Charlevoix | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Woman looking at lake, Canada

    6 Ideas for One-Week Easy GetAways

    <h2>FORGET JET LAG AND TREAT YOURSELF TO AN EXCITING AND VERY MANAGEABLE GETAWAY IN THE U.S. OR CANADA.</h2>   <p>It’s surprisingly easy to fit a fantastic North American vacation into 6 days and 5 nights. Our “one easy week” trips start on Sunday and end the next Friday. In one calendar week, you get the handcrafted Classic Journeys experience—local guides, amazingly scenic walks, and immersion in the region’s culture and history. Though you’re only a time zone or two away from home, you’ll be amazed at how far away you’ll feel.</p> <h4><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank" title="Alaska travel adventures"><b>ALASKA’S KENAI PENINSULA</b></a></h4> <p><b>The secret to exploring Alaska’s best<br><br><img alt="Alaska Exit Glacier" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rva" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br><br>“Alaska in a week?” You say. “Too huge to handle.” Oh, no, it’s not! Check a map for the Kenai Peninsula. (It’s the fat protuberance with the serrated bottom edge, just below Anchorage.) As small as it may look, the peninsula is nearly twice the size of New Jersey—and it’s a stunning microcosm of the 49th state’s legendary natural beauty.<br> </p> <p>Right there on the southern shore, you’ll go walking on Exit Glacier. You’ll cruise spectacular Kenai Fjord. There’s a National Wildlife Refuge where you may spot moose, bear, caribou, and Dall sheep. The peninsula is also the site of Alaska’s richest gold mine, the Iditarod Trail (perfect for a walk), plus salmon fisheries, puffin colonies and Resurrection Bay with its humpback whales and orcas. Wild and empty as it looks from many angles, Kenai is also home to native Aleuts, fishermen, artists, miners and naturalists, and you’ll cross all of their paths.</p> <p>It all requires a fair bit of logistical support—plans for a salmon bake, rafts if you’d like to take on the Kenai River, tram tickets for the ride up Mt. Alyeska, specialized glacier guides, and the like. But Classic Journeys handles it all so the whole week of adventure runs like clockwork.</p> <p><b>START YOUR ADVENTURE</b> at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank" title="Alaska adventure">ClassicJourneys.com/alaska</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank" title="Alaska family travel adventure">ClassicJourneys.com/alaskafamily</a>.</p> <h4><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank" title="Bryce, Zion &amp; Grand Canyon tour">BRYCE, GRAND CANYON &amp; ZION</a></b></h4> <img alt="Bryce Canyon National Park" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rvf" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><b>Three fantastic parks in one easy trip</b></p> <p>For most visitors to these three national parks, gee-whiz geology is the whole story. After all, the Grand Canyon is so nearly bottomless that you can barely see the silver thread of Colorado River down below. Amid the spiky crenellations of Bryce’s hoodoos you feel like you’ve landed on some sci-fi planet. In Zion, a silky smooth slot canyon is only a couple of armspans wide—and a dizzying 2,000 feet to the top.</p> <p>But faster than you can say “inconceivable eons of spectacular erosion,” our brains shift to: How and why did it happen? How must the first humans have reacted? What is it like to live with these wild, 50-shades-of-red rockscapes out your back door? There’s a flesh-and-blood story in this world of stone. The treat of this trip is how deep your local guides go into the region’s culture from mysterious Ancient Puebloans to cowboy musicians to tubing on the Virgin River. You take your time to explore on fantastic walks (vs. an average visitor who spends less than half a day at any one park, according to one researcher). You step away from the crowds with experiences that include a chance to search for pottery shards at a protected archeological site on private property.</p> <p>It’s sort of staggering to realize that these remarkable places are no more than a few hours by air from wherever you live in the continental United States.</p> <p><b>RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW</b> at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank" title="Grand Canyon adventure">ClassicJourneys.com/grandcanyon/</a> or  <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank" title="Grand Canyon adventure">ClassicJourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily</a>.</p> <h4><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank" title="Glacier National Park">MONTANA’S GLACIER PARK</a></b></h4> <img alt="Montana" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rvz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><b>America’s Switzerland in Big Sky Country</b></p> <p>Back in the 1910s, the Great Northern Railway nicknamed Glacier National Park “America’s Switzerland”. Why cross the Atlantic, their argument went, when you can ride our rails to a spanking new park at least as beautiful as the Alps? It’s still a convincing travel idea, especially since you can get to and from Glacier even more quickly, no Pullman reservation required.</p> <p>These days, one easy week is plenty of time to hunt deep-sea fossils high up in the Rockies, train your eye to spot mountain goats and elk, and walk wildflower meadows with a glacier-cooled breeze at your back. Add in a picnic by Avalanche Lake here, a lake steamer ride there, a walk to Twin Falls later, and you have an all-American week you’ll never forget.</p> <p>In fact, Glacier is a great experience in western America’s history and culture. You’ll stay in some of the very timbered lodges the railroad built a century ago to lure travelers. You’ll meet a singer, songwriter and storyteller of the Blackfeet tribe. You’ll take a horseback tour of our friends Don and Nancy’s working ranch, and end the day with a campfire dinner cooked by their ranch hands.</p> <p>Match that, Matterhorn!</p> <p><b>LAUNCH YOUR EXPEDITION</b> at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank" title="Glacier National Park adventure">ClassicJourneys.com/montana</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalparkfamily/" target="_blank" title="Glacier National Park family adventure">ClassicJourneys.com/montanafamily</a>.</p> <h4><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank" title="Nova Scotia vacation">NOVA SCOTIA</a></b></h4> <img alt="Nova Scotia fisherman" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rw4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Explore a land shaped by sea</b> <p><br>At a latitude of 44˚ 39 ̍ N, Nova Scotia perches almost exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Useless bit of trivia? Maybe. But it also symbolizes some broader truths about this intriguing Canadian province.</p> <p>Take its climate, for instance: Nova Scotia is essentially a gorgeous sliver of land surrounded by the Atlantic, which mellows its temperatures to a range ideal for outdoor excursions. We’ll take plenty of these, whether it’s a stroll through historic Port-Royal (founded two years before the Virginia’s Jamestown settlement) or woodland hikes in lush Kejimkujik National Park. The ocean’s calming influence extends to the Nova Scotian people, among the friendliest anywhere. You’ll meet plenty of them, including local craftsmen and a top-rated chef who teaches you how to cook lobsters.</p> <p>Nova Scotia’s tendencies toward moderation don’t mean you’ll forgo the dramatic, however—rather you’ll find each extreme tempered by the other. The Bay of Fundy—home to the planet’s biggest tidal shift (up to a four-story difference) and 15 species of whales—gives way to the agrarian Annapolis Valley with its peaceful vineyards and 1,000-plus apple orchards. A flood of cultures and histories intersect in Nova Scotia as well, which for you means diverse experiences—perhaps boarding a classic sailing ship one day and touching 5,000-year-old petroglyphs the next. This blend of cultural treasures and natural riches make this vacation a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure—and one of our family’s all-time favorite tours.</p> <p><b>FIND YOUR IDEAL TOUR DATE</b> at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank" title="Nova Scotia vacation">Classicjourneys.com/novascotia</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotiafamily/" target="_blank" title="Nova Scotia family vacation">Classicjourneys.com/novascotiafamily</a>.</p> <h4><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank" title="Canadian Rockies adventure">CANADIAN ROCKIES</a></b></h4> <img alt="Canadian Rockies" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rw9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><b>Discover beauty above ground and below</b></p> <p>You expect to see jagged, sky-piercing peaks and enchantingly blue glacial lakes while vacationing in the Canadian Rockies. And you won’t be disappointed. But you might be surprised to learn that what first attracted droves of visitors to this area isn’t above ground at all, but the sulfur hot springs that bubbled up from below it—discovered by three railway workers in 1883.</p> <p>Our tour kicks off at the site of this discovery, with a descent into the cave that houses the thermal waters. From there, the journey continues to the iconic Lake Louise, where the first non-native to set eyes on it had a common reaction to this uncommon backdrop: “I never, in all my explorations…saw such a matchless scene…. I felt puny in body, but glorified in spirit and soul.”</p> <p>That sentiment tarries as you trek through Yoho (a Cree word meaning “wow”) and Jasper national parks, likely catching sight of moose, bear and bighorn sheep along the way. It settles deeper as you dine on delectable local specialties in vintage railway cars or, with the Family Journey, raft down the Athabasca River. And it takes root as you cruise on super-scenic Maligne Lake and trek with a knowledgeable local guide across the sprawling Athabasca Glacier, which scientists speculate could disappear within just a generation or two. Here, you’re bound to reflect on the extremes that bookend this tour—the broiling springs on one end, frozen expanses on the other—and conclude you have a novel’s worth of memories.</p> <p><b>GET STARTED</b> at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank" title="Canadian Rockies adventure">Classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockiesfamily/" target="_blank" title="Canadian Rockies family adventure">Classicjourneys.com/canadianrockiesfamily</a>.</p> <h4><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank" title="Quebec vacation"><b>QUÉBEC and CHARLEVOIX</b></a></h4> <img alt="Montmorency Falls" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mV&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rwE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><b>Experience European culture close to home</b></p> <p>In some places, history fades silently into the past, kept alive only in isolated museums or dwindling memories. In others, it stays present, carried along from one generation to the next, infusing the culture and molding its course. After mere moments in Québec City, it’s clear that history is alive here. Founded by French explorers more than 400 years ago, this riverside burg is North America’s only walled city. Perhaps the walls help contain the enticing French and British cultural tones that have flourished through the centuries, making it one of the only places on the continent where you could be fooled into thinking you’d crossed the pond.</p> <p>Our tour starts upon cobblestone streets, in cafés and among centuries-old buildings that make it obvious why UNESCO recognizes it as a World Heritage City. In fact, its historical and cultural charms are so engrossing that some travelers miss the area’s natural attractions: 274-foot Montmorency Falls (one-and-a-half times higher than Niagara), an enormous crater that houses seaside villages (including one that birthed Cirque de Soleil), a national park featuring the highest mountains east of the Rockies, and Tadoussac—one of the globe’s best whale-watching destinations.</p> <p>Many of these sites are in the Charlevoix region, which starts just a bit northeast of Québec City. Here, we drift seamlessly from countryside walks along meandering rivers to a visit with our cheesemaker friends at a local farm (where you can, of course, sample their creations) and then on to tours of art galleries or historic homes. This blend of natural and refined, of past and present, can shift your perspective in a welcome way that lingers long after the journey has come to an end.</p> <p><b>BOOK YOUR TOUR TODAY</b> at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank" title="Quebec vacation">ClassicJourneys.com/quebec</a>.</p>

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  • Matera UNESCO World Heritage Site

    6 Must-See UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    At this moment, there are 1073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, spanning 167 countries across the globe. Though it may be near impossible to visit all of them, no one would fault you for trying. At Classic Journeys, you’ll find that many of our itineraries are packed with some of the world’s most spectacular destinations. Here are six must-see UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all of which you can visit on their respective Classic Journeys trip.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank"><b>DUBROVNIK</b></a><br>This <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank">sea-facing walled city</a> is nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” It’s ringed by tree-lined hills and turquoise water, and marked by red-tile roof buildings dotted with Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches. Dubrovnik was a key port throughout history, but particularly during the 13th century, when the many conquests waged from within its walls cemented its historical importance. 1667 saw the city badly damaged during an earthquake, and tragedy struck again during the region’s civil war during the 1990s.Dubrovnik today is thriving, largely restored (thanks to coordination efforts by UNESCO itself), and absolutely beautiful. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Dubrovnik Panorama Shot" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zd3c&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9Db" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-cienfuegos-trinidad-havana/" target="_blank"><b>CIENFUEGOS</b></a><br>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-cienfuegos-trinidad-havana/" target="_blank">Cuban city of Cienfuegos</a> was founded in 1819 in what was then Spanish territory. However, it was later settled by immigrants from France, giving Cienfuegos a distinct flair different from other cities on the island. Throughout history, it was known as a trading post for coffee, tobacco, and sugarcane. Its architecture developed alongside its industry, resulting in neoclassical and other styles of buildings that reflected modern attitudes, and advancements in city planning.<br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-cienfuegos-trinidad-havana/" target="_blank"><img alt="Cuba - 3 men in Cienfuegos" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zd3c&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9Dg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank"><b>CHARLEVOIX</b></a><br>Quebec City’s old quarter is not just a step back in time--it’s a step onto another continent. Long hailed as <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Canada’s capital of French culture</a>, Quebec is known for its 17th and 18th-century stone buildings and streets, quaint cafés and culinary delights. The old city, within its ramparts, is also considered one of the best-preserved fortified cities in North America. While on a Classic Journeys tour, you will experience all that the old city has to offer.<br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank"><img alt="Quebec - downtown scene at night" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zd3c&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9Dl" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puglia/" target="_blank"><b>MATERA</b></a><br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puglia/" target="_blank">Apulia tour</a> brings guests to Matera, an ancient city that spans the length of a canyon. First occupied during the Paleolithic period, this former troglodytic settlement is comprised of completely intact dwellings, shops, workshops and cave churches. We’ll explore all of the fascinating nooks and crannies in the company of our local guides, who will explain the evolution of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puglia/" target="_blank">Matera </a>throughout history.<br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/puglia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Province of Matera, Italy at sunset" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zd3c&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9Dq" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><b>KYOTO</b></a><br>Originally built in A.D. 794, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Kyoto</a> is considered the cultural capital of Japan... and for good reason. The city houses 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Nijo Temple and the Golden Pavilion. We also tour other sites, including an array of traditional Japanese gardens, and experience the art of a tea ceremony before checking out the source at a working tea farm. Imperial Japan is on full display in this city known for sensory overload, and that is precisely the reason our culture + walking tour spends half the trip in this city alone. <br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Traditional dressed Japanese walk down street in Kyoto" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zd3c&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9Dv" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><b>NÆRØYFJORD</b></a><br>Considered one of the deepest and longest fjords in the world, the West Norwegian fjords of Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are visited on our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank">Norway tour</a> after a ride on the famed Flam Railway. These monolithic waterways offer some of the most dramatic views known to man. These views include narrow inlets flanked by massive cliffs, lush forests, waterfalls, and free-flowing rivers with biodiversity teeming both above and below the water’s surface.<br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Norway-Yacht in fjord" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zd3c&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9E0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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  • Chateau Frontenac, Quebec, Canada

    Québec: Echoes of France in North America

    The aroma of baking baguettes pulls you nose-first down a cobbled street to a boulangerie. That green-gabled Norman manor house on the bluff? It’s your hotel. The woman smiling out at you through her window box crowded with geraniums is someone’s grand-maman. Ah, to be in <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada/" target="_blank">Canada</a></u>.<br><br><img alt="Quebec Street" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zlPe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM5000000036bz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>More than anywhere else in <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/northamerica/" target="_blank">North America</a></u>, the province of <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec </a></u>qualifies as a country-within-a-country. French language laws are strictly enforced. Food and culture are inflected with a Gallic style that’s held strong since Champlain pushed up the St. Lawrence River in 1608. This is France without the jet lag, and vive la différence.<br><br><img alt="Quebec City " src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zlPe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM5000000036bf" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>You get full and instant immersion in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec City</a>. The French colonial buildings that dominate the skyline and twisty lanes might have been lifted straight from a village in the Dordogne Valley. On Île d&#39;Orléans you walk between centuries (and empires) from old French settlements to Regency-style English villas with spectacular gardens. As <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">your local guide</a> introduces you to friends and tradesmen, it’s hard not to be impressed by the cultural feistiness of Québec. You won’t have a bit of trouble finding someone to argue that their distinctive variation on the French language is more authentic than anything you hear in Paris.<br> <img alt="Quebec UNESCO site" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zlPe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM5000000036cY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>But that’s the mere tip of a huge iceberg. The province of Québec is just a few square miles smaller than Alaska. You get a real taste for that vastness as you head east into the area known as <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Charlevoix </a>where the contrasts between cultivated village life and authentic wilderness couldn’t be more striking. This is territory where you can track a rare herd of caribou and spot peregrine falcons floating over the highest mountains east of the Rockies – and then settle into Manoir Richelieu, a castle-style hotel, all on the same day. That grand hotel just happens to perch over the St. Lawrence--where the whale watching is excellent--and the Saguenay Fjord. (And if that has you feeling like you beamed over to Norway, is that such a bad bonus?)<br> <img alt="Quebec Whale Watching" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zlPe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM5000000036cd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>We’re big fans of the towns that dot this intensely rural region. Just outside St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, you’ll visit our friends Maurice and Francie on their farm where they raise cows and sheep and offer you a taste of their artisanal cheeses. You’ll also love it for Le Germain Hotel, a country retreat with a modern twist and, of course, it’s own patisserie. The arty village of Baie-St-Paul is the birthplace of the Cirque du Soleil and home to a naturalist-friend who loves to show off the sandy beach on the shores of the St. Lawrence. La Malbaie has been a resort town for the wealthy since the late 19th century, and that atmosphere is as alive today as ever.<br><br><img alt="Shores of St. Lawrence Canada" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zlPe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM5000000036bu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br><br>That deep Quebecois link between the European past and the outdoorsy <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/northamerica/" target="_blank">North American</a> spirit makes for a distinctive vacation. So much the better that all of that continental flair is waiting for you right here on the continent you call home.<br><br><img alt="Malbaie River - Quebec" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001zlPe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM5000000036bp" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img>

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