Portuguese Sephardi Jewish Route
7 days tour
The 13th and 14th centuries were known as Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery, in which Jews made a major contribution to Portugal’s success. In the early 14th century, more than 200,000 Jews lived in Portugal, which was about 20 percent of the total population.
Discover the traces of the past and present with our local guides!
Day 1: Welcome to Porto and Portugal
Complimentary transfer from Porto Airport to your hotel, according to your arrival schedule.
Settle in and relax. Later, join your Tour Guide to discuss the exciting places you will be visiting in the next few days over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
Day 2: Port wine and the Jewish quarter
Buffet breakfast at hotel in Porto. Join your guide to visit Porto old quarter. Admire the multi-colored houses and pay particular attention to the cathedral, São Bento train station, Clérigos tower, and the Olival old Jewish ghetto.
Enjoy a Port wine tasting at a cellar and join a relaxing Douro River cruise for a different perspective and excellent views of the city. At Boavista we will visit the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, the biggest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula.
Rest of the day free to enjoy at your own pace.
Day 3: Viseu, Trancoso and Guarda
Departure to Viseu, visiting the cathedral and the medieval town, where the “old” and the “new” Jewish quarters were located. Continue on to Cabanas de Viriato to visit the house of Aristides de Sousa Mendes (1885-1954), a Portuguese diplomat whose actions during World War II saved the lives of thousands of Jewish refugees.
During the afternoon, we will continue to the walled town of Trancoso, to admire façades decorated with emblems representing the Lion of Judah and the Gates of Jerusalem. Continue on to Guarda, walk along the cobblestone streets and across the old Jewish quarter to discover dozens of cruciform marks engraved on the doorposts by the New Christians (former Jews converted to Catholicism, usually coercively).
Day 4: Belmonte, Castelo Branco and Castelo de Vide
Departure to Castelo de Vide. First stop at Belmonte, a mystical location in the Sephardic history, as it was the only place in the Iberian Peninsula where an active Jewish community managed to survive until the present-day, despite of the ruthless persecution.
Visit to the Jewish Museum and the Bet Eliahu synagogue. Belmonte is also the birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral, navigator and explorer, regarded as the discoverer of Brazil in 1500.Continue to Castelo Branco, the birthplace of Amato Lusitano (1511-1568), a famous Jewish physician; walk down Rua d’Ega, at the heart of the old Jewish quarter.
We will then cross the Tagus River, heading to the lovely town of Castelo de Vide into Alentejo region. Discover doors with Gothic ogive-arches decorated with professional symbols and visit the Bet ha-Midrash Sefardin synagogue, rebuilt in 1972. Check-in at the hotel in Castelo de Vide.
Castelo de Vide
Day 5: Tomar and Lisbon
Departure to Tomar to visit the 15th century synagogue, rehabilitated in 1923 by Samuel Schwarz, a Polish Jew. The temple is now a museum honoring Abraham Zacuto, a Sephardi Jewish astronomer and mathematician.
Visit the Convent of Christ, originally a Templar Knights stronghold, one of Portugal’s historical jewels, on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1983. Continue to Lisbon,
Day 6: Lisbon
Join your guide to a visit the Alfama neighborhood and the old Jewish quarters. Cover the steps of the Jewish endurance to the Inquisition, visiting Comércio and Rossio squares – where many autos-da-fe took place – and Saint Domenic church that witnessed the 1506 Lisbon Massacre.
Visit the Jerónimos Monastery a masterpiece of Manueline art, classified as World Heritage site. Try some of Portugal’s finest pastry the “pastel de Belém”.
Day 7: Farewell to Portugal
Buffet breakfast at hotel in Lisbon. The day is free to enjoy at your own pace.
Complimentary transfer to Lisbon Airport according to your departure schedule.
End of our services.
- Private guide/driver during your stay
- All attractions and tours according to the itinerary
- Nights & breakfast at selected hotels in Porto (2 nights), Guarda (1 night), Castelo de Vide (1 night), Lisbon (2 nights)
- 5 lunches and 4 dinners – non Kosher foods
- Modern and comfortable car, mini-bus or minivan
- Civil liability insurance + travel insurance
Does not include
- Flights to and from Portugal (we can help you with the flight)
- Personal expenses