|The visit begins in the oldest and most traditional part of Lisbon: Alfama. We wander the narrow and labyrinthine streets and wind our way down towards the river. We visit three of the four old Jewish quarters: Alfama, the Judiaria Velha and the Judiaria Nova or Judiaria das Taracenas. During the trip, we stop to observe the beautiful Manueline-style portal of the church of Conceição Velha on the way to Praça do Comércio.Amid shops, artists and cafés, we stroll along one of the most beautiful streets on Lisbon, Rua Augusta. Praça D. Pedro IV (Rossio), where you’ll find the Teatro D. Maria II, is where the Palácio dos Estaus (the Headquarters of the Inquisition) used to stand. Close by, in Largo de São Domingos, there is a plaque commemorating the thousands of Jewish victims of a massacre in 1506.
In the afternoon, after lunch, we visit the Lisbon Synagogue, Shaaré Tikvá, the first built from the ground up since Judaism was officially abolished in Portugal in 1497. Then we move on to Largo do Carmo, a place full of history and where, in the Middle Ages, the oldest Jewish quarter in the city, the Bairro da Pedreira, once stood.
Our trip continues in Belém where we visit the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
|We leave Lisbon and head to the medieval town of Óbidos, the town of queens.
The narrow streets, alleys and white houses envelop the town in a medieval atmosphere made all the more evident during the day by the handicrafts shops, taverns selling cherry brandy, ginja da terra (served in chocolate cups), and the living statues in Rua Direita.
Amid churches, stone crosses, squares and manor houses, the Jewish community settled with its businesses in the old fortified centre. Some of the traces of the community can still be found in Rua Nova, in particular the old Jewish temple.After Óbidos, we travel to the fishing town of Nazaré which has become world famous for its giant waves, surfed by Garrett McNamara. But our objective is a delicious food experience with fresh fish taking centre stage.
We then climb up to the Nazaré point for the spectacular view of the beach and fishing and leisure harbour.Tomar, home to the most well-known military organisation of the Middle Ages, the Knights Templar. Our visit starts at the synagogue, one of the oldest in the country.The trip continues on to Praça da República where we stop to admire the Manueline façade of the church of São João Batista and the picture perfect windows of the old buildings in this city beside the River Nabão.
Next up is the Castle and Convent of the Templars, the headquarters of the Order, which later became the Order of Christ.
Arrival and accommodation in Coimbra
|Portugal’s university city is over two thousand years old and its historical and cultural centre is listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. We take a tour of the Old Jewish Quarter, New Jewish Quarter and the church of Santa Cruz (resting place of the first kings of Portugal). The Praça Velha, one of the main squares, is also included on our tour as it was where most of the inquisitions took place in the city.
We’ll also visit one of the oldest places of learning in Europe, the University of Coimbra, and its extraordinary library, the Biblioteca Joanina, with its Portuguese Baroque decoration.In the afternoon, we arrive in the beautiful city of Porto. We take a tour around the historical centre (also a Unesco World Heritage Site) and visit the Torre dos Clérigos, Livraria Lello and the old Jewish quarter of Olival.
The tour continues with a port wine tasting at the Burmester cellars, where we are told about its history.
Arrival and accommodation in Porto
|Visit to the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, the largest in the Iberian Peninsula, founded by Captain Barros Basto in 1938 and whose museum has an interesting collection of exhibits about his life and work.
Before bidding the city farewell, we’ll have a coffee and rabanada at the lovely Café Majestic, voted the 6th most beautiful in the world in 2011 by the U city guides website.We then set off for Trancoso, via Lamego, along a route which takes in the wonderful landscape of the Alto Douro Wine Producing Region, also a World Heritage Site and punctuated by the terraces and vineyards that change with the passing seasons.
Within its walls, and at the eastern end of the city, we find the largest number of symbolic signs anywhere in the Beira Alta region and buildings, such as the Casa do Gato Preto, that attest to the importance of the Jewish community in the 14th and 15th centuries. We also visit the “Isaac Cardoso” Jewish Visitor Centre and the Beit Mayim Hayim Synagogue (Casa das Águas Vivas).We say goodbye to Trancoso and stop in Guarda, the highest city in Portugal. We tour the historical centre with its Jewish quarter and visit the city’s main landmark, the Cathedral (SéI), a perfect example of Romanesque, Gothic and Manueline architecture.
Arrival and accommodation in Belmonte
|The town of Belmonte is part of the network of the historic villages of Portugal network.
Discovered by the Polish engineer Samuel Schwarz in the early 20th century, it is today one of the most important Jewish communities in Portugal and was officially acknowledged in 1989. Its synagogue, “Beit Eliahu” (Son of Elias), is located in one of the streets of the old Jewish quarter and it is here that we begin our visit.We visit the Jewish Museum (unique in Portugal), which describes the habits, customs and history of the Sephardic Jewish community in Portugal and includes a memorial to the last victims of the Inquisition, the Museum of Discoveries (Museu dos Descobrimentos – Centro Interpretativo à Descoberta do Novo Mundo) and Olive Oil Museum (Museu do Azeite).We leave the Beira Baixa region and head towards the Alto Alentejo and Castelo de Vide.
Our visit here will focus on the historical centre. We tour the streets where the old Jewish quarter was located and visit the synagogue, whose museum has various exhibits about the history of the Jews and the Diaspora. We then drop in at the Oficina-Museu do Mestre Carolino, at Rua Nova, a workshop/museum which records the importance of the Jewish crafts and trades in the Middle Ages, and end at Largo Dr. Frederico Laranjo to see the fountain, considered the town’s landmark.At the end of the day, on our way to Évora, we stop at Marvão, one of the key crossing points into Portugal after the publication of the Alhambra Decree of 1492, expelling the Jews from Spain.Arrival and accommodation in Évora.
Visit to Portugal’s “museum city”: Évora. Its heritage is so rich and varied that it was listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. We take a tour of the centre and visit the Temple of Diana (the most significant Roman remains dedicated to the imperial cult), the Cathedral (an important Gothic edifice), the Chapel of Bones and the University (founded in the 16th century).
We tour the old Jewish quarter, which was one of the largest in the country and once had two synagogues, the baths and a hospital. A commemorative plaque in Travessa de Cima alludes to the existence of the community.
Arrival and accommodation in Lisbon
[I] The tour can be adapted to suit the interests of the group.
Each additional person (Max. 7 persons)
Day 1 Alfama old jewish quarter
Day 2 Obidos
Day 3 Coimbra
Day 4 Porto
Day 5 Belmonte
Day 6 Évora
Included in this tour:
- Completely private and personalized transport
- Private guide
- Pick-up at your Lisbon hotel is provided
- Free wifi
- Bottled water
- Personal accidents insurance
- Liability insurance