• Spain Hero

    5 Best Overseas Adventures: Southern Europe

    Picking an overseas travel adventure can prove to be quite a challenge... especially if you&#39;re looking to explore Southern Europe. There are so many wonderful locations to choose from! So, to make things easier for you, we&#39;ve rounded up our top five <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/europe/" target="_blank">Southern European destinations</a>. Yet, no matter where you choose—whether it be the lavender fields of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank">Provence</a>, the vineyards of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany</a>, or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank">Croatia&#39;s </a>cinematic Dalmatian Coast—you&#39;re guaranteed to have a trip of a lifetime with Classic Journeys.<br><br><b>TOP 5 TRIPS IN SOUTHERN  EUROPE:</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehpt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r3I" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank"><b>SPAIN</b></a><br>Passionate flamenco vs. the cooling splash of the Alhambra’s pools. The gleaming simplicity of white-washed mountain villages vs. the gaudy Gaudî masterpieces of Barcelona. Vast plains studded with gnarled olive trees vs. the soft, decadent beaches of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelona/" target="_blank"><u>Costa Brava</u></a>. Spain is an intense and exciting land full of contrast. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/southernspain/" target="_blank"><u>Culture + Walking</u></a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/barcelonafamily/" target="_blank"><u>Family</u></a> adventures introduce you to the people of Spain and immerse you in their diverse lives. From the intricacy of Moorish palaces to stylish cosmopolitan promenades, you’ll get an unforgettable look at a country where a thousand years of fierce history and easy-going 21st style blend perfectly in culture, architecture and truly remarkable food.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/france/" target="_blank"><img alt="France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehpt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r3N" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/france/" target="_blank"><b>FRANCE</b></a><br>The seductive power of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/france/" target="_blank">France </a>is irresistible. You can try to wave off the lunchtime splash of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">Bordeaux</a>, but the glass always seems to find your lips. When a maman leans out her window on folded arms and cocks her head in that come-here-and-tell-me-who-you-are way, what can you say but, “Of course.” If a breeze heavy with lavender tugs at your senses, it’s almost impossible not to give in. Our Culture + Walking, Culinary and Family trips go happily with the French flow, whether we’re on a lazy low-tide walk at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Mont-Saint-Michel</a> or catching the rays on the ramparts of a clifftop castle overlooking the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">Dordogne River</a>. The cuisine is remarkable, the hotels are magnifique... and with your local guide, you’ll slip easily into la vie française.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank"><img alt="Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehpt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r3S" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank"><b>ITALY</b></a><br>Visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank">Italy </a>every year forever, and you’d never have to repeat yourself. Each region—sometimes it seems like each village—is its own unique and totally irresistible destination. From the alpine breezes that cool the villas on Lake Como to sun-warmed <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sicily/" target="_blank">Sicily</a></u>, the culture, climate and terrain couldn’t be more different. For something more rustic and off-the-beaten-path, head for <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank">Apulia</a></u> in the heel of Italy’s boot. For the flip side of Italian sophistication, our Family trip to <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Venice, Florence and Rome</a></u> is a wonderful introduction to the best of the best. Or hobnob with rural shepherds—and the yacht set—on a visit to <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Sardinia</a></u> that also includes the nearby French island of Corsica. Your options also include our best-selling trips to <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany</a></u> and the <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a></u>.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="Portugal" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehpt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r3X" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><b>PORTUGAL</b></a><br>This is how it feels to be royalty. Funded by centuries of discovery and empire, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal </a>has more regal grandeur than any other country we know. Of course, the great cities of Lisbon and Porto are rich with imperial landmarks. Our hotels here are distinctive and very gracious. But Portugal also has more hours of sunshine a year than any other European country, perfect for exploring. So we taste the country’s treasured port wines on walks in the mountainous vineyards where they’re born. On a glorious coastal trail, you’ll face the churning surf that Henry the Navigator conquered to explore Africa and the New World. And we’ll come face to face with the Portuguese people from salt-panners to winemakers. When you join Classic Journeys on a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal walking tour</a>, you’ll get a true feel for the unique tempo and personality of this kingdom by the sea.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Croatia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ehpt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015r3c" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank"><b>CROATIA</b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia-tours/" target="_blank">Croatia </a>is the country where we would live if we could live anywhere. Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe Dalmatia’s Adriatic coastline or Istrian vineyards that Napa should envy. Think cinematic Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing on “Game of Thrones”), Rovinj perched on the tip of a peninsula, and harbor-side Hvar. This is a country where you can do an artisanal olive-oil tasting lesson, take a country walk a million miles from anywhere, and rest up afterward at your 5-star hotel by the sea, all in the same day. The Croatians are warm hosts and—from vintners to truffle hunters—just about the most engaging people ever.

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  • Amalfi - Positano

    Capri and the Amalfi Coast: A Love Story

    <p>Back when I was a guide, I always started my tours with the same speech. “At the heart of every travel story,” I would tell my guests, “is a love story. Maybe you fall in love with a country’s food. Maybe you fall for that country’s music, or its art. Maybe it’s a place, a small café or a bakery or a boutique. Maybe it’s the people. Maybe it’s even the person you’re traveling with. The story you tell your friends and family about your trip will be that love story.” I spent seven years guiding tours around <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/europe/" target="_blank">Europe</a>, and as both a veteran guide and a frequent Italy traveler I can safely say that nowhere is this more true than when you’re experiencing <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Italy’s stunning Amalfi coast</a>. Love is certainly woven into the region; it’s said that it was named after a nymph who was romanced by the legendary hero Hercules. It seemed like the perfect place to take my husband; we had gotten married the previous spring. I’ve been all over Italy, and the Amalfi region holds a special place in my heart; this would be Jason’s first time there, and we were both excited to have our first Classic Journeys adventure together.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank"><img alt="Kelli and Jason on the Amalfi Coast" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiLa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rdu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></p> <p>During the drive up to the rim of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Mount Vesuvius</a>, the most infamous volcano in human history, my husband Jason had a huge grin on his face. “It’s not going to erupt, is it?” Our guide Sergio, who’s no doubt heard this question hundreds of times over his guiding career, paused. “Probably not.” Another pause, and then a laugh from Sergio. Still, there’s a gravitas to Mount Vesuvius, destroyer of Pompeii, and its power is almost tangible beneath your feet. Jason devours history books; he’d told me that this was the part of the trip he was the most excited about, and reiterated that as we were getting ready for the walk to the summit that morning. The guide in me wanted to advise him that our jaunt to Vesuvius was just Day One of our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys Amalfi coast </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">trip</a>, and that he should pace himself, because as awesome as Vesuvius is, all sorts of wonderful things lay ahead. This was his first trip to Italy, so I decided to not give him any advice, and to let everything be a surprise.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank"><img alt="Pompeii" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiLa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015re4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></p> <p>The trip to the island of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Capri </a>almost made me regret that decision. There’s nothing quite like zipping across the placid Mediterranean in a high-speed hydrofoil; the <i>alsicafo </i>provides a very smooth and very fast ride across the Gulf of Naples, and my husband would have been very happy riding around in it all day. Once we got to the island, he didn’t need any convincing to stay. Capri has been called the world’s most beautiful island, and this isn’t Italian pride talking: with its warm blue waters, stunning peaks, and vibrant villages, it’s unlike any other island we’d ever been to. Staying at the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">Grand Hotel Quisisana</a> certainly added to the experience; the five-star accommodations and incredible staff made us feel like royalty. “Tiberius had the right idea,” Jason observed on our second day there, referring to the ancient Roman emperor who made Capri his seat of power. “Rule the Roman Empire from Paradise, eat great food, swim in that warm water; it’d make the job much less stressful.”<br><br>After two days in paradise, it was back to the mainland - hardly a letdown. Le Agavi Hotel in Positano looks like it came with the cliffs; that somehow, millennia ago when the rock formations were rising from the sea, a resort eventually just grew out of the sheer granite face to overlook the ocean. When you stay at the Agavi, the only way to get a bad view is to close your eyes. We’d be here for the next three days, the resort serving as a stunning home base for our adventures in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Amalfi region</a>.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank"><img alt="Le Agavi hotel" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiLa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rdp" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></p> <p>As I learned as a guide years ago, reinforced by my current role with the Classic Journeys team, it’s the people you’re with that make the trips worth taking. Of course, as with everything in life, pizza helps. We were invited to join pizza maker Luca and his family for a lesson in how to create the wood-fired pies that have become a global favorite. Sipping wine that the family had aged in their own barrels, flour up to our elbows, sneaking bites of delicious fresh buffalo mozzarella, and laughing with our hosts over our amateurish struggles with the dough, I exchanged a happy glance with Jason, and I knew that it was here that my old introduction to my travel groups once again proved to be true.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank"><img alt="Kelli making pizza" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiLa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rdz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></p> <p><br><br><b>ABOUT THE AUTHOR:</b></p> <p>Kelli Kuehner is a Senior Tour Operations Coordinator for Classic Journeys, overseeing operations and logistics for France, Iceland, Ireland, and Cuba. Prior to joining Classic Journeys, Kelli spent seven years in Europe and the U.S. as a cultural travel guide. In addition to her passion for travel as a vital transformative experience, Kelli’s favorite pastimes include hiking, running, cycling, writing, snowboarding and - solidified by a year spent working for a cooking school in Paris - cooking. She lives in north San Diego county with her husband Jason and two step-kids.</p>

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  • Borgo Ignazia_Hotels_Hero

    Best Luxury Hotels in the World for R&R

    <p>After you’ve hung the decorations, wrapped the presents, cooked the food and entertained all your guests – it’ll be time for you to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/reservations/" target="_blank">book some much-needed R&amp;R</a>. In the meantime, while you’re currently in full holiday-mode, just think... the rush will be over in a few more weeks and you can be lounging poolside (or bar-side) at one of these six luxury accommodations while on a handcrafted trip of a lifetime.   <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Skalakot" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Skalakot - Iceland</a></b><br>With white gables that echo the nearby mountains, this <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">family-owned manor</a> hotel is a cozy and luxurious retreat. Rooms are decorated in true Icelandic style. The exceptional restaurant features local specialties from Arctic char to homemade bread. Now, this is getting away from it all. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Hotel Sahrai" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Hotel Sahrai - Morocco</a></b><br>On a hill between the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Fes Medina</a> and the New Town, this boutique hotel has unparalleled views. Light-flooded rooms are decorated with a contemporary twist on Moroccan design. Facilities include an infinity pool, fitness center and Givenchy spa – perfect for your well-deserved, post-holiday pampering.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Borgo Egnazia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank">Borgo Egnazia – Italy</a></b><br>Apulia is where the high-profile stars go to escape and decompress, and<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank"> Borgo Egnazia </a>is the perfect stay. A whitewashed seaside compound, this chic property is designed as a Mediterranean village. Elegant rooms decorated in shades of white amplify Apulia’s sun. The property offers indoor and outdoor pools, a terrific spa and a range of dining options.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Iguana Crossing" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Iguana Crossing - Galapagos</a></b><br>What better way to relax than with an <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">ocean-front room</a> in paradise? There’s nothing but National Park (with a live volcano) out the back. This hotel is cool, very close to nature and eco-minded. Amenities include a swimming pool, a roof-deck Jacuzzi and its own excellent restaurant.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Inkaterra Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rmw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Inkaterra Machu Picchu – Peru</a></b><br>Set among 13 acres of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">tropical gardens</a> featuring over 140 species of orchids, this hotel proudly 100% carbon neutral. Spacious rooms are situated in unique hillside casitas and feature lovely tile floors, carved wood furniture, and luxurious bathrooms.<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank"><img alt="Amarvilas" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EiTZ&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rn6" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank">Oberoi Amarvilas – India</a></b><br>Just 600 meters from the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india/" target="_blank">Taj Mahal</a>, all rooms and public areas in this fine resort offer breathtaking views. Inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture, it has been ranked in the top 10 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure.</p>

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