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On this historical tour, we follow in the trail of the Knights Templar. Having arrived in Portugal in the time of Countess Teresa, the mother of Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, the Knights Templar were present at many of the landmark moments in the history of Portugal, ranging from its foundation as a nation and the construction of its identify through to the period of maritime discoveries. The Order’s cross remains until today the symbol of the Portuguese Navy and Air Force. We shall be visiting monuments, reliving past events and speaking of the figures that will open up the history of both this Order and the European nation that has the longest standing permanent borders.
Day 1: Lisboa | Almourol | Tomar
Leaving Lisbon, we set off for one of the most representative monuments of the Knights Templar in Portugal: Almourol Castle. Located on a small island in the river Tagus, this is one of the Europe’s most emblematic monuments. We then proceed onwards in the direction of the Castle and Convent of Tomar — the Order’s own headquarters. This is undoubtedly one of the finest architectonic works existing in Portugal. Here, we encounter the Castle with its imposing bulwark, the Charola — considered the best preserved Templar church with a centralised layout —, the enigmatic Manueline window and the main cloister, a masterpiece of the European Renaissance. We then gain the opportunity to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, the matrix church of Tomar, with its original structure subject to renovation on the orders of King Manuel, a former governor of the Order. This thus proves a monument very much in the Manueline style. We then move onto the Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais. This fine example of Gothic architecture served both as the pantheon for the grand masters of the Order and a template for churches built throughout the Portuguese empire.
Tomar – Hotel accommodation.
Day 2: Tomar | Dornes | Batalha | Alcobaça| Sintra
We first set off for the pretty setting of Dornes, located alongside the river Tagus. Here, we tour the Templar Tower, also known as the Tower of Dornes. We then follow this with a visit to CIBA – the Battle of Aljubarrota Interpretation Centre. This provides the opportunity to “relive” one of the most important battles of Medieval Europe and decisive to Portuguese unity and identity. Lopo Dias de Sousa, a canonical religious master in the Order of Christ, proved a defining and fundamental figure in this period of history. We then advance to the Monastery of Alcobaça with its church containing one of the largest Cistercian abbeys in Europe. This architectural masterpiece was built on the orders of Afonso Henriques, the founding king of Portugal, and encharged to Saint Bernardo de Claraval, principal abbot in the Cistercian order and a great mentor and driver in the Order of the Knights Templar. We then depart in the direction of Sintra.
Sintra – Hotel accommodation.
Day 3: Sintra | Lisboa
We begin the day with a visit to Quinta da Regaleira, a leading example of the Romantic architectural style and one of the most esoteric and mysterious places in Portugal. We reveal a few of the secrets of these enchanting surroundings replete with neo-Templar symbols such as the initiation well. We then take in the Tower of Belém, the Portuguese monument that symbolises the era of the Discoveries and the National Navy Museum. We here gain the chance to see into, with the help of two of the governors of the Order of Christ, Prince Henry the Navigator and King Manuel, what was certainly the most splendid period in the history of Portugal that, as the Poet himself affirmed, gave new worlds to the World.
End of our services.
On request only and offered as a private tour only
Departure: Marques de Pombal Square (Lisbon).
Free pick up: only at selected hotels in Lisbon. Additional fees will apply for pick up outside of Lisbon area.
Frequency: On request only and only offered as a private tour
Accommodation with breakfast in the hotels indicated or similar.
Hotel dos Templários 4*, in Tomar;
Hotel Tivoli Sintra, 4*, in Sintra;
Transport by coach with air conditioning or minibus, depending on the respective itinerary. Accompanying guide throughout the tour. Entrance into the following monuments. Three lunches.
Does not include: other expenditure in addition to those detailed above, hotel baggage services, dinners, room service, and monument entrance charges beyond those stipulated.
850 College Street,
Toronto, ON M6H 1A2
Monday to Friday
9:30am – 5:30pm