• South Africa

    South Africa Adventure: Trip Recap

    The wonder of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa </a>is the dramatic and irresistible diversity of its cultures, landscapes and wildlife. Two of our longtime guests who have taken 13 trips with us, Terry and Dotty, explored the beauties of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank">Cape Town</a>, enjoyed the famous wines of the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank"> South African Winelands</a> and searched for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">The Big Five</a>—the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard—on a three-day safari experience during their recent trip to South Africa with Classic Journeys. Here is a quick trip recap of their adventure that has us all adding this destination to our bucket lists. <br><br><b>Day 1 - Cape Town </b><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape Town</a> is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with sheer cliffs that fall into the cold sapphire-colored waters of the Atlantic to the west of the city mixing with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean to the east. Since its founding in 1652, the city&#39;s culture and architecture have been influenced by the indigenous groups, the Dutch and the British. Dotty and Terry explored the historical city with local Cape Town guide, Clive, and stopped for high tea at the famously painted pink Mount Nelson Hotel, located at the foot of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/South%20Africa/" target="_blank">Table Mountain</a>. Following lunch, they walked along <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Lions Head Trail</a> and took in the sweeping views of the coastal city. After a lengthy walk and day of exploration, they enjoyed a dinner of fresh seafood in a restaurant on the city&#39;s famous Bree Street. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXX0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 2 -  Cape of Good Hope </b><br><br>The day started with a southward guided drive with their local guide, Clive, over<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"> Chapman&#39;s Peak Drive</a>, an engineering marvel that hugs the cliffs and offers jaw-dropping ocean views. The day was dedicated to exploring the historic <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape of Good Hope</a> where the Portuguese navigators once sailed in the 15th century. They walked on trails high above the ocean and stopped to enjoy the views over a glass of champagne. Clive recounted that while admiring the coastal views over champagne, a baboon snuck up and stole their cooler of waters providing for some laughs (at least it didn&#39;t steal the bubbly!). They then visited <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Boulder Beach</a>, home to the largest colony of endangered African penguins as well as the famous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens</a>, home to more than 7,000 plant species. Their day ended with a lovely dinner at Karibu restaurant, located along the city&#39;s Wharf. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWq" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWv" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 3 - Cultural Townships &amp; Robben Island</b> <br><br>In order to learn more about modern South Africa and the path the country has taken since apartheid, it&#39;s essential to visit the townships located in the peripheries of the city. Clive guided Dotty and Terry through the cultural townships and they had the chance to gain insights into South African culture that is hard to find anywhere else. They were then invited into a small school, where they delivered soup ingredients and met a class of South African children who were excited to sing for them and chat about their lives. They also had the chance to speak with a traditional healer in the area and even try a taste of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">home-brewed African beer</a>. In the afternoon, they had the chance to visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">Robben Island,</a> where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 20 years in an attempt to silence his anti-apartheid voice. Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the transformative power of forgiveness. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXX5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><b>Day 4 &amp; 5 - The Cape Winelands </b><br><br>Over the next two days, Clive guided Dotty and Terry to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Cape Winelands</a> where they stayed in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Stellenbosch</a>, the capital of the Winelands. The Winelands are a premier location to walk through vineyards and enjoy the lovely olive orchards over chats with locals of the excellent South African cuisine. During their guided cuisine walks, they tasted fresh bread from the ovens of an artisanal baker, snacked at a family-run butchery, tasted wines at a lively wine bar in the area, and finally, sampled Cape deserts with a side of the locally grown teas. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 6, 7, and 8 - Safari </b><br><br>On day six, Dotty and Terry parted with Clive in Cape Town and flew to eastern South Africa where they began their<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"> three-day Safari</a>. They settled into their luxurious and comfortable lodge on the grounds of the <a href="https://www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Game Preserve</a>, looking out on the wild terrain where they searched for opportunities to view <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">The Big Five</a> - the elephant, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard. With chances to go on daily game drives, bush walks, Zulu village tours, black rhino safaris, and more, Dotty and Terry were not disappointed with the South African safari experience you only hear about in storybooks.  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWl" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxzj&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXWb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Day 9 - Final Day</b> <br><br>With time for a final drive in the morning, Terry and Dotty spotted a few more wildebeests and South African birds before departing the gorgeous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Reserve</a> and heading towards home to tell tales of the many animals they spotted on safari, the wonders of Cape Town, the delicacies of the Winelands, and so much more.<br><br>If you&#39;re interested in a trip like Terry and Dotty&#39;s, take a look at our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-walking-tour/" target="_blank">South Africa Culture + Walking Tour</a> for the chance to experience a trip of a lifetime in South Africa.

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  • Convento do Espinheiro

    Stay at This Luxury Portuguese Resort Hotel Created from a Monastery

    <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Évora, Portugal</a> is an ancient walled Portuguese city listed as a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">UNESCO World Heritage site</a> for its ancient Roman temple and volume of historical white-washed Baroque churches. After a day of delving into the past and wandering the winding cobblestone lanes inside the 14th-century walls, retreating back to a relaxing and comfortable accommodation is a must. Enter the<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"> Convento do Espinheiro</a>, a new 92 room resort hotel that was created from an 1834 monastery just on the outskirts of town. Pairing a cultural discovery and luxurious holiday, you can enjoy a huge outdoor pool, tennis court, indoor salt-water pool, jacuzzi, and full spa after a day of discovering all Évora and the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/portugal/" target="_blank">Alentejo region</a> has to offer. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXN5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The excitement of staying the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Convento do Espinheiro</a> lies in not only the five-star amenities but also the intriguing history of the hotel. The property was originally built in the 1400s by monks in honor of the Virgin Mary after she was reputed to have appeared there years earlier. Since then, the convent has been visited by Portuguese monarchs, spiritual groups on pilgrimages, several foreign kings and queens and now, yourself! Starwood Luxury Collection purchased the unused property and converted it into the culturally rich and luxurious five-star resort experience guests can enjoy today. The impressive property was even named one of the <a href="https://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/resort-hotels-in-spain-portugal" target="_blank">Top 3 Spain and Portugal Resort Hotels in 2019</a> by <i>Travel + Leisure</i> Magazine. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXNj" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXNP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The resort hotel has 92 rooms, including 5 suites, that are divided between &quot;heritage&quot; rooms in the old monastery and newer rooms located in the newer spa building. The &quot;heritage&quot; rooms are created from old monk&#39;s cells and are furnished with dark-wood furniture, oil paintings, and the luxuries that mirror those the Portuguese Royal Family experienced during their stays at the property. The rooms maintain a luxurious and historical feel in conjunction with its surroundings while also incorporating modern glamour design. The rooms maintain a lovely historical charm, garden views, and easy access to the property&#39;s chapel dating back to 1801. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXNZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The hotel offers a few dining options including <a href="https://www.conventodoespinheiro.com/en/" target="_blank">Restaurant Divinus</a>, which serves classic Alentejo cuisine using simple ingredients as well as indigenous products—creating meals in which the pleasure of eating simultaneously feels like a cultural act. A crowd favorite is also the hotel&#39;s <a href="https://www.conventodoespinheiro.com/en/" target="_blank">Cisterna Wine Bar</a> which is located in an ancient gothic water deposit from the 15th century, where you can sit in candlelight and enjoy nightly tastings of the region&#39;s superior wines. Excellent dining options paired with friendly and accommodating staff makes for a lovely Portuguese culinary experience. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXNF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXNU" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>During the day, enjoy a nature walk along<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"> Aqueduct de l&#39;Agua de Prata,</a> visit a cork factory and savor local wine and a picnic under cork wood trees. On the grounds of Convento do Espinheiro, explore their sweeping gardens, take a dip in one of the pools, and maybe indulge in a treatment at the hotel spa. The gorgeous town of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Évora</a> and the charms of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/portugal/" target="_blank">Alentejo region</a> is brought to the next level with a stay at the Convento do Espinheiro—the cultural significance, luxurious treatment, and attentive service are unparalleled. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxz5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXNA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>For a chance to stay at the top-rated Convento do Espinheiro, take a look at our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal Culture + Walking tour</a>, or give <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> a call at 833.387.1210 to hear more about opportunities to travel to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Alentejo region of Portugal</a> and indulge in the luxury of this property. 

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  • Positano Villa Franca

    Million Dollar Views on the Hillsides of Positano: Hotel Villa Franca

    The famed <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a> is known for many things: colorful houses and cliffside villages, overgrowing gardens filled with lemon and orange trees, beautiful hidden beaches, scenic walking paths and of course a crisp limoncello or Aperol spritz to cool off on an Italian summer day. Perfectly situated among some of the best views on the hillsides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Positano</a>, the<a href="https://www.villafrancahotel.it/en/index.php" target="_blank"> Hotel Villa Franca</a> remains one of the most adored accommodations while visiting the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/italy/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a>.   <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxwp&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWfT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The views from<a href="https://www.villafrancahotel.it/en/index.php" target="_blank"> Hotel Villa Franca</a> are enough to make you want to stay here (and never leave). Upon arrival, expect to swing open your shutters and find jaw-dropping views of the glinting <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Mediterranean sea</a> and two blissful beaches just a stone&#39;s throw away. The ravishing hotel offers the perfect opportunity to check out from reality and absorb the glitz, glamour, and breathtaking beauty of the Amalfi Coast. <br><br>Once a private residence, this boutique hotel was remodeled to share authentic Italian elegance with visitors. Airy rooms and bright luxury suites are spread across two villas. Each unique space is filled with large windows to allow the famous Amalfi sun to seep into your space. All rooms include a balcony or terrace offering spectacular views, where you can enjoy a gourmet breakfast in the morning brought directly to your room. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxwp&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWfY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.villafrancahotel.it/en/index.php" target="_blank">Hotel Villa Franca</a> offers a host of dining options for guests, offering fresh fare made from the local Mediterranean produce and product. From local sun-ripened oranges and zesty lemons to freshly caught clams from the neighboring sea, menu offerings mirror the scents and sights you see on a daily basis in Amalfi. Enjoy the Amalfi sea breeze while dining by the cliffside pool, or sit down to enjoy a more luxurious dining experience that embodies sophistication at the<a href="https://www.villafrancahotel.it/en/index.php" target="_blank"> Li Galli Restaurant</a> that has recently collaborated with a multi-Michelin starred chef.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxwp&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWfd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>The <a href="https://www.villafrancahotel.it/en/index.php" target="_blank">Hotel Villa Franca</a> is made complete with top-notch facilities and an accommodating staff that works closely with the Classic Journeys team to assure all guests have an enjoyable stay. The high terrace swimming pool surrounded by sweeping views of the ocean and colorful <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Positano</a> is a crowd favorite, however, should you prefer a dip in the Mediterranian, a private shuttle is offered to visit two beaches that are only minutes away. A deluxe spa and fully-stocked gym can be found on-site as well to add a hint of wellness to your trip. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxwp&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWfn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Whether dining on the restaurant terrace, taking Mediterranean views from your room or sipping an Aperol spritz by the rooftop pool the Hotel Villa Franca encapsulates Italian elegance and is sure to bring your trip to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a> to the next level. A dream amid sky and sea, indeed!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxwp&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWfx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>View our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast &amp; Capri Tours</a> for a chance to stay at Hotel Villa Franca during your visit. Or, give <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> a call at 833.387.1210 to hear more about our stellar hotel partners and offered tours. 

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