The history of the Jews in Spain and Portugal dates back to the Roman Period; and according to historical documents, there has been a Jewish presence in Gibraltar since 1356. Like in so many other places in Europe, the history of the Jewry in these countries combines success and sadness.
This 13-day tour starts in Madrid and visits key cities including Lisbon, Porto, Seville and Gibraltar, with a focus on Jewish history along the way.
Transfers to and from the airport
Ground transportation on private air conditioned motor coach
English speaking tour guide
Meals as specified (B-Breakfast; L-Lunch; D-Dinner)
Entrance fees to points of interest specified
Airfare, Gratuities, Taxes and Insurance
Arrival in Barajas Airport in Madrid. You will be met on arrival and transferred your hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure to discover Madrid. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner to celebrate your arrival in Spain.
Begin an extensive sightseeing tour of this remarkable city starting at the Puerta del Sol. In the center of the city we find the Plaza de Espana, which is bordered by the Torre de Madrid and the Edificio Espana. Madrid’s largest park, Casa de Campo, is next. Then head to the Barrio de la Morería (Moorish Quarter). Later visit the world renowned Prado Museum. Morning tour concludes with a stop at the Beth Yaakov Synagogue. The rest of the day is yours.
Journey across the Portuguese border to Porto, the capital of Northern Portugal located along the Douro River Estuary. The first stop will be at the Makor Haim Synagogue. In the afternoon a walking tour of Porto will take you to see streets with such names as Rua Monte Judeus (Street of the Hills of Jews) and Escadinas da Esnoga (Stairway to the Synagogue). Enjoy the panoramic view of the Dona Maria Pia Bridge. Overnight in Porto.
Depart Porto and drive to Tomar, one of the historical jewels of Portugal and the last Templar town commissioned for construction. Visit the 15th century Synagogue, which now functions as the Museum Abraão Zacuto. Proceed to Lisbon for hotel check-in, dinner and overnight.
Visit the Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a walk through the cobblestoned alleys of the historical Alfama district which spreads down the southern slope from the Castle of Sao Jorge to the Tagus River. Pass the Seaman’s Quarter and Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s main avenue. Then to Rossio Square, located in the Pombaline district. In the afternoon take a scenic drive to the coastal town of Cascais. Afterward, we journey to Sintra, which sits at the foot of the Sintra Mountains and offers a view of the Pena Palace defining the skyline with its conical chimneys. At the end of our visit there will be some free time in Sintra before our return to the Lisbon hotel to prepare for Shabbat. Dinner will at the Synagogue.
After breakfast, attend morning services. The balance of the day is free to relax or to explore the city center. Shabbat lunch is included.
We leave Lisbon for Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Evora we cross the border back into Spain and continue to the cultural town of Seville located in the very heart of Andalusia. Transfer to your hotel for check-in, and then enjoy a drink and a traditional Flamenco show performed by some of Seville’s leading Flamenco artists. Dinner and overnight.
Discover the Moorish architecture of Seville, beginning at the Giralda. See the Seville Cathedral of Saint Mary, the largest Gothic building in Europe and the third largest church in the world. Then we visit Plaza de Espana. Drive through some of the narrow winding streets and plazas of the former Jewish Santa Cruz Quarter. Leaving Seville we continue south towards Gibraltar. Overnight in Ceuta.
Travel from Ceuta to La Linea de Concepcion, the Spanish border and point of entry into Gibraltar. Continue to the impressive rock that stands guard over the Strait of Gibraltar at the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean and where Europe meets Africa. Tour the area with minibuses climbing up to see St. Michael’s Cave and then the famous Barbary apes. We spend time touring downtown Gibraltar and learning about Jewish life. Dinner will be at a local restaurant before heading back to Ceuta for overnight.
We head for Granada, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and arrive at mid-day. Tour the Alhambra Palace, a sprawling Moorish citadel and palace on a hill overlooking Granada. Enjoy a walking tour of the Old Quarter and stroll through the Water Gardens of the Palacio de Generalife. Overnight in Granada.
Travel via the region of La Mancha, the legendary home of “Don Quixote de la Mancha” written by Miguel de Cervantes. On arrival in Toledo take a walking tour to see the Church of Santo Tome. Next is the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca Santa María, a museum and former synagogue erected in 1180, and considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe. We tour the Spanish-Jewish historic quarter. Leaving Toledo we continue to Madrid arriving in time for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Madrid.
Transfer to the airport for departure flight home.
B-Breakfast; L-Lunch; D-Dinner