Art Basel is one of the world’s premier art events. Almost 300 leading commercial galleries assemble for a single week to showcase their best contemporary artists and recently acquired 20th-century masterpieces. In addition, there are halls dedicated to large-scale sculpture, special exhibitions and installations and performances around the city. This new 8-day tour takes you to Art Basel and then surveys the excellent collections that have accumulated along the Upper Rhine. It then continues to Strasbourg to explore this beautiful Gothic city, enjoying the countryside, cuisine and small towns of Alsace and the Black Forest.
Mind-boggling displays of modern and contemporary art at Art Basel over three days, including exceptional displays of large-scale sculpture and public art
Excellent private collections, such as the Fondation Beyeler and Würth Collection, and special exhibitions at the recently renovated Kunstmuseum
The natural beauty and distinctive cuisines of Alsace and the Black Forest: vine-covered hills, medieval hamlets, Michelin stars and simple country inns
Soaring Gothic architecture at Strasbourg’s cathedral
Beautiful medieval towns, including Obernai and Colmar, with the new Unterlinden Museum and Isenheim Altarpiece
Days 1–3: Experience Art Basel, with three days of guided visits, lectures and ample time to explore. Discover the art of Basel and its surrounds, including visits to the recently renovated Kunstmuseum and Fondation Beyeler, a private collection in a villa designed by Renzo Piano.
Day 4: Visit the Vitra Design Campus and Colmar, including Matthias Grunewald’s masterpiece at the Unterlinden Museum, recently renovated and expanded by Herzog & de Meuron.
Days 5–8: Explore Strasbourg’s art and architecture, from its Gothic cathedral to its fine collection of modern art. Enjoy the medieval hamlets, cuisine and scenery of rural Alsace and the Black Forest.
The tour begins with a transfer from Zurich Airport to Basel and ends with an early morning transfer to Zurich Airport from the Cour de Corbeau in Strasbourg. For this tour we recommend Singapore which offers flights into and out of Zurich from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Friday 14 June: Art Basel
This morning there is a group transfer from Zurich Airport to Basel. In the early afternoon we make our first visit to Art Basel. We begin in the main exhibition, a five-hectare venue designed by Herzog & de Meuron in which close to 300 of the world’s best commercial galleries showcase pieces from their modern and contemporary collections. Our visit continues to the adjoining exhibition space, where large scale sculptures and installations by leading contemporary artists are displayed. In the early evening, we strolling through the old town of Basel, where we have a welcome dinner. Overnight Basel (D)
Saturday 15 June: Art Basel & the Kunstmuseum
This morning we return to Art Basel for a private guided tour of the abundance of art on display in the main exhibition. In the mid-afternoon, we visit the Basel Kunstmuseum, which reopened in 2016 after extensive renovations and the addition of a new wing. The museum has a fine collection of medieval and Renaissance art from the Upper Rhine Region, including masterpieces by Hans Holbein, and an excellent collection of classical modernism, with masterpieces by Picasso, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Kandinsky and Matisse. It is also a major venue for exceptional special summer exhibitions. The evening is at leisure, and you may wish to stroll through the historic centre of Basel to enjoy the installations and sculptures in public spaces on display during Art Basel. Overnight Basel (B)
Sunday 16 June: Modern Art in Basel
Basel’s modern art collections are exceptional. This morning we visit the Fondation Beyeler – a villa designed by Renzo Piano specifically to house the private collection of Ernst Beyeler, one of the founders of Art Basel. After a break for lunch, we visit the Tinguely Museum, another of Basel’s wonderful combinations of art and architecture. The museum, set in a park overlooking the Rhine, was designed by Mario Botta to house the playful moving sculptures of Jean Tinguely, which were donated to the city by the artist Niki de Sainte Phalle. The late afternoon is free and there is an optional visit to the Schaulager, a high-security art-storage space designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Evening at leisure. Overnight Basel (B)
Monday 17 June: Colmar and Vitra Design Campus
The Upper Rhine Valley is home to numerous art collections, because it is at the crossroads of Germany, France and Switzerland. This morning we depart by coach for Strasbourg, stopping first to visit the Vitra Design Campus, which is still the centre of production of Vitra, the company that continues to produce designer furniture by mid-century icons. The campus is more than a factory, however: it’s an open-air architecture museum, with buildings by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Alvaro Siza. After a guided tour of the site, we visit its museum of modern design. In the afternoon, we continue on to Colmar, one of the best preserved medieval cities in the Rhine region. After enjoying the city’s ambience, we visit the Unterlinden Museum, set in a medieval monastery with a contemporary extension, most famous for the Isenheim Altarpiece by Mattias Grunewald. In the late afternoon, we continue to Strasbourg, driving through the beautiful scenery of Alsace’s wine regions. Dinner and overnight Strasbourg. (B, D)
Tuesday 18 June: Alsace
Alsace is renowned for its landscapes, hamlets, wine and history, which we explore today by coach. Our first visit is to the Wurth Collection – one of the largest corporate art collections in Europe, amazingly still in the hands of the family and not a foundation. We continue to Obernai, one of Alsace’s best preserved medieval towns, which we tour and then enjoy lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant. After lunch, we continue to Mont Sainte-Odile, the site of a Celtic settlement and medieval monastery in the Voges mountains, with fantastic views across Alsace, and visit Selestat, a small town whose Renaissance library holds manuscripts from the 8th-16th centuries. Returning to Strasbourg through the hamlets of Alsace’s premier wine region, the evening is at leisure. Overnight Strasbourg (B, L)
Wednesday 19 June: Strasbourg
Strasbourg Cathedral is a landmark of Gothic architecture, and its spire, visible across Alsace, is a testament to the wealth and power of Strasbourg throughout the Middle Ages. This morning we take a walking tour of the medieval city, exploring its history and architecture, including the stunning cathedral, ending with the fine collection of Old Masters in the Musée des Beaux Arts. In the later afternoon, there is an optional visit to Strasbourg’s gallery of modern and contemporary art, whose masterpieces including Kandinsky’s Music Room, an excellent collection of Hans/Jean Arp and Sophie Tauber Arp, and Gustave Dore. Overnight Strasbourg (B)
Thursday 20 June: Baden Baden & The Black Forest
In addition to its natural beauty, the Black Forest has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe. We begin the day at Baden Baden, a 19th century spa town and gateway to the Black Forest. After visiting the Freida Burder Museum – the private collection of a German printing magnate with a passion for modern art, housed in a building designed by Richard Meier – we drive into the Black Forest, enjoying its panoramic views, forests and lakes, and dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant. In the evening, we return to Strasbourg. Overnight Strasbourg (B, D)
Friday 21 June: Departure
There is a transfer from Strasbourg to Zurich this morning. Please consult your individual travel documents for details of your journey.
Dr Nick Gordon
A cultural historian with a PhD in History, and practicing painter who brings this passion to the visual arts.
Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist, with over 10 years of experience leading tours to Europe. He has strong interests in art, history, philosophy and architecture, from the ancient world to the present.
Nick holds a University Medal and PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He taught medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Sydney, the history of political thought at the University of Western Sydney, and architectural and Australian history elsewhere. He continues to teach at the Centre of Continuing Education, and gives occasional lectures on topics ranging from Classical Rome through to Australian and contemporary art. Nick has lead tours for Academy Travel since 2007, and designs study tours, residential tours and art-focussed tours, such as the Venice Biennale, Art Along the Rhine, Art Basel, and Amsterdam to Paris: Van Eyck to Van Gogh.
Nick is also an artist and his firsthand experience of art complements his academic expertise, through his knowledge of materials and the processes behind how an artwork is made, and his well-practiced eye for reading art.
We asked Nick, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?
“One of the things I enjoy most about touring is helping people understand more about what they’re seeing. This happens through a combination of background lectures exploring different contexts, cultural commentary on the road, and especially by being able to explain what is going on in an artwork with the artwork in front of us.”
“The aim of all of this is to help people see more for themselves, independently, both on tour and beyond. Some of the best moments for me on tour are when this happens, and you get to be part of something bigger as people start adding their own knowledge and experience to what we’re looking at. It makes each experience unique.”
A 16th-century hotel that has been recently renovated to provide modern comforts in the old centre of Strasbourg. www.cour-corbeau.com/en/
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.