Our tours are designed to appeal to travellers with a strong interest in history, culture, archaeology, architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts. All tours are designed around three basic principles:
expert tour leaders, maximum 20 in a group, and carefully planned itineraries.
The aim of every Academy Travel tour is to provide a rewarding, in-depth travel experience. Each tour provides a balanced experience – walking tours, museum and gallery visits, live performances, city and countryside – and all of our tours explore particular areas of interests, with our tour leaders’ expertise covering a range of academic disciplines.
Years of Experience
Academy Travel started in Sydney in 2004, and since then we have developed a wonderful network of colleagues around the world, who keep us up to date on what’s new and what’s trending in cultural travel. Our staff are located in Australia, Italy, Germany, Denmark, the UK and the United States, ensuring great support for our tour leaders. As one of Australia’s leading cultural travel companies, each year we offer more than 70 tours to Europe, the Americas and beyond.
A well-thought-through itinerary can make all the difference to your travel. Working closely with our expert tour leaders, we create itineraries with three and four-night stops (or even longer!), which explore destinations in a meaningful way and include not just the obvious, well-known sites, but also less touristed but equally rewarding gems that are a little off the beaten path. We also offer a distinctive range of tours which break the mould of the multi-destination ‘road trip’: Performance-Based Tours, Residential Tours, Small Ship & Land Tours and Study Tours.
A Wealth of Knowledge from 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. If you are thinking about travelling with us, we encourage you to find out as much as possible about your tour leader. You can read more about our tour leaders here.
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. No special qualifications are required to join our tours, just a desire to incorporate genuine intellectual insight into your travels.
Many of our tours feature access to places and events which are not regularly available on group tours. To name only a few… a private evening viewing of the spectacular mosaics in Venice’s St Mark’s Basilica; an exclusive, before-hours visit to New York’s Museum of Modern Art; a Mediterranean cruise aboard the luxurious 3-masted barque Sea Cloud II; the best seats in the house at the UK’s prestigious Glyndebourne Festival Opera; and a private helicopter tour of Kamchatka’s snow-capped volcanoes.
Time for Individual Discovery
Some room for spontaneity is also important! A satisfying journey will always comprise things you were planning to see and do, and things that are new or just ‘pop-up’: an excellent new museum, a great performance or the simple local restaurant that serves exceptional food. That’s why we prefer long stays and leave time in the program for individual exploration and relaxation. We include all breakfasts, but there are plenty of free evenings to discover local restaurants, or just relax.
The Right Sized Group
Our tours have an average group size of 17 and a maximum size of 20. We find this is large enough for travellers to find like-minded companions within the group but still small enough for us to provide personalised service, learn about your interests and incorporate them into the experience. The small group size and distinct themes of our tours help to create a relaxed, convivial atmosphere.
The Right Time of Year
In these days of increasing tourism, choosing the right time of year and even the right time of day is essential. If you look through our program you will notice that many of our tours take place in the ‘shoulder’ and even low seasons, especially for popular destinations. We also take care to avoid big cities on the weekend, where possible, and major public holidays, when sites can be overcrowded.
The Right Hotel
Location, location, location. In order to avoid unnecessary transfers and allow for individual exploration, we select comfortable, centrally-located hotels wherever possible. Most of the hotels we use are 4-star, with the occasional splurge on 5-star. We prefer smaller hotels if available, and we are constantly researching and reviewing our choices. Wherever possible, we plan our tours around a limited number of stops, making your stay more relaxed and more enjoyable.
The Academy Travel Service
Academy Travel is more than just a tour operator. We are also a full-service travel agency who can assist you with all aspects of your travel. We have 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. When booking on a tour, our Group Travel Managers can assist you with flights, airport and hotel transfers, insurance, pre-tour arrival and additional travel.
Academy Travel is a member of the following travel associations: