Portugal & Its Jewish Heritage

10 days


Portugal, where you will experience the highlights of this captivating country, with an emphasis on the incredible Jewish history of one of the largest Jewish Communities in Europe. Every major town had a Jewish Quarter – La Juderia, but with the banning of Judaism in 1496, these communities ceased to exist as Jews were forced to convert to Christianity or leave Portugal. We will start our Tour in the Capital Lisbon and visit the ancient Jewish Quarter – Alfama Juderia, Coimbra ,one of the oldest University cities in Europe with the Jewish Quarter dating back in 1139, Evora –whose historic center is considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Castelo De Vide the Medieval Castle Town famous for the Medieval Juderia, Belmonte home to the Marrano Jews known as the “Secret Jews” who officially converted but continued to practice Judaism in the secrecy of their own homes. Guarda with its old Jewish Quarter and Oporto which was once a major community of Jewish merchants.


Day1: Tuesday – Flight to Lisbon

Day 2: Wednesday – Lisbon
Arrival to Lisbon the Capital of Portugal, which sits astride the Tejo River estuary on the Atlantic Coast. Meet your tour escort and start an orientation tour of Lisbon: Marques de Pombal Square named after Marquês de Pombal who oversaw the area’s rebuilding after the Great Earthquake of 1755, Liberdade Avenue and Rossio Square where in the Northern part we will see the Estaus Palace which was the seat of the Inquisition. Once the sentences were pronounced, those declared as heretics were burned at stake in public at the Rossio. We will continue to the Belem district and visit of the Belem Tower, the city’s landmark Built in the early 1500 and declared a World Heritage monument by UNESCO. Overnight Lisbon.

Day 3: Thursday – Coimbra
After breakfast we will travel to Coimbra , famous for its University opened in the 14th century. We will visit the city including the Juderia dating back to 1139 and the University complex . On the way back to Lisbon will stop in Obidos- a medieval town with picturesque cobblestones streets lined with colorful houses – all encircled by the walls of a 12th century Casle in the evening you can enjoy a typical” Fado Show” ( optional). Overnight Lisbon.

Day 4: Friday – Lisbon, Sintra
During our morning tour of Lisbon will visit the Alfama Quarter, that includes the “Judaria Grande”- in one of the city’s oldest area where a large Jewish Community flourished in the Middle ages. We will then drive to city of Sintra a World Heritage site known as “Lord Byron’s Glorious Eden ,once the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal. We will visit the Royal Palace whose origins date back to the 15th century. Return to Lisbon. Evening services at followed by Shabbat dinner. Overnight Lisbon.

Day 5: Shabbat – Lisbon
After morning service and Shabbat lunch enjoy a walking tour in the city. Overnight Lisbon.

Day 6: Sunday – Evora, Castelo de Vide, Marvao
We leave Lisbon. Our first stop is Evora- where the local Jewry was one of the largest in the country up to the 15th century. Will visit the Historic center and the Jewish Quarter. We then proceed to Castelo de Vide where we will visit the authentic Medieval Juderia and the 15th Century Synagogue which was restored recently. We will learn all about the Jews of Castelo de Vide who were forced to convert to Catholicism. Nearby, the impressive fortress town of Marvao served as an entry point to the thousands of Jews who fled Spain in the 14th and 15th centuries. Overnight Castelo de Vide area.

Day 7: Monday – Belmonte, Guarda
After breakfast we leave for the town of Belmonte which has preserved it’s Jewish past and it is a community of some hundreds of “ Marranos” who have decided to make their way back to their Jewish Roots. The tour will include 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. Continue to Guarda where Jews first began to settle in the middle of the 13th century and the old Jewish quarter are reminders of that period. Overnight Guarda.

Day 8: Tuesday – Trancoso, Oporto
Will start the day with the visit of the nearby 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) the medieval home of a wealthy Jewish merchant. The facade of the house is decorated with emblems that have been interpreted as representations of the Lion of Judea. Leave Trancoso to Oporto – a city of Great commercial tradition , and was one of the major center for Jewish traders, mainly during the Middle ages. Overnight Oporto.

Day 9: Wednesday – Oporto
After breakfast we tour Oporto – we cannot speak about Oporto without referring the name of Captain Barros Basto known as the “Portuguese Dreyfus”. Born from a Marrano family, he converted himself to Judaism and was the man who tried to bring back to Judaism the numerous Marrano Communities hidden all over the North of Portugal .This was the reason why he went to court martial and dismissed from the army. Will visit the “Kadoorie Synagogue, the Historical Center- UNESCO World Heritage and the beautiful Palace of the Bolsa. In the afternoon we will have a short cruise on the Douro River. Overnight Oporto.

Day 10: Thursday – Oporto, New York
Transfer to the Airport for your flight home.

Dates & Prices
Tour Code Departure Return  
PORT18/02 10/16/2018 10/25/2018 Book this tour
Tour Code Departure date Air + Land * Land only * Single Room**
PORT18/02 10/16/2018 3850 $ 2900 $ 650 $

* 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.

Need to Know

Price Includes:

  • Round trip air fare from New York as per itinerary.
  • First Class hotels.
  • Kosher Meals daily. (For details see General Conditions).
  • Transportation by air conditioned coaches.
  • Sightseeing, transfers and entrance fees as per Itinerary.
  • Experienced English speaking Tour Escort.
  • Tips for local service providers.

Price Excludes:

  • Airport and security tax.
  • Travel Insurance (For details see General Conditions).
  • Personal expenses.
  • Tip for the Tour Escort (recommended $5 per person per day).
  • Optional tours.
  • Individual transfers.
  • Any item not mentioned under “Price Includes”.

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.

The meals:
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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