Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information

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.

Please note that some of our 2020 tours have been disrupted as a result of current travel restrictions. The situation is constantly evolving and Renaissance Tours will be in touch with tour members affected.


Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan

November 2021

Navigating ancient Nubia
Sudan
With Julian Droogan
From approx $11,950 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available October 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Yayoi Kusama Yellow Pumpkin 1994 Naoshima, Japan;

November 2021

More than meets the eye
Contemporary art, architecture and design in Japan
With Kathryn Hunyor
From approx $13,950 pp plus airfares

Embark on an insider’s journey through Japan’s unique contemporary art scene, from the cosmopolitan megatropolis of Tokyo to the innovative Setouchi ‘art islands’. 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. Delve into Tokyo’s extraordinary architectural masterpieces, art museums, design spaces and commercial urban complexes. Explore the intriguing and unique ‘art islands’ of Naoshima, Teshima and Inujima, brimming with surreal art installations, cutting-edge museums and authentic contemporary Japanese art experiences.

More information and itinerary available October 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Lalibela, Amhara, Ethiopia

October 2021

The heart of African civilisation
Ethiopia
With Jane Hutcheon
From approx $12,500 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available September 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Teotihuacán, Mexico

October 2021

Magic realism
Mexico
With Ron Ramsey
From approx $8,500 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available September 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


St Peter’s Cathedral, Rome

October 2021

Secret treasures of Italy’s princely collections
Rome and Florence
With Steven Miller
From approx $10,950 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available September 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Morocco

October 2021

From the Sahara to the Sea
Morocco and Tunisia
With Alex McKay
From approx $11,500 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available September 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Musée Picasso, Antibes, France

7–18 September 2021

The allure of the Côte d’Azur
Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Marseille
With Lorraine Kypiotis
From approx $9,500 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available August 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Khiva, Khorezm, Uzbekistan

September 2021

Journey along the Silk Road
Uzbekistan
With Iain Shearer
From approx $11,500 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available August 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Dubrovnik, Croatia

September 2021

From the Danube to the Dalmatian Coast
Vienna to Dubrovnik
With Liz Gibson
From approx $13,950 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available August 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Temple of All Religions, Kazan, Russia

July 2021

Cossacks, Tartars and Bolsheviks
Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan
With Monica Attard
From approx $10,500 pp plus airfares

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 and itinerary available August 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Khor Virap monastery, Armenia

June 2021

A road less travelled
Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan
With Iain Shearer
From approx $11,500 pp plus airfares

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.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Knossos, Crete

June 2021

Lands of myths and heroes
Crete and the Peloponnese
With Julian Droogan
From approx $11,500 pp plus airfares

Delve into classical Greek mythology through the art, archaeology and natural landscapes of Greece’s Peloponnese region and the island of Crete. On this epic journey explore lands once believed to be the dwelling places of gods, monsters and spirits, and follow in the footsteps of the legendary Theseus, Ariadne, and the mighty Minotaur. Visit islands, grottos and caves of sublime natural wonder that were once venerated by the ancient Greeks as sacred places and contrast with the remains of the mighty temples, theatres and cities built in honour of the capricious Gods. Trace the sacred landscapes that emerged during the time of the Minoans and Mycenaeans and continued for almost two thousand years through classical Hellenistic and Roman times.

More information and itinerary available August 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Copenhagen Opera House, Copenhagen, Denmark

June 2021

Cities and spaces of Scandinavia
Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki
With Anthony Burke
From approx $13,500 pp plus airfares

Explore Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki through the lens of their most influential architects and uncover the origins of Scandinavian design. Gain a greater appreciation of how Scandinavian architecture integrates nature, manipulates natural light and focuses on sustainability. Begin in Helsinki to discover sleek Finnish design from the classic work of Alvar Aalto to the cutting-edge Helsinki Central Library Oodi. Embrace the unique Scandinavian tradition of Midsommar in Sweden and explore the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, architecturally designed to not distract from the landscape of the surrounding sculpture park. In Stockholm visit the Woodland Cemetery known for blending Nordic Classicism and Functionalism, and travel to Copenhagen, the thriving heart of Danish Modernist design.

More information and itinerary available August 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Sea Cloud II

23–31 May 2021

Art, music and opera in the Mediterranean
Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Valletta
With Christopher Lawrence and Christopher Allen
From approx $11,950 pp plus airfares

Experience the unique thrill of sailing from Rome to Malta on a historic tall ship, enjoying world-class opera and music performances and art. Board the luxurious Sea Cloud II in Rome and journey along the picturesque southern Italian coast to Malta, where dizzying limestone cliffs meet the glittering blue Mediterranean. This unique journey covers a veritable panorama of art, history, music and landscapes from the Amalfi Coast to fascinating Sicily. At each port city, explore impressive museums, churches and art galleries, while on board the ship, enjoy private music and opera performances, as well as talks, interviews and discussions with your expert tour leaders, art historian Dr Christopher Allen and music specialist Christopher Lawrence.

Extend your exploration of Europe’s great art cities with an optional pre-cruise tour The Eternal City Revisited to Rome and post-cruise tour Crossroads of Culture to Malta.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Edward Burne-Jones Adoration of the Magi 1890 (detail) Musée d’Orsay, Paris

May 2021

Morris to Mackintosh
The Arts and Crafts Movement in England and Scotland
With Robert Reason
From approx $10,950 pp plus airfares

Be immersed in the architectural and interior design legacies of William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh to discover the genesis of the revolutionary Arts and Crafts movement. Begin in London with a visit to Red House, William Morris’s Tudor Gothic home which he designed and decorated with the help of his Pre-Raphaelite friends. Travel through the idyllic Cotswolds to view the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement on fin de siècle architecture and interior design and visit Morris’s summer house, Kelmscott Manor. Wander through the Lake District, famous as a haunt for 18th and 19th century poets and writers, to Blackwell House on the shores of Lake Windemere. Then, cross the border to Glasgow, the birthplace of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to explore his famed Willow Tea Rooms, Queen’s Cross Church and Hill House, Mackintosh’s finest residential commission.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Tbilisi, Georgia

May 2021

A road less travelled
Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan
With Liz Gibson
From approx $11,500 pp plus airfares

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.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Torii Gate, Miyajima Island, Japan

11–22 May 2021

Inland sea odyssey
Art, architecture and culture of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea
With John McBride
From approx $14,500 pp plus airfares

Follow a gentle path through the islands of Japan’s serene Seto Inland Sea to discover a distinctive blend of art, architecture, culture and nature. In Himeji, discover buildings designed by some of Japan’s most significant architects, before crossing to Takamatsu, where beautiful historic gardens meet innovative modern architecture. Explore the extraordinary Setouchi ‘art islands’, most famous for the extraordinary collection of installations by world-famous artists such as SANAA, Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan and Tadao Ando. Visit artists’ studios, ancient shrines and atmospheric hot springs in the cities bordering the Seto Sea and wander through the memorial Peace Park in Hiroshima. Then, in the former imperial capital of Kyoto, explore Zen Buddhist temples and the Miho Museum, designed by legendary architect I. M. Pei.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Stairs of Church Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga, Portugal

April 2021

Treasures of Portugal
Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra, Evora and Braga
With Brian Ladd
From approx $11,950 pp plus airfares

Experience Portugal’s vibrant culture, art and architecture which reflects the rich history of the Iberian Peninsula, spanning countless empires, revolutions and the great ‘Age of Discovery’. Begin in Lisbon and explore the historic districts of the Alfama, a maze of cobbled streets and terraced houses with breath-taking views overlooking the Tagus River, and the lively Baixa district, where Lisbon’s most iconic Pombaline architecture is found. Travel to Evora, one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns, and wander through the colourful streets of Oporto, famous for its lively contemporary arts scene. In Braga a visit the iconic Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary and explore Viana do Castelo on the Costa Verde. In Coimbra, see the country’s oldest university, which has had a profound impact on the local culture including the haunting sound of fado.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

March 2021

Images of Indochina
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
With Joyce Morgan
From approx $8,500 pp plus airfares

From bustling Hanoi to the laconic Luang Prabang and sublime ancient temples of Angkor Wat, discover the artistic and cultural riches of the lands of the Mekong. In Vietnam, be immersed in the high-octane bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and attend a performance by the renowned Thang Long Water Puppets in Hanoi. Travel on the mighty Mekong River and experience a truly immersive experience in this culture-rich landscape. At Siem Reap visit the iconic UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat complex, including Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei, where giant trees have overtaken the temple architecture and intricate ancient carvings decorate the walls. In Laos, explore the architecture of Luang Prabang, a peaceful old French town perched at the sacred confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers.

More information and itinerary available July 2020 on Renaissance Tours website


Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman.

23 January – 6 February 2021

The frankincense route
Oman
With Jane Hutcheon
From 13,950 pp plus airfares

Be immersed in the extraordinary kaleidoscope of Oman and discover the unique art, architecture and crafts while uncovering the fascinating history of its sultanic dynasties. Begin in Muscat, nestled between the Central Hajar Mountains and the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Oman, and wonder at the intricate traditional textiles, woodwork, jewellery and pottery in the souks, museums and mosques of the historic capital. Journey through the picturesque wadis of the east coast, visit Bibi Maryam, the ancient mausoleum which is the only surviving relic of a once-bustling trade city, and travel through the golden dunes of the Wahiba Sands. Explore the mountain-top villages and medieval fortresses of Jebel Akhdar, the mysterious archaeological ruins at Al Ayn, and the ‘living’ mud village of Misfat Al Abriyeen. Lastly, discover Salalah and the sandy expanse of the Empty Quarter.

More information and itinerary available on Renaissance Tours website