I have come to expect excellence from Odysseys Unlimited and have never been disappointed.
Michael E. Leahy Oak Lawn, IL
We have been to many, many places all over the world, with many different tour companies. None of them compare to the Odysseys Unlimited small group experience.
Nancy & William Sondervan Sherrills Ford, NC
The small group is wonderful and the quality of tour directors is exceptional.
Bill Jones Vancouver, WA
All that was advertised was delivered. Consider this tour to be a real value as to sites visited, itinerary, hotels, and travel between sites.
Susan & Paul Krupp Georgetown, TX
Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.
Barbara Schoetzau New York, NY
Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.
Tara Malmberg Quitman, TX
Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.
Jean Hall Prairie Village, KS
We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.
Roger Soder Seattle, WA
The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.
Patricia Joyce Peoria, AZ
We love the small group experience.
Dave & Alice Wilson Williamstown, MA
Odysseys is the best company we have traveled with. You have first-rate tours at affordable prices, with great itineraries, excellent guides, and outstanding accommodations.
Jane & Ronald Decker Chicago, IL
Odysseys tours are just right for us: great value, nice group size, complete trips, sufficient free time.
Laurin & Phyllis LeTart Shepherdstown, WV
This trip far exceeded our expectations: the small group size, the quality of the tour director (the best we’ve ever had), the ability to have dinners on our own, the lower cost without a significant reduction in the quality of the accommodations.
Barry & Bobbi Rosner Somerset, NJ
I thought I would not like traveling in a group but I was wrong! [Our tour director] was so good at making the group seem as one that it turned out to be the best part of the trip.
Donna Stevenson Dublin, OH
It was the best value in travel we’ve ever had. It was a wonderful experience.
Trish Merrill & Mac White Austin, TX
This was my 7th trip with Odysseys and they keep getting better and better.
Merle Frank Miami, FL
Love the small group format and the ease of traveling with arrangements made for us.
Ken & Carolyn Helm Newburgh, IN
Tour exceeded my expectations having never taken a group tour. An excellent experience – can’t wait for my next one!
Ronni Goldberg New York, NY
Absolutely the best bang for the buck – organization, quality, consistency.
Harvey Wine Dallas, TX
I like the small size of Odysseys tours. [You] have excellent Tour Directors, great itineraries and spend more time in areas than some of the other tour companies.
Lynn Bafaloukos Glendale, AZ
Because of the group size and outstanding guides, you make travel easy for us!
At its core, the reason we travel is to experience other cultures. The staggering diversity of landscapes, climates, wildlife, and human migration and interaction have combined to create an endless array of cultures across the globe, all of which have their particular characteristics. And one of the most diverse and fascinating outputs of culture is art.
While most of our 50+ small-group tours touch on local art in some way, the five tours below offer multiple opportunities to take in the local artwork, whether painting, sculpture, architecture, or something more. Read on, art lovers!
It’s only appropriate that we start in France, the land of Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, and countless other master artists. Our first exposure to the art of southern France comes with a visit to Palais de la Berbie in Albi, an ancient fortress housing a museum dedicated to the work of Belle Epoque artist (and hometown hero) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Next, we dip into Figueres, in the very northern reaches of Spain, to visit the birthplace of one of recent history’s most famous artists: Salvador Dali. We visit the acclaimed theater-museum that this surrealist designed to showcase his artwork, which is itself considered his final masterpiece. It’s an immersive look at the man who created some of the world’s most recognizable pieces of art, where even the facade is a showstopper.
The very next day, we travel to Collioure, France’s “City of Painters,” immortalized by such artists as Dérain, Matisse, and Picasso, among other Fauvists, the “anti-Impressionists” who emphasized strong, bold color in their work. We have the day free to walk in the footsteps of the talented artists who immortalized this city.
Two more artistic sojourns cap off this tour – a visit to the St. Paul Asylum in Saint Remy, where Van Gogh produced some of his more well-known works, and three nights in Aix, birthplace of artist Paul Cezanne.
On our Ancient Greece tour, we have the opportunity to appreciate art made several millennia ago. On our first full day in Greece, we visit the National Archaeological Museum, considered one of the world’s greatest museums. Here we see sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, frescoes, and much more, dating from Neolithic prehistory up through present day.
And speaking of sculptures, we encounter one of antiquity’s greatest examples at Delphi: the Charioteer of Delphi. This life-sized bronze is notable for its incredibly well-detailed facial features, lifelike hands, and near perfect condition despite some being nearly 2,500 years old.
We visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on Day 9 of our tour, which houses artifacts from some 5,500 years of history on the island of Crete. The museum is especially renowned for its Minoan collection, much of which was excavated from the palace of Knossos, where we also visit. The political center of Minoan civilization and legendary home of King Minos, the Labyrinth, and the Minotaur, ancient Knossos is considered Europe’s “oldest city” and the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete, and its remnants showcase the vibrant artistic culture that thrived here some three millennia ago.
On this tour, we have a chance to see (and experience) the breadth of Japan’s art. First, we visit the Tokyo gallery of preeminent calligrapher Koshun Masunaga, where we learn about this ancient art of artistic writing and browse the collection. We also get to try our hand at the craft:
Before leaving Tokyo, we also visit the Tokyo National Museum, housing an extensive collection of art and antiquities from all across Asia. In Kanazawa, we call on the acclaimed Hakukokan Gold Leaf Center, a museum that celebrates the art and craft of gold leaf technology and houses a collection dating to the late 16th century. The museum is a center of gold leaf craft, and we are shown how to apply real gold leaf. After this demonstration, we can try our hands at decorating a plate with our own gold leaf patterns:
We also visit Unrakugama Pottery, a family-owned pottery house producing fine handmade ceramics and earthenware. Here, we get an up-close view of how these master potters craft a variety of pieces using only their hands, clay, and the potter’s wheel.
The major artistic achievements we view on this tour of four northern European nations reside in Russia, but our first brush with beauty comes in Latvia. We travel through gentle countryside to the restored 18th-century Baroque palace of Rundale. Designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also designed St. Petersburg’s Hermitage, Rundale’s construction took more than 30 years and 1,500 workers. We tour some of the castle’s 138 rooms and view the marvelous paintings and frescoes here.
Our art-infused touring of St. Petersburg includes a visit to awe-inspiring St. Isaac’s Cathedral, whose construction took more than 40 years; the Peter & Paul Fortress; the Bronze Horseman statue of city founder Peter the Great; and a guided tour of the world-renowned Hermitage Museum founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and housing one of the world’s greatest fine arts collections.
And finally, of course, we visit Peterhof, one of the many royal “summer” palaces built by the Romanovs during the last two centuries of their rule. Most of these palaces were virtually destroyed by retreating Germans during World War II and later rebuilt to their original designs, complete with gilding. Known for its elaborate fountains with gold statues and 142 jets, Peterhof sits in a huge park with a formal 18th-century garden. Our tour includes both the Grand Royal Palace and the Upper and Lower gardens.
Fans of both studio and architectural arts will enjoy this tour of Portugal and northern Spain. In León, we encounter the city’s impressive historical and architectural heritage as we visit the 12th-century León Cathedral, one of Spain’s most beautiful with its sculpture-covered façade and impressive stained glass windows; and Casa Botines, a Modernist structure by architect Antoni Gaudí.
The artistic crown jewel on any tour of northern Spain is the Guggenheim, the famed modern art museum where we take a guided tour. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the jaw-dropping structure of limestone, titanium, and glass has drawn acclaim, attention, and visitors to this popular, revitalized city.
In our last stop of Barcelona, we visit a number of architectural treasures, including the landmark Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s surreal – and unfinished – cathedral. It’s an all-around view of Spain’s vibrant artistic history.
So if you’re an art lover and want to experience the artistic stylings of another culture, consider one of these small group tours!