Barcelona and the Costa Brava | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Greece - Santorini at Sunset

    11 Most Romantic Getaways

    <br>Ready to escape on a romantic getaway? Just imagine… you and your sweetheart watching the sunset over the red sand dunes of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank">Sahara</a>, sipping a glass of Bordeaux in the vineyards of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">Bordeaux </a>itself, or following a scenic waterside path to the famed coastal resort of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank">Portofino</a>. If you’re ready for some quality time together, here are 11 of the best destinations for romance.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank"><img alt="Italian Lakes" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015ueN" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank"><b>ITALIAN LAKES</b></a><br>Since the Roman emperors, these gracious waterside resorts have drawn visitors. The climate is mild, loaded with the vibrant colors of Alpine wildflowers and lush semi-tropical gardens. Your footpaths sometimes traverse mountaintop meadows and often hug the crystal clear waters. Nowhere else does stunning scenery, mellow air, and rich history come together with such romantic results. <br><br> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015ufG" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank">SLOVENIA &amp; CROATIA&#39;S ISTRIAN PENINSULA</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Slovenia and Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula</a> are two of the great under-the-radar screen destinations in all of Europe. These unspoiled next-door lands sit right at the top of the Adriatic Sea just east of Venice, the scenery is so insanely perfect that you don’t want the walks to end. Imagine walking hand-in-hand through vineyards rolling into olive groves sweeping to the Adriatic. <br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015ufL" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-luxury-tour-package/" target="_blank">MOROCCO</a></b><br>For most people, Morocco is a top bucket list destination. From soaring sand dunes to dramatic coastlines and fantastically frenetic market squares—there’s no question why Morocco has been a top 10 bucket list place year after year. <br><br><a href="https://www.classsicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank"><img alt="Bordeaux and the Dordogne Valley" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oVJ4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank"><b>BORDEAUX &amp; THE DORDOGNE VALLEY</b></a><br>Everything you&#39;ll love best about <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">France </a>is abundant in the scenic southwest: Great wine. Great history. Great culture. And the lifestyle? Think of yourself at one of the loveliest inns you&#39;ve ever discovered, strolling by your 13th-century millpond before dining on a country stew and crème brûlée by candlelight.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank"><img alt="Greece" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oVNQ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank"><b>THE GREEK ISLES</b></a><br>Ahhh the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greek Isles</a>... walk amid vineyards and olive groves. Have a “pinch-yourself” moment waking to a view of Santorini&#39;s incredible shimmering blue sea. Take a mule ride down to the water’s edge for a boat trip out into the crater of the volcano.  Yes, this is your real life!<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015ueS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank"><b>TUSCANY &amp; THE CINQUE TERRE</b></a><br>Picture the two of you wine-tasting on the grounds of a castle, wandering through the streets of<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank"> towering hill towns</a>, jumping to the head of the line to see Michelangelo’s David and exploring colorful villages along the Italian Riviera.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="Portugal" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oVJY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><b>PORTUGAL</b></a><br>Get some much-needed R &amp; R in regal <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal</a>, where you’ll feel like royalty. Taste Port at a family-owned Douro Valley vineyard, walk the dramatic Atlantic coast from Cabo da Roca and luxuriate in some of Portugal’s most historic (and luxurious) hotels.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015ueX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank"><b>BARCELONA &amp; THE COSTA BRAVA</b></a><br>When we asked our guides how to describe <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank">Catalonia </a>to you, they said: “Tell them we are Tuscany, only better.” The chic avenues of Barcelona…a dip in the Mediterranean at a private resort on the Costa Brava…the Moorish-accented culture. And did you know about the vivid flavors of Catalan cuisine? <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank"><img alt="Amalfi" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oVJO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank"><b>AMALFI COAST &amp; CAPRI</b></a><br>Unlike most visitors, you’ll see <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Amalfi </a>in the best way. You’ll walk seaside trails past magnificent villas, enjoy authentic dinners after the day-trippers leave, peer into the caldera of Mount Vesuvius and so much more.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Costa Rica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oVNu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank"><b>COSTA RICA</b></a><br>You expect paradise to be beautiful. But who knew it was so much fun? If you’re looking for a little thrill mixed with romance, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a> blends adventure and nature like nowhere else.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y3r4&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015uem" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank"><b>PROVENCE</b></a><br>Practice saying: “We&#39;re vacationing in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence/" target="_blank">south of France</a> this year.” As romantic as it sounds, it’s even better in real life. Think quiet country trails that wind through cherry orchards beneath rustic perched villages. In season, purple ribbons of lavender drape the hills. This is Provence at its purest, and you will never forget it.

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  • Rooftop Pool at Ohla Hotel in Barcelona, Spain

    Best Hotel Pools Around the Globe

    <h2>7 Best Hotel Pools for Whiling Away an Afternoon</h2>   <p>It’s no secret that we love walking tours. Every one of our Classic Journeys trips includes walking trips that get us out into the countryside of Provence or immersed in the culture of Cuba or rambling along the cobblestone streets of Tuscany. And while we enjoy this type of travel so much, we also enjoy some downtime. And what better way to while away an afternoon than lounging by an amazing pool with picturesque views. Here are some of our favorites:<br><br><img alt="Desert Pearl Inn" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002ox9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Desert Pearl Inn, Springdale, Utah</b><br> </p> <p>After a day <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">exploring Zion</a>, there’s no better place to watch the sun set over the amazing rock formations than relaxing in the pool at the Desert Pearl Inn. The large, free-form pool is surrounded by a flagstone pool deck dotted with lounge chairs and umbrellas. Soak tired muscles in the hot tub while enjoying the trickle of the nearby waterfall. Lush, green vegetation encases the entire area — a beautiful contrast to the red rock cliffs surrounding the inn.<br><br><img alt="Ohla Barcelona" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Ohla Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain</b><br> </p> <p>Situated <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona-tours/" target="_blank">right in the heart of Barcelona</a>, the Ohla Barcelona is a modern marvel masked behind a grand and exquisite neoclassical façade. The “chill-out” terrace, as they call it, offers stunning views of the city with a glass-sided pool perched between an upper sunning deck and lower seating area filled with two-tops — perfect for watching a sunset, cocktail in hand.<br><br><img alt="Hotel Lone" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Hotel Lone, Rovinj, Croatia</b><br> </p> <p>At Hotel Lone, you can choose your pool — indoors or out. Indoors you can still enjoy the view of the gardens thanks to the glass wall enclosure. If you opt for al fresco, which we highly recommend, you’ll <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank">enjoy views of the protected Zlatni rt forest park.</a> The area includes a sun bathing terraces (six levels!), a restaurant, a pool bar and a summer stage. The pool complex itself includes the relax pool, aqua-fun pool and a children’s pool with whirlpools, waterfalls, geysers and a swimming track — all filled with seawater. Be sure to enjoy the hydro-massage chairs available in both pools. If you’re lucky enough to stay in a Jazz Room, you’ll enjoy your own private infinity pool massage bathtub on the outside edge of you room’s patio — spectacular!<br><br><img alt="Jasper Park Lodge" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, Alberta, Canada</b><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">Exploring the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies is a jaw-dropping experience.</a> With the opportunity to see grizzly bears, moose, caribou and more, combined with the awe-inspiring vistas, your senses will be overwhelmed. What better way than to relax and reflect on everything you’ve experienced than poolside under the star-filled night sky. On the shores of Lac Beauvert, you’re in the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve.<br><br><img alt="Hotel Sahrai" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Hotel Sahrai, Fez, Morocco</b><br> </p> <p>Enjoy <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">majestic views of Fez and the surrounding</a> area while soaking in the infinity pool at Hotel Sahrai on its magical hillside location. Stretch out in the afternoon sun on a daybed atop the teak pool deck. Hungry after a long day exploring the city? Grab a snack and refreshing drink from the poolside Arcades restaurant.<br><br><img alt="La Vista Boutique" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>La Vista Boutique Hotel &amp; Spa, Kusadasi, Turkey</b><br> </p> <p>It’s an endless blue vista from this luxury <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/turkey-tours/" target="_blank">infinity pool perched on the edge of the Aegean Sea</a> at the La Vista Hotel. Pick your lounge chair or sit at one of the many tables below the waterfall edge of the pool — both maximize this spectacular view. Be sure to catch a sunset and watch the cruise ships sail out to sea knowing you’ve got the best seat in the house.<br><br><img alt="Furama Resort" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oxd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Furama Resort Danang, Da Nang City, Vietnam</b><br> </p> <p>You might be mingling with royalty, presidents and movie starts when you stay at Furama Resort Danang, a five-star favorite of the jetsetters. But all of this will fade away as you relax in the huge pool area bedecked with palm trees. The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank">infinity edge overlooks China Beach and out onto the East Vietnam Sea</a>. Even more enticing — check out the swimming lagoon. It’s like taking a swim through the jungle — overgrown with palms and other jungle plants — all with a nice tile blue bottom and clean, refreshing water.</p>

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  • City view of Barcelona, Spain

    Sagrada Familia in Barcelona: The 129-year wait is over

    <p>Whether you love the curvaceous, Art Nouveau architectural style of Antoni Gaudi or just scratch your head over what it all means, no <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank">Barcelona vacation</a> is complete without a visit to the 18-spired Sagrada Familia. Technically it’s the Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family). The shortened name is how just about everyone refers to Barcelona’s one-of-a-kind landmark.</p> <p>But here’s the thing. From the time construction began in 1882, the first five or six generations of visitors were never really able to really see the interior. As the central vault rose to its dizzying height of almost 200 feet, scaffolding buttressed the whole construction project. It was interesting in its way to see this monumental project in progress. But the skyscraper-scale scaffolding just didn’t inspire the kind of awe you generally look for in a basilica or temple. (Sagrada Familia, by the way, is technically a “minor basilica,” not a cathedral. Cathedrals have bishops, and that was never the intention for this place of worship.)</p> <p>But now, for the first time ever, the interior scaffolding is gone. No more chiseling and hammering and clanking. No rigid grid between you and the twisting, branching, eccentrically tree-like pillars. The whole thing came down just in time for a visit by Pope Benedict last November. If you visited prior to that, you will be dumbstruck by the sheer glory and grandeur that you couldn’t see the first time. We know any number of travelers who are building a vacation in Barcelona into an upcoming trip just to see the difference. If you have never made the visit, there has never been a better moment to experience the honest-to-goodness glory and grandeur of Sagrada Familia.<br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank"><img alt="Sagrada Familia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ol&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002tZ2" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>A word of advice: If you plan to visit, check out www.SagradaFamilia.cat first. There are admission charges, and time restrictions, and you’ll have to stand in line for official tour tickets because they cannot be purchased in advance. One good alternative is to join the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank">Barcelona and Costa Brava walking tour</a> that Classic Journeys offers. It includes a privately guided tour of Sagrada Familia – no lines, no out-of-pocket ticket costs, a fantastic guide who’ll take the time to give you a complete look inside and answer questions without rush.</p> <p>On this small-group walking vacation, you’ll also get a complete picture of the Catalan culture beyond the city. The itinerary settles you for 2 nights into at a parador in the town of Vic. (The local guides say the region is like Tuscany, only better. They may be prejudiced, but they may also just be right.) The week includes walks to Santa Pau and Girona, remote medieval villages that are the country’s beautiful anti-Barcelona. Finally, you settle into the luxurious seaside resort at Begur for 3 nights. Walks on coastal paths along the Costa Brava and through olive groves are about as good life can gets. It’s a fantastic way to stretch a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank">Barcelona vacation</a> into a richly memorable cultural experience.</p>

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