Mountains | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Fjaerland Fjord, Norway

    A Summer Retreat in Norway

    <h2>Add color to your summer with picturesque villages and wildflower meadows</h2> <p><br>You might be surprised by the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">variety of activities and amazing sights you’ll experience in Norway</a>. Imagine gliding through the serene blue waters of fjords on a private boat, walking on a glacier and exploring a Viking Ship museum.</p> <p>Visit remote villages, wander through a 12th-century church perched high above the water, meet fishmongers at a bustling market, ride a funicular to the top of a mountain for a stroll and scenic views.</p> <p><img alt="Norwegian village" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lO&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lNH" style="height: 250px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p>Of course, no <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">trip to Norway would be complete without a ride on the famous Flåm Railway</a> — known for being one of the most spectacular train rides in the world. You’ll marvel at the views of snow-capped mountains, rushing waterfalls and sleepy green meadows followed by a boat trip that reveals grazing goats scattered about the countryside farms and seals sunning themselves on rocks at the water’s edge.</p> <p>At every turn, Norway will surprise you with its hidden gems, sweeping vistas and hardy, hospitable locals. You’ll dine on fresh fish, top off your meal with tart lingonberries and sample a variety of local specialties. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/reservations/" target="_blank">Take a chance on a last-minute adventure — join our July trip, you’ll be delighted you did!</a></p>

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  • Valley and Mountains in Alaska

    Enjoy Every Mountain

    <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/searchquery/?q=mountain&amp;utm_campaign=enjoy-every-mountain&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog/" target="_blank">At Classic Journeys, we’ve never met a mountain vacation we didn’t love.</a> But climbing them — not so much. We always head for the top. After all, that’s where the views, the wildflower meadows and the mountain goats are! But we’re strategic about how we get there, looking for ways to enjoy the way up without wearing ourselves down. Here are four of our favorite lower-impact, high-altitude walks.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">THE ANDES UP TO MACHU PICCHU</a></b>  <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">PERU</a><br><br><img alt="Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ld&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rGI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>There’s a fun fork in the route up to Machu Picchu. We all chug out of the Sacred Valley on the luxurious Inca Rail train. Partway up, the train pauses, and hikers (who have asked us to make advance reservations) step off to spend 5–6 hours ascending the last 1,500 feet of elevation of the Inca Trail to the Sun Gate — where you look down onto the legendary ruins. But trust us, it is no compromise to stay comfortably aboard the train! As the tracks rise, the valley narrows and the river tumbles past. Through the picture windows and viewing panels in the train’s roof, you’ll see a succession of Incan ruins. Late in the morning, you arrive in Aguas Calientes and check into our hotel. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru/" target="_blank">Hop on a shuttle for an advance visit to Machu Picchu</a>, enjoy a spa treatment or go orchid hunting with a naturalist. Ensconced in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">one of South America’s top 10 hotels</a>, you won’t feel for a second like you missed out on having a wonderful day.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/" target="_blank">Make a reservation today for your favorite mountain vacation destination!</a></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">THE JUNGFRAU REGION</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">SWITZERLAND</a><br><br><img alt="Jungfrau region" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ld&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rGN" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Funiculars are fun, especially the one up to Grutschalp, where we begin the scenic walk to nearby Mürren, a village with no cars. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">Mürren is the highest village in the Bernese Oberland</a> and has knockout views of the Jungfrau massif and the Breithorn. In winter, it’s a traditional ski resort. In the summer, it’s a botanist’s paradise. Next, we take a two-stage cable car to the summit of the Schilthorn. Lunch is in a revolving restaurant with 360-degree views. (James Bond fans will instantly recognize it as the mountaintop lair for the villainous Blofeld in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”) Later in the day, we ride the funicular back down to Lauterbrunnen for a visit to Trümmelbach Falls, the region’s most impressive cascade and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just like that, you’ve spent <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/searchquery/?q=mountain&amp;utm_campaign=enjoy-every-mountain&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog/" target="_blank">the best mountain vacation</a>day of your life without even breaking a sweat!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank"><b>MIDDLE ATLAS MOUNTAINS</b><br>MOROCCO</a><br><br><img alt="Mid Atlas Mountains, Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ld&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rGS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Between the medina of Fés and the dunes of the Sahara lie the Middle Atlas Mountains. This massive range soars to alpine heights, and as we drive through we stop for a walk. You could say the macaques make us do it. Better known as Barbary apes, troops of them live in the cedar forests. On a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/walkingtours/" target="_blank">walk of a couple of hours</a> (without much altitude change), we’re joined by them as well as shepherds moving their goats. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">This is the Morocco we didn’t expect</a> the first time we visited. The air is mountain-crisp and incredible. In plenty of seasons, patches of un-melted snow hide in the shade of those picturesque cedars. And Ifrane, that village up ahead, is a ski resort built by the French in the colonial era. Its buildings are more chalet than kasbah. We love this walk for how it upends all the souk-to-sand clichés about Morocco’s personality.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank">ABOVE LAKE LOUISE</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">CANADIAN ROCKIES</a><br><br><img alt="Canadian Rockies" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ld&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rGc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockies/" target="_blank">Lake Louise is the most iconic spot in the Canadian Rockies.</a> You’ve seen the photos of the mirror-smooth lake cupped in pine-covered slopes at the foot of a glacier. This morning’s walk is on a path that does gain some altitude as it rises 1,400 feet. But we take our time, and it is so worth the effort. Starting from the lake’s shore, we ascend above the tree line. There, the alpine meadows open wide, and we occasionally have a spotting of a grizzly bear. Ahead, we get breathtaking views of Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier. We’ll take a breather at Lady Agnes Tea House, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900s. Every moment is spectacular. Of course, if you prefer, you can stay at lake level to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canadianrockiesfamily/" target="_blank">go for an easy canoe paddle, explore the shops and grounds of Chateau Lake Louise or saddle up for a horseback ride</a>.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/catalog/" target="_blank">REQUEST A CATALOG AND READ MORE ABOUT LUXURY MOUNTAIN VACATIONS.</a></b></p> <p><b>Share your favorite mountain walks and vacations below!</b></p>

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  • Captain on Fishing Boat in Nova Scotia

    North America: 8 Trips with a Twist

    <h2><b>Closer-to-home trips can be more out-there than you expected.</b></h2>   <p>You expect the exotic in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Morocco</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/asiapacific/" target="_blank">Southeast Asia</a>. But you don’t need to trigger a case of jet lag to have vacation that’s as fun and revelatory as a junket to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/myanmar/" target="_blank">Myanmar</a>. The United States and Canada can serve up plenty of un-vanilla experiences. This year in particular—as the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/national-park-tours/" target="_blank">National Park Service celebrates its 100<sup>th</sup>Anniversary</a> and travelers look to get their thrills in a few fewer days—<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/northamerica/" target="_blank">North American Tours</a> are on a record number of radar screens. And if you think you know everything to expect, think again!<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">GRAND CANYON: RUINS OLDER THAN MACHU PICCHU</a></b></p> <p><img alt="Grand Canyon" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oSz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Plenty of people go to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon and Zion</a> for the geology. Slot canyons so narrow you can touch both sides at once. Chasms so deep that you need binoculars to see the bottom. And then there’s Walhalla Plateau where the ruins left by ancient puebloan people were already 350 years old the Incas were building cities in the Andes. This is our own land’s history, awesome and mysterious unlike anything you’ve ever seen without showing your passport.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">ALASKA: ICEBERGS IN A MOUNTAINTOP LAKE</a></b><br> </p> <img alt="Alaska" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula</a> is plenty exotic (glacier walks, tide-pooling, walking on the Iditarod Trail). But for a pure I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing moment, we vote for the watch icebergs bob on a glacier-fed lake way above sea level. Marooned up there at higher altitude, they’ll never collide with one of those giant cruise ships that blast past the coast. It’s a magical, unexpected place—and one you can enjoy at leisure with a picnic on the lakeshore.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">QUEBEC: PARIS MEETS NORWAY</a></b><br><br><img alt="Quebec" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>You think <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec</a> is going to be one thing, and instead it’s crazy/glorious mash-up. The city is 16<sup>th</sup> Century France, right down to the<br>cobblestones. It’s Saguenay Fjord. (Wait—an honest-to-goodness fjord on the U.S. border? Oh, yes.) Mix in the highest mountains east of the Rockies plus the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil and an elk herd or two. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/quebec/" target="_blank">Québec</a> is a combination you’ve never seen before, and that’s a recipe for a brag-worthy vacation.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">SOUTH CAROLINA: GEECHEE SPOKEN HERE</a></b></p> <img alt="Charleston Bay" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>Strolling under the Spanish moss in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston and Savannah</a>, the architectural frills and extreme gentility are just as you imagined. But there’s a parallel culture, deep but dwindling, out on coastal islands like St. Helena. The Gullah, descendants of slaves, clustered there and 300-year-old ethnic strains of Africa still run through daily life and the local creole language known as Geechee. In a country that feels more homogenous every day, it’s a revelation to step back to a time when every community was an intensely rooted in faraway places.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">CANADIAN ROCKIES: THE STARRIEST SKY ON EARTH</a></b></p> <p><img alt="Canadian Rockies" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Daytime is very fine in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">Canada’s Banff and Jasper National Parks</a>. But it’s the night that will really open your eyes. Jasper is in the world’s largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve. Light pollution is nearly non-existent. So find a spot where you can stretch out on your<br>back and just look up. The Milky Way is milky white. The constellations are vivid. Focus for a couple of minutes and you can make out satellites moving across the glittery background. Finally, it makes sense why the ancients who saw this display every night worshiped the skies.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank"><b>NOVA SCOTIA: MAKE LIKE THE MI’KMAQS</b></a><br> </p> <img alt="Nova Scotia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>Lobstermen and giant tides and being ogled by a whale. All are noble reasons to get yourself off to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/novascotia/" target="_blank">Nova Scotia</a>. Within in a mile or so either side of the Atlantic shore, you can have an amazing time. The Mi’kmaq natives, though, had other ideas that will surprise you. Nova Scotia has an inland too where whisper-quiet forests and mirror-smooth lakes replace the coastal roar. In a canoe, gliding under a wide sky, you see a side of the province that most tourists never even imagine.<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa/" target="_blank">SONOMA: NOT ALL OLIVES ARE CREATED EQUAL</a></b></p> <img alt="Napa" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <p><br>In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa/" target="_blank">Napa and Sonoma</a>, as in just about every grape-growing region on earth, the soil and climate the vines love is equally hospitable to olive trees. Gnarled, silver-leafed, low-to-the-ground, the yield fruit too hard and bitter for a martini—but just right for oil. Go tasting with an expert and you find that the vocabulary is match for wine: eucalyptus, melon, almond, grassy, buttery, peppery and on and on. You sniff, you slurp, you savor and—unlike a classic wine taster—you’re even encouraged to swallow. <br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">MONTANA: FLOWERS THAT PAINTED THE SKY</a></b></p> <img alt="Montana" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oTx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">Glacier Park’s</a> amazing Highline Trail runs through a wildflower meadow. Amid the larkspur and forget-me-nots, our favorite is the Indian Paintbrush. In-and-out park visitors are prone to taking pictures of “the pretty red flowers.” With a naturalist, though, you learn that the Ojibwe turned it into shampoo and that because it has no branches it can only be pollinated by hovering insects. Its name comes from the legend of a young brave who received paintbrushes from the Great Spirit in order to paint the sunset. His discarded brushes sprouted to become these blossoms. And you thought they were just pretty flowers.</p>

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