Multisport Adventure Tours
  • Skalakot Manor

    Stay at a Luxury Manor and Farm in the Countryside of Southern Iceland

    A stay at <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel</a> is a stay in the idealized Iceland that we all imagine: a cozy manor surrounded by rugged mountains, with easy access to waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, and miles of lava fields covered with green, spongy moss. The gorgeous accommodation located in the countrysides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Southern Iceland</a> has been owned by the same family for seven generations and wows for more reasons than just the spectacular landscape surrounding the establishment. With gables that echo the nearby mountains, the manor hotel and farm hybrid is a unique accommodation built for guests to enjoy a unique experience that is quintessentially Icelandic.<br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKf"></img></a><br><b>Jaw-dropping views of the Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel in the countryside of Southern Iceland </b><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKQ"></img></a><br><b>The Skálakot Manor Luxury Hotel staff and family behind the luxury manor and farm</b><br><br>As you approach the charming <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor</a>, the surrounding landscape in enough to take your breath away - located at the bottom of a jagged mountain-top, the scene is cinematic. Inside, the Skálakot Manor is complete with fourteen bedrooms, all seemingly inspired by Ralph Lauren&#39;s idea of a luxury Icelandic farmhouse. The interior has hints of Art Deco paired with elegant fabrics. As a result, the rooms are characterized by natural materials and great craftsmanship. Traces of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Icelandic culture</a> are sprinkled throughout the accommodation and it doesn&#39;t take long to feel at home. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKL"></img></a><br><b>One of the fourteen unique rooms in the Manor</b><br><br>One of the best aspects of this hotel, however, may be the charm and ease and welcoming service that accompanies staying at a <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">family-run farm</a>. The lively group of staff are passionate about working in the  <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Icelandic countryside</a> and their love for their home radiates as they welcome you on arrival. In addition to the manor hotel, the working farm is a joy to explore and is most well-known for raising the extraordinary breed of Icelandic horses, known around the world. The family has bred these short, sturdy, and shaggy horses for centuries and can answer any questions you may have about the engaging creatures. On <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> tours, you can join a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">guided Icelandic horseback tour</a> of the property and surrounding area.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKG"></img></a><br><b>Guests enjoy an Icelandic Horseback Tour</b><br><br>Energized from an action-packed day full of waterfall hikes or<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"> tectonic snorkeling</a>, you can return and settle in to enjoy the (literally) farm-to-table menu in the dining room. The chef prepares candlelit dinners, as well as coffee and sweet cakes for an afternoon snack. And for breakfast expect to find a delicious buffet that includes <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><i>Hafragrautur</i></a>, the delicious oatmeal topped with fresh fruit that many Icelanders love.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKV"></img></a><br><b>The quaint restaurant offers three meals and an afternoon snack of teas and cakes each day</b><br><br>Sited away from any light pollution, <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor</a> provides the perfect location to admire the Northern Lights. End your days at Skálakot joining the Icelandic tradition of a hot tub soak or enjoy a nightcap by the fireplace, perhaps planning the next days&#39; Icelandic adventure. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxvN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zWKB"></img></a><br><b>Catch views of the Northern Lights September to mid-April</b><br><br>The family-run <a href="https://skalakot.is/" target="_blank">Skálakot Manor</a> and farm is the ideal location to enjoy the many wonders Iceland has to offer all while immersing yourself in Icelandic culture and feeling perfectly pampered with the stellar accommodation features. To have a chance to stay with the Skálakot Manor family in one of their fourteen rooms, take a look at our<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-family-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"> Iceland Family Adventure</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Iceland Multisport Tour</a> or give <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> a call at 833.387.1210 to hear more.

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  • Iceland

    Can WOW's demise lead to more POW for travelers to Iceland? Here's HOW...

    The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> just published an engaging article titled <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">“Iceland’s Purple Planes Are Grounded, and With Them, Its Economy”</a>. In it, Peter S. Goodman and Liz Alderman artfully illustrate the rollercoaster ride that Iceland’s economy has been on over the last decade, how WOW helped to bring the country out of the 2008 recession, ushered in budget travel and Instagram tourism to the island, and how the airline’s bankruptcy may drag the economy into another recession as the number of visitors drops from historic highs.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Classic Journeys Founder, Edward Piegza, pictured in the middle with two of our most-loved local Icelandic guides.</b><br><br>And yet, at Classic Journeys where we consider ourselves huge fans of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/heritage-travel/" target="_blank">pour over our 23andme results to find any trace of Viking in our ancestry</a>, we wondered if that was the end of the story for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Or, does it have another (or many more) chapters still to write about its economy and tourism in general? To make sense of it all, the Classic Journeys editorial staff sat down with frequent traveler and company founder, Edward Piegza, to get context on the rise and fall of WOW and what it means for the people of Iceland and travelers to the island nation.<br><br><b>Classic Journeys editorial staff: Why was WOW so instrumental in pulling Iceland out of the 2008 recession?</b><br><br>Edward Piegza: “Let’s set the stage for our conversation with a bit of recap. Founded in 2011 by billionaire Skúli Mogensen who fashioned himself as a sort of Icelandic Richard Branson, WOW was a budget airline that grew quickly and successfully as it brought throngs of tourists to Iceland on cheap flights from the United States, more than doubling the number of tourists visiting Iceland between 2011 and 2015, to 1.3 million. The success story continued and by 2018, the number of tourists increased to 2.3 million.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZ9z" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: That’s amazing growth in the number of tourists to Iceland, but it couldn’t have all come from WOW, did it?</b><br><br>EP: “You’re right. This growth of tourism resulting from cheap travel options to Iceland reflected the same exponential growth curve in social media. Cinematic Instagram posts of filming locations from popular shows like “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/5-classic-journeys-destinations-on-the-game-of-thrones-shot-list/" target="_blank">Game of Thrones</a>” and YouTube videos of Justin Bieber’s 2015 hit “I’ll Show You” filmed in Iceland burst on the scene. Tourist arrivals reached new heights as visitors continue to fight for the perfect Instagram photo with Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes acting as their no-filter-required background.”<br><br><b>CJ: The NY Times article notes that after WOW’s short-lived success and recent failure, projections are that visitors overall will drop by 16% in 2019, and American tourists arrivals will fall even steeper, by 20%. Is Classic Journeys seeing a decrease in travelers that mirrors the drop in the number of tourists visiting Iceland? </b><br><br>EP: “Not at all. In fact, Classic Journeys is actually seeing an increase in interest and bookings for our trips to Iceland. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> program are averaging 10% more guests in 2019 and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport trips</a> are averaging 3% more than in 2018. While those numbers are not a huge increase, they certainly buck the overall trend of double-digit decreases for tourists in general to Iceland.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZA4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Why do you think Classic Journeys is seeing an increase and continuation of guest interest in traveling to Iceland in spite of WOW’s demise?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a terrific quote in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> article, ‘When the people who are coming are more about getting Instagram posts, and everyone goes to the same spots, then it’s overcrowded,’ said Hordur Mio Olafsson, 32, whose family business leads tourists through lava caves near Húsafell.’ WOW certainly had a successful niche in that it brought – literally – planeloads of budget tourists to Iceland. It was good for WOW and good for the budget passengers WOW carried, as they might not have gotten to Iceland any other way. But in a country of only 340,000 people in total on the whole island, the massive influx of travelers put tremendous pressure on the environment and the tourism infrastructure as everyone ran to the same few spots to take their Instagram photo. But that sort of tourist is not the Classic Journeys traveler. Our guests want so much more than an Instagram post.<br><br><b>CJ: How does a trip to Iceland with Classic Journeys differ from that of the average tourist visiting Iceland?  </b><br><br>EP: “Classic Journeys guests want the experience and engagement behind the shot. They want immersion into the culture, the people, the places that you cannot find on your own. And that’s why all Classic Journeys trips — whether it&#39;s one of our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> programs, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport Trips</a>, or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-family-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Family Journeys</a> — are led by super well-connected local guides. In fact, our guides are so local that they are actually descended from 9th century Vikings! That means that they can get you to that perfect location for a photo, but you’ll be there by yourself without the madding crowds, you’ll learn the backstory behind the location, and you’ll get to know the real people who live in that fantastical landscape.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: How does the Classic Journeys offer a sustainable alternative to the travel patterns of budget-friendly tourists that WOW initially introduced to Iceland?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a large American company that operates tours in Iceland and they import their guides from Spain and Portugal. They pay the guides 10% of the Icelandic guiding wage and tell them to work for tips. It’s gotten so contentious that the Icelandic parliament has actually taken up a bill to outlaw this sort of tourism. In contrast, Classic Journeys takes the sort of farm-to-table or zero-kilometer approach that has become so popular in culinary circles and applies it to everything we do in every corner of the world, including <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. So, what that means is that our guides are all Iceland, all the time. Through them, we have deep and rich connections with the ranchers, shark fishermen, naturalists, glacier guides, chief of police (True! In one of the villages we visit.), hoteliers and restauranteurs all over the island. And we use those connections to our guests’ benefit, but also to the benefit of partners. We stay in boutique hotels that are often on farms that have been in the same family for several generations. We don’t have to take you to just one waterfall that is accessible to busloads of tourists just off the ring road. We can take you up a canyon to an even more impressive one that only the locals can find and where you can walk behind the cataract all by yourself. Most tourists will explore the same two or three ice caves. Our glacial guides know our guests are looking for something much more authentic, so they will take us way up the tongue of a glacier to a cave only they know for a transformationally better experience. It all sums up in that our guests get a more authentic experience, the footprint of tourism gets spread out in a much more sustainable and thoughtful way, and the money they pay us goes directly into the hands of local people. It’s a win-win-win.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Some people in the industry are suggesting that the dip in tourism may be healthy following the mass amount of people overwhelming the island. What are your thoughts? </b><br><br>EP: “To go back to that quote in the Times article, Hordur the lava cave guide mentioned, ‘What people are seeking here is pristine nature in this strange country in the North Atlantic, full of mystery. Now, we have a chance to do things properly.’ We couldn’t agree more. There is more service now to Iceland on Icelandair, American, Delta, and other airlines than there was before WOW burst on to the scene which means there is plenty of capacity in terms of airplane seats to get to the island. And the bubble certainly was a cautionary tale for everyone in the tourism industry as to the type of sustainable tourism they want. I was just with one of our hoteliers in Iceland recently and they were gushing about the quality of Classic Journeys guests. So it seems the word is out and there is this confluence of engaged travelers looking for an immersive experience in a place and people poised perfectly to provide it. To paraphrase the cheer Icelanders shout for their beloved soccer team, ‘Huh-Huh-Huh!’”<br><br><b>For a chance to see Iceland in Classic Journeys style, take a look at our upcoming <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking tours, Multisport </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">and Family</a> options!</b><br> 

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  • Girl at Colosseum in Rome Multisport in Italian

    How do you Say Multisport in Italian?

    “Our kids were skeptical about going to Italy. ‘It’s just a bunch of boring museums and churches and old ladies in black dresses, right?’” Mary S. laughs as she remembers her family’s initial reaction to the news that they were headed to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Venice, Florence and Rome</a> with Classic Journeys. They didn’t get far into a week of pizza making and gondola cruising and bike riding and gladiator training before they changed their tune. “Now, I think everyone in the family would tell you it was all their idea in the first place.”<br><br>That’s because this multisport family adventure includes molto activities that turn into mamma mia moments. It is such a kick to watch your kids and teens encounter Italy’s Big Three cities — and discover how much fun travel can be. If you’ve visited these cities before, get ready for your old memories to take on new meaning and to feel like you’re seeing them through fresh eyes.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SEl&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BfX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>It’s true that plenty of tourists spend too many hours staring at dusty statutes and earning blisters on long walks, but not when you go exploring the Classic Journeys way. Consider <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Venice</a>, your first stop. Lovers of Venice fall into two camps: the ones who never want to leave and those who appreciate how the city’s small size is quite easy to cover. That’s us, and your time here is a just-right blend of mind-boggling sights, gondola rides and colorful history. Before palazzo fatigue can kick in, you’re on a high-speed train rocketing to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Florence</a>.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Firenze </a>can be a frenzy. Many tourists think they need days in the city, but that’s because they do things like wait four hours to see Michelangelo’s David. You absolutely should see all 14 marble feet of the world’s most famous statue. But your <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys guide</a> magically has tickets that let you skip the line — a perfect example of how low-stress a family vacation ought to be. From 23 years of traveling with kids, we know that this is the exact moment when it’s time to break out of city mode and retreat to a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">Tuscan village</a> with a pool, a private park and rejuvenating globes of Chianti. The country interlude is a great way to let off steam walking in vineyards, making pizzas, biking in Siena, and ogling at the towers of famed hilltown San Gimignano.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SEl&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012BfS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>By the time you de-train in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Rome</a>, you’ll all feel like Italian pros. You know the walks to the Colosseum and the Forum will last just long enough. The Sistine Chapel? Of course you score rare tickets in advance. While the turisti shuffle off to another monument, your family goes for a cool gladiator training session. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Rome </a>unfolds for you all without overwhelming anyone.<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SEl&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zURP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Italy </a>has so much to teach an impressionable young traveler (and you, too, even if you’ve been there a dozen times). Together, you’ll get lively lessons in how to laugh together and take on fun challenges and see the world through fresh eyes. Feeling totally Italiano, you’ll learn to smile at the world rushing around you, how to live in a 500-year-old castle, and that if you can’t decide between two flavors of gelato then you must have both. <br><br>The first trip to Italy has always been a rite of passage for travelers. Chances are, you have stories to tell about yours. Five years from now — or 15 or 50 — the upcoming generations of travelers in your family will remember the first time, too. Back in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Rome or Venice or Florence</a> someday, they’ll hunt for the trattoria where you all ate too much pizza together. Even if they can’t track it down, they’ll find a new spot. And you can be pretty sure that they will clink their glasses of Chianti and thank you all over again.

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