• Skalakot Manor

    Stay at a Luxury Manor and Farm in the Countryside of Southern Iceland

    A stay at <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel</a> is a stay in the idealized Iceland that we all imagine: a cozy manor surrounded by rugged mountains, with easy access to waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, and miles of lava fields covered with green, spongy moss. The gorgeous accommodation located in the countrysides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Southern Iceland</a> has been owned by the same family for seven generations and wows for more reasons than just the spectacular landscape surrounding the establishment. With gables that echo the nearby mountains, the manor hotel and farm hybrid is a unique accommodation built for guests to enjoy a unique experience that is quintessentially Icelandic.<br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKf"></img></a><br><b>Jaw-dropping views of the Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel in the countryside of Southern Iceland </b><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKQ"></img></a><br><b>The Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel staff and family behind the luxury manor and farm</b><br><br>As you approach the charming <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor</a>, the surrounding landscape in enough to take your breath away - located at the bottom of a jagged mountain-top, the scene is cinematic. Inside, the Skálakot Manor is complete with fourteen bedrooms, all seemingly inspired by Ralph Lauren&#39;s idea of a luxury Icelandic farmhouse. The interior has hints of Art Deco paired with elegant fabrics. As a result, the rooms are characterized by natural materials and great craftsmanship. Traces of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Icelandic culture</a> are sprinkled throughout the accommodation and it doesn&#39;t take long to feel at home. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKL"></img></a><br><b>One of the fourteen unique rooms in the Manor</b><br><br>One of the best aspects of this hotel, however, may be the charm and ease and welcoming service that accompanies staying at a <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">family-run farm</a>. The lively group of staff are passionate about working in the  <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Icelandic countryside</a> and their love for their home radiates as they welcome you on arrival. In addition to the manor hotel, the working farm is a joy to explore and is most well-known for raising the extraordinary breed of Icelandic horses, known around the world. The family has bred these short, sturdy, and shaggy horses for centuries and can answer any questions you may have about the engaging creatures. On <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> tours, you can join a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">guided Icelandic horseback tour</a> of the property and surrounding area.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKG"></img></a><br><b>Guests enjoy an Icelandic Horseback Tour</b><br><br>Energized from an action-packed day full of waterfall hikes or<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"> tectonic snorkeling</a>, you can return and settle in to enjoy the (literally) farm-to-table menu in the dining room. The chef prepares candlelit dinners, as well as coffee and sweet cakes for an afternoon snack. And for breakfast expect to find a delicious buffet that includes <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><i>Hafragrautur</i></a>, the delicious oatmeal topped with fresh fruit that many Icelanders love.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKV"></img></a><br><b>The quaint restaurant offers three meals and an afternoon snack of teas and cakes each day</b><br><br>Sited away from any light pollution, <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor</a> provides the perfect location to admire the Northern Lights. End your days at Skálakot joining the Icelandic tradition of a hot tub soak or enjoy a nightcap by the fireplace, perhaps planning the next days&#39; Icelandic adventure. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKB"></img></a><br><b>Catch views of the Northern Lights September to mid-April</b><br><br>The family-run <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor</a> and farm is the ideal location to enjoy the many wonders Iceland has to offer all while immersing yourself in Icelandic culture and feeling perfectly pampered with the stellar accommodation features. To have a chance to stay with the Skálakot Manor family in one of their fourteen rooms, take a look at our<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-family-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"> Iceland Family Adventure</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Iceland Multisport Tour</a> or give <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> a call at 833.387.1210 to hear more.

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  • Quick Trips to Fit your Busy Schedule

    Quick Trips to Fit Your Busy Schedule

    It’s hard to argue with the dream of a lazy month in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi</a>. How could a two-week safari in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa</a> not have a certain appeal? When the stars align, an extended junket to India or New Zealand is the only way to go. But if your calendar is crowded, those windows of opportunity are as rare as a blue-footed booby dancing on your shoulder. You have plenty of vacation time; you just don’t have time to take a vacation. There’s your cousin’s wedding smack in the middle of June. Soccer tournaments, board meetings, holidays, jam-packed school years, the busy season when your boss frowns at PTO requests. Clearly, it’s time for a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">Quick Trip with Classic Journeys!</a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">The Quick Trip formula</a> is elegantly simple, and it comes from years of working with time-starved travelers—folks who are hungry for amazing experiences but who have to fit them into six days or less. Every Quick Trip is a no-compromises Classic Journeys’ vacation, hand-crafted to deliver immersive activities and cultural interactions in the company of full-time local guides. Award-winning luxury hotels and great food go without saying. In short, they’re fabulous vacations that don’t feel short at all. With decades of experience at curating trips around the world, we team up with our family of expert local guides to finesse itineraries to minimize logistics and keep the focus on helping you enjoy your vacation, your way. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>You can choose from right-in-your-own-back-yard destinations throughout North America that keep flights to a minimum so you can maximize your time on the ground. The same holds true for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Cuba</a>, where it’s super easy to pull off a satisfying four-day weekend in Havana. The even bigger surprise is just how close some hot-ticket destinations—Iceland, the Galápagos and even Morocco are from major U.S. gateway cities. So instead of defaulting to a lowest-common-denominator trip when time is tight, you can spread your wings and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.<br><br>If you’ve given up fitting a vacation into that calendar of yours, think again. Or if you’re lucky enough to already have longer getaways planned but wish you could squeeze in just one more, a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">Quick Trip</a> is the fast and easy solution.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-guided-walking-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYIu" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-guided-walking-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Iceland Escape</b></a><br>5 days/4 nights<br>Wild, weird and wonderful Iceland is crazy close. All you need are five well-choreographed days with our local descended-from-Vikings guides. Walk on lava fields, spot puffins and whales, walk along a glacial lake to the face of a glacier, and eat hearty with a local family for a totally authentic look at Icelandic life. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJ4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-adventure-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Galápagos Getaway</b></a><br>5 days/4 nights<br>Due south of New Orleans, the Galápagos Islands are way closer to civilization than most people realize. Five days there with the best guides is abundant time to spot the Big Five animals. And this island-based trip includes snorkeling, kayaking, walking on a volcano rim, sipping coffee at a plantation, and so much more! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJ9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank"><b>Morocco: Essaouira to Marrakesh</b></a><br>6 days/5 nights<br>Process this: Casablanca is closer to most American gateway cities than Rome. Sooner than you’d imagine, you can be riding a camel to a luxury desert encampment, exploring Marrakesh, cooking tagine and tasting wine, meeting village families at work in the oases. Exotic is easy in the extreme! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-havana-art-music/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-havana-art-music/" target="_blank"><b>A Long Weekend in Havana</b></a><br>4 days/3 nights<br>Before the Revolution, Americans hopped down to Havana for the weekend. Today, so can you. At a leisurely Cuban tempo, you can explore Havana’s architecture and history, immerse yourself in the art and music scene, cook with a chef in an organic garden, and meet and mingle with the Cuban people. <br><br>When you crave a vacation that feels far away but isn’t, North America is the way to go. Itineraries for these destinations in the U.S. and Canada are a handy 6 days and 5 nights long. No jet lag required! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>United States</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon &amp; Zion</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska — Kenai Peninsula</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston &amp; Savannah</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank">Montana — Glacier National Park</a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy4y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zYJi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Canada</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank">Canadian Rockies</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank">Nova Scotia</a><br><br>Check out an extended <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quick-trips/" target="_blank">list of quick trips with Classic Journeys</a> to experience an immersive and handcrafted journey you&#39;d expect from us, you just don&#39;t have to pack as many pairs of socks. Let us book your getaway today!

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  • Iceland

    Can WOW's demise lead to more POW for travelers to Iceland? Here's HOW...

    The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> just published an engaging article titled <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">“Iceland’s Purple Planes Are Grounded, and With Them, Its Economy”</a>. In it, Peter S. Goodman and Liz Alderman artfully illustrate the rollercoaster ride that Iceland’s economy has been on over the last decade, how WOW helped to bring the country out of the 2008 recession, ushered in budget travel and Instagram tourism to the island, and how the airline’s bankruptcy may drag the economy into another recession as the number of visitors drops from historic highs.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Classic Journeys Founder, Edward Piegza, pictured in the middle with two of our most-loved local Icelandic guides.</b><br><br>And yet, at Classic Journeys where we consider ourselves huge fans of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/heritage-travel/" target="_blank">pour over our 23andme results to find any trace of Viking in our ancestry</a>, we wondered if that was the end of the story for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Or, does it have another (or many more) chapters still to write about its economy and tourism in general? To make sense of it all, the Classic Journeys editorial staff sat down with frequent traveler and company founder, Edward Piegza, to get context on the rise and fall of WOW and what it means for the people of Iceland and travelers to the island nation.<br><br><b>Classic Journeys editorial staff: Why was WOW so instrumental in pulling Iceland out of the 2008 recession?</b><br><br>Edward Piegza: “Let’s set the stage for our conversation with a bit of recap. Founded in 2011 by billionaire Skúli Mogensen who fashioned himself as a sort of Icelandic Richard Branson, WOW was a budget airline that grew quickly and successfully as it brought throngs of tourists to Iceland on cheap flights from the United States, more than doubling the number of tourists visiting Iceland between 2011 and 2015, to 1.3 million. The success story continued and by 2018, the number of tourists increased to 2.3 million.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZ9z" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: That’s amazing growth in the number of tourists to Iceland, but it couldn’t have all come from WOW, did it?</b><br><br>EP: “You’re right. This growth of tourism resulting from cheap travel options to Iceland reflected the same exponential growth curve in social media. Cinematic Instagram posts of filming locations from popular shows like “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/5-classic-journeys-destinations-on-the-game-of-thrones-shot-list/" target="_blank">Game of Thrones</a>” and YouTube videos of Justin Bieber’s 2015 hit “I’ll Show You” filmed in Iceland burst on the scene. Tourist arrivals reached new heights as visitors continue to fight for the perfect Instagram photo with Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes acting as their no-filter-required background.”<br><br><b>CJ: The NY Times article notes that after WOW’s short-lived success and recent failure, projections are that visitors overall will drop by 16% in 2019, and American tourists arrivals will fall even steeper, by 20%. Is Classic Journeys seeing a decrease in travelers that mirrors the drop in the number of tourists visiting Iceland? </b><br><br>EP: “Not at all. In fact, Classic Journeys is actually seeing an increase in interest and bookings for our trips to Iceland. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> program are averaging 10% more guests in 2019 and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport trips</a> are averaging 3% more than in 2018. While those numbers are not a huge increase, they certainly buck the overall trend of double-digit decreases for tourists in general to Iceland.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZA4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Why do you think Classic Journeys is seeing an increase and continuation of guest interest in traveling to Iceland in spite of WOW’s demise?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a terrific quote in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> article, ‘When the people who are coming are more about getting Instagram posts, and everyone goes to the same spots, then it’s overcrowded,’ said Hordur Mio Olafsson, 32, whose family business leads tourists through lava caves near Húsafell.’ WOW certainly had a successful niche in that it brought – literally – planeloads of budget tourists to Iceland. It was good for WOW and good for the budget passengers WOW carried, as they might not have gotten to Iceland any other way. But in a country of only 340,000 people in total on the whole island, the massive influx of travelers put tremendous pressure on the environment and the tourism infrastructure as everyone ran to the same few spots to take their Instagram photo. But that sort of tourist is not the Classic Journeys traveler. Our guests want so much more than an Instagram post.<br><br><b>CJ: How does a trip to Iceland with Classic Journeys differ from that of the average tourist visiting Iceland?  </b><br><br>EP: “Classic Journeys guests want the experience and engagement behind the shot. They want immersion into the culture, the people, the places that you cannot find on your own. And that’s why all Classic Journeys trips — whether it&#39;s one of our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> programs, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport Trips</a>, or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-family-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Family Journeys</a> — are led by super well-connected local guides. In fact, our guides are so local that they are actually descended from 9th century Vikings! That means that they can get you to that perfect location for a photo, but you’ll be there by yourself without the madding crowds, you’ll learn the backstory behind the location, and you’ll get to know the real people who live in that fantastical landscape.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: How does the Classic Journeys offer a sustainable alternative to the travel patterns of budget-friendly tourists that WOW initially introduced to Iceland?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a large American company that operates tours in Iceland and they import their guides from Spain and Portugal. They pay the guides 10% of the Icelandic guiding wage and tell them to work for tips. It’s gotten so contentious that the Icelandic parliament has actually taken up a bill to outlaw this sort of tourism. In contrast, Classic Journeys takes the sort of farm-to-table or zero-kilometer approach that has become so popular in culinary circles and applies it to everything we do in every corner of the world, including <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. So, what that means is that our guides are all Iceland, all the time. Through them, we have deep and rich connections with the ranchers, shark fishermen, naturalists, glacier guides, chief of police (True! In one of the villages we visit.), hoteliers and restauranteurs all over the island. And we use those connections to our guests’ benefit, but also to the benefit of partners. We stay in boutique hotels that are often on farms that have been in the same family for several generations. We don’t have to take you to just one waterfall that is accessible to busloads of tourists just off the ring road. We can take you up a canyon to an even more impressive one that only the locals can find and where you can walk behind the cataract all by yourself. Most tourists will explore the same two or three ice caves. Our glacial guides know our guests are looking for something much more authentic, so they will take us way up the tongue of a glacier to a cave only they know for a transformationally better experience. It all sums up in that our guests get a more authentic experience, the footprint of tourism gets spread out in a much more sustainable and thoughtful way, and the money they pay us goes directly into the hands of local people. It’s a win-win-win.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Some people in the industry are suggesting that the dip in tourism may be healthy following the mass amount of people overwhelming the island. What are your thoughts? </b><br><br>EP: “To go back to that quote in the Times article, Hordur the lava cave guide mentioned, ‘What people are seeking here is pristine nature in this strange country in the North Atlantic, full of mystery. Now, we have a chance to do things properly.’ We couldn’t agree more. There is more service now to Iceland on Icelandair, American, Delta, and other airlines than there was before WOW burst on to the scene which means there is plenty of capacity in terms of airplane seats to get to the island. And the bubble certainly was a cautionary tale for everyone in the tourism industry as to the type of sustainable tourism they want. I was just with one of our hoteliers in Iceland recently and they were gushing about the quality of Classic Journeys guests. So it seems the word is out and there is this confluence of engaged travelers looking for an immersive experience in a place and people poised perfectly to provide it. To paraphrase the cheer Icelanders shout for their beloved soccer team, ‘Huh-Huh-Huh!’”<br><br><b>For a chance to see Iceland in Classic Journeys style, take a look at our upcoming <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking tours, Multisport </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">and Family</a> options!</b><br> 

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