• Fall in the Italian Countryside

    7 Best Fall Vacations

    With the end of summer on the horizon, don’t get discouraged by the chill in the air as the autumn season rolls in. It’s easy to hunker down in the fall and prepare for the winter season ahead. Instead, put off dragging your sweaters out of storage and opt-in for a fall vacation! Autumn travel offers pleasant weather and the joys of shoulder season with lower prices and far fewer crowds. Here are the destinations on the top of our list to visit this fall:<br><br><b>The Canadian Rockies</b><br><br>Experience the solitude of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">Canadian Rockies</a> away from the crowds and bask in the glory that is the autumn color painted throughout Lake Louise, the Sunwapta River, and Mount Victoria. The Canadian Rockies is teeming with wildlife—whether it be moose, elk, bears, or bighorn sheep—experience the exceptional flora and fauna through the lens of local guides and view the spectacular wildlife at the peak of their activity. Some say that hiking the spectacular gorges, marveling at the rushing waterfalls, and enjoying the snow-capped peaks is even more breathtaking in the dim fall light.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUvZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>France</b><br><br>In reality, there is no wrong time to explore <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy</a>, Burgundy or the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">City of Light</a>, But we think the fall just may be France&#39;s best season. Bask in the joys of Paris as the city&#39;s parks turn to hues of orange, yellow, and bright red. Admire the Jardin de Luxembourg and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Palace of Versailles</a> resembling the color and brilliance of an Impressionist painting, giving Claude Monet a run for his money. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank">Burgundy</a> is the perfect blend of classic French villages and rolling terrain with a patchwork of forests and harvesting vineyards that are utter perfection in the fall. Finally, enjoy the classic Norman picture-book villages, the stunning<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"> Mont-St-Michel</a>, and Normandy&#39;s massive apple orchards that thrive at this time of the year. There is no better time to explore France than August through November!  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Greek Isles </b><br><br>Autumn in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greece</a> is heavenly—with balmy weather, warm water, and harvests of olives and grapes—you’re guaranteed a lovely time without the often-overwhelming crowds of summertime travel. Explore the remarkable ruins of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Knossos and Delos</a>, sample the fruits of cliff-hugging vineyards, and take in the iconic views from your hotel in Santorini all complete with a warm autumn glow that accentuates the charm of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greek isles</a>. Shoulder season gives you a chance to intimately engage with the local culture and meet the phyllo bakers, olive growers, archeologists, and villagers who live amid some of the loveliest scenery and finest historical treasures on earth. <br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUve" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Italy </b><br><br>In the fall, Italy presents the opportunity to enjoy the colorful countrysides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany</a>, relish in the local markets spilling over with fresh produce in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a>, and take advantage of the pleasant weather in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Sardinia &amp; Corsica</a>. Skip the usual cathedral-and-cappuccino circuit in the crowds and heat of the summer and visit Italy in the autumn to properly savor the local culture, cuisine, and charisma. September through October is the typical time for the grape harvest in the wine region and towns in Tuscany celebrate the production of wine with festivals galore! Partake in the joys of the harvest season and celebrate with a glass of wine form a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">local winery</a>!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUp7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion </b><br><br>Even as adults we play the pioneer game every time we visit this monumental trio of national parks. Imagine cresting the hills in your Conestoga wagon to behold the sights and breathtaking views <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, the Grand Canyon, and Zion</a> have to offer. Deep canyons, brilliant red rock, bridges of stone, and boulders poised on slender spires amaze visitors year-round. However, the fall provides visitors with pleasant weather, far fewer crowds, great chances to spot wildlife, and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">colorful leaves that sprinkle Zion’s canyon floors</a> and winding trails in late September and early October.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Charleston &amp; Savannah</b><br><br>The coastal south is brimming with a distinctive meld of history, way of life, and charm that is all the more enjoyable as the autumn season graces <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston and Savannah</a> with clear blue skies, sunshine, and nice cool breezes. There&#39;s no other region in America with such a distinctive meld of history, climate, and way of life! Walk through moss-draped lanes, admire the fine restorations of prosperous homes, visit some of the country’s most unique <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">living history museums</a>, and stroll the old city streets under the shade of curvaceous oak trees.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Galápagos</b><br><br>Autumn in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a> is a special time in the archipelago. In September, the Antarctic Humboldt current is strong—bringing hoards of wildlife to the scene. Escape the fall weather at home and get the chance to admire penguins, sea lions, and marine birds at the peak of their activity! The beginning of fall is also a prime opportunity to see <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">humpback whales and their calves migrating</a>, fur seals mating, dolphins playing in the cool water, and giant tortoises laying eggs on the white sandy beaches.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Autumn is just around the corner and it truly is the perfect time to explore some of our favorite destinations. If you can, skip the crowds and the heat of summer and pack your bags to revel in the joys of shoulder season! Check out some of Classic Journeys&#39; fall trips <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/none/October/none/none/" target="_blank">here</a>!<br><br> 

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  • The Bucket-List Dreams Are Made Of: Galápagos and Machu Picchu

    <span><span><span><span style="color: black;">If Charles Darwin and Hiram Bingham had ever planned a vacation together, it would have been one crazy wonderful experience. Out on the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos Islands</a>, Darwin would have taken his travel companion on a stroll through crowds of 100-year-old land tortoises as blue-footed boobies slapped out a mating dance in the background. Not to be outdone, Bingham would have led the biologist through the Andean rainforest, past llamas grazing in high meadows to an outlook above the lost Incan city of his discovery.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy0S&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXpi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span></span><br><br><span><span><span><span style="color: black;">Almost a century separated the two explorers, but their hypothetical adventure is now as real as can be on an exciting <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-machu-picchu-tours/" target="_blank">new itinerary</a> handcrafted by Classic Journeys. You get two of our most-requested <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-machu-picchu-tours/" target="_blank">bucket-list destinations</a> in a seamless nine-day exploration full of rich experiences and mind-bending contrasts.</span></span></span></span><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy0S&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXpO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><span><span><span><span style="color: black;">Your high points begin at sea level on the Galápagos leg of this Classic Journey that AFAR Magazine has named<a href="https://www.afar.com/magazine/travelers-choice-awards-2018-the-top-trips-for-every-traveler" target="_blank"> “The Best Wildlife Encounter in the World.”</a> That’s no exaggeration! Our local naturalist-guides take you eye-to-eye with the Big Five: giant land tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, penguins and marine iguanas, not to mention other creatures found nowhere else on earth. The happy shock is how up-close-and-personal you are. Imagine playing sea-kayak tag with playful sea lions and walking so near to those land tortoises that you can hear their Darth Vader-ish breathing.</span></span></span></span><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy0S&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXpT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><span><span><span><span style="color: black;">While cruise-ship visitors cram back into their off-shore cabins for the night, you stay on land in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/search/Hotels" target="_blank">waterfront boutique hotels</a>. And that means that you’re always in the right place at the right time, whether it’s to go snorkeling side-by-side with sea turtles or for a stroll in a lazy beach town. What an amazing privilege it is to spend such immersive days in this natural laboratory that time forgot.</span></span></span></span><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy0S&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXpY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><span><span><span><span style="color: black;">Time played a completely different kind of trick to make <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> a place guaranteed to give you a shiver of wonder. From the Sun Gate, you look down at the ruins of the epic citadel, ringed by sharp peaks. It’s a view you’ve seen a thousand times in photos, but nothing compares to being there. The Incas could never have imagined that this grand act of civilization would evaporate from memory. As you learn from your expert local guide, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> is about myth, and the fragile power of civilization, and unimaginable human ingenuity. Unlike most visitors, your time here stretches across two days, offering the rare opportunity to wander on your own, too, and to absorb the miracle of this place you’ve longed to see. As your time unfolds in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/peru/" target="_blank">Peru</a>, you see that even if <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> is the most iconic site, there’s plenty more awe to go around, whether you are meeting the Incas’ descendants in the market of a Quechua mountain village or wandering the cobbled streets of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Cusco</a>.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy0S&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXpd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Bingham and Darwin could only envy the ease of this trip, minus the sailing ships and trains of pack animals slogging up the Andes. Our team has finessed the logistics on decades of trips to the Galápagos and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Peru</a>. Whether you’re flying to the islands or settling into the scenic train through the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Sacred Valley to  Machu Picchu</a>, the experience is seamlessly smooth. Your local guides lead a terrific variety of curated activities that include everything from a coffee-tasting at a family-owned plantation on Santa Cruz Island to meetings with school children and llama herders in Peru. At every stop, you settle comfortably into award-winning hotels and learn that local cuisine is worth the visit, too!</span></span></span></span><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-machu-picchu-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy0S&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zXpn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><span><span><span><span style="color: black;">You’ve returned from plenty of vacations with bragworthy experiences that were the envy of your friends. But this one beats every one of them. While other travelers toss a coin to decide whether to do <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-islands-machu-picchu-tours/" target="_blank">the Galápagos or Machu Picchu</a>, you have it all on the bucket-list trip that lets you live two of your biggest travel dreams on one amazing adventure.</span></span></span></span>

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  • Man with Sea Lion in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador with AFAR logo

    Galápagos: The Best Wildlife Encounter

    On March 3, 2019, we&#39;ll be celebrating World Wildlife Day! And there&#39;s no better place to experience wildlife than in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">The Galápagos Islands</a>.<br><br>When you go nature-watching with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>, nature watches right back. And you might as well accept right now that you will be powerless to resist the head-on, whisker-twitching stare of a baby sea lion. You and your sea kayak are reflected in those giant dark eyes. You’re on her turf — or should we say surf? — and she could slip under the surface and zip away in a flash. But your <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">naturalist guide</a> will let you know that the pup and the rest of her extended family are actually happy to hang out with you. That’s what makes this the best wildlife encounter. Ever.<br><br>In many parts of the world, the creatures that attract nature-lovers are simply too rare or skittish or well-camouflaged or nocturnal to assure you a slam-dunk viewing experience. Not so in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>. The blue-footed boobies and giant land tortoises and penguins you came to see are eminently see-able if you’re in the right spots with the right people. When you’re with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a>, you can relax, knowing that you will get the bucket-list wildlife interactions you came for. That’s what earned us the recognition from<a href="https://www.afar.com/magazine/travelers-choice-awards-2018-the-top-trips-for-every-traveler" target="_blank"> AFAR Magazine</a>.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SE7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BVc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>When Darwin first arrived on the Beagle, that was the only way to see the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a>. Today, most tourists still arrive on cruise ships. They head to shore on their Zodiacs (twice a day) and back to the confines of the boat (twice a day). That barely gives them a total of four hours of exploration time each day. By contrast, your island-based group will settle into <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">luxury boutique hotels</a> on the islands. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">On a Classic Journey</a>, you get more elbow room and more chances to spot wildlife all day long ... in fact, 24 hours a day!<br><br>Even better, you’ll be in the full-time company of amazingly knowledgeable and fun<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank"> local</a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank"> guides</a> who are highly trained and licensed naturalists.  This is their natural habitat, too, and they know the coves and lava tunnels and volcanic slopes where the iguanas and flamingos roam. In a  small, mobile group it’s easier to get to more remote, less-visited sites that the cruise ship flotilla can’t reach. For example, cruisers default to a conveniently located wildlife center to cluster around giant land tortoises. You, on the other hand,  get to go to the highland watering hole where the 500-pound beasts live,  and you’ll get close enough to hear them breathe and chomp on grass.  The face you capture in a ground-level photo could be 150 years old.  That’s history looking back at you, and it’s truly a humbling moment. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SE7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BVX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Getting to these encounters is half the fun. (By the way, any and all gear that you need is supplied by us at no extra cost to you.) One day, you’ll climb into a flat-bottomed fishing boat called a panga to explore a cluster of small islets where Galápagos penguins live. The birds are unafraid and even curious. If you like, grab a mask and snorkel to go swimming with them in the super clear water. Of course, they will out-maneuver you,  and you will have the time of your life being in the middle of it all. Another morning, you’ll make the acquaintance of those sea lions. But at the same time, the waters also draw stingrays, green sea turtles, a kaleidoscope of reef fish and marine iguanas. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to look first because the abundance is unlike anything you’ve ever seen out in the wild. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SE7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012CBT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Like us, you may have ridden Land Rovers in search of a leopard. There’s a good chance you’ve tiptoed through cloud forests to catch a quick glimpse of a resplendent quetzal. In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska</a>, you might have even spotted a mile-away grizzly bear through binoculars. But nowhere you’ve been can match the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos </a>for the sheer magnetic excitement of encountering all the wildlife you hoped to see... up close and very, very personally.

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