This range of expert-led art tours has been created by us on behalf of the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) and focuses on the art, architecture, archaeology and culture of some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.
The tours are open to anyone with a passion for the arts and will suit enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, with the aim of enriching the understanding of often complex subjects.
The itineraries have been created by Cox & Kings experts in conjunction with the specialist lecturers who will be accompanying the tours, and often concentrate on specific themes or topics. It is the expertise and enthusiasm of the lecturers combined with the pleasure of travelling with like-minded people that make these tours so fulfilling for lovers of the arts.
In many cases, we have included access to artworks not open to the wider public, or talks by the curators of local exhibitions. There is time set aside on most tours to explore further, independently of the group, though if you would like to increase the amount of time you have for independent exploration, Cox & Kings’ expert tour consultants will be delighted to arrange pre- or post-tour extensions for you.
We hope you are inspired by the array of fascinating tours and that we will be able to welcome you on to one in the coming year.
Cox & Kings pays a fee to the RA for every booking on the art tours programme and any booking on any Cox & Kings holiday from a Friend of the Royal Academy, if the Friend lets us know that this is the basis of their booking at the time of enquiry. These funds contribute to the work of the RA and specifically its Education Department.
For information on exhibitions and events at the RA, please visit the Royal Academy website.
Travellers to Albania and Macedonia can
discover a rich variety of archaeological
and historical sites, along with
spectacular mountain scenery and a
wealth of art treasures. Journeying
across these two countries, often referred
to as the ‘cradle of th...
Over the centuries, Moorish Spain has
captured peoples’ imagination thanks
to its strategic location, fertile land,
distinctive culture, unique architecture
and the romantic fables associated with
the region. Andalucía was a rich Roman
Explore the spectacular highland
countries of Armenia and Georgia, the
world’s oldest Christian nations, both
containing a treasure trove of ancient
ruins, churches and monasteries together
with centuries-old folk traditions. In
this little-known corne...
Travel to two industrial cities of northern
Spain that have each influenced the
development of modern art and
architecture. Start in the vibrant city of
Barcelona, seeing how Gaudí and his
contemporaries shaped its landscape,
noticing in particular...
The Bay of Naples was once one of the
greatest centres of classical Roman
civilisation. The excavated remains of
Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Villa
Oplontis, entombed in ash in the Mount
Vesuvius eruption of 79AD, provide a
special glimpse into this...
Bulgaria offers a wealth of historical
monuments, fine mountain scenery
and warm hospitality. This varied tour
begins in Sofia, visiting the National
Historical Museum, where the fabulous
prehistoric Thracian treasures are
displayed. Continue to Veliko...
Explore the paradise discovered by artists in the south of France at the beginning of the 20th century. Visit Matisse's celebrated Chapelle du Rosaire and the Fondation Maeght, which contains a stunning collection of artwork by Braque, Miro and Giacometti....
The island of Crete was the homeland
of the Minoan civilisation 4,000 years
ago. The Romans, Byzantines, Arabs,
Venetians and Ottomans all left behind
their legacy as well. The rich cultural
blend that is Crete today mirrors these
past influences. Visi...
This tour offers a privileged insight into
the secrets of ancient Egypt. Travel with
expert Egyptologist Jocelyn Gohary to
Cairo, Giza, Luxor and Aswan to uncover
the history of the pyramids, the Sphinx
and the Valley of the Kings, as well...
In the 15th century, Florence was an
immensely wealthy and powerful citystate,
where the principal Florentine
families were able to commission great
architects and artists to adorn their city
with buildings, statues and paintings. As
Greece is steeped in mythology and
history. Its glorious past is evident in
the beautifully preserved sites and
monuments found throughout the
modern country. This tour focuses on the
classical Greek highlights found in the
mainland, including Delphi,...
The fantastically rich and varied history
of Iran has left behind an unparalleled
cultural heritage. This tour reveals
the best of that legacy, including the
supreme Islamic architecture of Isfahan
and Shiraz, the ancient Achaemenian
Istanbul, capital of the great Ottoman
empire, enjoyed more than four centuries
of imperial patronage, resulting in
one of the most dramatic skylines in
the world. Its mosques and palaces
are complemented by exquisite tile
decoration, fine woodwork and...
Travel with expert Suzanne Perrin to
experience the celebrated temples,
stunning gardens and traditional crafts
during the beautiful Sakura (cherry
blossom) or Momiji’ (maple) season. See
the scenic views of old Kyoto and Nara,
Hiroshima’s Peace Park...
Jerusalem is considered to be one of
the most spiritual and holy centres
of the world by three major religions:
Christianity, Judaism and Islam. During
its extensive and tumultuous history,
Jerusalem has been home to a number of
faiths and nationalitie...
In the centenary year of the great
Arab revolt, travel with expert lecturer
and archaeologist Dr Faulkner who,
as co-director of a pioneering series
of excavations into TE Lawrence, has
exclusive behind-the-scenes access
to sites not open to the wider...
Accompanied by expert lecturer Denise
Heywood who has lived in the region,
begin your tour in serene Luang Prabang
in Laos, filled with glittering temples.
Cruise on the Mekong river to sacred
caves before flying to Vientiane. End the
tour with a stay...
Discover the impressive cultural heritage
of Lisbon and Sintra through Romantic
palaces, azulejo tiles and outstanding
art collections. Lisbon was the starting
point for voyages of discovery in the
14th to 15th centuries and many
Visit Madrid and its Golden Triangle
of Art with expert art historian Colin
Bailey. Tour the world-renowned Museo
del Prado, an extraordinary gallery
with unrivalled collections by masters
such as Goya, Velázquez, El Greco,
Rubens, Titian and Bosch....
Arts and culture form an integral part
of Mexican society. Influences stretch
back to pre-Columbian times, when the
great cities of the Aztecs, Maya and
many others were created. Themes and
patterns from these ancient cultures
are still visible in the...
Morocco, with its famous medieval
mosques and citadels, is truly the
jewel of North Africa and exudes a
sense of living history. What’s more,
this fascinating destination, set amid
the backdrop of the stunning Atlas
mountains and the shimmering...
Explore one of the most beautiful
countries in Arabia with expert Chris
Bradley, author of the Berlitz Guide to
Oman. The Sultanate offers more than
2,000km of coastline facing the Indian
Ocean and Arabian Sea, high mountains,
vast deserts and oases...
Renowned for the remarkable legacy
of the Incas, Peru was in fact home
to countless ancient civilisations.
Venturing off the tourist trail, this tour
visits northern Peru, where you can
discover the wealth of history displayed
by the pre-Inca Moche,...
Situated upon the heel of Italy, Puglia
& Basilicata encompass a wide stretch
of Italy’s beautiful Adriatic coastline.
As well as boasting some of Italy’s best
food and finest wines, these provinces
contain a treasure trove of fascinating
The small town of Ravenna hides a
glittering past. In 401AD, the city
became the capital of the western
Roman empire and mosaic-decorated
churches were built.
Ravenna flourished during the early
sixth century under the Ostrogoths,
Transylvania and Bucovina are two of
the most beautiful areas in Romania,
with their fine scenery and historic towns
and villages. This tour concentrates on
the country’s wonderful architectural
tradition, exemplified in the baroque
When the papacy returned to Rome in
1420, after more than a century in exile,
Pope Martin V found the city in ruins.
Humanists, patrons and artists sought to
return Rome to its former glory, inspired
by the classical remains. This process
Sicily is home to fine Greek temples,
exuberant Roman floor mosaics, Arab-inspired
gardens and superb Norman
architecture. Alongside this, the island
features magnificent scenery and
beautiful wild flowers. Visit the island’s
principal sites, including...
St Petersburg is one of the most majestic
and compelling cities in the world, much
of it unchanged since the 18th and 19th
Conceived by Peter the Great as a
‘window to the west’, it is home to
sumptuously decorated and furnished
Travelling in the footsteps of St Francis
and the painters of the early
Renaissance, explore and study the
glowing frescoes of Italy’s 14th- and
15th-century painters. From Simone
Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Giotto’s
workshop on the walls of the...
Visit the most magnificent cities of the
ancient Silk Road with Islamic expert
Diana Driscoll. These include Uzbekistan’s
second largest city, Samarkand, built
by the infamous 14th-century Emperor
Tamerlane; the medieval city of Bukhara,
This tour aims to go behind the scenes
to explore some of Venice’s lesser-known
gems that lie beyond the regular tourist
trail. Much of Venice remains more or
less as it was more than 500 years ago,
with many important works of art still in
We have highlighted the standard of accommodation featured on a tour immediately above the tour itinerary.
In some cases, tours include some departures in one category and some in another: you can see and select the different tour types under ‘tour variations’. For these tours, the itinerary is generally the same and just the standard of accommodation varies. However, if there are any variations in the excursions included, these are shown within the itinerary.
Superior: Most Cox & Kings tours fall under this category and are based in 4- or 5-star accommodation, or the best available.
Luxury: These tours will usually feature 5-star de luxe accommodation throughout.
Standard: Simpler in emphasis, these itineraries typically feature 3- and 4-star accommodation throughout.
Discovery: This type of holiday is best suited to the hardier traveller, as it will typically include some quite basic accommodation, possibly longer and rougher road journeys and, in some cases, more arduous activities, such as trekking.