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.

Mystical Myanmar

21 November – 6 December 2016

Mystical Myanmar
A luxury cruise on the Upper Ayeyarwady
With Judy Tenzing
From $18,500 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.

Mystical Myanmar itinerary (PDF 1.5 MB)


14 – 30 September 2016

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.

Splendours of Uzbekistan itinerary (PDF 1.5 MB)


27 August – 11 September 2016

Art, treasures and cuisine of Peru
Lima, Moche and Inca cultures, and Mistura Food Festival
With Chris Carter
From $10,900 pp plus airfares

Delve into the fascinating melange that is Peru, from archaeological sites to the world’s most ‘in-demand’ cuisine. Discover golden treasures of the Incas, the contemporary art scene and mystical landscapes. Begin with the Moche culture (100–800 AD) then journey high in the Andes to Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu. Finish in the capital Lima with a ‘must do’ for foodies.

Art, treasures and cuisine of Peru itinerary (PDF 1.5 MB)


19 – 30 August 2016

Temples and textiles of ancient Java
Jakarta, Solo, Borobudur, Jogyakarta, Prambanan
With Joyce Morgan
From $6500 pp including airfares

Visit sublime sacred sites in south-east Asia, from ethereal Buddhist Borobudur to the temple towers of Hindu Prambanan. Discover a living artistic tradition shaped by influences borne to Java in centuries past by trade winds of the maritime Silk Route. From the bustling capital Jakarta and the old Dutch colonial port of Batavia, travel east into the cultural heartland rich in ancient palaces, intricate textiles and age-old customs.

Temples and textiles of ancient Java itinerary (PDF 1.3 MB)

Art and music cruise

19 June – 4 July 2016

The critics’ choice art and music cruise
Munich – Main and Rhine – Amsterdam
With Christopher Allen, Christopher Lawrence and John McDonald
From $9750 pp plus airfares

Beginning and ending in the great cultural capitals of Munich and Amsterdam, enjoy a relaxing river cruise aboard the Amadeus Elegant from Bavaria to the Netherlands along the Main and Rhine Rivers, stopping at the charming smaller cities of Nuremburg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Koblenz and Cologne. By day immerse yourself in some of Europe’s finest art collections; in the evening enjoy concerts, recitals and operas in a variety of venues; on board unpack for a week, sit back, relax and marvel at the constantly changing panorama.

To guide you on this cultural journey will be Australia’s two foremost art critics, Christopher Allen and John McDonald, and one of Australia’s favourite classical music presenters, Christopher Lawrence.

  • 5-day stays in Munich and Amsterdam
  • 7-night luxury cruise on Amadeus Elegant
  • Guided visits to the great art collections of Munich, Nuremburg, Wurzburg, Cologne and Amsterdam
  • Six musical performances including symphony concerts, chamber recitals and operas
  • Illustrated art lectures and musical introductions
  • Optional post-tour to Belgium (Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels)

The critics' choice itinerary (PDF 1.4 MB)

From the Danube to Dalmatia

20 May – 6 June 2016

From the Danube to Dalmatia
Vienna to Dubrovnik, with a six-night Adriatic Cruise
With Liz Gibson
From $8950 pp plus airfares

From the remarkable art treasures of Vienna to the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, explore a diversity of art, culture and history from ancient Roman to modern times. Travel through the breathtaking scenery of Slovenia and cruise the dramatic Dalmatian coast.

From the Danube to Dalmatia itinerary (PDF 1.5 MB)

The road to Santiago

19 May – 4 June 2016

The road to Santiago
Art, architecture, culture and gastronomy in green Spain
With Brian Ladd
From $8950 pp plus airfares

Explore the 1200-year-old pilgrimage tradition along the Camino de Santiago. Discover the outstanding art, architecture and extraordinary history of five vibrant and culturally diverse cities across Spain – Barcelona, Pamplona, Bilbao, Leon and Santiago de Compostela.

The road to Santiago itinerary (PDF 1.3 MB)

Paris and the Seine through the artist’s eyes

8 – 19 May 2016

Paris and the Seine
Through the artist’s eyes
With Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis
From $6750 pp plus airfares

Join acclaimed Australian artists Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis as they take you to their favourite haunts in and around their adopted home town of Paris. See famous museums, intimate gallery spaces, artist walks and iconic locations loved by artists throughout history. Discover anew the wonders of the City of Light, including the latest museums, galleries and exhibitions, and journey along the River Seine from Paris to Honfleur on the Atlantic.

  • Enjoy eight days in the heart of Paris, followed by four days in Rouen
  • See the new Foundation Louis Vuitton, the re-opened Picasso Museum and the brand-new Paris Philharmonie, plus, of course, current exhibitions
  • On leisurely day trips, explore landscapes, towns and sites along the River Seine, including St-Germain-en-Laye, the ‘Île des Impressionistes’, Sannois, Monet’s home and garden at Giverny and Honfleur

Paris and the Seine intinerary (PDF 1.3 MB)

Museums, mansions and masterpieces

5 – 20 May 2016

Museums, mansions and masterpieces
Washington DC – Virginia – Pittsburgh – Chicago
With Ron Ramsay
From $10,750 pp plus airfares

Enter the magnificent homes of the great American philanthropists and discover the extraordinary cultural institutions generously endowed by their patronage. Explore in depth the legacy of the first truly American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Museums, mansions and masterpieces itinerary (PDF 1.3 MB)

A feast for the senses

18 – 30 April 2016

A feast for the senses
Arte, cultura and cucina in Central Italy
With Lorraine Kypiotis
From $6750 pp plus airfares

Discover the hidden treasures of the central Italian regions of Emilia Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria. Based in the delightful smaller cities of Bologna, Urbino and Perugia, explore the art, architecture, culture, gastronomy and ‘la bella vita’ of these vibrant centres. Enhance your knowledge of over one thousand years of Italian civilisation from the Byzantine Empire to the Renaissance, with a special emphasis on the Trecento to the Seicento, when these independent city states reached their zenith. Experience the pleasure of Italian life away from the big cities and savour the rich and varied gastronomic culture of Italy – from paddock to plate.

A feast for the senses itinerary (PDF 1.4 MB)

Mountains and monasteries

19 March – 5 April 2016

Mountains and monasteries
Nepal – Darjeeling – Bhutan
With Judy Tenzing
From $11,800 pp plus airfaires

Travel on a cultural journey across the East Himalayan Kingdoms through Everest history, Buddhism and Himalayan culture. Starting in the kingdom of Nepal, travel to the hill station of Darjeeling and on to the once forbidden kingdom of Bhutan.

Mountains and monasteries itinerary (PDF 1.3 MB)

Another bite of the Big Apple

15 – 26 January 2016

Another bite of the Big Apple
Theatre, art and music in New York and Philadelphia
With Jonathan Biggins
From $10,650 pp plus airfares

New York is the most dynamic and exciting metropolis in the world, bursting with energy and exuberance. Over ten days immerse yourself in the extraordinary art scene and dazzling art collections, and by night enjoy evenings at the theatre – musicals, drama, opera

Another bite of the Big Apple itinerary (PDF 1.7 MB)

India: land of many gods

26 January – 12 February 2016

India: land of many gods
From Mumbai to Kolkata
With Jackie Menzies
From $10,950 pp including airfares

India is home to the great religions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, with magnificent monuments, sculptures and wall paintings that date back centuries. Visit significant sites that convey India’s complex heritage of beliefs, with a focus on surviving Buddhist sites.

India itinerary (PDF 1.2 MB)

China: art deco to art now

3 – 14 October 2015

China: art deco to art now
Shanghai – Beijing
With Claudia Chan-Shaw
From $8950 pp plus airfares

Join Claudia Chan Shaw for a fresh look at China’s 20th-century architecture and the extraordinary cultural revolution currently underway. Explore China’s outstanding art-deco heritage and the current ‘state of the art’ in fashion, design, architecture and art. Claudia’s passions are eclectic to say the least, so expect to visit design ateliers and artists’ studios; learn about the evolution of the qipao (cheongsam) and traditional arts and crafts; go in search of all manner of collectables; take a thorough look at the contemporary art scene; and immerse yourself in the world of art deco, the leitmotif of Shanghai architecture.

  • Explore all that art-deco Shanghai has to offer
  • Enjoy high tea in the Peace Hotel
  • Discover China’s world-leading, cutting-edge fashion and design
  • Keep up with the fast-moving contemporary art scene

China itinerary (PDF 796.9 KB)

Turkey: classical to cutting edge

2 – 14 October 2015

Turkey: classical to cutting edge
Istanbul – Gallipoli – Bursa – Istanbul Biennale
With Andrew Yip
From $6100 pp plus airfares

Istanbul is a city of contrasts and contradictions, an ancient city whose layered identity is written into its art and architecture. Split down the middle by the great Bosphorus, it is the only city to span two continents. Its origins are shrouded in ancient myth; before it was the capital of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, it was Constantinople, the seat of power for the Roman Byzantine Empire. Before that, it was known as Byzantium, founded in legend by the Greek Byzas of Megara. Today it is one of the most exciting emerging sites for international contemporary art. The 2015 Istanbul Biennale, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, promises to be an exciting program that speaks to the city’s cosmopolitan diversity.

  • Enjoy five nights in the historic heart of Istanbul
  • Journey down the Aegean coast, visiting Gallipoli
  • Discover the vibrant culture, cuisine and lifestyle of modern Turkey
  • Explore all that the 2015 Istanbul Biennale has to offer

Turkey itinerary (PDF 2.5 MB)

Cobalt and lustre: treasures of ancient Persia

1 – 21 October 2015

Cobalt and lustre: treasures of ancient Persia
Tehran – Zanjan – Tabriz – Shiraz – Yazd – Isfahan
With John Tidmarsh
From $8950 pp plus airfares

Few countries can boast of such an illustrious past and diversity of cultures as Iran. Visit the sites of Persepolis, Pasargad and Naqsh-i-Rustam, stay in the enchanting mud-brick city of Yazd with its brooding Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, narrow winding lanes and opulent merchants’ houses with their tall wind-towers. In Shiraz, ‘the city of roses and nightingales’, enter the enchanted world of Persian gardens and poetry through the wonderful gardens of the Bagh-i-Eram, the Narenjastan Pavilion and the tombs of Hafez and Sa’adi.

  • Visit Tabriz, a place of cultural exchange since antiquity
  • Explore the enchanting mud-brick city of Yazd
  • Discover the stunning gardens, bazaars and mosques of Isfahan
  • Visit Persepolis,‘the city of the Persians’

Cobalt and lustre itinerary (PDF 923.8 KB)

Islands of Hesperia

18 September – 3 October 2015

Islands of Hesperia
Marseille – Corsica – Sardinia
With Christopher Allen
From $8850 pp plus airfares

From the ancient Greek city of Marseille to the beautiful islands of Corsica and Sardinia, discover an enchanting but unfamiliar corner of the Mediterranean. Starting in Marseille, founded over 2500 years ago by Phocaean settlers, we will explore the tiny ancient streets. Sail to Corsica, the beautiful former Genoese island with its incredibly wild mountains and breathtaking coastline finishing at Bonifacio, legendary home of the monstrous Laestrygonians in the Odyssey. A short crossing takes us to Sardinia, another beautiful island with an intriguing ancient bronze age civilisation, the Nuraghic peoples. Today it offers wonderful landscapes and coastlines, elegant cities, churches and museums, squares to relax with a coffee or aperitif, and plenty of very fine local cuisine.

  • Enjoy spectacular mountain landscapes and coastlines
  • Explore ancient archaeological sites in both Corsica and Sardinia
  • Wander through atmospheric towns and villages

Islands of Hesperia itinerary (PDF 910.5 KB)

Silk Road IV: The Caucasus

14 September – 2 October 2015

Silk Road IV: The Caucasus
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia
With Liz Gibson
From $8950 pp plus airfares

Journey through the breathtaking Caucasus to three distinctive countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia – and 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. It has also attracted a variety of traders travelling along the Silk Road, resulting in a rich and complex mix of religion, language and culture.

  • Explore the Persian-style palaces and historic mosques of Azerbaijan
  • Visit Georgia’s and Armenia’s mountain Byzantine monasteries and churches
  • Discover how the Caucasus was a key leg of the Silk Route
  • Wander through the Khan’s Palace in Sheki, meander the old alleyways of Tbilisi and visit the wooden village of Dilijan

Silk Road IV itinerary (PDF 1.2 MB)