Spain is considered the world‘s leading country in foreign tourism (about 60 million foreign tourists annually) – blessed with people who come to visit its famous sites or relax on the golden beaches of the Costa Brava or the Costa del Sol. To us, Spain is important for other reasons: the rich Jewish history of Catalonia, Andalusia and the city of Toledo is firmly planted in our national psyche – mainly because of the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century. We will visit the main sites connected to the Jewish history of Spain, as well as some of the primary sites that attract tourists from all over the world.
Portugal stands somewhat alone in Europe separated from everyone by its border with Spain. It‘s a small country, but it offer so much: a spectacular Atlantic coastline, dotted with classic and historic fishing villages such as Nazare; majestic mountain ranges and dense forests; and vineyards as far as the eye can see alongside quaint, picturesque hamlets in the Doro Valley. History, monumental architecture, religious and secular art, all finds expression in churches and monasteries both ancient and modern. Combine all this with an entire population that is discovering its Jewish roots, and renewing Jewish life in this beautiful land. Then add warm hospitality, fine wine and great food – and you‘ll discover a Portugal you never knew existed.
An article by Bella Scharf Zelingher about this tour experience on The New Jersey Jewish News>>>
Best time to visit
June and September
Day 1: Monday– Barcelona
Arrival to Barcelona. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city. We’ll be amazed at the city’s magnificent architecture, tour the old Jewish quarter, walk along the main promenades and wonder at Gaudi’s magnificent “Holy Family.” After the tour we’ll have some time to complete our visit to the city.
Day 2: Tuesday, Barcelona – Basalo – Gerona – Granada
After breakfast we’ll drive to Basalo – a city dating back to the middle Ages, beautifully preserved. We’ll tour the city and visit what used to be the Jewish quarter. Here there remains the mikveh, which was built in 1264. We’ll continue to Gerona – the city of the Ramban – Nachmanides. Gerona is one of the centers of Jewish creativity in the Middle Ages and one of the wellsprings of the Kabalah. We’ll wander through the old city’s alleyways to the Jewish quarter, where only street names remain to tell of its glorious past. We’ll visit the museum that displays ancient Jewish tombstones. At the end of the day we’ll head back to Barcelona and after dinner we will depart to the airport and fly to Granada.
Day 3: Wednesday, Granada
Today we will visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace and gardens (Base on site entry permission). We‘ll see the Ambassador‘s hall where the declaration banishing the Jews from Spain was signed by the Catholic Royal couple, Ferdinand and Isabella. It was from here that Columbus was sent to discover the “New World”.
Day 4: Thursday, Granada – Cordoba
In the morning we‘ll head south to Cordoba, the city of Maimonides. We‘ll tour the old city, testament to the vibrant Jewish presence that once existed here. We‘ll visit the squares and the streets that still bear witness to the Land of Israel, places such as Tiberias Square and Yehuda Halevi Square. We‘ll see the statue of Maimonides, placed by the city elders as a memorial to “The Great Eagle.” We‘ll visit the synagogue of Maimonides and stroll along the flower-decorated and picturesque alleys, until we arrive to the “Mezquita” – the former Great Mosque of Cordoba that now serves as the local cathedral.
Day 5: Friday, Cordoba – Gibraltar
Drive to Gibraltar, the British enclave known as “the Rock.” Gibraltar is a shortened version of Gabel el Tarik – named for the berber warlord who conquered this area and thereby pushed into Spain at the beginning of the Muslim rule here. We‘ll visit the stalactite cave named for St. Michael and see the monkey colony alongside it. We‘ll stroll along the city‘s streets and soak up some “British” air. We‘ll continue to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
Day 6: Shabbat, Gibraltar
The Jewish presence in Gibraltar is strong; it has five synagogues, three schools, a cemetery, stores and kosher restaurants, various minyanim, a kollel and a rabbi. We‘ll spend Shabbat with the community and after Shabbat lunch we‘ll go out for a walking tour of the area.
Day 7: Sunday, Gibraltar – Seville
We leave Gibraltar and Travel through Seville’s tree-lined streets on a sightseeing tour with your Local Guide. Visit Seville Cathedral and see the Giralda Tower, a former minaret converted to a bell tower. Visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus in the Cathedral. Visit the pools and fountains in Maria Luisa Park as well as the imposing Plaza de España. Your guided tour finishes with a walk through the Jewish quarter.
Day 8: Monday, Seville – Evora
After breakfast we‘ll travel eastward to Avora, capital of the region of Altenejo. This historic city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, traces its origins back to Roman times. Here we will see ruins dating back to that period including the oldest Roman Temple in Portugal. A university was built here in the 16th century, which drew many students and scholars to the city. We‘ll wander through the narrow streets and alleyways and marvel at the architecture. We‘ll continue to the fortress at Avora-Monte which overlooks the city. This 16th century fortress was built in Italian Renaissance style.
Day 9: Tuesday, Evora – Castelo De Vide – Trancoso
This morning we visit Castelo de Vide place of refuge and busy commerce town in the 14 and 15th centurie and wander through narrow alleys and the town’s synagogue and Jewish quarter. In the afternoon we will travel to the Walled town of Trancoso – where Jewish merchants first settled here in the 12th century. We will see the Medieval home “Casa Do Gato Negro” (the house of the Black Cat) in Largo Luís de Albuquerque. The facade of the house is decorated with emblems that have been interpreted as representations of the Lion of Judah and the Gates of Jerusalem. The house itself used to belong to the former Rabbi of this community and it was probably also used as the local Synagogue.
Day 10: Wednesday, Trancoso
Today we will proceed to Belmonte, a beautiful town built around the 13th century. The town has preserved it’s Jewish past and it is a community of some hundreds of “ Bnei Anusim” Marranos who have decided to make their way back to their Jewish Roots.
Our morning tour will include the Medieval Castle, the Jewish Quarter which was situated outside the castle walls. We will see the houses with crosses engraved in the stone close to the doors which were inhabited by “New Christians”, who were forcibly baptized and publicly followed Catholic rituals but in the privacy of their own homes maintained their Jewish religion. We will visit the Jewish Museum and Synagogue.
Day 11: Thursday, Trancoso – Coimbra – Tomar
This morning we will visit Coimbra, see ancient streets and squares and visit the Old University featuring an ornate Baroque library. From there we will continue to the ancient village of Tomar. Here we‘ll, built in 1430 and named for the astronomer and mathematician Abraham Zacut. We‘ll stroll through the streets and make our way up to the 12th century templar fortress that overlooks the town.
Day 12: Friday, Obidos, Lisbon
This morning we‘ll head to Ovidos, a walled village where we‘ll be able to stroll about and enjoy the beauty of the place. We‘ll continue to Nazare, a beautiful fishing village that sits atop a rocky outcrop that overlooks the sea. After the tour we will depart to Lisbon, Portugal‘s capital city which sits astride the Tejo river estuary on the Atlantic coast. Lisbon, like Rome, is built over seven hills. The most famous hill is the Afalma upon which the old city is built, as is Lisbon‘s ancient Jewish quarter. We‘ll make our way to our hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
Day 13: Shabbat, Lisbon
After Shabbat services and lunch we will take a walking tour of the area near our hotel.
Day 14: Sunday, Lisbon
See Lisbon’s landmarks, including the Monument to the Discoveries, the suspension bridge spanning the River Tagus, the Belém Tower and the quaint Alfama district. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Hieronymite Monastery during your sightseeing tour with a Local Guide.
Day 15: Monday, Lisbon – Estoril – Cascais – Sintra – Flight Back Home
We leave Lisbon for the slopes of the Sierra de Sintra, an area studded with palaces. After visiting an impressive palace, we see the fashionable resort of Estoril before returning to Lisbon by way of the quaint fishing village of Cascais.
We’ll make our way to the airport for our flight back home. We’ve had an unforgettable experience, seen a beautiful and fascinating part of the world, and developed an appetite for more.
|Tour Code||Departure date||Air + Land *||Land only *||Single Room**|
|SPPO17/2||08/21/2017||4540 $||690 $|
|SPPO17/3||10/23/2017||4540 $||690 $|
* Price per person in USD double or twin room
** Supplement Price for single room
* Price of tour is subject to changedue to change in air fare.
- Superior tourist class/First class hotel
- Entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Comfortable air conditioned touring coach
- Kosher half board & supplies for making sandwiches for lunch
- Professional experienced English-speaking guide
- Tips for local service providers
- International flights and taxes
- Travel & Health Insurance
- Personal expenses
- Tip for our Tour Guide (Recommended: $5 per person per day)
Important to Know:
There may be changes to the order of places visited. We will make every effort to visit every place mentioned in the itinerary.
The tour organizers have no control over airline services such as seating, special meal requests, changes in departure times or delays. These remain the sole responsibility of the airline company.
Kashrut on Tours
Only strictly kosher food is provided to our travelers on all our tours. On some of our tours we are able to provide glatt meals. Kashrut is of utmost importance to us and we take special measures to ensure that everything served is kosher.
Breakfast is prepared using our utensils. We use local fresh fruits and vegetables, and we use milk products when they are permitted. We use kosher cereals, and bread. We usually serve hard boiled eggs and sometimes scrambled eggs or omelets. At breakfast, we prepare our lunches so that people have their choice as to what they eat for lunch. We bring food from Israel to supplement what is served in the hotel such as cheeses, peanut butter, tuna, etc.
For dinners, we serve either fish or meat (usually chicken) as our main course. In areas where meat is not available nor readily acquired, we will have fish. When possible, we acquire the meat locally from Chabad or other reliable kosher source, and in some cases we fly the meat in from Israel. We try to provide as many meat meals as possible. The main course at dinner is preceded by soup and salad and accompanied by freshly prepared vegetables. Dessert typically consists of fresh fruits.
We do not guarantee Pat Israel and Chalav Israel for all destinations.
In many destinations we have our own dishes and silverware. Where we don’t, we provide disposables at the meals. When we cook in hotel kitchens, we use our own knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, cooking implements and disposable metal trays. All food preparation is done on covered surfaces under the strict supervision of our trained staff/guides who function as our mashgichim.
We make great efforts to assure that our travelers will experience local foods first-hand, while maintaining stringent observance of Kashrut laws on all occasions.
On most of our tours, you will be accompanied by two of our staff members- one a guide for the tour who is knowledgeable about the places you are visiting and will accompany you throughout the day and the second, a person who will deal with the logistics of the tour and provide kashrut supervision in the kitchen.
It is our aim to provide the finest hotel possible in each area we visit. We require our hotels to allow us to work in the kitchen and to supervise the cooking and there are many hotels that are not willing to cooperate. They simply have no desire for us to be “meddling” in their cooking process nor are they happy about our bringing our equipment into their kitchens. We work very hard to find the best hotel in the area that will meet our requirements. Because we are not ready to compromise on kashrut, we may not always be able to use a five star hotel.
Deposit, Cancellation Fees & Policy:
A $500 USD Deposit per person must be received at the time of booking in order to confirm your reservation. Payment in full is due 60 days before departure. A minimum number of participants are required to operate tour dates. If a minimum number has not been reached prior to tour departure and the tour is cancelled you will receive a FULL refund.
• 90 days before departure bookings are refundable less a $100 administration fee
• 60-90 days prior to departure: $300 + $100 per passenger
• 60-30 days prior to departure: $500 + $100 per passenger
• Less than 30 working days prior to departure: 100% of total – no refund
We strongly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance.
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