• Fall in the Italian Countryside

    7 Best Fall Vacations

    With the end of summer on the horizon, don’t get discouraged by the chill in the air as the autumn season rolls in. It’s easy to hunker down in the fall and prepare for the winter season ahead. Instead, put off dragging your sweaters out of storage and opt-in for a fall vacation! Autumn travel offers pleasant weather and the joys of shoulder season with lower prices and far fewer crowds. Here are the destinations on the top of our list to visit this fall:<br><br><b>The Canadian Rockies</b><br><br>Experience the solitude of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank">Canadian Rockies</a> away from the crowds and bask in the glory that is the autumn color painted throughout Lake Louise, the Sunwapta River, and Mount Victoria. The Canadian Rockies is teeming with wildlife—whether it be moose, elk, bears, or bighorn sheep—experience the exceptional flora and fauna through the lens of local guides and view the spectacular wildlife at the peak of their activity. Some say that hiking the spectacular gorges, marveling at the rushing waterfalls, and enjoying the snow-capped peaks is even more breathtaking in the dim fall light.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUvZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>France</b><br><br>In reality, there is no wrong time to explore <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank">Normandy</a>, Burgundy or the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">City of Light</a>, But we think the fall just may be France&#39;s best season. Bask in the joys of Paris as the city&#39;s parks turn to hues of orange, yellow, and bright red. Admire the Jardin de Luxembourg and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank">Palace of Versailles</a> resembling the color and brilliance of an Impressionist painting, giving Claude Monet a run for his money. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/loire/" target="_blank">Burgundy</a> is the perfect blend of classic French villages and rolling terrain with a patchwork of forests and harvesting vineyards that are utter perfection in the fall. Finally, enjoy the classic Norman picture-book villages, the stunning<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/normandy/" target="_blank"> Mont-St-Michel</a>, and Normandy&#39;s massive apple orchards that thrive at this time of the year. There is no better time to explore France than August through November!  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/london-and-paris-family-vacation/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Greek Isles </b><br><br>Autumn in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greece</a> is heavenly—with balmy weather, warm water, and harvests of olives and grapes—you’re guaranteed a lovely time without the often-overwhelming crowds of summertime travel. Explore the remarkable ruins of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Knossos and Delos</a>, sample the fruits of cliff-hugging vineyards, and take in the iconic views from your hotel in Santorini all complete with a warm autumn glow that accentuates the charm of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank">Greek isles</a>. Shoulder season gives you a chance to intimately engage with the local culture and meet the phyllo bakers, olive growers, archeologists, and villagers who live amid some of the loveliest scenery and finest historical treasures on earth. <br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUve" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Italy </b><br><br>In the fall, Italy presents the opportunity to enjoy the colorful countrysides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Tuscany</a>, relish in the local markets spilling over with fresh produce in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a>, and take advantage of the pleasant weather in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sardinia/" target="_blank">Sardinia &amp; Corsica</a>. Skip the usual cathedral-and-cappuccino circuit in the crowds and heat of the summer and visit Italy in the autumn to properly savor the local culture, cuisine, and charisma. September through October is the typical time for the grape harvest in the wine region and towns in Tuscany celebrate the production of wine with festivals galore! Partake in the joys of the harvest season and celebrate with a glass of wine form a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">local winery</a>!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUp7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion </b><br><br>Even as adults we play the pioneer game every time we visit this monumental trio of national parks. Imagine cresting the hills in your Conestoga wagon to behold the sights and breathtaking views <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, the Grand Canyon, and Zion</a> have to offer. Deep canyons, brilliant red rock, bridges of stone, and boulders poised on slender spires amaze visitors year-round. However, the fall provides visitors with pleasant weather, far fewer crowds, great chances to spot wildlife, and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">colorful leaves that sprinkle Zion’s canyon floors</a> and winding trails in late September and early October.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpC" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Charleston &amp; Savannah</b><br><br>The coastal south is brimming with a distinctive meld of history, way of life, and charm that is all the more enjoyable as the autumn season graces <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston and Savannah</a> with clear blue skies, sunshine, and nice cool breezes. There&#39;s no other region in America with such a distinctive meld of history, climate, and way of life! Walk through moss-draped lanes, admire the fine restorations of prosperous homes, visit some of the country’s most unique <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">living history museums</a>, and stroll the old city streets under the shade of curvaceous oak trees.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Galápagos</b><br><br>Autumn in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos</a> is a special time in the archipelago. In September, the Antarctic Humboldt current is strong—bringing hoards of wildlife to the scene. Escape the fall weather at home and get the chance to admire penguins, sea lions, and marine birds at the peak of their activity! The beginning of fall is also a prime opportunity to see <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">humpback whales and their calves migrating</a>, fur seals mating, dolphins playing in the cool water, and giant tortoises laying eggs on the white sandy beaches.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxkU&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zUpM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Autumn is just around the corner and it truly is the perfect time to explore some of our favorite destinations. If you can, skip the crowds and the heat of summer and pack your bags to revel in the joys of shoulder season! Check out some of Classic Journeys&#39; fall trips <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/none/October/none/none/" target="_blank">here</a>!<br><br> 

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  • Sheep in field in Cotswolds

    Visit Stonehenge like Obama + six other travel tips in the British Isles

    The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">British Isles</a> are a diverse land mixing centuries of history and culture with spirited metropolitan cities and quaint countryside towns. Whatever your interests may be, there’s much to explore across the pond. But with so many options available, it’s easy to find yourself stuck in an enormous crowd staring at the back of a tourist’s head rather than seeing the changing of the guards. Fortunately for you, there is a way to pick just the right footpath, to get the same private access to Stonehenge as former President Obama and to be at the right place at the right time. Just follow this easy cheat sheet. With it, you can take to the streets in London or meander through charming countryside and villages where time seems to stand still. Cue the wanderlust!<br><br><b>London</b><br><br>Surprise, surprise—<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">London</a> makes the list! Of course, visiting the British Isles without exploring this magnificent city steeped in history would be missing a great deal of the British Isles. With a local expert Blue Badge Guide, keep your focus on <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Buckingham Palace</a>, Westminster Abbey, and the many impressive war monuments and museums. Your guide will help you weave the past into the fabric of the city while blending with the modern architecture in this metropolitan gem. The city’s tremendous diversity (did you know there are over one million British Indians in London?) lends it an inimitable character where delicious food abounds the streets and creativity exists on every street corner. So how to find the well-connected friend a.k.a. Blue Badge Guide? <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> has relationships with the best ones so that you can focus all your attention on enjoying your visit.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV34" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Stonehenge</b><br> <br>Stonehenge&#39;s ring of prehistoric standing stones is iconic, a quintessential symbol of Britain and its rich history. This <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">UNESCO World Heritage site</a>, located in the Salisbury Plain, dates as far back as 5,000 years and carries a powerful ceremonial and ritual significance for people across the globe. Each massive stone weighs about 25 tons and reaches heights of 13 feet, making it a masterpiece of engineering. This wonder of the world, and the mystery and rich history that surrounds it, is a must-see as you explore the United Kingdom. The problem you’ll encounter is that about 1.5 million people visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Stonehenge</a> every year, meaning that you will have a lot more than the standing stones standing around you. The cure is to visit when the site is closed to the public. No, we don’t mean to jump the fence and skirt the ample security. Instead, <a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> has special permission from English Heritage to bring its guests into Stonehenge when no one else is present. Meaning you’ll be just like the president, if only for a day.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV39" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Blenheim Palace</b><br><br>Britain boasts yet another impressive <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">UNESCO World Heritage</a> site in one of England’s great country houses: <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Blenheim Palace</a>. The impressive palace has been a filming location for many movies but has a storied history of its own. Located just outside of Oxford, the massive property is open to the public but is considered the private property of the 12th Duke of Marlborough. The palace is known for being the ancestral home of Winston Churchill, was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the First World War and has housed various dukes and duchesses throughout history. You can arrive by car and simply wander Blenheim on your own, listening for the old halls to share their stories of the palace. Or, join Classic Journeys to walk through the scenic countryside from the nearby village of Bladon—where Winston Churchill was buried—to Blenheim Palace. With this route, you also have the fun of strolling the sweeping lawns and formal gardens.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3E" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>The Cotswolds</b><br><br>The stunning <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">Cotswolds</a> region is not only known as the birthplace of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and George Elliot, but also wows for its sweeping sheep-filled meadows, grand family homes, and honey-colored villages that represent the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank">England of fantasies</a>. Think cozy, flower-strewn cottages and vast swathes of picturesque rolling green countryside. So many of them, in fact, that your head will spin with color, fragrance and options. So how to make sense of it? Opt for a guided walk through Bath that includes afternoon tea served with shortbread and scones, and revel in the location that inspired some of the world&#39;s best literature. The magic of these places is how little they have changed over the centuries, and so how easy it is to imagine yourself in the literary works you treasure and the land that inspired them.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/londonstonehengecotswolds/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3J" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Cornwall</b><br> <br>The southwest corner of England is known for its inviting turquoise water, sandy beaches, chalky limestone cliffs and fine coastal trails with terrific views punctuated by lighthouses and villages tucked into tiny coves. Visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank">Tintagel Castle</a>, which is frequently cited as the birthplace of King Arthur himself. History and legends of the pirates and smugglers of Land&#39;s End exist around every corner. Cozy seaside villages, friendly and quirky locals and the occasional cream tea with scones, jam, and clotted cream will leave you feeling at home in this captivating part of the British Isles. Follow a Blue Badge Guide on walks along cliffs lined with coastal paths, explore seaside hamlets with picturesque harbors, and cross causeways to an island castle in this exquisite county of England. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cornwall/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3O" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Killarney, Ireland </b><br><br>The Irish town of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Killarney</a> is nestled on the beautiful Lough Leane lakeshore in a valley ringed by mountains in southwest Ireland. The scenic valleys, fabled Killarney Lakes and Old Kenmare Road are not to be missed. But what is fact and what is fable? For that, you’ll want to pair up with an expert local as you stroll through the wild, heath-covered hillsides of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Killarney National Park</a> and look out for its magnificent herds of native red deer and unique plant life. Enjoy beautiful castles and too many shades of green to count as you learn of Killarney&#39;s famous herds of mountain sheep that have been carefully bred for over 150 years. (Because you’re in the know, you’ll also be welcomed to a sheep farm to watch its prized dogs maneuver the sheep all around the countryside.) <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3d" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Ring of Kerry, Ireland</b><br><br>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">Ring of Kerry</a> is a famed scenic loop in southwest Ireland&#39;s County Kerry. Rugged islands, dramatic beaches, and cinematic mountain passes will amaze you as you roam through the Irish countryside. But how to make Ireland more than just one big green postcard in your mind? The secret is in getting to know the local people. So find a guide who can introduce you to the chocolatier who will become your own personal Willy Wonka, the local who shares his secrets for how to cut turf (totally useless, but very fun) and the master distiller who is taking on the global brands one drop at a time. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxko&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zV3i" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>There you go. Seven travel hacks that will have you exploring the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">British Isles</a> like a former president, staying far from the maddening crowds, and getting the trip of a lifetime. For more details on how, take a look at tours offered by <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/united-kingdom/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a>.   

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  • Ed and Susie on camel

    Travel + Leisure Names Classic Journeys The World's Best Tour Operator for 2019

    On July 10, 2019, Travel + Leisure magazine announced their readers voted Classic Journeys #1, the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">World&#39;s Best Tour Operator for 2019</a>. We&#39;ve been included in the World&#39;s Best rankings every year for more than a decade, and this is the second time in the last five years that travelers have voted us into the top spot. Shortly before the results were made public, we chatted with Founder Edward Piegza about how he learned the news, how it feels to earn this recognition, and what it means for travelers. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/worlds-best-tour-operator/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxpP&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zVCu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Congratulations! How did you get the news?</b><br>I received a top-secret email and phone call from the editor of <i>Travel + Leisure</i> a few weeks ago with orders not to tell ANYONE. Friends and neighbors must have wondered why my smile has been so extra big lately. Now they know.<br><br><b>And how does it feel to be the World’s Best Tour Operator again?</b><br>Awesome. Humbling. So, so satisfying. Deeply gratifying to learn that we have achieved what we set out to do which is to handcraft trips of a lifetime for every guest who travels with us. I’m known as long-winded, so I could probably come up with 10 or 15 more ways to describe it if you want me to keep going.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxpP&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zVDT" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Why do you think Travel + Leisure gave you this recognition?</b><br>Actually, it isn’t the T+L editors who make the decision. That’s the best part. Their readers cast the votes. So the people who do the traveling, the guests who explore the world with us and our competitors—they are the ones who raised their hands to tell T+L that <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> is the World’s Best Tour Operator based on their own experiences. Let me say it right here: “To all of you who voted for us, you are the World’s Best Guests!”<br><br><b>What do you think makes your guests the World’s Best Guests?</b><br>That’s easy. They are curious. They care about connecting with people of different cultures and immersing themselves in the world. They treasure experiences more than things. Like the old ad slogan went, they go for the gusto and crave the chance to have one-of-a-kind moments. They are incredibly interesting and interested people, and all of us at Classic Journeys count it as a real privilege to share in their passion for travel. And we feel that way on the other 364 days of the year when we’re not celebrating recognition like this.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxpP&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zVDO" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>I guess this is what you meant when you told me that “Enthusiasm is contagious.”</b><br>Absolutely. That’s not our official motto, but it could be. We love what we do. We enjoy helping guests figure out how to invest their precious time and budget. I can honestly say that all of us feel that way—the Guest Services folks who interact with you while you’re planning your trip, the Tour Operations team members who plan all of the logistics, the local guides who lead each one of our trips full time. There’s just a huge amount of positive energy in what we do, and I think it truly is hard to resist. We’d climb into every one of our guest’s suitcases and go along with them if we could. Because we can’t, we call each guest while they’re on tour just to be sure they are having a trip of a lifetime.<br><br><b>Has anyone ever called Classic Journeys obsessive?</b><br>I hope so, because we are. Everything is in the details. For instance, we’ve created a special tour for the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">total eclipse of the sun</a> which is going to pass over parts of South America in 2020. We’ve already analyzed likely traffic patterns in the most remote areas and figured out how to structure our itinerary so that our guests will be in place in the path of totality while the people who don’t plan ahead will be stuck in jams on remote dirt roads. We enjoy obsessing about details like that so that our guests never have to.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vxpP&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zVDd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>How can you top this?</b><br>Oh, we never let ourselves think of it that way. We just continue to approach every single guest on each and every departure like the most important guest we’ve ever had. It seems to be working! Of course, we keep looking for new ways to win more converts. For 2019, we’ve launched a new series of Classic Journeys that are based from <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/river-cruising/" target="_blank">river cruise boats</a>. On a different note, seeing how many travelers can’t always find as much vacation time as they really want, we have developed a series of 6-day or shorter quick trips that go as far afield as Iceland, the Galápagos and Morocco.<br><br><b>Final thoughts?</b><br>It’s always an honor to win recognition. But, for all of us at Classic Journeys, the biggest privilege is to share the dreams of our guests and make those dreams come true. That connection is the best feeling of all.<br><br> 

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