• 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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  • View of a Cottage and Garden in France

    The 100,000-Year Vacation in France's Dordogne Valley

    <h2>From cave painters to cassoulet in southwest France.</h2>   <p>“It’s old, yes,” conceded Bart. “But only 27,000 years old. Not as old as some.” In fact, the cave etching we were facing, deep inside a hill in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank" title="walking tours in France">France’s Dordogne Valley</a>, really didn’t look so ancient. In a region where signs of human life stretch back 400,000 years, the bison sketched in the cave’s eternal darkness was startlingly fresh.</p> <p>Yet, by comparison, the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is brand spanking new. The Greeks didn’t even start to build Ephesus until a good 26 millennia after our cave artist laid down his tools.</p> <p>The chance to step through the time warp of all time warps wasn’t why I decided on  <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank" title="travel packages in France">a vacation in southwestern France</a>. But it’s why I’m most happy that I went. That week tested and twisted my sense of history in ways I never anticipated, and I have Bart to thank. He’s been the local Classic Journeys guide in Bordeaux and the Dordogne Valley for more than 15 years. The man seems to know everything and everybody. But his true specialty is orchestrating a deep dive into the human past.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank" title="Bordeaux and the Dordogne Valley">LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CUSTOM TRAVEL PACKAGES TO FRANCE.</a><br><br>Bart really knows how to put the “pre” into prehistory. “But to keep it from being too overwhelming,” he deadpanned, “I’ll only focus on the last 100,000 years.” He pulled some strings to make it happen, negotiating that rare walk into a non-public cave. It was a cave-cave, the kind of granite burrow where a farmer stored his apple harvest in the cool air. There were no soaring caverns or floodlit stalactites, and we walked the whole way upright – no spelunking, thank you. At the end, we doused the flashlights, and Bart lit a candle to reveal that bison. He wanted us to be able to imagine crouching there in the candle’s flickering halo like the artist who may have “painted” the image by blowing on powdered pigment through a hollow bone.<br><br><img alt="Caves" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mR&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002ons" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Of course, most of the history is much closer to the surface. Bart introduced us to a friend who has one of the world’s largest collections of Stone Age relics, the kind of tools a gardener can hoe up in her artichoke patch. We went to La Roque Saint-Christophe, the troglodytic site where cave dwellers first carved shelters in the limestone wall tens of thousands of years ago. Fast-forward to the Middle Ages, and people still occupied those niches.</p> <p>And around here, you couldn’t ignore the Hundred Years’ War (which ended a mere 560 years ago) if you wanted to. As we took some <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank" title="cultural walking tours in France">beautiful walks in the Dordogne and Vezere River valleys</a>, there was almost always a chateau or castle on the high horizon. Scenic to us, but purely strategic to the French and English armies who we imagined waiting for us there to come within bow-and-arrow range.<br><br><img alt="Chateau de Fayrac" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mR&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002onx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p>To be honest, I selected this region of France because they hunt truffles here. (We did, too.) An average dinner is a crusty crock of cassoulet. (I snagged the duck sausage.) And how can you argue with a medieval village like nearby St. Emilion where the specialties are cream-filled meringue cookies and Bordeaux wines. (Salut!) In my book, any travel experience with all of that is an automatic success.</p> <p>But if you’re like me, when you’re settled back in at home after a vacation, you surprise yourself with the things you remember best. I returned from this week with a real (and humbling) feel for where we fit on the human timeline. I’ll always be grateful to southwest France and Bart for giving me 100,000 years of memories.</p>

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  • Stonehenge at sunrise

    March Madness: John Wooden inspires travels at Classic Journeys

    <p>Last year, I watched the NCAA men’s basketball championship game with fellow Classic Journeys’ guests at an <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panamafamily/" target="_blank">award-winning country inn on the slopes of the Baru Volcano in Panama</a>.<br><br><img alt="Paramonte Inn &amp; Spa" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sqR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Many sports fans consider March the best time of the year, as we have three weeks of heart-stopping, jaw-dropping, and stomach-turning action. And this season has been no different, as we enter the first Final Four since 1979 with no number 1 or 2 seeds remaining. It makes for great theater.<br><br>Last week, I heard a quote by John Wooden, the famed UCLA coach who won 10 NCAA titles in a 12 year span and seven in a row. He said, “Don’t confuse activity with achievement.”<br><br>Since my basketball career ended in high school, cut short by an inconsistent midrange jumper, I immediately viewed the quote through the lens of experiential travel. That’s taken me much farther and far afield than my basketball skills.<br><br>So how does Coach Wooden’s warning fit into Classic Journeys’ approach to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/walkingtours/" target="_blank">cultural walking adventure tours</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/culinary/" target="_blank">culinary tours</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/family/" target="_blank">family vacations</a>?<br><br>Consider your options when you decide to travel to one of the 68 regions in 31 countries on 5 continents where Classic Journeys operates a tour. You can choose to explore on your own figuring out all of the details (what the industry calls FIT), on a cruise, on a motorcoach tour (from low end to high end), or join one of our adventure travel tours.<br><br>On any of the options, you’ll get plenty of activity. On your own, you’ll be the planner, the driver, and the guide (reading from your guide book). On a cruise, you’ll get shore excursions where you can see Tuscany in four hours before your tender picks you up at the port of Livorno to take you back to the ship with brief memories of the David and San Gimignano. On a motorcoach tour, you’ll see plenty of countryside through the window of the vehicle as you whisk from one region/country/city/site to another while local “step on” guides join you briefly to share their packaged delivery of information.</p> <p><br>On Classic Journeys best-selling Bordeaux tour, guests wander castle-studded river valleys, go truffle-hunting and see ancient cave paintings.<br><br><img alt="Chateau de Fayrac" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sqW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>On a Classic Journeys’ adventure travel tour, you’ll get something different: a complete immersion into the history and culture of a region, with expert local guides who are with you 24/7. These guides include our friend Bart who has been leading our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">tours of Bordeaux &amp; the Dordogne Valley</a> since 2001. He’s probably the most knowledgeable person in southwestern France on its 27,000 years of history. (Famous author Michael Crichton hired him for three months when he was researching his book <i>Timeline</i>.) And because Bart makes his home there year round, he’s also the most-well connected. Want to meet France’s foremost truffle expert? He’s Bart’s friend. And yours too because you are with Bart. So we spend a morning with Eduard learning the art of truffle hunting.</p> On our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Cotswolds tours</a>, achievement trumps activity again as we make your visit to Stonehenge significantly less stressful and more impactful. How? By making special arrangements with the British government to explore the site at sunrise <i>before</i> it’s open to the public. So you wander the stones with just your fellow Classic Journeys’ guests and guide, Wendy. Sit with your back to the stones as you enjoy a picnic breakfast. Then escape before the madding crowds arrive.<br><br>Whether you’re <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/solo/" target="_blank">traveling solo</a> or with your kids, with a significant other or a group of friends, Coach Wooden’s advice is still as applicable today as it was in the middle of his title run in the 1970s. I like to think that he’d choose the Classic Journeys approach to travel, where our guides seemingly work magic daily for our guests. After all, he was the Wizard of Westwood.<br><br>If you’d like to challenge us to find the best way for you to get the most achievement from your vacation time, drop us a line at <a href="mailto:blog@classicjourneys.com" target="_blank">blog@classicjourneys.com</a> or call one of our Guest Services Coordinators at 800-200-3887.

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