stream that appears to flow uphill. In times past, the locals named the crazy stream Daft Burn…and today one of Scotland’s newest distilleries is located there at Daftmill in buildings that date back to Napoleonic times. It’s a lively treat visit the farm – where the distillers are brothers who grow their own malting barley. As you meet the Cuthbert family who runs the establishment and accept a taste of their spirits, you get a wonderful insider’s look at an old tradition that’s given rise to a lively new subculture.
Knossos, on the island of Crete is considered Europe’s oldest city, dating back to the Bronze Age. Legend says King Minos imprisoned the Minotaur in the labyrinth. This site is colossal but, in the company of your private guide, you’ll get a concise, meaningful exploration of the complex of more than 1,300 rooms, halls, passages and frescoes dating to 1,700 BC. While other visitors study maps and juggle guide books, you have the luxury of focusing completely on the wonders around you.
Southwest France is known for it’s remarkable cave paintings, but at places like Lascaux visitors are only allowed to see replicas. You, however, come face-to-face with a 27,000-year-old cave painting of a bison that tourists are strictly prevented from visiting. Thanks to Bar, our friend who, participates in preservation of this precious heritage, you’ll be invited to light a candle and walk not far into this remarkable private cave to see the relic first hand, in the glow of a flickering frame just as its painter did.
Ready to see Stonehenge in private or cook in Provence with a Michelin-starred chef? Classic Journeys will make it happen. Or find your favorite destination and see what exclusive cultural and historic experiences we’ve handcrafted for you.