Duration 14 Days
Start

A 14 day circuit to discover the Sephardic Heritage in Portugal.

The presence of the Jews in Portugal tells millennia of History. Its presence is part of the Portuguese Essence, Portuguese Culture and Portuguese Traditions, and is also part of Portuguese people DNA. With its own identity, the Jewish community in Portugal has always been one of the most significant in Europe in terms of numbers and social importance.
Today, we remember this past and discover in the present how this presence is a fundamental part of Portuguese identity.

There is the possibility of choosing between 4* or 5* hotels, all of them of high quality and great charm, adjusting the tour final price. There will be a full time trip leader, that will provide all the historical and cultural information. The tour will be made, with all the comfort, in a 9 seats tourist luxury vehicle. The tour is made from Lisbon, with personalized pick-up and drop-off.

Day 1:

Lisbon

Transfer from the airport to the Hotel

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 2:

Lisbon

During the morning, visit to the historical sites in Lisbon where were located the Jewish communities and “Almocavares” (cemeteries). The Portuguese Capital had the biggest Jewish Community in Europe, that occupied a considerable part of the present historical city. The fascinating Quarters of Alfama, Chiado, Baixa, Bairro Alto and Graça will be discovered gradually, following the History of the oldest city in Europe.

Free time for lunch.

During the afternoon we will visit the town of Sintra, a World Heritage Site. The tour begins at Pena Palace, Sintra ex-libris and the highest exponent of European Romanticism. Afterwards, we will stroll through the old Jewish Quarter, which, despite the absence of physical marks, retains its traditional aspects, and is still the heart of commerce and handicrafts of Sintra. The tour continues with the visit to “Guincho”, “Boca do Inferno” and Cascais. We will make a stop at the Tamariz beach, in Estoril, to learn about the history of the Jewish refugees, who used Portugal as a gateway during World War II. The day ends with a visit to Belem quarter in Lisbon, where we will visit Jerónimos Monastery, a World Heritage Site, and will taste the famous “Pastéis de Belém”.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 3: 

Óbidos/Leiria/Tomar

During the morning, we will visit Óbidos, a medieval walled village, where we will explore the old Jewish quarter physical marks and the medieval Synagogue building. It will be offered a “ginjinha”, a very typical local traditional liquor. Departure towards Leiria.

Free time for lunch.

Visit to the Castle and Historic Center of Leiria, with a Local Guide. The Jewish Quarter, in the middle of the Historical Center, preserves the traces of the medieval city.  The old Jewish buildings, organized around the synagogue, give us, even today, the possibility of imagining the city’s pre-Renaissance daily life. Departure towards Tomar, where we will visit the Convent of Christ, World Heritage, and the Historic Center of the city, which houses the oldest Synagogue in Portugal.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 4:

Coimbra/Montemor-o-Velho/Oporto

Departure towards Coimbra. We will visit the University of Coimbra, a World Heritage Site, which keeps the memory of many illustrious members of the Portuguese Jewish community. The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in Europe and a true ex-libris. We will visit the historic Jewish Quarters, the Palace of Inquisition and the old squares where the condemned penitents were submitted to the “autos-de-fé”, the final step in the Inquisition Process. It will be possible to understand the History of the Jewish community in the 1500’s.

Free time for lunch.

Departure towards Montemor-o-Velho. Visit to the medieval castle and its surroundings. We will tell one of the most curious stories of “Marranismo” in Portugal, that took place at the Convent of Our Lady of Fields. The day will end at the city of Oporto, for lodging.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 5: 

Oporto

Throughout the morning, we will visit Oporto’s highlights and will discover, during the visit, the places where the old Jewish Quarters were located. After, we will visit the “Palácio da Bolsa”, to understand the importance of the city from the economic point of view, until the 19th century. We will tell the stories of the New Christians descendants, that were part of the prosperous bourgeoisie of Oporto. 

Free time for lunch.

In the afternoon there will be a boat trip along the Douro River and a wine tasting with a visit to the Port wine cellars. After, there will be a guided tour to the Oporto  Synagogue “Kadoori”, by one of the members of the Jewish community. The “Work of Rescue”, which brought to daylight the “Marranismo” in Portugal, will be told.  The crypto-Judaism remained unknown for almost 500 years and is part of the unique History of the Portuguese Jews.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 6:

Guimarães/Peso da Régua/Régua/Pinhão/Lamego

Visit to the city of “Guimarães”, cradle of Portuguese nationality and a World Heritage Site. There will be a walking tour, to feel the atmosphere of the medieval city and to discover its enchanting medieval streets. Visit to the Castle and to the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança. The walking tour  will end at the ancient Jewish Quarter.
Free time for lunch.
Departure towards “Peso da Régua”. Embark on a cruise that will take you along the Douro River, between Régua and Pinhão. The cruise will cover one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, which was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The nuanced slopes along Douro River will slowly be glanced at the rhythm of the river’s water. After landing there will be time to visit the city of Lamego, in which the Jews occupied the area between the Castle and the Church of “St. Maria de Almacave”. One of the cities most flogged by the Inquisition, it still holds physical vestiges of the Jewish presence.
Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).
Day 7:

Penedono/Marialva/Trancoso/Pinhel/Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo

On this day we will continue towards “Beira Alta”, where the Jewish remains are still well present, resulting from strong and numerous communities. Between rurality and tradition, in the along the Portuguese border the Jewish Quarters maintain many of their original peculiarities and the Jewish ancestral presence left historical and cultural marks, that are evident until today. In “Penedono” we will discover a community that lived nested by the Castle, for centuries. In Marialva were identified two hundred and thirty marks of magic-religious symbology, which reveals the size and importance of the Jewish community. The house where today is the Tourist Office was the former residence of a wealthy Jewish family.

Free time for lunch.

In the afternoon we will continue to “Trancoso”, where a guided tour will be made by a Local Guide. The Jewish presence in Trancoso dates back to the 14th century and the marks it preserves are an interesting testimony of the strong presence that the Jewish community maintained for centuries. During the tour we will visit the House of the Black Cat or Lion of Judah, the Well of the Master, the Center of Interpretation of Isaac Cardoso for Jewish Culture, which includes the Mayan Hayim Synagogue, the most modern in the country, and the “Bandarra” House. After, we will continue to “Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo”. We will make a stop at “Pinhel”, where at the beginning of the 20th century existed a clandestine cripto-Jewish community, that was discovered during the “Work of Rescue”. “Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo” is a charming walled village, which holds countless traces of the Jewish community, including the archaeological remains of an ancient Synagogue. Breathing the atmosphere of this small village is an unforgettable experience. It will be offered a dinner in a place that gathers all the charm of the Portuguese tradition.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 8: 

Almeida/Vilar Formoso/ Guarda/Belmonte

The border municipality of Almeida is historically the one that has proved to be the most important, in the whole Iberian Peninsula, in the reception of international refugees; it happened in the 15th century and, most recently, in the 19th century, during the World War II. In these two periods, “Vilar Formoso” saved about 200,000 people. The day will begin with a visit to “Almeida”, the home of numerous vestiges of the Jewish presence. “Almeida” is an interesting walled village, with a star shaped wall. In this region several Hechal have already been discovered, which allows to support the thesis of practices of crypto-Judaism, throughout the centuries. After, we will visit “Vilar Formoso” and the “Memorial to Refugees and Consul Aristides Sousa Mendes”, which recalls the saga of the Jews who fled from the horrors of World War II.

Free time for lunch.

After lunch we will visit the city of “Guarda”, where the streets of the ancient Jewish Quarter, located inside the walled city, will be discovered. The Jewish commune of “Guarda” was, for long periods, one of the most important in Portugal and is considered one of the oldest. A visit will be made to the place where the hearings were held before the Inquisition Court.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 9: 

Belmonte/Sortelha

Crowned by the medieval castle, the village of “Belmonte” stands out for the beauty of its architectural tangle. The Jewish community of “Belmonte” has survived for centuries, keeping its traditions and faith hidden. The community has been reborn in our days and affirmed itself as a B’nei Anussim community. There will be a guided tour by a local guide. The visit to the Beit Eliahu Synagogue will be accompanied by one of the members of the Jewish community. After departure towards “Sortelha”.

Free time for lunch.

During the afternoon we will visit the village of “Sortelha”, one of the most beautiful Portuguese villages, totally walled and breathing the essence of its antiquity. The visit through the streets and alleys of the cluster allows a return to the past and discovers the numerous Jewish community that has lived in “Sortelha” for centuries. Today, absorbed by the rest of the population, the Jewish community is present in the traditions of countless of its descendants. Before returning to “Belmonte”, there will be a visit to the village of “Sabugal” and to the “House of Jewish History of Raia Sabugalense – Casa do Castelo” (with a local guide), where the crypto-Judaism practiced in the region until the 19th century is revealed. The visit allows to deepen the understanding of a unique phenomenon of faith.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 10: 

Castelo de Vide/Marvão/Portagem/Elvas

Departure towards “Castelo de Vide”, where will be made a tour with a local guide. We will visit the Castle, the Synagogue and the Jewish quarter. The Jewish Quarter, planted on a hillside, facing the old Medieval Castle, is located in the Historic Center.

Free time for lunch.

During the afternoon, we will visit “Marvão”. The Nobel Prize for Literature, José Saramago, wrote in “Viagem a Portugal” (1961) that “From Marvão the whole earth is seen …”. The visit to “Marvão” is unforgettable; of stunning beauty is one of the most beautiful villages in Europe. After “Marvão”, we will departure towards “Portagem”, where we will visit the Bridge and the “Quinhentistas” Tower, point of passage of thousands of Jews from Spain, during the Decree of Expulsion of the Catholic Kings. After, departure towards “Vila Viçosa” for accommodation.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 11:

Elvas/Monsaraz/Évora

The city of “Elvas”, recently nominated by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, keeps within its walls the influence of Arabs and Jews. It became, in Renaissance, the sixth most populous city in the country, in which the three monotheistic religions coexisted, giving the city a special colorful. Recently, in its historic center, one of the largest Synagogues of the Iberian Peninsula has been found, a testimony of a prosperous and numerous Jewish community. Present in the city since, at least, the middle of the Middle Ages, this community is present in the DNA of its inhabitants. The tour will allow a walk around the old Jewish Quarter. After the visit, departure towards “Monsaraz”.

Free time for lunch.

“Monsaraz” is a medieval walled village, with intense beauty. Considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, it glimpses, from the castle battlements, a stunning landscape. In “Monsaraz” lived a prosperous Jewish community. We will visit the “Interactive Center of Jewish History – House of the Inquisition”. Afterwards, we will take a boat trip on the “Alqueva” dam, including a local Wine Tasting on board. After the visit, departure towards “Évora”, for accommodation.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Dia 12: 

Évora/Tavira

During the morning, we will visit the city of “Évora” and its highlights. We will also visit the ancient Jewish Quarter, where the physical remains of the Jewish presence can still be found. “Évora” was, during the Middle Ages, the second most important city in Portugal and its Jewish Quarter was among the largest in Portugal. The Jewish heritage is still present, in the city and its traditions. We will visit the Inquisition Court, also known as the Palace of the Inquisitor, now transformed into a place of culture and art exhibition. It will be remembered the countless processes that existed against the “Marranos”, who transformed Judaism in Portugal into a cryptic religion with unique characteristics. We will visit the most emblematic places of a city that is a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Free time for lunch.

In the afternoon, there will be the opportunity of tasting some of the best wines of the region, on a guided tour to a local farm, that will include a Wine Tasting. Afterwards, we will departure towards “Algarve”. The city of “Tavira” is  known as the city of churches, but, for centuries, “Tavira” was an exemple of diversity and tolerance. A visit will be made through the historic center and the accommodation will take place in the “Pousada do Convento de Tavira”, which was built over the Jewish Quarter. The old Synagogue is now a Church, that can be visited by guests, inside the “Pousada do Convento de Tavira”.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 13: 

Faro/Lisboa

The historic center of “Faro” holds the memory of a glorious past, a prosperous and cultured Jewish community. In “Faro” was born the Portuguese press and the first printed book. The first book that was printed in Portugal was the Torah, in 1487. The Inquisition would transform completely the city. The Jewish Quarter was totally destroyed and replaced by a Convent, that in the present houses the Archaeological Museum and “Lapidar Infante D. Henrique”. However, the atmosphere of ancient times is still noticeable on the streets and its white houses. The Historic Center of “Faro” is also a great place to discover Portuguese traditions and gastronomy.

Free time for lunch.

Departure towards Lisbon.

Accommodation in a 4* or 5* Hotel (according to the chosen program).

Day 14: 

Lisbon

Transfer from the hotel to the airport

INCLUDES:

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Tourist Luxury Transportation

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Professional Tourism Driver/Guide

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Pick-up and Drop-off.

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Accommodation in 4* or 5* hotels

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 Entrance Tickets

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Gastronomic Tastings

Accommodation in 4* or 5* hotels (or similar) and breakfast included.

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Not included: Plane ticket and meals.

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We recommend: comfortable footwear and clothing.

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Starting from Lisbon.