The Mythical Portugal Jewish Tour is a 10 day tour which offers you the opportunity to combine Portuguese history and heritage with the traditions of the Jewish communities focusing on the history of Judaism in Portugal.
The Jewish communities have contributed for the evolution of art, philosophy, and commerce of the country for centuries. From historic cities to small towns settled on valleys and mountain tops discover the most important Jewish monuments and temples in Portugal, that were concealed from public view since the beginnings of the Inquisition.
You will visit: Lisbon, Oporto, Évora, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, Belmonte, Tomar e Óbidos and many other breathtaking sites.
Our tours are always private (just you and our guide/driver).
The tour highlights are just suggestions of places to visit. The tour itinerary will be designed according to your preferences and the tour length.
Each day tour is designed to last approximately 8 hours (hotel-tour-hotel).
Please contact us for advice about our accommodation options. We have a list of hotels based in local 3*, 4* and 5* Bed & Breakfasts and Boutique hotels throughout Portugal. We will provide you with suggestions so you can choose what best suits your budget.
Our local guide will pick you up at your hotel, airport, cruise terminal or other meeting point.
There are no guided visits on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Jewish Festivals and Bank Holidays. Visits are open from 9 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 5 PM. To participate in the religious services on Shabbat, please contact us.
Our guide/driver will drive you during your tour, sharing stories and curiosities about the places you’ll visit as well as its historic context. Since our guide is also the driver, and in order to provide you great tour, it’s possible that the guide won’t always join you on your visits to the inside of the monuments. Find out why.
Overnight in: Lisbon
An old Jewish Quarter that today is considered one of the most traditional districts of Lisbon. It’s also the birthplace of Fado; a typical song of Lisbon, classified as world’s Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.
The 13th century St. Dominic’s church was the first Dominican church of Lisbon. For centuries it was considered the most important church in Lisbon where beautiful royal weddings and christenings, were held. But it was also the site of the Easter Slaughter, a three-day massacre, in the 1506, during which 2.000 people accused of being Jews, were persecuted, tortured and killed.
After this episode the church has been destroyed on several occasions by earthquakes and a brutal fire in 1959. Its impressive interior decorated in gilded woodcarvings and valuable paintings was destroyed. It reopened in 1994 and the marks of the fire were left exposed on the church walls giving it a unique and fascinating atmosphere.
Today, there’s a monument and a mural in the square outside the church, inaugurated in 2008, that reads “Lisbon, City of Tolerance” in 34 languages recalling the terrible episode of 1506 and paying a tribute to the Jewish victims.
The Judaism in Portugal changed in the beginning of the 19th century, when the Sephardi Jews from Morocco and Gibraltar, mostly merchants, started to migrate to Lisbon. During 19th century, the Lisbon Jewish community had no formal synagogue and had to celebrate their religious rites in private houses.
When the construction of Lisbon’s Synagogue started its main facade had to face an inner courtyard, since Portuguese law at the time forbade non-Catholic temples from facing the street.
Shaaré Tikvah Synagogue (Gates of Hope) was finally opened in 1904 and is still in use today.
Launching point for the Portuguese discoveries, with significant historic monuments in a beautiful open riverside setting. Here you will learn about the history of the Belém Tower, the Discoveries Monument, visit the church of the Jerónimos Monastery and taste the world-famous custard tarts of Belém.
Overnight in: Lisbon
Considered to be the Capital of the region of Alentejo and classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site since 1986.
The Convent of St. Francis in Évora, was founded in the 12th century being the first house of the Franciscan Order in Portugal. The Church of the convent was remodeled at the end of the 15th century becoming an example of Gothic-Manueline architecture.
Built in the 17th century by three Franciscan friars in order to send the message of the transience and fragility of human life. At the entrance, the warning: “We bones here laid, for yours we wait”. The walls and the eight pillars of the church are covered with about 5,000 human skulls and countless bones from the city’s cemeteries.
The Roman Temple of Évora was built in the early 1st century and is located in the historic city center, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 1986, is one of the most famous landmarks of the city.
Better known as Sé de Évora, it’s the largest medieval cathedral in Portugal. Its construction began in 1186, in granite and marks the transition from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style.
Get to know more about the wine production with a guided tour in a local winery. You’ll learn more about the daily life of a winery and at the end have a wine tasting with local ‘tapas’ such as cheese, sausage, olives and bread.
Cork is a plant material, 100% natural, from the bark of the cork oak.
It can be extracted every 9 years and has several uses such as floor coverings, musical instruments, decoration and clothing. Considered the most important industry in Portugal, with an area of 730 thousand hectares of cork oak, it is responsible for more than 50% of the world cork production.
Medieval village conquered by the Moors in the 12th century. It played, over the years, a very important role in monitoring the Guadiana River and the border with Spain. The beauty and state of conservation of the village of Monsaraz are impressive, making it a museum village, unique in the region. From the top of the castle walls, built by D. Dinis, in the 14th century and classified as National Monument, we can see the whole village with houses painted white and slate roofs and the Alqueva dam.
Overnight in: Évora
A World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Elvas houses the World’s largest collection of bulwark fortifications and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries of unique beauty.
Marvão is considered one of the most spectacular walled villages in the country. Set up on the very top of the Serra de São Mamede mountains, it offers splendid views of the region.
One of the most well-preserved Jewish quarters in Portugal and most visited one in Alentejo. The Jewish quarter is located on the old medieval part of town where you will have the opportunity to explore while walking along its narrow streets and visit a 13th century castle full of historical events, traditions and many other surprises for you.
Overnight in: Marvão
The earliest remains of the past of Ródão are of a geological nature and are dated to about 600 Million years. You’ll visit the Natural Monument ‘Portas de Ródão’ the natural ex libris of Vila Velha de Ródão, where the Tagus, runs entrenched among giant quartzites creating a geological formation.
Is considered the most Portuguese village of the country. Its origins date back to the Paleolithic Era, it was conquered from the Moors by D. Afonso Henriques in 1165, and later donated to the Knights Templar who built a castle, under the orders of of its Grand Master. This village is characteristic for its granite houses and nested shale in the middle of huge granite blocks.
Belmonte has the largest Jewish community in the Iberian Peninsula. A community that survived the Inquisition by practicing their religion in secret for more than six hundred years. In Belmonte you’ll visit: the Jewish Museum, the BET ELIAHU Synagogue and walk around the Jewish Quarter.
The synagogue in Belmonte, BET ELIAHU was inaugurated on December 4th of 1996. It symbolizes the victory over religious intolerance and it is a symbol of strength and belief. For five hundred years, the Belmonte Jewish community lived hidden and practiced Judaism secretly. Today they have managed to rebuild the synagogue and more than hundred Jews attend prayers every Friday night and Sabbath day.
Overnight in: Belmonte
With a unique natural beauty, the village is located about 700m above sea level, on the glacier valley of Serra da Estrela. In winter time the local shepherds wore cloaks or coats made from Burel, a tightly woven wool fabric to keep them dry and harm. For centuries these coats were made at home using crude methods. Today, many Portuguese fashion designers, are using it to create trendy coats, capes, bags and hats. Visit the Burel shop and factory in Manteigas and find out more about the wool production.
Almeida is considered one of the most important and beautiful fortified village in Portugal due to its location and its famous wall in hexagonal shape.
A small whitewashed town located in the Douro Valley region that is worldwide popular due to its astounding rock engravings collection which date back to the Palaeolithic Era and today classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Overnight in: Douro
At Pinhão you will visit the railway station to see the famous 24 tile panels with landscapes of the Douro Region.
Lamego is a small village in the Douro valley region. Its connection with the Jewish community dates back to the 14th century, at the time composed by four hundred Jews. Its historical centre with its beautiful old buildings and outstanding viewpoints gives it a unique atmosphere that makes it one of the most visited villages of the region.
Overnight in: Porto
Oporto is the second-largest city in Portugal located along the Douro river estuary and classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 1996. During the day you’ll visit its historical centre passing by the jewish quarter and its most important monuments.
An 18th century baroque church designed by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni and the city’s symbol.
The Oporto railway station was built in the 20th century and it is the most beautiful one in the country. It has a glass and iron structure and it’s decorated with twenty thousand tiles that illustrate the evolution of the transportation and important events of Portuguese history and life style.
The Cathedral Oporto city is located in the heart of the historical center and is one of the main and oldest monuments of Portugal.
Located in the heart of Oporto, is Portugal’s most famous bookstore. You’ll be surprised by its unique wooden staircase which gives it a mysterious atmosphere. This bookstore became famous because of Harry Potter’s saga writer JK Rowling that used it as inspiration for the stairs of Hogwarts’ castle.
Gondomar is a small city located just outside Oporto, which possesses a valuable built heritage and is known as the capital of goldsmithing in Portugal. Filigree is an artisan art that consists of twisting very fine gold or silver strands, which are then applied to frames of various shapes, filling them with a delicate lace. The Gondomar Filigrana is still produced in family-run workshops, with techniques passed down from generation to generation. Visit traditional workshops and get to know the whole productive process of this ancient art.
The construction of the Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue began in 1929 and was only inaugurated in 1938. Despite being victims of a systematic persecution over the years the Jewish Community of Oporto have managed to construct the synagogue building, buy land for a cemetery and create conditions for its community to flourish again in Oporto.
Today the community is composed by three hundred Jews from more than twenty countries.
Overnight in: Porto
One of the historic centers of Portugal with the highest concentration of monuments, especially the churches of ‘São João Baptista’ and of ‘Santa Maria do Olival’ and the ancient 15th Century Jewish synagogue.
A Jewish community lived in Óbidos between the 5th and 7th Centuries, when the city was occupied by the Visigoth. Today its Jewish quarter dates back from the end of the 12th century.
Overnight in: Lisbon
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LS Low Season: Nov 1st to Dec 14th & Jan 11th to Mar 31st
HS High Season: April, June, July, August & Dec 15th to Jan 10th
SS Special Season: May, September & October
Ensures you an amazing comfort on tours of short and long distance
Guarantees indoor temperatures tailored to the needs of each one
Guarantee fresh bottled water and wi-fi on board so you can always be connected
Vehicles with room up to 7 passengers with practical storage solutions
Visit and explore Alentejo, one of the most traditional regions in Portugal.
Enjoy the amazing and breathtaking views of Arrábida’s Mountain with us!
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Tell us what you want and we will prepare a tailor-made tour based on your specific interests and needs.
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