AACI Kosher Portugal – coming Nov 2020   

Locations: Alcobaca, Belmonte, Coimbra, Guarda, Lisbon, Obidos, Sintra

Sample itinerary to be confirmed 

From the Golden Age of Discovery to the Inquisition, Portuguese Jewry went from the heights of wealth and success to the depths of anguish and despair. The history of  Portuguese Jewry is like that of many other places, where success and sadness go hand in hand. Walking along Lisbon’s streets, remnants remain of Portugal’s rich Jewish life. Sparks of Portugal’s past can be found in the remote mountain villages, where some of the last remaining ‘Converso’s’ communities can still be found practicing Jewish rituals behind closed doors, fear of persecutions still looming.

Day 1:  Flight from Israel to Lisbon
We arrive in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, which sits astride the Tejo River estuary on the Atlantic Coast. After meeting our tour escort we will start our orientation tour of Lisbon: visiting Marques de Pombal Square, named after Marquês de Pombal who oversaw the area’s rebuilding after the Great Earthquake of 1755; and the northern part of Liberdade Avenue and Rossio Square, where the Estaus Palace, the seat of the Inquisition, is situated. Once the sentences were pronounced, those declared as heretics were burned at the stake in public at the Rossio. We will continue to the Belem district and visit the Belem Tower, the city’s landmark, built in the early 1500s and declared a World Heritage monument by UNESCO.  Overnight in Lisbon.

Dinner with community in a local hall.

Day 2:  – Coimbra via Obidos and Alcobaca
After breakfast we will travel to Coimbra, famous for its University which was opened in the 14th century. Our visit to the city includes the Juderia, dating back to 1139, and the UNESCO World Heritage University complex Overnight in Lisbon.

Dinner with community in a local hall

Day 3:  – Lisbon, Sintra
After breakfast, we will visit Rua da Juderia, in Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest Jewish quarter with its narrow cobbled streets, and Praça rdo Comércio along the old part of the harbor, site of one of the oldest synagogues in Lisbon. We will see Ohel Yaakov Synagogue – now home of the Marranos (Bnei Anusim) community. We will then drive to the city of Sintra, a World Heritage site known as “Lord Byron’s Glorious Eden”, which was once the summer residence of the kings of Portugal. We will visit the Royal Palace which dates back to the 15th century.

Return to Lisbon and the hotel in time to prepare for Shabbat. Evening services at “Shaare Tikva” Synagogue followed by Shabbat dinner.

Overnight in Lisbon. Dinner with community in a local hall.

Day 4: Shabbat  – Lisbon After morning service and Shabbat lunch enjoy a walking tour in the city. Tonight we will enjoy a typical “Fado Show”. Although the origins are difficult to trace, today Fado is commonly regarded as simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain traditional structure.  This music defines the Portuguese, their culture, and their very existence.

Overnight in Lisbon. Lunch with community in a local hall.

Please pack your bags tonight as we will be leaving Lisbon tomorrow.

Day 5: – Tomar, Castelo de Vide, Marvao
After breakfast we will be departing for Tomar, one of the oldest and most charming towns in Portugal, founded by the Order of the Knights Templar. We will be visiting the 15th century Synagogue, now the Abraão Zacuto Museum, located on what was once Rua da Judiaria. Here we will be reminded of one of the greatest Sephardic Jewish communities. We then proceed to Castelo de Vide where we will visit the authentic Medieval Juderia and the recently restored 15th Century Synagogue, with the adjacent school, the village fountain, the Rabbi’s home and the oven used for baking. We will learn all about the Jews of Castelo de Vide who were forced to convert to Catholicism. Then we will continue to Marvao where we will enjoy a walking tour of the traditional Portuguese village in which many Jews once lived.

Overnight in Alpalhao. Dinner at hotel.

Please pack your bags tonight as we will be leaving Alpalhao tomorrow.

Day 6:  – Belmonte, Guarda
After breakfast we will be departing for the town of Belmonte which has preserved its Jewish past, and is a community of some hundreds of “Bnei Anusim”, Marranos who have decided to make their way back to their Jewish roots.  Our morning tour will include the Medieval Castle and the Jewish Quarter which was situated outside the castle walls. We will see the houses with crosses engraved in the stone close to the doors. These were inhabited by “New Christians”, who were forcibly baptized and publicly followed Catholic rituals, but in the privacy of their own homes, maintained their Jewish religion. We will visit the Jewish Museum and Synagogue. 

Overnight in Belmonte. Dinner at hotel

Please pack your bags tonight as we will be leaving Belmonte tomorrow.

Day 7:  – Guarda, Trancoso, Oporto
We will be staying overnight in our final hotel in Oporto. Our day begins after breakfast with a tour of Guarda. The city walls, the keep, the Torre dos Ferreiros  (the Blacksmith’s Tower), and the old Jewish quarter are reminders of the period of great splendor enjoyed by the city of Guarda in the middle ages. Jews first began to settle here in the middle of’ the 13th century in the area next to the wall, close to the Porta d’el Rei and the high street (Corredoura). A large gate at the spot known as Quatro Quinas marked the limits of the quarter; its inhabitants were mainly traders and craftsmen. The leather workers who had fled from Salamanca in Castile introduced their skills into the regional handicraft, which are still maintained to this day.  In the afternoon we will take a trip to the walled town of Trancoso – where Jewish merchants first settled in the 12th century. We will see the Medieval home “Casa Do Gato Negro” (the house of the Black Cat) in Largo Luís de Albuquerque.

The facade of the house is decorated with emblems that have been interpreted as representations of the Lion of Judah and the Gates of Jerusalem. The house itself used to belong to the former Rabbi of this community and it was probably also used as the local Synagogue.

Overnight in Oporto Dinner at hotel

Day 8: – Oporto
After breakfast we tour Oporto. Oporto was once a major community of thriving Jewish merchants. Many Jewish merchants had their offices along the famed Porto riverfront in the Ribeira area along the Rua da Alfandega. Another Jewish community once flourished at the Rua Monte dos Judes, where in 1826, an important ancient Hebrew plaque was unearthed. Recently, the main synagogue of the Jewish quarter was discovered during renovation to an ancient building. Behind a false wall, workers stumbled on to an ark thought to be from the 15th century. The current Jewish community worships at the 1929 Mekor Haim, or Fountain of Life Temple.

Continue to The Palácio da Bolsa do Porto, a 19th century building owned by the Porto Commercial Association and is located in Praça do Infante D. Henrique, the former economic and commercial heart of Porto.

The predominant style of the palace is the British Neoclassical, and Palladian style, present, especially, in the search for perfect symmetry in all the building’s volume. The interiors are known for their great artistic variety, you’ll find paintings on the ceilings, sculptures, paintings on the walls and other artistic decorations. In the hall, you can see several different national coats of arms painted on the ceiling: Portugal, England, Italy, Brazil, Russia and Austria, visitors have the tradition of trying to identify every one of those countries.

Dinner at hotel

Day 9:  – After breakfast we depart for the airport for our flight from Oporto to Israel

Flight Schedule: To be announced

Price: AACI members #### Euro per person in a double
Non- AACI members #### Euro per person in a double
Single supplement #### Euro

Price Includes:

  • Flights on —- from Israel
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Kosher Meals: daily breakfasts in hotels + lunch boxes + kosher dinners.
  • Transportation in air conditioned coach as per itinerary
  • Local guides for the excursions and visits as per program including entrance fees
  • Israeli English speaking tour leader
  • Porterage at hotels and all tips
  • AACI staff escort

 Not included:

  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Any other items not mentioned as included
  • Travel/Medical insurance

Prices are subject to change due to fuel or tax increases.  The itinerary may vary.

Deposit of 400 Euro per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by ——


  • Cancellation from time of registration until ————–Euro per person
  • Cancellation between ————————Euro
  • Cancellation between ——————-: 50% total
  • Cancellation from ——— to day of departure: 100% cancellation fee

For reservations: phone Diesenhaus: 02-6220000. please email your registration for to:
For additional information call Carole Kremer at AACI 02-5600910