Swiss Alps | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Lavender Fields in Provence, France

    Top 6 Locations to Stop and Smell the Flowers

    Take heart. Even if you are bracing for one more nor’easter, spring is upon us. Not only is warmer weather on the horizon, but our world is about to get a lot more colorful! Soon, flowers will start to blossom all over the globe, bringing vibrant hues and perfumed breezes for you to enjoy. You can celebrate this spectacle in person or vicariously by scrolling down to see six of our favorite places to watch flowers bloom.   <br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/southernspain/" target="_blank">The valleys of Ronda, Spain</a><br><img alt="Valley of Ronda, Spain" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4oo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oaMm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>You might not find a better view in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/southernspain/" target="_blank">Spain</a> than those along the Guadiaro River in Ronda. In season, the whole valley is blanketed with gorgeous wildflowers. Enjoy a cinematic walk that leads you through oak forest, past villages that peek through the branches, and with views of the Benaoján Sierras soaring in the distance. Along the way, you’ll walk past farmsteads with well-tended orchards and fields of produce, before the valley narrows to an impressive red rock canyon where a dense forest is alive with birds.<br> <br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">Alpine Flowers of the Swiss Alps</a><br><img alt="Alpine Flowers" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4oo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oaMw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>In early to mid-summer the meadows of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">Swiss Alps</a> are ablaze with flowers. Primrose, heather, Bellflower, and buttercup are just a few of the blooms that flourish on these towering slopes. On your Swiss Alps adventure, you’ll join a local expert for a nature walk on a trail from Iffigen Alp down through the lush green upper valley along the Simme River. You’ll get an immersive firsthand lesson in the local agriculture, flora, and fauna. Amidst thick patches of forest and seasonal flowers, you&#39;ll feel like a true mountain villager, ambling below spectacular peaks as cowbells echo from the hillsides.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Lavender in Provence</b></a><br><img alt="Lavender in Provence" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4oo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oaMS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>From May to August, purple ribbons of lavender drape the hills and valleys of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank">Provence, France</a>. And oh, what a sight it is. As you explore Provence, make sure to visit Senanque Abbey (one of only three Cistercian monasteries in the region still occupied by monks). This Provencal landmark is in an isolated valley surrounded by fields upon fields of lavender–pictures don’t even do it justice, but they sure come close.<br> <br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto</a><br><img alt="Kyoto Cherry Blossoms" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4oo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oaMX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>It’s said that 20% or more of Japan’s most important national treasures are in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Kyoto </a>and they are now recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From March to May the explosion of cherry blossoms wraps the historic city in a different kind of national treasure as visitors from all over the world flock to Kyoto to witness this beautiful transition from spring to summer.<br> <br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Bougainvillea in Amalfi</a><br><img alt="Bougainvillea Amalfi" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4oo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oaMc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>Situated on the &#39;ankle&#39; of the Italian boot, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi </a>has the perfect climate for flowers to thrive, and thrive they do! In mid-spring, bright bougainvillea climb around walls and staircases, and line village streets–making these flowers iconic to this coastal town. These purple blooms decorate gleaming villas that cling to cliffs with no visible foothold. You might find yourself asking how…why? But when you swing open the shutters in your cliffside hotel room, the jaw-dropping view is all the answer you need.<br> <br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand/" target="_blank">Flower Festival in Chiang Mai</a><br><img alt="Flower Festival Chiang Mai" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4oo&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oaMh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>Time your visit for February to enjoy the Chiang Mai Flower Festival that celebrates the beautiful blooms that are in season. This is <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand/" target="_blank">Thailand’s </a>greatest flower show, where floats are decked out with vivid flowers unique to northern Thailand. The plethora of color that this festival brings to Chiang Mai fittingly gives the city its nickname, “Rose of the North”.

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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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  • Horseback riding, Bryce Canyon

    5 Fun Ways to Travel

    <h2>As much as we love walking along scenic footpaths, we’re big fans of other forms of  locomotion, too — especially when they let us see the region from a different angle.</h2>   <p>Check out these fun ways to travel that we take advantage of on any tour we can.</p> <p><b>FUNICULAR.<br><br><img alt="Funicular" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italianlakes/" target="_blank">Italian Lake Retreats Cultural Walking Adventure</a></b><br>The lake recedes as you glide up the mountainside from Como to the village of Brunate. At the top, we <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank">walk amid private villas and the breathtaking views</a> stretch to Switzerland.</p> <h3><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/" target="_blank">DOWNLOAD AN ITINERARY FOR SWITZERLAND OR ANOTHER DESTINATION YOU LOVE!</a></h3> <p><b>KAYAK.<br><br><img alt="Kayaking in Alaska" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank">Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Multisport Family Journey</a></b><br>Paddle beside <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">sea otters, sea lions and past three massive glaciers</a> that spill right into the waters of Thumb Cove, an area locals call “Little Switzerland.”</p> <p><b>CAMEL.<br><br><img alt="Riding a camel in Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank">Fés to Marrakesh Cultural Walking Adventure</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Climb aboard camels for a memorable ride</a> to the soaring red sand dunes of Merzouga, the highest in the world, and arrive just in time to watch the sun set over the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Moroccan desert</a>.</p> <p><b>BOAT.<br><br><img alt="Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br> </p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank"><b>Costa Rica Cultural Walking Adventure</b></a><br>Opt for a thrilling whiter-water rafting <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costarica/" target="_blank">adventure through the Costa Rican rainforest</a>, or explore thick stands of mangrove by canoe or wooden river cruiser.</p> <p><b>BIKE.</b><br><img alt="Group of women bike riding" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ln&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rOg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-family/" target="_blank">Swiss Alps Multisport Family Journey</a></b><br>The sound of the Simme River is our soundtrack as we cruise along a gentle, slightly downhill path on mountain bikes, before boarding a train for the return trip.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/catalog/" target="_blank">CLICK HERE TO REQUEST A CATALOG AND READ MORE ABOUT CUSTOM TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD!</a></p> <p><b>WHAT SHOES DO I NEED?</b></p> <p>Although our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/walkingtours/" target="_blank">Cultural Walking Adventures</a> feature daily walks through beautiful destinations, that doesn’t mean that we’re all about making the miles. We’re all about making the most of the miles. A pair of sturdy leather or synthetic walking shoes or walking sandals should serve you just fine on most Classic Journeys trips.</p> <p> </p>

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