• Girl in Rome at Colosseum

    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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  • Woman in ice cave, Iceland

    Atli & Kommi’s Iceland Adventure

    <span style="color: black;">Any time your traveling companions have Vikings and shark fishermen in their bloodlines, you know that interesting things are going to happen. We just returned from scouting a new <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland Multisport trip</a> with our friends Atli and Kommi, the local guides who win raves on our Family and Cultural Trips. As one guest put it: “I want to be with them when the Zombie Apocalypse happens.” </span><br> <br><span style="color: black;">Kommi and Atli show you the sights like nobody else. But these two Icelanders are doers, not just observers. With them in the lead, you’ll get <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">full immersion into Iceland</a> instead of just driving the Golden Circle the way so many tourists do.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgN5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></span> <br><span style="color: #212121;">Imagine yourself in the most remote setting from “Game of Thrones” or your favorite “Star Wars” planet. That starts to come close to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Volcanoes and glaciers have done crazy things. Wavy plains of cooled lava flows wear spongy carpets of electric green moss. Geysers shoot up and waterfalls arc down off cliffs. Those glaciers shed bergs like some cosmic ice dispenser. As for the Northern Lights, “wow” isn’t adequate. But just WOW.</span><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgNA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><span style="color: #212121;">If you crave a vacation with a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">variety of activities</a> and experiences, Iceland is nirvana. Whenever Kommi or Atli would say, “Today, you can do this thing or that thing,” we’d say, “Why not both?” And so it will be when you join us on this Multisport adventure. Many times, you’re able to create your own adventure by choosing which activities appeal most to you.</span><br><br><span style="color: black;">For example, one day they ask “flippers or boots?” If you reply “flippers”, you find yourself stepping into insulated wet suits to go “tectonic snorkeling.” At just one spot, a gap between two tectonic plates contains a skinny lake of crystal glacial water. In water that’s as clear as glass, you feel like you’re floating in thin air. If you want to skip the flippers and keep your hiking boots, you can join one of the guys for an awesome walk in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Þingvellir National Park</a>. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is bisected by a tectonic valley and is cinematic beyond belief. Untamed as it is, it was also the place where local Viking chieftains started meeting in the year 930 to form the world’s oldest parliament.</span><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgNF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><span style="color: #212121;">The lion’s share of another day is spent on top of a glacier, starting with a hike to the glacier’s terminal face. Specialized guides join up with crampons, ice axes and other gear, and then you make your way to the top and across the ice field. You see impressive crevasses and even tuck into the coolest picnic ever. The next day, at the “snout” of another glacier, you climb into Zodiacs and chug in close to where icebergs are calved. This is also the place where you can <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">explore ice caves</a> carved by glacial melt.</span><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgNP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><span style="color: #212121;">You can choose to ride shaggy, short-legged Icelandic horses on a black sand beach or walk along coastal footpaths to a nesting colony of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Atlantic Puffins</a>. </span><span style="color: black;">You’ll walk to a waterfall to explore it from behind. (It’s nobody but you, looking out at Iceland through a roaring curtain of water.) And one</span><span style="color: #212121;"> of our favorite hotels is a manor house on a family farm where trails lead you through sheep meadows to Viking ruins. At the end of another day, the geothermal Blue Lagoon is the perfect spot for a long steamy float.</span><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgNK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><span style="color: #212121;">There are other places where you can see fjords and walk on glaciers and visit sheep farms and clamber over frozen lava and eat sensational farm-to-table meals. But nowhere else can you do it all in such a compact geographic area and have so much fun. Your trusty research team did … and you will too!</span><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgNU" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"> <b><span style="color: #212121;">IS ICELAND FOR YOU?</span></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/#dates/" target="_blank"><b><span style="color: #212121;">When are departures?</span></b></a><br><span style="color: black;">Year-round, so you can go at any time and in any season.</span><br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><b><span style="color: #212121;">Do you see the Northern Lights?</span></b></a><br><span style="color: black;">Scientifically, the Aurora Borealis happens year-round. You’re likeliest to witness it from September to April when the night sky is darker, but we’ve seen them on tour in August!</span><br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/#hotels/" target="_blank"><b><span style="color: #212121;">How are the hotels?</span></b></a><br><span style="color: black;">Luxurious and stylish! One is a family-owned manor hotel on a sheep farm. The other is a </span><span style="color: #212121;">contemporary gem situated between two glaciers.</span><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnSb&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgNe" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><b><span style="color: #212121;">Do you need a lot of equipment?</span></b></a><br><span style="color: black;">We provide all of the important stuff for your activities — from snorkeling gear to crampons to Land Rovers!</span><br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank"><b><span style="color: black;">Do you eat Icelandic cod the whole time?</span></b></a><br><span style="color: black;">Seafood of all kinds is amazing, but this is an all-around foodie destination with super inventive and flat-out delicious farm-to-table cuisine beyond anything you can imagine.</span><br> 

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  • Kids looking at a sea lion on the beach, Galapagos Island

    What my kids learned on our Galápagos family vacation

    <p>Cup your hands and place them lightly against your face. Now exhale a long deep breath, as if you are trying to warm them from the cold. Do you hear the sound? A deep, coarse bellow that sounds like Darth Vader, or at least Rick Moranis in <i>Space Balls</i>. It’s the sound a 150-year-old land tortoise makes when it vacates all of the air from its lungs in order to give its legs and head sufficient room to retract inside its shell. We heard it when we came up behind one too quickly and it sought shelter from the unknown noise.</p> <p><b>A uniquely Galápagos style of social networking site</b><br><br>After hearing it a few times from other tortoises and perfecting the sound themselves with our naturalist guide, Alfredo, my kids coined the term, “vadering”. It was just one of the fantastically fun learning experiences we had last week on our Galápagos family vacation, as we participated on <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys’ new island-based multi-sport program</a>.<br><br>As they’ll tell you, these land tortoises live up to 150-200 years, which means that some of them were around for our Civil War. And they can weigh 500+ pounds, and move at speeds around 0.3 km per hour as they travel 5km per day in search of their leafy favorite foods and the social networking site of the local muddy watering hole.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank"><img alt="Group with Galapagos tortoise" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oE&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sBi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p><b>You’ll never guess where that fine white sand comes from…</b><br><br>The land tortoises were only one of the amazing animals, birds and sea life that we encountered as we hiked, kayaked, snorkeled, and mountain biked around three different islands from our boutique hotel accommodations. Another favorite of the kids was learning the origin of the beautiful fine white sand we sat on as we interacted with the local sea lion population: parrot fish eat the coral and then “poop” it out as sand. And we saw schools of parrot and damselfish along with sea lion pups, giant sea turtles, Galápagos penguins, iguanas, and even white-tipped reef sharks as we snorkeled in water that was so clear we could see 40-50 feet away.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank"><img alt="Sea lions on the beach" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oE&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sBn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p><b>Blue-footed boobies “Dancing with the Stars”</b><br><br>But the stars of the week were the blue-footed-boobies, that make the famous mating dance. It’ll never make you forget “Dancing with the Stars”, but it will get your attention, just as it does the female birds that the males are working so hard to attract. Our group of nine (including three teenage boys) had plenty of laughs during the week “boobie spotting”, but we all also learned more than we ever would have from a textbook. By the end of the week, the kids were expert at distinguishing red-footed and Nazca-boobies from their blue-footed cousins. And we watched in amazement from kayaks off the coast of Santa Cruz Island as a flock of blue-footed boobies soared above the crystalline waters in search of schools of fish. Once a school was spotted, the leader would soar high in the sky to alert the rest of the flock and as one, they would dive bomb into the waters, reaching depths of 15 meters or more. The first time we witnessed it, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. But with the luxury of our island-based timetable, we could linger in a picture-perfect lagoon and watch the show over and over again.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank"><img alt="Blue footed boobies" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oE&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sBs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p><b>Island-based = no “on-the zodiac-off-the-zodiac” rigid schedules</b><br><br>Our family had resisted planning a Galápagos family vacation in years past, because we didn’t want to be stuck on a boat for a week. Friends who had gone the boat route described the on-the-zodiac-off-the-zodiac lockstep ritual and rigid schedule in a way that made us hold back even though the islands were always around the top of our bucket list. Once we learned that a few select islands had some beautiful, eco-friendly boutique accommodations, we jumped at the chance to experience the Galápagos for ourselves. We stayed on San Cristobal, Isabella, and Santa Cruz islands. The Hotel Iguana Crossing on Isabella was typical of the hotels. The ocean laps at the front door. There’s nothing but National Park (with a live volcano) out the back. This eco-luxe hotel is everything you could want in Galápagos accommodations – cool, very close to nature and eco-minded. Amenities include a negative edge swimming pool, a roof-deck Jacuzzi, a game room that became a favorite of the kids,  and its own excellent restaurant. And it’s named for the iguanas that cross right in front to the white sand beach that stretches for miles in both directions, and which has virtually no people on it other than a few local surfers and body-boarders.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank"><img alt="Iguana Crossing" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7oE&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002sBx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>Classic Journeys operates <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos/" target="_blank">island-based cultural walking adventures</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagosfamily/" target="_blank">family multi-sport vacations</a> year-round in the Galápagos. Guests enjoy 7 days and 6 nights in boutique hotels. Expert naturalist guides create opportunities to come face to face with an incredibly diverse population of birds, plants, animals and sea life that are endemic to the Galápagos and which have no natural predators. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/itineraries/" target="_blank">Click here to download</a> a day by day itinerary of the trips, call a Guest Services Coordinator at 800-200-3887, or email Classic Journeys at <a href="mailto:moreinfo@classicjourneys.com" target="_blank">moreinfo@classicjourneys.com</a>.</p> <br> 

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