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, where the culture, history, and everyday life of a region comes alive. Whether you’re 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.
Truffle hunting in Istria
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 on tour with us in Istria. 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 or pasta, you’ll appreciate like never before this strange, wonderful, and profitable tradition.
Cooking with a Michelin-starred chef
Other travelers hope for a table at one of Provence’s top-rated tables, but you actually spend a few hours in the kitchen Chef Alain whose restaurant has earned Michelin stars for 16 years. On our Provence tour, he shares the secrets of selecting the ingredients for cuisine à la Provençale. In his kitchen full of fresh Mediterranean produce, roll up your 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.
At home with a Tuscan Count & Countess
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. On tour with us in Tuscany, you can enjoy the pool on a sunny Chianti day and stroll through the gardens that 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.
A private visit to Stonehenge
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 on our Cotswolds tour for a private touch-the-stones visit when the site is closed to the rest of the world. It’s a rare chance to feel the solitude and mystery of Stonehenge in a way that other visitors never can.
Whiskey tasting at one of Scotland’s first distilleries
On tour with us in Scotland, get the opportunity to get up close to the culture and people that make this land so special. Explore historic Culloden Moor, meet the craftsmen at a cashmere mill, and learn about real Scotch whisky from the distillers who make it (and offer you a tasting at one of Scotland’s first distilleries). In addition to sipping these fine spirits, you’ll get to visit Cairngorms National Park for a private picnic and terrific birding opportunities including wrens, jays, and treecreepers.
Personally guided tour of the Palace of Knossos
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 on our Greek Isles tour, 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 guidebooks, you have the luxury of focusing completely on the wonders around you.
Exploring a prehistoric cave
Southwest France is known for its remarkable cave paintings, but at places like Lascaux, visitors are only allowed to see replicas. On our Bordeaux and Dorgone tour, you’ll come face-to-face with a 27,000-year-old cave painting of a bison that tourists are strictly prevented from visiting. Thanks to Bart, our local friend who participates in the 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 firsthand, in the glow of a flickering frame just as its painter did.