• Corsica at Sunset

    6 of Europe's Best-Kept Secrets

    <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/europe/" target="_blank">Europe</a> is known for having some of the most iconic sites in the world. From the picturesque canals of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italyfamily/" target="_blank">Venice</a>, the standing stones at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Stonehenge</a>, to the lavender fields of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank">Provence</a>. It’s easy to find yourself on a merry-go-round of repeating travels. But you can still find amazing places off the beaten path… the places not known yet to tourists. And with the help of Classic Journeys, you’ll find that Europe is full of them!<br><br>Here you’ll find six of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Which one will you visit first?<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Croatia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ei9Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rP9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><b>Slovenia + Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula</b></a><br>Just a generation ago, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Slovenia and Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula</a> were part of Yugoslavia. Now, they’re two of the great under-the-radar and off-the-chart destinations in all of Europe. These unspoiled next-door lands sit right at the top of the Adriatic Sea just east of Venice. The scenery is so insanely perfect that you don’t want the walks to end. Think vineyards rolling into olive groves sweeping to the Adriatic and mirror calm mountain lakes reflecting snow-capped Alps.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/basque/" target="_blank"><img alt="Basque" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ei9Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rPE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/basque/" target="_blank"><b>Basque Pyrenees</b></a><br>A museum sheathed in titanium. Wild horses that eat baguettes. Villages with names in three languages—Basque, French and Spanish. Farmers on tractors yield the right of way to fierce but friendly pelota games in village squares. Garlands of brilliant red pimientos dry in the sunlight… then show up on a dinner plate stuffed with seafood. You’ll be surprised at the richness of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/basque/" target="_blank">Europe’s oldest culture</a> that few have had the chance to experience.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Corsica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ei9Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rPJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank"><b>Sardinia + Corsica</b></a><br>Travel between the isles of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Sardinia and Corsica</a> and you&#39;ll only venture eight miles...but they&#39;re worlds apart. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Corsica</a>—part of France, but defiantly non-French—is blanketed in fragrant herbs and dotted with quaint villages. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Sardinia</a> seeks adventure. Travel through the island and see how it&#39;s rustic, mysterious; with a few thousand years of Phoenician, Spanish and Italian blood in its veins. Together, these two gorgeous islands are some of the least-touristed spots in Europe. When you leave behind the yacht-studded harbors for the mountains, pastures and vineyards of the interior, you have the rarest of privileges—to see and experience countryside and culture that seem to have stood still in time.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montenegro/" target="_blank"><img alt="Montenegro" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ei9Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rPO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montenegro/" target="_blank"><b>Montenegro</b></a><br>How will you explain <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montenegro/" target="_blank">Montenegro</a> to your friends who haven’t been (and that will be 99.9% of them)? Do you start with its Adriatic coast, where golden stone villages nestle on secluded, palm-lined bays? You can’t leave out the wild mountains with their sheer canyons and whisper-quiet lakes. You’ll certainly have stories about the hospitable Montenegrins… the olive growers, grappa-makers, shepherds and artists. You’ll fall in instant love with this compact Balkan land because it’s still so undiscovered, unexpected and unforgettable.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank"><img alt="Prague" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ei9Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rPT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank"><b>Prague to Budapest</b></a><br>The journey from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/prague/" target="_blank">Prague to Vienna to Budapest </a>is one of Europe’s best hidden gems. These one-time capitals of the Habsburg Empire, with its spires and castles, create the continent’s most inspiring skylines. Out in the countryside, the sights are spectacular. Powder-blue cathedrals leap up from the heart of valley towns. Incredibly intact villages are so perfectly preserved that the U.N. recognizes them as World Heritage Sites. Vast farmlands make it feel as though you’ve stepped back into feudal times. This is a rich slice of Europe’s life and history that most travelers never see.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Apulia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Ei9Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015rPY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank"><b>Apulia</b></a><br>When we ask our Italian guides where they&#39;d most like to take our friends who think they know Italy on a walking tour we get one response: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/apulia/" target="_blank">Apulia</a>. And then they use their hands. To paint a vista of gnarled olive trees silhouetted against a lapis lazuli sea. To express the amazing sunlight. To sketch the saw-toothed skyline of a village comprised entirely of trulli—the conical stone roofs unique to the region. Best of all, Apulia (pronounced ah-pooh-lya) passes the most important Classic Journeys test—it offers fine leisurely walking, elegant accommodations, and a glimpse into a region and culture that&#39;s not quite like any you&#39;ve encountered before.

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  • Peaceful Countries

    The World’s 10 Most Peaceful Countries

    For the last 13 years, the Institute for Economics &amp; Peace has published the Global Peace Index (GPI), the leading measure of world peacefulness. The institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress. <br><br>Classic Journeys guests are sort of experts in this already according to the way that the IEP seeks to achieves its goals by promoting a better understanding of the cultural, economic and political factors that create peace. <br><br>Promoting peace as a measurement of human wellbeing and progress, the GPI ranks 163 nations (that’s 99.7% of the world’s population) on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most peaceful and 5 being the least. <br><br>And 2019’s GPI brings uplifting news: global peacefulness has improved for the first time in five years!<br><br>The most peaceful country on the planet retains the top spot as it has for the past 12 years and Europe is still the most peaceful region, a title it’s held since the GPI began. In fact, 17 of the 25 most peaceful countries in the world are found in Europe. <br><br>And more good news for Classic Journeys guests. There’s a definite correlation between the most peaceful countries, the happiest countries (according to the World Happiness Report) and many of the most popular countries to visit with Classic Journeys. Read on and prepare to be happy!<br><br><b>10: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/czech-republic-tours/" target="_blank">Czech Republic</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/czech-republic/" target="_blank"><img alt="Czech Republic Prague Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDxk" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.375/5<br><br>Nicknamed the ‘heart of Europe’, Czechia sits right in the middle of the world’s most peaceful continent. It’s also home to thousands of fairy-tale castles, has hundreds of thermal baths and beer brewing is at the heart of its culture. <br><br>Insider tip: Don’t miss out on a tasting with artisans at a local brewery Cesky Krumlov, one of the country’s most remarkably preserved villages, now recognized as a historic site itself.<br><br><br><b>9: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank">Japan</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/japan/" target="_blank"><img alt="Japan Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDxp" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.391/5<br><br>Japan falls within the top five countries for ‘Safety and Security’ and holds position three for peacefulness in the Asia-Pacific region. This awesome archipelago is also one of the most literate, environmentally friendly and all-round fascinating nations in the world. Japanese culture dates back thousands of years and the country has a legacy of technological entrepreneurship, decorous gardens and delectable cuisine. <br><br>Insider tip: When in Kyoto, make time to participate in a traditional tea ceremony. Your tea master will demonstrate how to prepare for and host a tea ceremony, and how to make a bowl of green tea in this centuries-old ritual, surrounded by the cobbled streets of the Higashiyama area, the Kodaiji Temple, the pagoda at Yasaka and the expansive Yasaka Shrine.<br><br><br><b>8: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Slovenia</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/slovenia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Slovenia Lake Bled Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDxu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.355/5<br><br>Slovenia hopped up two places into the top 10 this year, becoming the only newcomer on the list. The country nestles on the sunny side of the alps, bordering Adriatic Croatia, as well as Hungary, Austria and Italy. Forested hills, fairy-tale lakes and the lovely, leafy city of Ljubljana (considered Europe’s greenest capital) come together to create this tiny, charming nation. <br><br>Insider tip: Venture just outside of Ljubljana for a scenic drive to Lake Bled, a fantasy setting in real life. The Julian Alps soar in the near distance and of course there’s a medieval castle clinging to a cliff. Visit the small island on the lake where a pilgrimage church sits in picturesque isolation. Its steeple pierces the clear mountain air and inside there are remains of frescoes dating back to the 15th century. <br><br><br><b>7: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">Singapore</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank"><img alt="Singapore Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDxz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.347/5<br><br>Singapore jumped one spot from eight to seven this year, having leaped 13 positions the year before. It’s the global number 2 in the Safety and Security domain and the second most peaceful nation across the Asia-Pacific region. Known for its thriving expat community, high standards of living and education (and of course as the location for the book and movie, Crazy Rich Asians,) this island is a blend of Chinese, Indian, Malay, British, and Arab cultures. The ‘Lion City’ has a strong food culture, public transport is excellent, the botanic gardens are UNESCO World Heritage–listed, and the climate is warm year-round. <br><br>Insider tip: Rent bikes to peddle your way around town. The city is so compact that it can be explored in a few hours. And don’t miss out on a drink on the terrace at Marina Bay Sands, with incredible views over the city. <br><br><br><b>6: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada/" target="_blank">Canada</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/canada/" target="_blank"><img alt="Canada Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDy4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.347/5<br><br>While it holds its position in world peacefulness, Canada’s overall score has improved since last year. North America as a region had the highest freedom of life and standard of living satisfaction in the world. Prince Harry and Meghan chose this country to escape the public eye and its natives are famously friendly. The world’s second largest and sixth most peaceful country, Canada offers awe-inspiring landscapes, comforting cuisine and a captivating mix of cultures. <br><br>Insider tip: If you find yourself in Nova Scotia, make your way to one of the acclaimed local wineries for a tasting of their award-winning wines and vistas over the Minas Basin. Then head off to Halls Harbour for a lobster lunch (lobsters are landed on a small community wharf and brought directly to the customers) and to experience the world’s highest tides that come and go every six hours.<br><br><br><b>5: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scandinavia/" target="_blank">Denmark</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scandinavia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Denmark Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDy9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.347/5<br><br>Denmark has been in peacefulness position five since 2017, achieving low levels of crime, combined with high levels of political stability and income equality. Terrorism impact has dropped while social trust soars. A nation once notorious for its violent Vikings, Denmark is now known one as one the most peaceful, happiest places on earth. Trust and community values are embedded deeply in Danish culture and the country’s concept of hygge has gained global renown. It promotes stepping away from the daily stress of the outside world to surround yourself with loved ones in a calming, familiar environment—slowing down and focusing on small joys. <br><br>Insider tip: Take a scenic drive to the coastal town of Rungsted to the bird sanctuary, where a walk with scattered cows and sheep leads to the simple hillside grave of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa and one of Denmark’s major literary figures.<br><br><br><b>4: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/austria/" target="_blank">Austria</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/austria/" target="_blank"><img alt="Austria Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDyE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.291/5<br><br>A regular in the global peacefulness top five, Austria also triumphs in Mercer’s Quality of Living Ranking, which in 2019 declared Vienna the world’s greatest city to live in for the tenth time. This culturally rich country is known as Europe’s classical music capital. With mountains to ski in the winter and hike in the summer, Austrians can live a ‘resort-style’ life all year round. <br><br>Insider tip: The castle where Richard the Lionhearted was held hostage during the Crusades towers over baroque Durnstein, one of Austria’s finest villages. Hike up to explore the ruins and the incredible view of the Danube River below.<br><br><br><b>3: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal-tours/" target="_blank">Portugal</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="Portugal Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDyJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.274/5<br><br>Hopping up two places, Portugal finds itself a place as a medalist this year in position three. 2019 was a successful year for this nation, with the World Travel Awards crowning the World’s Best Tourist Destination and UNICEF electing Portugal the fifth most family friendly nation. Basking in 3000 hours of sunshine a year, Portugal has the oldest borders in Europe, a rich cultural and culinary heritage and a deliciously slow pace of life. The Portuguese are a famously family-centric, open minded population, and music and dance are a big part their identity.  Almost every village has its own dance floor, or terreiro.  <br><br>Insider tip: Board a traditional Portuguese Rabelo boat that for centuries transported people and goods along the Douro River. Make your way up the river, taking in sweeping views of its world-famous vineyards before you walk through the vineyards, explore a winery and finish the day with a tasting of the acclaimed local wines.<br><br><br><b>2: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank">New Zealand</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/new-zealand/" target="_blank"><img alt="New Zealand Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDyO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.221/5<br><br>Number two in the world 2017 and number one in the Asia-Pacific region, NZ hasn’t dropped below world four in a decade. Of Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson declared, “New Zealand is not a small country but a large village”. A melting pot of Māori, Asian, Pacific Island and European traditions, Kiwis are a creative, open-minded and easy-going people. Besides low crime rates and high levels of population wellbeing and happiness, there’s no dangerous wildlife. The landscape is inspiring to say the least; ranging from mountains to caverns and bubbling springs to beaches.<br><br>Insider tip: Take the 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland to Waiheke Island. You’ll be forgiven if it looks like you’ve actually traveled thousands of miles to the Napa Valley, with its rolling hills and sweet microclimate. It also has gorgeous beaches, a laid-back and freespirited attitude, and dozens of excellent vineyards. Stop for an olive oil tasting at a family estate. <br><br><br><b>1: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/iceland/" target="_blank"><img alt="Iceland Most Peaceful Safe Country Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pm3Z&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000oDyT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>GPI score: 1.072/5<br><br>Iceland has been the most peaceful country in the world since 2008! Violent crime is virtually non-existent and the same goes for class tension, while levels of trust, wellbeing and education are impressively high. This is a one of the world’s happiest, friendliest, cleanest and most environmentally-conscious countries. In a homeland filled with waterfalls, volcanic mountains and other natural wonders, Icelanders have a close connection with nature. Children grow up rescuing baby puffins who’ve lost their way in the town and ancient folklore raises generations filled with respect and awe of their surroundings. <br><br>Insider tip: Lace up your hiking boots and go to Þingvellir National Park, where a deep tectonic rift valley offers trails where you&#39;re fully immersed in the tumbled wilderness that’s so unique to Iceland. Bonus point that this is also home to world’s oldest parliament, dating 930 AD.

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  • Wine

    6 Underrated Wine Trips That Aren’t France or Italy

    We know that a wine’s flavor is intricately linked to where it’s from. A region’s climate, elevation and soil composition all affect the grapes from which a particular wine is made. The French have a word for this concept: terroir. In a way, when you drink a glass of wine, you’re getting a taste of where that wine is from. Appreciating the concept of terroir, and understanding how it applies to the bottle you’ve just opened, is part of wine’s appeal.<br><br>There’s no science to back this up, but wine lovers agree: a glass of wine seems to taste better when you’re drinking it in its country of origin. International wine trips have become mandatory for wine aficionados, but if your list of destination wine countries only includes France and Italy, it’s time to broaden your horizons. <br><br>Winemaking has become a truly global industry. Thanks in no small part to the spread of agricultural and communication technology, wines are now being produced on every continent except Antarctica. Great wines come from all over the world, and you’ll find amazing wineries in some truly surprising places. If you’re thinking about taking a wine tour, here’s our wine lover’s travel guide, featuring six countries that might not yet be on your radar.<br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank"><u><b>SOUTHERN SPAIN</b></u></a><br><br>If you’re interested in wine but aren’t yet an expert, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank">Spain</a> might be the best place for your first wine tour. As with France and Italy, wine is a part of daily life. Spain is the world’s largest producer of grapes, with some 5 million acres devoted to vineyards. Tempranillo is the dominant variety; the red grape is found all over the country and can be grown in all sorts of climates. The two most popular white grapes are Albarino and verdejo – the Galacia region produces a great Albarino that is often served with local shellfish. Cava is the predominant Spanish sparkling wine; the Penedes region, just outside of Barcelona, is the largest producer. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/spain/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tour Spain" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBYy" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Venture into the central part of Spain, and you can find some up and coming wineries in and around Madrid. Spanish wines are typically not aged as long and don’t last as long in the bottle as their French or Italian counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not delicious. While great wines are produced all over Spain, the southern part of the country offers a classic Spanish treat – sherry. Sherry is the exception to the aging rule; wines used to make sherry are fortified with a grape spirit and then aged in wooden casks. The region of Andalucia contains the Sherry Triangle – Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa Maria. The Palomino, Moscatel, and Pedro Ximenez grapes grown here are unique to the region and are used to make Spain’s famous fortified wine. <br><br>As a travel destination, Spain’s charms are innumerous; since we’ve recommended the Sherry Triangle, why not explore the rest of southern Spain? The cities of Seville and Grenada offer amazing food, and the Moorish influence can be seen everywhere, making for a truly unique travel experience. At the edge of southern Spain lies one of the world’s great natural treasures, the Rock of Gibraltar. Yes, you can go to the top; most take the cable car, but a brave (and fit!) few opt to hike up the Mediterranean Steps trail.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><u><b>PORTUGAL</b></u></a><br><br>Of course, port wine is what brings wine lovers to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal</a>. The birthplace of port is the Douro Valley; the Portuguese government set its boundaries as a production region in 1756, making it the oldest officially demarcated wine region in the world – and the only official producer of the famous wine. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/douro-luxury-river-cruise/" target="_blank">Douro wine tours</a> are a great way to learn about port; unlike most other wines, port is a fortified wine, meaning that a small amount of a distilled spirit is added during the fermentation process. Typically served with a cheese plate or a dessert, it’s a favorite among Portuguese and visitors alike. But it’s not the only wine produced in Portugal. The Vinho Verde region produces white wines, and the Tras-os-Montes region produces rosado, a unique, slightly effervescent wine. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tour Douro" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBZD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>As a destination, Portugal has plenty to offer in addition to great wines. Steeped in seafaring history, Portugal’s Atlantic coast is home to dozens of lovely coastal villages. You’ll find some great beaches for relaxing and sunbathing; for pure excitement, there’s nothing quite like standing on the shore of Nazare, watching surfers attempt to ride the area’s giant waves – some of which can reach up to 100 feet high! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank"><u><b>CHILE</b></u></a><br><br>When thinking of South American wines, most people tend to focus on Argentina. Chile, however, might have a claim as <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-america-tours/" target="_blank">South America</a>’s premier wine-producing country. European settlers in Chile are thought to have planted the first grapevines in the 1500s, so Chileans have had lots of time to perfect their winemaking craft. And Chile’s climate makes it unique: the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountains to the east moderate the temperatures. Deserts to the north and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/patagonia-tours/" target="_blank">Patagonia</a> to the south also help to geographically isolate the country. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tour Chile" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBZN" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Its location is the reason that Chile is the only major wine-producing country that’s free of the vine-destroying phylloxera aphid. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Chile</a> is known for producing excellent cabernet sauvignon, but fans of exotic varietals will want to try Chilean wines made from the Carmenere grape. And simply being in the country is a treat – with over 2,600 miles of coastline, a border that backs up to one of the world’s most spectacular alpine regions and an average width of only 110 miles, you’re never far from the beach or the mountains. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><u><b>ISTRIA</b></u></a><br><br>We’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of Istria. It’s not a country, but a wine region that’s shared by <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatia/" target="_blank">Croatia</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Slovenia</a> and Italy. Sprawling across Croatia’s northwestern Istrian Peninsula, wines have been produced in the region for hundreds of years, but it’s only recently that wine travelers have taken notice. And for good reason. Istrian white wines have benefitted from modernized production techniques, and following the end of the Cold War have been showing up in markets and restaurants across Europe. Malvasia, an Old World light-skinned grape, is most common, but you’ll also find other white varieties, including muscat, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/istria-slovenia-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tour Istria" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBZS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>It’s not just the wines that make Istria worth visiting. Croatia has long been one of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/europe/" target="_blank">Europe</a>’s best-kept secrets, thanks to its beautiful scenery and generous people. Istria’s vineyards are bordered by some of Europe’s most incredible beaches, and the coastal towns are exceedingly charming and hospitable. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank"><u><b>NEW ZEALAND</b></u></a><br><br>Boasting some of the most spectacular terrain on earth, the Land of The Long White Cloud has a burgeoning wine scene as well. It’s hard to believe, given the rugged mountains and exotic beaches, but there are sections of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank">New Zealand</a> that provide great growing conditions for wine grapes, particularly sauvignon blanc. The Marlborough region is where some 70% of New Zealand’s wine production occurs, the bulk of that being white wines. You’ll find some excellent wines here, along with the legendary Kiwi hospitality. Although not as well known, the Bay of Plenty region has started to produce some reds, thanks to its fruit-friendly climate.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tour New Zealand" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBZX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you need a break from wine, the area is also known for its cider and local beer, perfect for watching a rugby game at one of the many pubs. And movie buffs can visit some of the locations used for the Lord of The Rings movies; the set of Hobbiton, Frodo and Bilbo’s home village, was preserved and is open for viewing. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><u><b>SOUTH AFRICA</b></u></a><br><br>A wine tour and a safari in one trip? A <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">safari wine tour</a> sounds awesome, and South Africa is starting to gain attention for its wines. But winemaking isn’t new to the country. The Stellenbosch region, about 25 miles east of Cape Town, has been producing wines since the beginning of the 18th century. Located in one of the world’s great landscapes, South Africa’s 250,000 acres of vineyards have been producing a surprising variety of grapes, both white and red; along with sauvignon blanc, chardonnays, and chenin blanc, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir are grown in the regions around Cape Town. Cape Town itself is a great reason to visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank">South Africa</a> – the bustling modern city has fantastic nightlife and picturesque beaches. The flat-topped Table Mountain looms over Cape Town, and a gondola ride to the top of this iconic peak is an experience not to be missed.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tour South Africa" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBZh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Paired with South Africa’s unique culinary offerings – and the South African love of grilling and eating outdoors, among the country’s amazing scenery and wildlife – a South African wine trip is an amazing experience.<br><br>Having a fantastic wine travel experience doesn’t require you to visit France or Italy. From enjoying a sherry after a paella dinner in Spain to sipping on a chilly glass of white in a tent on the African plains, today’s wine tours are a great way to experience the world’s wines – immersed in the countries and cultures that created them. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/world/" target="_blank"><img alt="Wine tours" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002e5pX&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000sBak" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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