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Portugal Experience

Suitable for Family, Group, Senior


Take a Jewish heritage tour to Portugal.

Explore the vibrant cities of Lisbon and Porto and as discover the hidden Jewish history in places like Belmonte and Tomar.

In Porto, take a tour of the port wine warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia, where you’ll learn about the fascinating process of producing this renowned beverage.

Continuing your journey to Lisbon, you’ll visit the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, open since 1938. As you explore Lisbon, you’ll have the opportunity to visit iconic sites such as Castelo São Jorge, offering panoramic views of the city, and the vibrant neighborhoods of Principe Real and Chiado.

Next, you’ll venture to the enchanting town of Belmonte, nestled in the scenic countryside. Here, you’ll delve into the Sephardic Jewish heritage that has been preserved for centuries. Visit the Belmonte Synagogue and discover the history of the Jews of Portugal.

In Tomar, you’ll discover the medieval Synagogue Tomar, one of the oldest existing synagogues in Portugal. Uncover the rich Jewish history of this town as you explore its narrow streets and ancient landmarks, such as the impressive Castle of Tomar and the Convent of Christ, which bear witness to the country’s fascinating past.

Attend a captivating Fado show, where haunting voices and heartfelt lyrics evoke a profound emotional connection to Portuguese culture.

This Jewish heritage tour to Portugal offers a harmonious blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. From the bustling cities of Lisbon and Porto to the charming towns of Belmonte and Tomar, each stop will deepen your understanding of Portugal’s Jewish heritage and its significance in the country’s cultural tapestry.


  • Enjoy an authentic port wine-tasting experience at Vila Nova de Gaia
  • Meet with members of the Porto community and learn the story of Captain Barros Basto, who became well-known in the Jewish world for trying to rescue the descendants of the Jews who were forced to convert in the 15th century and who continued to practice, in secret, certain precepts of the Jewish religion
  • Spend Shabbat Services at Beit Eliahu and have dinner with community members
  • Visit Belmonte, considered the legitimate heir of the ancient historical presence of the Sephardic Jews
  • Take a bike tour of the beautiful nature in Sintra or walk through the town of Sintra and visit the National Palace

*Some experiences are subject to minimum group size

Day by Day Suggested Program

Day 1
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Private Transfers to the Porto Flores Hotel & Check In

After lunch on your own, depart for a walking tour to discover Porto down-town, Unesco site and Jewish Heritage.

Stop at Guarani historic café for a coffee break and a taste of the local pastry.

Walk through the D Luis I iron bridge and reach Vila Nova de Gaia where the Port wine warehouses are set. Enjoy an authentic port wine tasting experience followed by dinner at ‘The George.

Overnight in Porto

Day 2
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Breakfast and hotel check out

Visit the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue, meet with members of the Porto community and learn the story of Captain Barros Basto, who became well known in the Jewish world for trying to rescue the descendants of the Jews who were forced to convert in the 15th century and who continued to practice, in secret, certain precepts of the Jewish religion.

Lunch in Trancoso followed by a tour of the City. The Jewish presence in Trancoso dates back to the 12th century, when the first Jewish merchants settled there. In the Medieval Era, the Jews were quite wealthy. They owned land and worked as merchants, money lenders, weavers and tailors.

The Jewish and New Christian Heritage legacy still lives in the written documents, local traditions and in buildings such as the Gato Preto House, or Poço do Mestre (Master’s well), and other dwellings of the historic centre. Now, the town of Trancoso is honoring its Jewish heritage with the establishment of the Isaac Cardoso Center for Jewish Interpretation, along with a new synagogue called Beit Mayim Hayim – “the House of Living Waters.” A mezuza was affixed to the entrance of the synagogue – the first mezuza in the village for hundreds of years!

Continue onto Belmonte and check into the hotel.

Depart for Shabbat Services at Beit Eliahu followed by dinner with some community members.

Overnight in Belmonte

Day 3
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Breakfast at the hotel

Visit Belmonte, considered the legitimate heir of the ancient historical presence of the Sephardic Jews. Throughout the time of the Inquisition, it managed to preserve many of the rites, prayers and social relations. Despite the pressure of the Catholic Portuguese society, many New Christians continued to marry only among themselves for centuries. In 1989 the Community was officially recognized and in 1996, they inaugurated the synagogue “Beit Eliahu”. In 2001, they opened a Jewish Cemetery and in 2005, the Jewish Museum (the only one in Portugal). The museum portrays the history of the Sephardic presence in Portugal, their customs and traditions and includes a memorial of the Inquisition.

Early lunch.

Visit the synagogue Tomar – it was not until 1430 that the Jews of Tomar had the means to undertake the construction of the synagogue, a building that still stands today. It was completed in 1460 but after the expulsion of 1496 the synagogue was converted to a prison, then used by successive owners as a hay barn. In 1920 a group of Portuguese archaeologists identified the building as a synagogue. It was placed on the historical register in 1921. In 1923, the engineer Samuel Schwarz, who worked in the region’s mines, heard about the building and bought it. In 1939, after carrying out initial restoration work, he donated it to the state with the provision that it set up a Portuguese Jewish Museum.

Arrive in Lisbon and hotel check in at Bairro Alto Hotel

Walking tour in Chiado area and dinner at “Cantinho do Avillez”

Overnight in Lisbon

Day 4
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Depart for a tour of the city’s diverse architecture, neighbourhoods, and landmarks.

Begin at Castelo São Jorge with its breath- taking views of the city and its steep slopes and overlapping historical contours. Explore the Alfama quarter, one of the city’s oldest areas, and the birthplace of a large Jewish community who flourished here in the hereabouts of the Rua da Judiaria. As more Jewish refugees came to Lisbon from Spain, the area expanded and new quarters, Judiaria Grande and Judiaria Pequena were formed (today, it is the central Praça do Comércio). Unfortunately, this entire area was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake.

End the morning at Rossio Square – the bustling historic hub of downtown Lisbon and site of a remarkable Jewish memorial.

Enjoy a cooking class at Time Out Market where our group will cook our own authentic lunch followed by a tour of the Market and some nice shops to buy souvenirs

In the afternoon walking tour of the most emblematic neighbourhoods of the city:

Príncipe Real and Chiado.

Príncipe Real is a romantic garden who gives the name to one of the most charming ill of Lisbon. The district is known for its antique and interior design shops on Rua Dom Pedro V and Rua da Escola Politecnica very lively and trendy area. São Pedro de Alcântara is one of the most beautiful vantage point of the city and the nearby São Roque church one of the most rich in town.

Chiado is an elegant, sophisticated district of theatres, bookshops, old-style cafes, art nouveau jewellery shops, luxurious international names and traditional shops. Much of the area was destroyed in a fire in 1988 but has since been reborn. It remains one of Lisbon’s most beloved districts, with reminders of its past as the centre of the city’s intellectual life, with statues of literary figures such as Fernando Pessoa, Luis de Camões, and Eça de Queiroz.

Fado show in an emblematic building in Principe Real followed by dinner

Overnight in Lisbon


Day 5
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Depart the hotel for Sintra, overlooking the sea and covered in luxuriant vegetation. Sintra, the “Glorious Eden” of Lord Byron and ancient summer refuge of the royal court, is today the natural setting for stunning monuments, singular estates, houses and landscaped gardens bounteous with exotic plants. Due its artistic, botanical and historic richness, the Sintra landscape has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Visit the Royal Palace Situated in the town’s historic centre. The National Palace of Sintra is a unique monument, distinguished by its outstanding historical, architectural and artistic value due to his rich interiors of glazed tiles and wooden ceilings. The two conical chimneys of the kitchen have become the palace’s distinguishing feature and the hallmark of the town of Sintra itself.

Take a bike tour of the beautiful nature in Sintra or walk through the town of Sintra and visit the National Palace.

Lunch at leisure in Sintra

Return via the Atlantic Coastal, nestled between the mountains and the Ocean coast and stop at the Belém monumental district. During the 16th century this area was a long beach and one of the spots from where the Portuguese navigators set out for their discovery voyages all over the World. View the Discovery Memorial and the pavement mosaic representing a compass with the map of the world charting the routes taken by the Portuguese explorers.

Meet with Richard Zimler immediately followed by Farewell Dinner in a cosy restaurant in Alfama at Taberna do Albicoqu.

Overnight in Lisbon

Day 6
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Breakfast and hotel check out

Transfer to the airport


*Star rating standards vary from country to country.

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