• Guests walking in a field in Provence, France

    It Started on a Walking Tour of Provence

    <h4>The very first Classic Journey is new again!</h4> <p>It seems like yesterday, but it was nearly two decades ago that a dozen travelers met in the city of Avignon, France to begin our first-ever trip –a walking tour of Provence. And the rest is history.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank" title="Provence tours">LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PROVENCE TOURS.</a></h3> <p>As in any long successful relationship, ours with Provence has blossomed and evolved. After all, we’ve learned a few things in almost 20 years of obsessive exploration. We’ve found routes that barely show up on maps. And the locals have had plenty of time to appreciate how curious, respectful and committed we are to understanding and enjoying their home turf—which opens up amazing possibilities on our Provence trips.</p> <p>Like a centuries-old Provençal farmhouse, the latest itinerary still offers plenty that would be wonderfully familiar to those first guests. But it’s also the product of two decades of thoughtful renovation to sharpen its authenticity and enhance our amenities.</p> <p>These days, we include local wines with all dinners to make the whole week a tasting experience. We now spend the week in just two hotels instead of three. And half of those nights are in the lovely Auberge de Noves château, just as authentic as our original hotels but with a fifth star in its rating. Our cooking instruction is in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred chef. And by the time you join one of our Provence walking tours, who knows what other fresh surprises we’ll create?</p> <p>Thank you, Provence. Here’s to 20 more years of travel!</p>

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  • Woman standing with arms out, Iceland

    It's been quite a trip to #1

    <p>When we started Classic Journeys 20 years ago, our not-so-humble mission was to make sure every guest had the trip of a lifetime. In our hearts, we were sure we could do it because we knew how much we loved to travel…and the STYLE in which we liked to travel. And we were just crazy and ambitious enough to think that if we could bottle that, we’d succeed. In 2004, at our 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary, we landed for the first time on the Travel + Leisure World’s Best list. A decade later, we’re #1. And I can honestly say that we still look at our trips and ask what else we can do to make it the best of the best. “Is there a hotel with even a slightly better sunset view?” “Who knows a farmer near that village who would cook lunch for us?” “What strings can I pull to never share a Galápagos beach with a cruise ship crowd?” And on and on.</p> <p>To arrive at the World’s Best rankings, Travel + Leisure invites guests who have traveled with a company to rate it based on seven criteria. Happily for us, they are all areas where we really shine. I listed them below. I looked back at things guests say to us all the time on the subjects. And I couldn’t resist adding my take on each of the guidelines. The official results say that our guests awarded us 97.09 out of 100 possible points. I’m already trying to figure out how to earn that last 2.91 points next year!</p> <h4>Staff/Guides</h4> <p><img alt="Classic Journeys guide" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pc4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“With our guides we never got that ‘who-are-you-and-what-are-you-doing-in-my-village’ look from the locals. They knew them by name, treated us as their friends, and let us see a side of life we’d have missed otherwise.” – Bruce &amp; Theresa R., Kentfield, CA</i></p> <p>The easy intimacy that our guides have with our small groups is awesome to see. There’s an openness and cordiality that’s not at all typical of group travel. No question is off limits. The big difference is that all of our fulltime guides live where they work. We don’t helicopter outsiders in. When we call our guides friends, we don’t use the word lightly. A lot of them have been part of the Classic Journeys family for up to 20 years. Several have been named the best guides in countries from Croatia to Cambodia.</p> <h4>Itineraries/Destinations</h4> <p><img alt="Vietnamese farmer" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pc9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“I studied your detailed itinerary with a fine-toothed comb, and still you surprised us again and again with wonderful moments and walks and people that made this the most exceptional vacation we can remember. I’ve planned a lot of trips myself so I know what goes into it. The Classic Journeys ‘gnomes’ are clearly the best there are!” – Perry &amp; Monica S., Sudbury, MA</i></p> <p>“Me-too” has never floated our boat. In well-traveled spots like Tuscany or emerging destinations like Montenegro or Myanmar, we start by asking, “How can we give this our own spin?” It’s a real rush to find a farmer who’ll welcome us into his house or an archeologist who can take an afternoon off to walk us through her working site. We build around the cultural experiences so that they are the focus, rather than planning trips that are more worried about getting from Monument A to Cathedral B.</p> <h4>Activities</h4> <p><img alt="Salsa in Cuba" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pcE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“Your trips are a perfect combination of adventure, exercise, self-indulgence, learning experience and just plain fun.” – Lorraine M</i></p> <p>I guess you’d have to say we’re not very good spectators. We’re a lot happier being “in the game”. That means we learn to roll spring rolls instead of just eating them. We sway through a salsa lesson in Havana. We hunt truffles in Italy. We take some well-planned walks instead of riding everywhere. The ultimate is our multi-sport Family Journeys. (And we intentionally leave some activities out of our written itineraries, because nothing is better than a surprise!)</p> <h4>Accommodations</h4> <p><img alt="Hotel in Myanmar" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pcJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“I just saw a magazine article that featured three of the hotels where we’ve stayed with Classic Journeys. I was impressed enough that we seem to travel in some pretty exclusive circles. But what a shock when I saw the rates. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m ecstatic that you do!” – Red &amp; Terry P., Boston, MA</i></p> <p>Cookie-cutter doesn’t cut it for me. Give me a farmhouse/monastery/Turkish cave dwelling-turned hotel any day. If it boasts a string of five stars, I’m there. (From Asia to South America and plenty of spots in between, we stay in a lot of World’s Best hotels.) And everywhere we go, we pull up to the lodgings that other travelers only wish they were staying in. As far as we’re concerned, it’s the best – and ONLY – way to go!</p> <h4>Food</h4> <p><img alt="Pizza in Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pcO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“We ate Michelin-starred meals. We bought pizza by the inch in neighborhood shops. We took a taste of capicola from the man who cured it and ate pasta 79 ways. You showed us what life is like in food heaven.” – Larry J., Potomac, MD</i></p> <p>We. Love. To. Eat. At street food stalls. In secret vest-pocket restaurants. The haute-est cuisine to the humblest shepherd’s lunch. Not to mention a picnic grazed from a village market and once in a while a meal we prepare with a chef. We intend for every meal on a Classic Journey – and we include the majority of them – to be a culinary AND cultural treat that connects you to local life in the most fundamental way there is.</p> <h4>Value</h4> <p><img alt="Gondola ride" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pcT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“I’ve enjoyed two Classic Journeys trips and am looking forward to my third one. I recently took two tours with other companies, and they could not compare to my travels with you. I realized that I have become spoiled by Classic Journeys in terms of value and experience.” – Jean F., Ontario, Canada</i></p> <p>Your vacation time is really precious. When you’re unpacking your bags after it’s all over, we want you to feel like your trip was the best investment you ever made. That means that we have to exceed our promises…and do it at a price that makes sense. I’m really proud of how well we do that. A lot of other companies charge a premium of 20% or more over Classic Journeys for trips that you would logically compare to ours.</p> <h4>Overall</h4> <p><img alt="Woman hiking in Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7n8&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002pcY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><i>“Every time, we come home from a Classic Journey with the feel and taste of where we’ve been. The way you balance walks and more leisurely activities like meeting the locals is just perfect. And when it comes to great inns and amazing food, you people are our soul mates. Thanks for helping us rediscover how exciting (and relaxing) travel can be.” – Lowell &amp; Barbara A., Warrenville, IL</i></p> <p>The folks we quoted here have taken 13 trips with us. Lots of our guests have come back multiple times. And that’s the final test for us. If we never ended up on a World’s Best list, we’d be proud of the trust they show us. Knowing that they think we’re #1 is just the best feeling ever.</p> <hr></hr> <p><br>Edward Piegza is the President and Founder of Classic Journeys. For more information about Classic Journeys and the 75 destinations in 35 countries that we visit, go to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">www.classicjourneys.com</a> or call 1-800-200-3887 to speak with a Guest Services Coordinator.</p> <br> 

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  • Family jumping in field, Family Journeys

    Classic Journeys Wins Travel + Leisure World's Best Award...Again!

    <p><i>Travel + Leisure</i> magazine has announced its 2011 World&#39;s Best Awards, and for the fifth time, Classic Journeys has been named a World’s Best Tour Operator &amp; Safari Outfitter.</p> <p>Competition in the Tour Operators &amp; Safari Outfitters category is especially intense, with companies rated on their value as well as the caliber of their staff and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">guides</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank">itineraries and destinations</a>, activities, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">accommodations</a>, and food. These ratings — based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “excellent” — are then averaged to create an overall score.<br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank"><img alt="Hotel Nayara" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sj7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>Our rating of 92.86 out of 100 possible points means that we bested all of our direct competitors. Since Classic Journeys is typically twenty to forty percent less expensive than these companies, our tours truly do provide measurable value to our guests.</p> <p>But what’s really at the heart of this numbers game? For me, it comes down to two things: a love of travel and the opportunity to forge new and lasting relationships as a result of it. Sharing those twin passions with our guests is what drove us to create <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> more than 15 years ago.</p> <p>Mutual wanderlust might have been what brought us together, but it was our long conversations about the nature of travel that led us to create something different: a tour company that balances walking with history and culture, introducing our guests not only to amazing places, but to amazing local <i>people</i>. Becoming part of their daily lives for a special moment in time — whether they’re chefs or shepherds, artists or artisans — is what makes the difference between a trip and an unforgettable travel experience.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalficulinary/" target="_blank"><img alt="Cooking le" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sjB" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>So, you might wonder, does moving up in the world — climbing higher in a tightly packed field of worthy competitors — feel good? You bet it does! Many of the Top 20 companies are large corporations…which makes it even sweeter to be recognized for our “boutique” style of small-group walking. As more people gravitate to artisanal products, we’re seeing that our hand-crafted tours offer our guests more than what they expected: value.</p> <p>If you’d like to speak to one of our team about planning your own award-winning vacation, call us at 800-200-3887 or email us at <a href="mailto:moreinfo@classicjourneys.com" target="_blank">moreinfo@classicjourneys.com</a>.</p> <br> 

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