Academy Travel’s tours are designed to appeal to travellers with a strong interest in history, culture, archaeology, the visual arts and the performing arts. All tours are designed around three basic principles:
Expert tour leaders
Maximum 20 in a group
Carefully planned itineraries
The aim of every Academy Travel tour is to provide a rewarding, in-depth travel experience. We do this by recruiting highly qualified, experienced and enthusiastic tour leaders, carefully planning every step of your journey and limiting our groups to just 20 like-minded travellers.
All of our tours explore particular areas of interest, and our tour leaders’ expertise covers a range of academic disciplines. While we ensure that our tours cater to a wide range of interests, individual tours often have one or more areas of particular focus, designed to appeal to travellers with specialised interests.
We aim to provide high quality in all our services. Hotels are generally four star, preferably boutique-style, in central locations. Where possible, we arrange private out-of-hours tours of popular sites to avoid the crowds and we reserve the best available seats to live performances.
Exclusive and unique events on our tours play a big part in bringing our Academy Travellers back to travel with us again and again. Many of our tours feature events which are not regularly available on group tours.
If you’re thinking about travelling, we hope you find an Academy Travel tour that’s right for you.
Styles of tour
A themed itinerary that provides a balanced experience – walking tours, museum and gallery visits, live performances, city and countryside. Feedback from our clients consistently tells us that creating itineraries with three and four-night stops, or even longer, is far more appealing that rushing from place to place. We avoid overnight stops and ensure time for individual exploration.
Before the age of mass tourism travellers spent weeks, not days, at their destination. Unpack your bags for 9-14 nights and really get to explore important centres of history and culture. We are one of the few travel companies in the world to offer such an in-depth and relaxing experience. Popular destinations include Paris, Berlin, Rome, Florence, Venice and New York.
Our music and theatre tours are planned around top flight international performances in world-famous venues, providing experiences that are simply not available in Australia. Music and theatre lovers can indulge themselves on tour in a carefully-selected program of outstanding performances.
Land and small-ship cruise tours
The last two decades have seen an explosion in ocean cruising, but for many travellers the idea of a 1,000+ passenger vessel and a string of one-day stops in tourist ports does not make for a satisfying journey. That is why we have introduced a small number of itineraries around the Mediterranean that combine an 8-10 day land itinerary with a small-ship cruise, usually six or seven nights. The land-based component gives you the depth and pace of our other tours, while the cruise gives you the benefit of not having to pack and unpack while exploring places best visited by sea. The ships we choose range from 35-85 passengers, with varying levels of comfort.
Many of our tour leaders are great teachers, having worked in universities in Australia and abroad. For those looking to investigate in even greater depth than our regular tours, we offer a limited number of study tours to select destinations. Study tours are usually also residential, and are comprised of lectures, morning walking tours and site visits and optional afternoon and evening activities. In order to keep the price reasonable, study tours tend to use public transport, and there are fewer group meals, performances and private visits.
Academy Travel was established in 2004 and has grown to become one of Australia’s leading cultural travel companies. Each year we offer more than 70 ‘open age’ tours and 30 teacher and student tours to Europe, the Americas and beyond.
Academy Travel is Australian-owned and Sydney-based, with offices in the heritage listed Bank of New South Wales building at 341 George St. There are currently 16 full and part-time staff, and a team of over 30 tour leaders and managers. The company’s three directors play an active role in the company, leading tours and dealing with clients. We have a subsidiary operations company, Academy Europe based in Rome, and have recently opened a London office.
Academy Travel has developed a network of outstanding suppliers in the countries in which we operate. These include booking agents, local guides, performing arts companies and of course hotels and restaurants.
Academy Travel is a member of the following travel associations:
Learn more about Academy Travel
Academy Travel was established in 2004, and over time we have developed an unrivalled network of contacts around the world. We’ve our own offices in Rome, staff in the UK and USA and trusted, specialist guides and destination managers in other countries, most of whom we’ve been working with for over a decade. There are lots of tour operators out there, with lots of tempting offerings. So why choose us? Hear from our director Robert Veel and tour leader Dr Kathleen Olive for more insight into the Academy Travel difference.
About our clients
A key component of the Academy Travel experience is you. Over the years we’ve been fortunate to have built a loyal clientele of interested and interesting travellers – people who want more from life than just a checklist of ‘must see’ destinations.
Academy Travellers come from all over Australia, and increasingly from overseas. Most travellers are 55 or older, with the average age in the mid-60s. Academy Travel presents itself as a ‘cultural’ tour company, so it’s not surprising that many Academy Travellers have a strong interest in areas such as history, archaeology, fine art, architecture and design, gardens and music. Repeat clients say that they enjoy the relaxed style of our tours, the expert leaders and the friendly groups.
No special qualifications are required to join our tours, just a desire to incorporate genuine intellectual insight into your travels.
About our tour leaders
Passionate, prepared and professional, our tour leaders bring a world of experience and a wealth of knowledge to your travels. They have solid postgraduate qualifications, university level teaching and research experience, and a thorough knowledge of destinations. This ensures that they are fresh, enthusiastic and can provide genuine insight rather than just facts and anecdotes. You can read more about our tour leaders here.
Many of our tour leaders give public regular public lectures, and Academy Travel offers its own lecture program. This can be a great way of getting to know a tour leader before you decide to travel. You can read more about our lecture program here.
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