If you’re like us, you think of travel as more than “going places.” When you strike out, it’s because you crave experience and discovery, not just monuments and museums. You want to understand what’s behind the touristic façade that most people never penetrate. You travel because, for at least a few days every year, you want to step outside of your life. That’s what our signature Cultural Walking Adventures are all about.
To us, walking is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in local culture. When you’re on foot, the world can’t slide past you faster than you can absorb it. You’ll have time — and proximity — to smell the apricot blossoms or feel the rumble of a glacier through the soles of your shoes. On our walks, you encounter rainforest tribespeople you never would have met and cottage gardens you never would have seen; you experience the tempo of a Mediterranean village in the hour before sunset in a way you never would have noticed if you breezed through in a vehicle.
Don’t worry, “walking tour” doesn’t mean you’ll hike, trek or hoof it from inn to inn — only that you’ll spend part of each morning and/or afternoon with your feet on the ground getting up close to the region’s culture and natural history. That usually adds up to two or more optional daily walks. On tour, our local guides will describe walks before they occur; in regions where more strenuous walks are possible, they may be offered as alternatives. When possible, our vehicle is nearby in case you have a change of heart. The outings might include a village tour, a seaside stroll or a local guide’s favorite path through an oasis, vineyard or red-rock canyon. Because we average just 10 guests in each group, our footprint is small. We can take our time and blend in with the world around us.
Right now, you could be having an unforgettable day on a Classic Journeys adventure.
7:12 A.M. – STONEHENGE
You can hardly speak. It’s you, really it is, standing amid the pillars of Stonehenge. The site isn’t open to the public yet. So it’s just you, the rising sun and a moment that you never even dreamed could happen.
10:19 A.M. – WOODLANDS OF CROATIA
That snuffling sound is the truffle hunter’s dog, nosing around for a nugget of black gold on the Istrian Peninsula. The hunter explains how it’s done and gives you a fresh-dug whiff. Later at dinner, you ask for extra shavings on your pasta.
11:47 A.M. – A CAVE IN THE DORDOGNE VALLEY
Twenty-five thousand years ago, a painter stood right where you are to puff and brush dye onto the cave wall. Your guide has the keys to the cave. Other tourists in southwest France only see the reproductions. You see the real thing, very close up.
1:00 P.M. – THE CHILEAN ANDES
A big cooking fire roars. Sharp snowy peaks flare in the sun. The downslope breeze is the cleanest air you’ve breathed in forever. A gaucho slides a still sizzling steak onto your plate, and food has never tasted this good.
3:12 P.M. – NEAR QUEBEC CITY
This walk is something you never expected. On Île d’Orléans you take a path through some of the oldest buildings in North America. You get a photo or two of the gorgeous little gardens and keep reminding yourself that this is Canada … not France.
5:36 P.M. – THE BEACH AT TORTUGUERO
Your timing is just right. You got to Costa Rica as the sea turtles were hatching and now, from a safe distance, you see the hatchlings bumble up through the sand and to the water. It’s one of nature’s great migrations, and it’s starting right before your eyes.
9:07 P.M. – SOMEWHERE IN THE SAHARA
You got to these red Moroccan dunes by Land Rover and camel. You dropped your bag in a luxury Berber tent and ate dinner cooked by the Blue Men. And here you sit in the sand as your day ends under a billion of the brightest stars ever.