Oct 7 - 19, 2020
13 days
$9,280per person, twin share (land content only). $1,870 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
Oct 7 - 19, 2020

Tour Leader

Robert Gay$9,280per person, twin share (land content only). $1,870 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Music lies at the heart of German culture, and it is no surprise that it is home to some of the most renowned composers, conductors, singers and instrumentalists in the world. Our new Hamburg and Berlin itinerary gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in this heritage. The program is built around eight outstanding performances in celebrated venues, including the exciting new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the newly-renovated Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. The performances are complemented by visits to excellent city museums and day trips to Lubeck and Potsdam.


  • Eight performances of opera, orchestral music and ballet
  • Detailed background talks by one of Australia’s most experienced music educators
  • A day at Berlin’s Museum Island, home to fabulous collections of Egyptian, Babylonian and classical antiquities
  • Germany’s maritime past, in Hamburg’s historic districts and the Hanseatic port of Lübeck
  • Fine collections of Old and Modern Masters at Hamburg’s Kunsthalle and Berlin’s Gemaldegalerie
  • Modern Berlin, from the remains of the Wall and Check-Point Charlie to lunch at Käfer’s, under Norman Foster’s Reichstag dome, with views across Berlin

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–6: Arrive Hamburg. Tour the city centre and the historic maritime district; visit the fine collections of Hamburg’s Kunsthalle. Day trip to Lubeck, the largest port in the Middle Ages, with its well-preserved cityscape. Enjoy three performances of opera and ballet in fine venues, including the new Elbphilharmonie.

Days 7–13: In Berlin, explore the city’s Cold War history and its post-reunification renaissance. Admire masters old and new on Museum Island and at the Gemaldegalerie. Spend a full day in Potsdam, including visits to Sanssouci and Cecilienhof, site of the Potsdam Conference. Enjoy five performances at venues including the Staatsoper and the Philharmonie.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at our hotel in Hamburg and ends in our hotel in Berlin. Emirates offers the best connections into Hamburg and out of Berlin from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the letters B, L, D and C for canapés.

Wednesday October 7: Arrive

If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel, we will organise a transfer from Hamburg airport to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. In the evening, meet Robert Gay at the hotel for welcome drinks and canapés. Overnight Hamburg (C)

Thursday October 8: Hamburg – Performance I

Following an introductory talk on this evening’s performance, we take a guided coach tour through the historic centre of Hamburg before enjoying a welcome lunch in a local restaurant. The later afternoon is at leisure. Overnight Hamburg (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Hamburg Ballet or Staatsoper Hamburg
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Friday October 9: Kunsthalle – Performance II

After a talk on this evening’s performance, we head to the Kunsthalle which has one of Germany’s finest art collections. It is especially noted for its holdings of paintings by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich as well as an outstanding collection of the art of the 20th century. Tonight, we enjoy an orchestral performance in the new Elbphilharmonie. Overnight Hamburg (B)

Performance details
Venue: Elbphilharmonie
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Saturday October 10: Maritime Architechure – Performance III

Following a talk, we explore the fascinating maritime district of Hamburg. We see the docks and take in the unique architecture of the area. The afternoon is at leisure before our performance this evening. Overnight Hamburg (B)

Performance details
Venue: Hamburg Ballet or Staatsoper Hamburg
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Sunday October 11: Lübeck

Today we visit Lübeck, an important Hanseatic city and the birthplace of German novelist Thomas Mann. After lunch, we take a walking tour through the city, ending at St Anne’s Museum which has an outstanding collection of late medieval altar pieces, including a magnificent triptych of the Crucifixion by Hans Memling. Overnight Hamburg (B, L)

Monday October 12: Hamburg – Berlin

Today we depart Hamburg by coach for Berlin. This evening we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Berlin (B, D)

Tuesday October 13: Berlin – Performance IV

After a talk in the hotel, we take a guided coach tour to explore the former eastern part of the city, which actually incorporated almost all of the former capital. We also see what remains of the notorious Berlin Wall, now an open-air gallery with more than 100 murals. The afternoon is at leisure before our performance this evening. Overnight Berlin (B)

Performance details
Venue: Deutsche Oper
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Wednesday October 14: Gemäldegalerie – Performance V

This morning is at leisure in Berlin. This afternoon, we visit the Gemäldegalerie which holds some of the world’s leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries, with major works by artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Vermeer and Rembrandt. We take a short walk to the nearby Sony Centre where we have dinner, followed by a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Overnight Berlin (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Philharmonie
Program: to be announced
Performers: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra or a visiting orchestra

Thursday October 15: Potsdam

Today we spend the day in Potsdam, just a short distance from Berlin. The city is closely associated with Frederick the Great and we visit the King’s summer palace of Sanssouci, as well as Cecilienhof, the site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before we return to Berlin in the late afternoon and the evening is at leisure. Overnight Berlin (B, L)

Friday October 16: Museum Island – Performance VI

After a morning talk, we walk to nearby Museum Island, a unique complex of five museums, where you have a full-day pass to use as you please. The Neues Museum which houses the outstanding Egyptian collection – complete with the famous bust of Nefertiti – is highly regarded, as is the Altes Museum for its superb collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Note that the Pergamum Altar is closed until further notice. This evening, we visit Berlin’s Komische Oper, situated next to our hotel and currently under the artistic direction of Australian Barrie Kosky. The company enjoys a fine reputation for verve and originality. Overnight Berlin (B)

Performance details
Venue: Komische Oper
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Saturday October 17: West Berlin – Performance VII

After a talk in the hotel, we take a guided coach tour to explore the former western side of Berlin, visiting Berlin’s most famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, and passing by the former crossing point between East and West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie. We make a coffee stop in the renowned Kaufhaus Des Westens (KDW) department store. This evening, we return to the Philharmonie to attend a performance by its resident orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic. Overnight Berlin (B)

Performance details
Venue: Philharmonie
Program: to be announced
Performers: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Sunday October 18: Contemporary Art and Architecture – Performance VIII

On our final day of the tour, we visit the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum. Once the terminus of the railway line between Hamburg and Berlin, it now houses a comprehensive collection of contemporary art. We continue on to our farewell lunch at Käfer’s restaurant, at the top of the Reichstag building, the seat of the German parliament. Destroyed by arson in 1933, the building was reconstructed in the 1990s to a plan by British architect Sir Norman Foster. His plan included an extraordinary glass dome, with walking ramps in the shape of a double helix, offering 360° views of the city. This evening we attend a performance at the Staatsoper in its historic theatre on Unter den Linden. The theatre has recently reopened after an extensive renovation. Overnight Berlin (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Staatsoper Unter den Linden
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced

Monday October 19: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. Please consult your individual travel documents for your outbound journey. (B)

Robert Gay

One of Australia’s leading music tour leaders and music educators, he has designed and led more than 90 tours.

Since 1987, Robert Gay has managed to combine his passion for music and his love of teaching with his enthusiasm for travel. He has visited the great opera houses and concert halls of Europe and America and heard most of the great singers and instrumentalists of the last half-century. Robert was President of the Sydney Schubert Society for eighteen years, and for several years was a guest lecturer for ADFAS.

After gaining a BA, Dip. Ed. from the University of Sydney, Robert trained as a lyric baritone in London and Munich before turning to the field of music education with a position at 2MBS-FM. He has taught music history courses at Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education since 1985. Robert’s musical expertise ranges wide, from baroque to modern. He particular enjoys placing works in their larger contexts – musical, biographical, social and historical.

In the early days, Robert always designed his tours to include a visit behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ – whether it was Berlin, Dresden, Prague or Budapest – thereby providing fascinating insights into a world which has now largely disappeared. His tours, which total nearly 90, have regularly featured the great musical cities of Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Russia, as well as Scandinavia and the United States of America.

“It has been an enormous privilege to have travelled the world for the last 30 years taking groups of music lovers to the great musical and cultural cities of Europe and America,” Robert says. “There is something magical about music – an art form which only truly lives as it is performed – which seems to bind people together so effortlessly and harmoniously.”

“I have always been a great believer in ‘the spirit of place’,” says Robert. “You can read and research and google all you like, but it cannot for a moment match the thrill of standing in the beautiful villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne where Wagner and his beloved Cosima first lived together; or of hearing a service in Bach’s unassuming St Thomas’s church in Leipzig; or seeing a performance in the old Paris Opéra, the auditorium ‘crowned’ by its superb Chagall ceiling celebrating both opera and ballet. Such experiences are treasurable and unforgettable!”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Hotels have been selected principally for their central location. All hotels are a comfortable four and five-star standard.

Hamburg, Barcelo Hotel (5 nights)

The Barcelo Hotel in Hamburg is a modern four-star hotel, centrally located with various restaurants, bars and shops within walking distance of the hotel. www.barcelo.com

Berlin, The Westin Grand Hotel (7 nights)

The Westin Grand Hotel Berlin is a five-star hotel located in the heart of Berlin, central to sights such as the Brandenburg Gate and Museum Island. www.marriott.de

Tour Inclusions

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, taxis or public transport are 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
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included

Airport Transfers

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?

Our 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
  • 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


Booking Conditions

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.

Cancellation Fees

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.

Travel Insurance

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.

Final Payment

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. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade Two

A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


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Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Jemma York 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

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