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World art tours

Morocco © David Li Photography

Morocco © David Li Photography

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.

Latest tours

  • Registan Square in Samarkand

    Journey along the Silk Road: Uzbekistan 9–23 September 2022

    Tashkent, Nukus, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand
    With Iain Shearer

    Discover the ‘Jewel of Central Asia’, a land of vast steppes, verdant oases and ancient mountain ranges, where diverse cultures produce delicate textiles and stunning art and architecture.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Registan Square in Samarkand
    Registan Square in Samarkand
  • Vincent van Gogh Sunflowers 1889, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam [Public Domain] WikiCommon

    Van Eyck to Van Gogh: artistic highlights of the Low Countries 14–22 September 2022

    Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Amsterdam
    With Kate Kangaslahti

    Encounter the rich art historical tradition of the Low Countries on this tour of the galleries and museums of Belgium and the Netherlands. Experience everything from the sublime to the surreal at Belgium’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, before journeying through the countryside to the Flemish jewel of Ghent to admire the Van Eyck brothers’ world-famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. Learn about the rise, fall and resurrection of picturesque Bruges before continuing to Antwerp, home of the legendary Flemish Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens.

    Finally, explore Amsterdam and wonder at the treasures of the Van Gogh Museum, before uncovering the history of Dutch art from the Middle Ages to the modern day at the magnificent and recently-renovated Rijksmuseum. Along the way, marvel at the exquisite architecture of the region and delight in the natural beauties of the landscape of the Low Countries. 

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Vincent van Gogh Sunflowers 1889, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam [Public Domain] WikiCommon
    Vincent van Gogh Sunflowers 1889, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam [Public Domain] WikiCommon
  • Kunsthaus in Zurich

    Art treasures of Zurich and Basel 18–22 September 2022

    Basel and Zurich
    With Gitte Weise

    Experience the vast wealth and diversity of art and architecture in Switzerland, visiting a series of superb institutions with collections that showcase masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Encounter the work of the legendary European artists who have been drawn to Switzerland for centuries, including Picasso, Monet, Chagall and Giacometti, and admire the unique design of the buildings that house these iconic collections. Wander the tree-lined boulevards of Basel and Zurich, as autumn descends upon these riverside cities. 

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Kunsthaus in Zurich
  • MS Amadeus Queen

    European art and music cruise 22 September – 3 October 2022

    A sumptuous river cruise from Frankfurt to Vienna
    With classical music broadcaster Christopher Lawrence and art and history expert Thomas Abbott

    Board the luxurious MS Amadeus Queen in Frankfurt and unpack your bags for a relaxed cruise combining the majesty of two great European rivers: the Main and the Danube, waterways that have inspired artists and musicians for centuries.

    Enjoy a panorama of European art, history and music, including a series of exclusive onboard concerts that evoke the grandeur of Europe’s enduring cultural influence. Explore the art and culture of Franconia and Bavaria, for centuries at the crossroads of Europe and brimming with well-preserved art and architecture from the Middle Ages to the Baroque.

    Disembark in Vienna to spend four days uncovering the City of Music’s extraordinary cultural legacy, visiting outstanding museums and galleries and attending world-class performances by acclaimed orchestras.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    MS Amadeus Queen

    MS Amadeus Queen

  • Bonifacio old town perched atop limestone cliffs, Corsica

    Islands of Hesperia 24 September – 8 October 2022

    Corsica and Sardinia
    With Christopher Allen

    Discover an enchanting yet unfamiliar corner of the western Mediterranean, enjoying the rich and distinctive history, art and archaeology, excellent local cuisine and spectacular scenery of these two islands.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Bonifacio old town perched atop limestone cliffs, Corsica
  • Byzantine mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

    Art cities of eastern Italy 11–23 October 2022

    Padua, Ravenna, Urbino and Bologna
    With Lorraine Kypiotis

    Explore the treasures of eastern Italy, admiring Byzantine mosaics, Gothic architecture and Renaissance masterpieces in less-visited towns with vibrant local food cultures and picturesque locations. 

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Byzantine mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna
  • Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright © Carol M. Highsmith/WikiCC

    Art and architecture in the USA: modern to contemporary 18–31 October 2022

    Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York
    With Anthony Burke 

    Travel to three key American cities, where icons such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Alexander Calder shaped the world’s impressions and understanding of modern design.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright © Carol M. Highsmith/WikiCC
    Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house built in 1935, courtesy Carol M Highsmith / WikiCommons
  • Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects designed entrance at Tokyu Plaza Omotesandō, Tokyo

    More than meets the eye 7–16 November 2022

    Contemporary art, architecture and design in Japan
    With Kathryn Hunyor 

    Journey to the great cultural metropolis of Tokyo and the celebrated Setouchi ‘art islands’ to appreciate Japan’s bold and unique aesthetic in contemporary art, architecture and design. 

    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 aesthetic adventure begins with ‘the-city-as-museum’, exploring Tokyo’s extraordinary new architectural masterpieces, art museums, design spaces and commercial urban complexes. Continue to the extraordinary ‘art islands’ of Naoshima, Teshima and Inujima, where Japan’s artistic culture brims with a new confidence, and creates some of the most exciting and authentic contemporary Japanese art experiences.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    The entrance of Tokyu Plaza Omotesandō, Tokyo, designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects
    The entrance of Tokyu Plaza Omotesandō, Tokyo, designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects
  • Art Nouveau metro station entrance in Paris, designed by Hector Guimard

    Art Nouveau and the belle époque 7–21 November 2022

    Prague, Brussels and Paris
    With Claudia Chan Shaw

    Immerse yourself in three major European capitals, admiring the aesthetic pleasures of two much-loved styles in art, architecture and design: art nouveau and art deco.

    Discover the picturesque streets and artistic charms of three of Europe’s culture capitals. Wander the halls of Prague’s Municipal House and Koruna Palace, both impressive displays of Czech art nouveau. Explore the streets of Brussels and the architectural designs of Victor Horta, one of art nouveau’s defining figures, and visit the Grand-Place, featuring 17th-century architecture. Meander your way through the markets of Paris, a gold mine for lovers of vintage items and eccentricities, and a testament to the ongoing love of the jewels of the belle époque period.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Art Nouveau metro station entrance in Paris, designed by Hector Guimard
    Art Nouveau metro station entrance in Paris, designed by Hector Guimard
  • Arched passage near the Moulay El Yazid Mosque in Marrakesh © David Li Photography

    From the Sahara to the sea 10–24 November 2022

    Art, culture and landscapes of Morocco
    With Alex McKay

    Traverse the Kingdom of Morocco, from the Mediterranean port of Tangier, across the Atlas Mountains to the sands of the Sahara and the bustling souqs of Marrakesh.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Arched passage near the Moulay El Yazid Mosque in Marrakesh © David Li Photography
    Arched passage near the Moulay El Yazid Mosque in Marrakesh © David Li Photography
  • Colourful Peranakan shophouses, credit: Shutterstock.com

    Art deco to art now January 2023

    Singapore
    With Claudia Chan Shaw

    With art deco expert Claudia Chan Shaw, discover Singapore’s architectural gems and fascinating art collections, from grand art deco buildings to cutting-edge contemporary art museums and galleries.

    Singapore has reinvented itself in the last decades as a cosmopolitan art scene, embracing its British colonial past and diverse Asian influences in vibrant modern galleries and collections. Explore this cultural melting pot in the city’s lively neighbourhoods, including art deco Tiong Bahru, colourful Little India and the fascinating nineteenth-century Muslim enclave Kampong Glam, as well as in laneways with vibrant Peranakan shophouses and unique street art.

    Gain private access to dynamic collections and galleries in Bugis, Kampong and at the elegantly restored Gillman Barracks that hosts the city’s newest arts precinct. Encounter the region’s diverse heritage at the Asian Civilisations Museum and the National Museum of Singapore, and admire Moshe Safdie’s extraordinary design for the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands.

    Enhance your appreciation with the expertise of your tour leader, art deco expert Claudia Chan Shaw, and fine gourmet experiences in Singapore’s stylish dining and cocktail scene. 

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information

    Colourful Peranakan shophouses, credit: Shutterstock.com
    Colourful Peranakan shophouses

Past tours

  • Khor Virap monastery, Armenia

    A road less travelled Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan with Iain Shearer

    Explore the natural and cultural riches of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan to discover a complex mix of religion, art and architecture. Nestled between the Black and Caspian Seas, and surrounded by the former Russian, Persian, Ottoman and Byzantine empires, the peoples of the Caucasus have developed proud, independent traditions of their own, with a rich and complex mix of religion, language and art that has fired the imagination of travellers for centuries. Discover the sacred Byzantine monasteries and churches of Armenia, wander the galleries and museums of Georgia, and explore the old palaces, mosques and markets of Azerbaijan. Visit today’s three capitals of Yerevan, Tbilisi and Baku and enjoy the fascinating blend of ancient tradition and contemporary cosmopolitan life.

    Khor Virap monastery, Armenia

    Khor Virap monastery, Armenia

  • Temple of All Religions, Kazan, Russia

    Cossacks, Tartars and Bolsheviks Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan with Monica Attard

    Discover a lesser-known part of Russia from the ancient capital treasures of Moscow to the Golden Ring cities of Vladimir and Suzdal and follow the Volga River to Nizhny Novgorod and cosmopolitan Kazan. Begin in Moscow, where monuments from Russia’s long and tumultuous history bear witness to the grandeur of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Visit Vladimir and Suzdal, glittering jewels in the country’s ‘Golden Ring’ of ancient cities overflowing with traditional kremlins, monasteries, medieval churches and iconic onion-topped domes which have escaped industrialisation. Explore the technicolour churches and museums of Nizhny Novgorod at the confluence of the Volga and Oka Rivers, then travel to Kazan, the unique capital of the semi-autonomous Tatarstan Republic.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Temple of All Religions, Kazan, Russia

    Temple of All Religions, Kazan, Russia

  • Dubrovnik, Croatia

    From the Danube to the Dalmatian Coast Vienna to Dubrovnik wth Liz Gibson

    Traverse the picturesque landscapes of Austria and Slovenia and sail the azure waters of the Adriatic coast of Croatia to discover a rich diversity of art, architecture, culture, history and nature. Enjoy Vienna’s exceptional art collections in the renowned Kunsthistorisches Museum. Savour iconic works by Gustav Klimt in the Belvedere Palace and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s MuseumsQuartier. Discover a local expression of Art Nouveau in lovely Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, and absorb the breath-taking beauty of Slovenia’s Bled and Bohinj lakes. Be charmed by Pula, Rovinj and Poreč, coastal towns along Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. From the Belle Époque town of Opatija, sail along the dramatic Dalmatian coast to the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Dubrovnik, Croatia

  • Khiva, Khorezm, Uzbekistan

    Journey along the Silk Road Uzbekistan with Iain Shearer

    Uncover the unique culture and history of Uzbekistan, the ‘Jewel of Central Asia’, from the golden city of Samarkand to the towering minarets of Khiva and ancient Bukhara. Uzbekistan was the crossroads of the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected China with the Mediterranean. For over two millennia it has absorbed the diverse influences brought by passing merchants and travellers into a unique melting pot of cultural practices. In the capital Tashkent, discover the modern energy of Uzbekistan. Explore the archaeological legacy of the conquering general Timur (Tamerlane) in the romantic cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, which are still crowned with dazzling turquoise-tiled mosques. Visit Nukus and Timur’s birthplace, Shakhrisabz, and meet village artisans upholding ancient traditions of distinctive, hand-made crafts along the way.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Khiva, Khorezm, Uzbekistan

    Khiva, Khorezm, Uzbekistan

  • Musée Picasso, Antibes, France

    The allure of the Côte d’Azur Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Marseille with Lorraine Kypiotis

    Traverse a glittering section of the Mediterranean coast and discover why artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne were drawn to this picturesque region. Uncover the layers of European civilization built up along the Côte d’Azur, from ancient Roman ruins and medieval cities to Renaissance villas and the meticulously conserved studios of the modernist masters. Retrace the footsteps of literary greats and artists from around the world, including Matisse in Nice, Renoir in Cagnes-sur-Mer and Picasso in Antibes, Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence. View beautiful Gothic architecture in Avignon and the Roman amphitheatre in Nîmes. Explore Saint-Remy-de-Provence, the landscape which inspired Van Gogh’s most iconic artworks, and end in Marseille’s thriving Old Port.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Musée Picasso, Antibes, France

    Musée Picasso, Antibes, France

  • Morocco

    From the Sahara to the Sea Morocco and Tunisia with Alex McKay

    Experience the famously hospitable cultures of North Africa and explore ancient settlements, bustling souqs and a dynamic contemporary arts and culture scene. Delve into the intricacies of North Africa’s unique blend of Arab and Berber cultures and discover ancient Roman and Carthaginian sites, Berber villages, distinctive Islamic sites and French colonial heritage. Starting in Tunisia, discover both the ancient and modern history of the country’s vibrant capital city Tunis with its white-washed medinas, and visit the fascinating archaeological site of Carthage. In Morocco visit the country’s so-called Royal Cities, ancient capitals of great imperial dynasties that display some of the most majestic expressions of both ancient and modern Islamic architecture. Delight in the region’s diverse cuisine and travel through an extraordinary variety of landscapes with spectacular gorges, pastoral valleys, deserts and rugged hills.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Morocco

    Morocco

  • St Peter’s Cathedral, Rome

    Secret treasures of Italy’s princely collections Rome and Florence with Steven Miller

    Discover the rich world of cultural rivalry between Italy’s two greatest cities through a hidden complex of archives, libraries, galleries, and artefacts that have shaped Western thought and life throughout the ages. Florence claimed to be the birthplace of humanism, a new Athens, while Rome refashioned its ancient glory as the capital of an even greater Christian empire. These two cities have long had a history of rivalry, competing in politics, economics and, above all, through culture.Today the libraries and archives of both cities house unparalleled collections central to the Renaissance and display art and architecture that served to bolster their prestige.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    St Peter’s Cathedral, Rome

    St Peter’s Cathedral, Rome

  • Teotihuacán, Mexico

    Magic realism Mexico with Ron Ramsey

    From ancient cultures to modern cities bursting with music, dance, cuisine and contemporary art, discover an unparalleled feast for the senses of Latin America’s most colourful nation. Unravel the layered history of Mexico, from the mesmerising myths and legends of the pre-Hispanic world to the vibrant cutting-edge of contemporary culture. Begin with an exploration of Mexico City including visits to the Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Anthropology, showcasing the world’s largest collection of Olmec, Mayan and Aztec art. Visit the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the Templo Mayor and explore the colonial heritage of the historical centre. In vibrant Coyoacán discover the lives and art of legendary artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Spend a day at Teotihuacán to explore the spectacular Aztec pyramids and travel to the elegant city of Oaxaca, bastion of indigenous culture.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Teotihuacán, Mexico

    Teotihuacán, Mexico

  • Lalibela, Amhara, Ethiopia

    The heart of African civilisation Ethiopia with Jane Hutcheon

    Explore the monolith rock churches of Lalibela, the monasteries of Axum and the proud imperial castles of Gondar, built by the heirs of King Solomon. From the 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of Lucy to the Queen of Sheba and the mighty Emperors of the Solomonic Dynasty who held out against European colonisation, Ethiopia has been the heart of African civilisation since time immemorial. One of the very first kingdoms to adopt Christianity as its state religion in the 4th century CE, Ethiopia evolved a distinct religious and cultural tradition which gave rise to stunning works of architecture such as the monolithic Lalibela rock churches, hewn from solid rock, the 24-metre-tall Great Stela of Axum and the 17th century Castle of Gondar, the ‘Camelot of Africa’. Along the way, visit the verdant Simien Mountains to discover jaw-dropping natural beauty and come face-to-face with wildlife native to this region.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Lalibela, Amhara, Ethiopia

    Lalibela, Amhara, Ethiopia

  • Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

    Navigating ancient Nubia Sudan with Julian Droogan

    Uncover the hidden secrets of northern Sudan’s sweeping deserts and astounding archaeological sites, dominated by the mighty Nile River and its tributaries. With more pyramids than even Egypt has to offer, explore the remnants of Sudan’s Nubian Pyramids and ancient necropolises. Absorb the vast and powerful history of the ancient Kushite civilisation and discover the temples surrounding Jebel Barkal and Naqa. Compare this with the lively, modern capital of Khartoum with its fascinating souks and famously hospitable locals, before delving into the antiquity of the vibrant Omdurman souk.

    More information available on Renaissance Tours website

    Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

    Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

  • A leadlight dome in the ceiling of an historic art deco building in Napier

    Art Deco to Art Now: New Zealand 31 March–7 April 2022

    Auckland, Napier and Wellington
    With Claudia Chan Shaw, art deco specialist

    Join Art Deco expert Claudia Chan Shaw to discover the architectural gems and fascinating collections from the inter-war period of New Zealand’s North Island and explore how the country’s contemporary and Pacific Islander art scene enlivens the nation’s cultural life. Discover Napier, the city resurrected from the rubble of the devastating 1931 earthquake and completely rebuilt in the contemporary style of the time, now recognised as the most intact Art Deco city in the world.

    In Wellington, appreciate the city’s rich Art Deco heritage and fine collection of museums and galleries, including its impressive national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. In Auckland, gain an insight into New Zealand’s Maori and Pacific culture and art with visits to its museums and galleries, and take in the magnificent vistas across Waitemata Harbour.

    Visit the Renaissance Tours website for more information and to register your interest

    A leadlight dome in the ceiling of an historic art deco building in Napier

    A leadlight dome in the ceiling of an historic art deco building in Napier

Other member tours