Cultural Sightseeing & Easy Walking Tour / Based in Tomar
The Ribatejo region where the tour is based is a beautiful, green and tranquil area. We will give you an extraordinary experience in this magical region.
Within a short radius of our luxurious hotel are wonderful abbeys, castles and other sites that link directly to the Knights Templar, one of medieval Europe’s most pivotal societies. The city of Tomar was the headquarters for the Order of the Knights Templar founded alongside Portugal itself. We will visit some of the most important and historical sites connected with the Knights Templar. But it will be much more than just visiting castles and abbeys. We will also show you the marvellous countryside and enjoy great food and wine.
There is much to see but there will be plenty of time to relax as well. Our intention is that you will have the experience of a life time.
A one week unique walking tour on the trail of the Knights Templar visiting the important monuments related to the Knights Templar. This tour is in an area with captivating scenery. Once seen, never forgotten.
The tour is designed for lovers of history, culture, and tradition. You will visit some of the most important historical Knights Templar locations in the world.
The Knights Templar are probably best known from the book and the film “The Da Vinci Code”. But there is much more to discover about these fabled mediaeval warrior monks.
The Templars were founded in Jerusalem in 1118. However their heyday was connected with the founding of Portugal and the crusades against the moors. This resulted in them being granted prime sites of castles and land primarily sited around the Tomar region.
Despite their fearsome, battle-hardened reputation, the Knights Templar were learned men, dedicated to protecting travellers and pilgrims of all religions, not just Christians. They were great statesmen, politically adept, economic traders, and they were apparently allied with the great sailor-fraternity that had created a worldwide trading empire in Phoenician times.
It should be noted that many Portuguese explorers and royalty were Knights Templar and later Masons. Many believe that the Portuguese Knights Templar were instrumental in Portugal acquiring its transatlantic colony, Brazil.
The Order of the Temple was intimately connected with the free Masons both in Portugal and elsewhere in Europe. Their traditions were also steeped in Jewish mystic tradition.
Just after 1492, with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the town of Tomar expanded further with the influx of Jewish refugee artisans and traders. The very large Jewish minority dynamized the city with new trades and skills. Their experience was vital in the success of the new trade routes with Africa. The original synagogue (the oldest in Portugal), whose building was ordered by the Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator), still stands.
The dramatic city of Tomar has been nominated a UNESCO World heritage site and rightly so. The Convento de Cristo or Convent of Christ was the Headquarters of the Knights Templar of Portugal for nearly 900 years from where their influence spread across Europe. It is contained within the site of the Castle which dates from 1160. This magnificent building dominates Tomar from the hill above the city.
Lying either side of the tranquil river Nabão, Tomar as well as the surrounding area boasts some of the most significant and magnificent monuments in the entire country. A true feast for the senses.
Each day breakfast will be taken in the Hotel before leaving for the day’s program.
We will usually leave the Hotel between 9.00 am and 9.30am.
On our return to the Hotel each day we will have time to relax and change before dinner which is usually taken at 7.30pm.
Each evening the guide will give a preview of the next day’s program.
Day’s program is subject to alteration due to weather and local conditions.
Arrival to Lisbon
Meet at the airport and transfer to Tomar (+- 1h).
Short introductory walk around Tomar (depending on arrival time). Free time until the evening meeting and dinner.
Full day visit to Tomar with a morning introductory walk in the centre passing the main monuments and points of interest. The day will be partly guided to give a full background to the buildings and history of Tomar however there will be free time to enjoy & soak up the atmosphere of this special town.
Serra de Aires Natural Park
Today we visit the Serra de Aires Natural Park. This range of limestone hills is home to fantastic cave formations and we will visit the best.
In the afternoon we will walk trails down the valley below the caves taking us through quaint villages, shady paths and superb scenery as the valley opens out.
Our visit today will be to the valley of the river Tejo and the hauntingly beautiful castle of Almourol.
We will begin with a walk from the riverside village of Vila Nova de Barquinha and follow the river to the village of Tancos where a traditional boat will ferry us to the castle on its island in the river.
Batalha Abbey & Alcobaça Abbey
Trip to Batalha Abbey, a World Heritage site and one of Europe’s greatest Gothic masterpieces. After lunch visit the world heritage site of the 12th century Abbey of Alcobaça, originally given to St Bernard of Clairvaux the founder of the Knights Templar and the burial site of Portugal’s most famous royal lovers. Dinner in a local restaurant.
North of Tomar
The beautiful River Nabão is named after the ancient goddess of rivers and water. Our walk this morning follows the margins of the river north of Tomar and, at times, our route coincides with the Portuguese Caminho de Santiago. Later we refresh ourselves with a visit to a nearby winery to taste some of the delicious Ribatejo wines. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Today we visit Ourém. This remarkable hilltop village nestled within ancient walls is topped with a dramatic castle whose origins go back to Moorish times. We will have a guided tour of the village and castle after which we have time to relax in the local café and enjoy the views over the immense landscapes below. Dinner in a local restaurant.
After breakfast transfer to Lisbon airport.
(We all travel together to Lisbon, the clients going in the first flight will be transferred directly to the airport, and the clients on the second flight will have time off in Lisbon while waiting until transfer to airport.)
HOTEL DOS TEMPLARIOS **** (or similar)
Our hotel, a fabulous luxury hotel sited in its own gardens with spa, swimming pools and fabulous views over the city of Tomar and the river Nabão is the ideal site for a very special holiday experience. It is nevertheless sited within a few minutes of the historic centre of the town and its amenities.
The land only option allows you to book your own transport to and from the holiday. You will normally meet the group at the arrival airport as long as you arrive there no later than the group. Similarly, on the way home you can return to the airport with the group as long as your departure time is no earlier than that of the group.
This guided tour already includes a transfer departing from Lisboa airport at 12 a.m. on arrival day and returning to Lisboa Airport at 12 a.m. on last day.
To this tour we only accept transfers departing from Lisboa Airport or Lisboa.
If you wish to stay more nights, just send us an email with your request.