Direct flights from JFK, dep Weds July 6 23.30, arr Thursday 11.00
From Israel flight dep 17.40 (via Madrid) Weds July 6, arr 23.30
Hotel 5* Dom Pedro, Lisbon, 3 nights: www.dom-pedro-palace-lisbon.com
Overview of the city tour followed by dinner at the Hotel
Sintra – Cascais
Our first stop as we leave Lisbon is Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of its 19th century Romantic architecture and magnificent palaces.
We’ll discover the natural wonders of Pena Park and Sintra Natural Park Visit the fairytale-like Pena National Palace and Sintra National Palace, see the cliffs of Roca Cape, the westernmost point of continental Europe and enjoy a scenic drive along the Atlantic coast, returning in good time fro Shabbat.
A day of: shul, beautifully presented dining and expertly guided walking tours. There is a lot to see in Lisbon and we will see as much as possible on foot – which is a lot!! After Shabbat – an evening out in Lisbon.
Obidos – Tomar - Coimbra
Heading north from Lisbon, we visit Obidos, a medieval walled and beautiful village before heading to...
Lunch in Tomar!!
Here we begin the story of the rediscovery of the Jews of Portugal.
Tomar is home to Portugal’s oldest synagogue and the Abraham Zacuto Museum, a national monument.
The Sinagoga de Tomar was built in the mid-15th century. Its short history as a Jewish place of worship came to an end in 1496, when the community was expelled by the Catholic authorities in that year.
In 1923, Samuel Schwartz, a Jewish mining engineer from Poland, having discovered the presence of Jewish life in Portugal, bought the building. After lovingly restoring it, he donated it to the Portuguese state in 1939. In return, he and his wife received Portuguese citizenship and protection during WW2.
From Tomar it’s just an hour’s drive to…
…. our hotel in Coimbra for our welcome dinner
Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas
This Relais & Chateaux DLX 4 star hotel is one of Portugal’s finest and is our home for four nights while we visit the region.
The hotel has a huge outdoor pool and a spa with indoor pool and you can book a treatment this evening before joining us for dinner.
You can choose traditional or modern rooms in its two wings!!
Coimbra is one of the most ancient university cities in Europe with a richly decorated baroque library that people travel from far and wide to see.
The walls are covered by two storied shelves, in gilded or painted exotic woods; the painted ceilings blend harmoniously with the rest of the decoration. The library contains about 250,000 volumes: works of medicine, geography, history, humanistic studies, science, civil and canonical law, philosophy and theology.
We’ll visit the Judaria, the ancient Jewish quarter and see the recently discovered mikveh!!
After lunch back at the hotel, you’ll be able to visit Conimbriga, just 10 miles away. This was an important Roman city that still preserves many not-to-be-missed mosaics. These valuable treasures are displayed in the museum next to the ruins. Alternatively you may choose to enjoy the hotel’s facilities or to go back to see some more of Coimbra. If you want a massage … so don’t forget to book it before you go out in the morning!!
Following a delicious dinner, prepared by the talented chefs of the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, we will take in an evening of “fado”, a traditional musical genre of voice accompanied by guitar.
Trancoso & Belmonte
Climbing up from Coimbra we reach the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, in many of whose villages Jews were settled. After visiting Trancoso, we will reach the centre of the “lost tribe” of Belmonte.
The history of this community which survived the inquisition and remained in hiding until discovered in the 1920’s is incredible. For only the past 20 years or so, the Jews of Belmonte have been exposed to Judaism as we live it throughout the world and the community in Belmonte, under Rabbinic guidance through Shavei Yisrael, has become the most active community in Portugal.
Douro Valley and Porto
We say good-bye to Coimbra, travelling north.
Our last full day takes us through the world-famous Douro Valley, ending up in Porto. The city’s waterfront is a World Heritage monument and we’ll even take a short river cruise before sunset.
After breakfast we’ll visit the Porto Shul, hear all about Captain Barros Basto and be at Porto (OPO) airport for 13.00 to catch the 14.30 flights to Lisbon which connects to flights to NY, Israel and many other destinations.