Skip to content

World art tours

Travel with friends

If you’re planning on travelling overseas, a tour with the Art Gallery Society of NSW will ensure you have a memorable and meaningful experience in the company of like-minded travellers. It also means you’re helping us buy art, as funds raised from tours go towards the Gallery’s collection.

We have a wide range of world art tours to diverse destinations. Individual tour itineraries have been carefully designed to include the most fascinating and important art historical, archaeological and architectural sites.

The Society’s tour leaders are chosen for their adventurous spirit, their knowledge, experience, ability to communicate and to manage groups. In many countries local guides are essential, and the Society has a very good network of international guides who share their intimate knowledge of complex cultural, political and religious sensitivities.


24 October – 2 November 2017

Through the holy lands: Jordan
Amman – Dead Sea – Petra – Aqaba
With Julian Droogan
From $5350 pp plus airfares

Thanks to its strategic location at the crossroads of the ancient world, Jordan is truly part of the ‘cradle of civilisation’. From antiquity to the 20th century, this tiny country has had a fascinating and varied history, which has left its mark with an extraordinary abundance of archaeological finds dating back 6000 years. From powerful biblical sites and well-preserved ancient Roman cities to Arabic desert citadels, Crusader castles and Umayyad palaces, Jordan is also rich in geographical contrasts. For many, of course, the highlight will be the magical, ancient rock-cut city of Petra.

This tour connects with Through the holy lands: Israel and Palestine.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


15–24 October 2017

Through the holy lands: Israel and Palestine
Nazareth – Galilee – Jerusalem – Bethlehem
With Julian Droogan
From $6950 pp plus airfares

The Levantine lands of Israel and Palestine sit at the core of three world religions and 5000 years of oft-contested Western history. The rich, complex and at times baffling history of places like Jericho, Nazareth, Bethlehem and the spectacular city of Jerusalem makes them an unparalleled and challenging travel experience. From ancient sacred sites that emerged out of prehistory and whose names resonate in myth and story, to Greco-Roman cities whose markets can still be shopped in today, Israel and Palestine are unlike any other destinations in the Classical world.

This tour connects with Through the holy lands: Jordan.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website

8–21 October 2017

Bhutan: the last Himalayan kingdom
Mountains and monasteries
With Joyce Morgan
From $10,850 including airfares

Bhutan has sweeping mountains, towering fortress-monasteries and a rich Buddhist culture expressed in its multitude of festivals. The reclusive kingdom has started to open its doors to the world while maintaining its vibrant traditions. With breathtaking architecture, dramatic landscape and a thriving artistic culture, the land of the Thunderdragon is like no other. Myth and legend intertwine in a place where monks dance and tigers are said to fly, where rice is red and men don traditional robes with argyle socks.

Autumn is an ideal time to visit Bhutan when the monsoon is over, the fields are green, the weather is mild and several colourful monastery festivals take place.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website

Jeong Hwa Choi Fruit tree 2001. Photo: Ken Kato, courtesy of the Organizing Committee for Yokohama Triennale

7–19 October 2017

More than meets the eye
Contemporary art, architecture and design in Japan
With Kathryn Hunyor
From $11,850 pp plus airfares

At once traditional yet futuristic, timeless yet fast-moving, Japan has developed a bold and unique aesthetic in contemporary art, architecture and design that permeates all aspects of everyday life. The adventure begins with exploring Tokyo’s extraordinary new architectural masterpieces, art museums, design studios and commercial urban spaces. Visit the Yokohama Triennale and Kanazawa and conclude with the extraordinary ‘art islands’ of Naoshima, Teshima and Inujima.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website

Alhambra, Spain

21 September – 6 October 2017

Art treasures of Madrid and Andalusia
From the Prado to the Alhambra
With Brian Ladd
From $9450 pp plus airfares

From the Prado to the Alhambra, discover the magnificent art treasures of Madrid and the splendours of Andalusia. Beginning in Madrid, enjoy comprehensive visits to three of the world’s great art collections, as you savour the sophistication of the Spanish capital. Then, by fast train and leisurely coach, travel across Andalusia, the historical domain of the Moors from 711 until 1492, and Spain’s most culturally diverse region. From Seville and Córdoba in the west to Granada in the east, discover the fascinating history, art, architecture, food and culture of this captivating corner of the Iberian Peninsula. On the way, enjoy an interlude in Ronda and discover the re-birth of Malaga as a centre of modern and contemporary art.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website

Mary Kelly Love songs 2005–07, installation in five parts. Photo: Ryszard Kasiewicz / © documenta Archiv

7–20 September 2017

Cutting-edge contemporary
Skulptur Projekte Münster, documenta 14, ABC Berlin, private collections and Spinnerei Leipzig
With Gitte Weise
From $9450 pp plus airfares

2017 is an exciting year for contemporary art in Germany with four ‘must-see’ events – the Münster Skulptur Projekte, documenta 14, ABC Berlin and Spinnerei Leipzig. Begin with the Münster Skulptur Projekte and continue to Kassel for documenta 14 entitled ‘Learning from Athens’. During a week in Berlin explore this lively city’s outstanding museums and private collections and attend Art Berlin Contemporary (ABC). This tour concludes with a day trip to Leipzig and the distinctive 19th-century Spinnerei art.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


14–30 September 2017

Splendours of Uzbekistan
The jewel of Central Asia
With Liz Gibson
From $9250 pp including airfares

Travel across Uzbekistan, the jewel of Central Asia and melting pot of cultures. Explore its historic treasures set amid arid deserts, vast steppes and majestic mountains. Visit the architectural legacy of Timur and his successors in the romantic oasis cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand – strung across the desert like rare pearls, with their dazzling turquoise-tiled mosques, madrassahs and minarets.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


9–26 June 2017

A road less travelled
Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan
With Liz Gibson
From $9500 pp plus airfares

Journey through the breathtaking Caucasus to three distinctive countries – Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – to explore one of the most culturally complex and linguistically diverse parts of our world. Extending from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, and wedged between Russia in the north and Turkey and Iran in the south, the Caucasus occupies a strategic position between Europe and Asia. This unique location has long attracted invaders, including Persians, Mongols, Turks and Russians, resulting in a rich and complex mix of religion, language and culture.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


25 May – 6 June 2017

The glory of the French Renaissance
Chateaux, gardens and decorative arts in the Loire Valley and Île-de-France
With Richard Beresford

The 16th century saw the birth of the French nation, the arrival of the Renaissance in France and a century of extraordinary artistic activity. In the lazy landscapes and special light of the Loire Valley and Île-de-France, the French kings rebuilt former medieval fortresses or commissioned new chateaux in the grand style of the Italian Renaissance. Based in the Loire Valley and the Forest of Chantilly, this in-depth art appreciation study tour is designed to fully introduce you to the grandeur, romance and legacy of the French Renaissance.

Note: This tour has been postponed for operational reasons. Contact Renaissance Tours if you have an enquiry.

Havana © Nick Kenrick / Flickr

21 April – 6 May 2017

Art deco to art now
Miami and Cuba
With Claudia Chan Shaw
From approx $11,250 pp plus airfares

Continuing our series Art deco to art now, Claudia Chan Shaw embarks on her next adventure. Beginning in Miami to explore its vibrant art-deco heritage and contemporary arts scene, Claudia then takes you to Cuba, famous for its rich historical heritage, magnificent beaches, dramatic landscapes and passion for music and art.

For over 500 years, Cuba was a major gateway between Old and New Worlds. Its exotic cities are graced by a distinctive mixture of architectural styles, from colonial to baroque, neoclassical to art deco and modernist to postmodernist. Cuba’s love affair with music is legendary and its poetry and writing form part of the unique Latin American literary heritage. Art lovers are also waking up to Cuba’s long tradition of visual arts, from pre-revolutionary modernism to contemporary.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


22 May – 6 June 2017

Nordic lights
Music, art and literature in Iceland and Norway
With Rosamund Bartlett
From approx $12,850 pp plus airfares

Renowned for their love of nature, music, art and literature, the Nordic countries celebrate the arrival of summer with a smorgasbord of cultural events. This tour includes performances, in Oslo, Reykjavik and the highlights of the Bergen International Festival.

Enjoy performances in legendary venues such as the Harpa in Reykjavik, the Oslo Opera House and Grieg Hall in Bergen; explore the great museums of Oslo and Iceland’s thriving visual arts scene; and, together with Rosamund, discover the rich literary heritage and cultural history of Norway and Iceland. And at every turn, marvel at the breathtaking scenery of fjords, mountains and sea.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website

19-25 March 2017

Hong Kong Art Week and Guangzhou
New art and architecture in Hong Kong and China
With Ron Ramsey
From approx $5250 pp including airfares

Encompassing Art Basel in Asia, Art Central and other art events, Hong Kong Art Week has become a ‘not-to-missed’ artfest for artists, dealers, critics, curators, collectors and art lovers alike.

The big show in town is, of course, Art Basel Hong Kong. But it is now joined by an edgy new sibling, Art Central, which features over 100 contemporary art galleries from around the world showcasing the next generation of big names in art. Hong Kong’s art scene is further enhanced with the September 2016 opening of M+ Pavilion, the first permanent facility in the fast-developing West Kowloon Cultural District.

A short train ride from Hong Kong takes you to Guangzhou and the Zaha Hadid-designed Opera House, the catalyst for the development of new cultural facilities in one of China’s lesser-appreciated art cities.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


13–24 January 2017

Jaipur writers’ festival
Delhi, Agra and Jaipur
With Joyce Morgan
From approx $8950 pp including airfares

With its array of leading international authors, the Jaipur Literature Festival is India’s most stimulating annual event. For lovers of books, ideas and compelling conversations, it is a festival like no other. Set in the magnificent Diggi Palace, the festival combines the vibrancy of Rajasthan with the best of contemporary literature from the English-speaking world. We will spend five days at this unique event with its lively program of literary events by day and musical performances by night.

Note: This tour has been cancelled. Contact Renaissance Tours if you have an enquiry.


4-16 January 2017

Russian winter wonderland
Art and music in Moscow and St Petersburg
With Kenneth Park
From approx $8750 pp plus airfares

Experience the magic of Russia in the winter, witness a Russian Orthodox Christmas and discover the extraordinary cultural richness of Moscow and St Petersburg. Thanks to the grandeur of its imperial past, Russia has an abundance of museums, palaces and theatres. With comprehensive stays in the dynamic political and economic capital of Moscow and the grand Tsarist capital of St Petersburg, you will discover it all – without the summer crowds. By day immerse yourself in the magnificent art, architecture and palaces and join the celebrations of Russian Orthodox Christmas (6/7 January). In the evening, enjoy a feast of opera, ballet and concerts at legendary venues such as the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


8-26 January 2017

Mexico: Mayan to magic realism
Mexico City to the Yucatan Peninsula
With Julian Droogan
From approx $11,250 pp plus airfares

With a vibrant palette of ancient cultures and modern art, heritage cities and beautiful beaches, colourful music and dance, Mexico offers a feast for all the senses. Begin with a thorough exploration of the outstanding museums, pre-historic sites, colonial heritage and thriving cultural scene in and around Mexico City. Then travel into the jungle to visit the ancient Mayan sites of Palenque and Yaxchilan, before concluding in the Yucatan Peninsula, famous for its archaeological sites, enchanting colonial cities, stunning beaches and distinctive cuisine.

More information and itinerary on Renaissance Tours website


21 November – 6 December 2016

Mystical Myanmar
A luxury cruise on the Upper Ayeyarwady
With Judy Tenzing
From $17,500 pp including airfares

Take a journey back in time through mystical Myanmar on this luxury cruise along the majestic Upper Ayeyarwady River, combined with the splendours of Bagan and the colonial charm of Yangon. This tour features stays in Bagan and Yangon and the key highlight is the cruise along the less frequently explored Upper Ayeyarwady as far north as Bhamo.

Note: This tour has been cancelled. Contact Renaissance Tours if you have an enquiry.

More information

To find out more about any of the tours or to register to receive one of the upcoming itineraries once they are available, contact

Renaissance Tours
Tel 02 9299 5801

Related talks

Rosamund Barlett introduces the art of Norway and Iceland. Find out more

Journey to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan with Joyce Morgan. Find out more

Gitte Weise explores Germany’s premier contemporary art events. Find out more

Kathryn Hunyor looks at contemporary art, architecture and design in Japan. Find out more

Discover the splendours of Uzbekistan with Liz Gibson. Find out more