Walking in The Last Reboubt of the Knights Templar

Small Group Walking

Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

Grade: Leisurely (2/8)

This tour was designed for lovers of history, culture, and tradition. You will visit some of the most important historical Knights Templar locations in the world. 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. And as they say: “Once seen, never forgotten…”

  • Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax

Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax.

 

Tomar, our home for the week, was nominated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightly so. Lying on the margins of the tranquil river Nabão, Tomar as well as the surrounding areas, displays some of the most significant and magnificent monuments in the entire country. A true feast for the senses…

Nowadays, the region vibrates history, luxurious gardens, wonderful monasteries, castles and other sites that link directly to the Knights Templar, Europe’s most pivotal medieval societies.

Tomar center

Tomar

At the top of the hill standing alone above the town since the 12th century, the dramatic Convento de Cristo or “Convent of Christ”, was for 900 years the Headquarters of the Knights Templar of Portugal – the mediaeval warrior monks. From here, their influence spread across Europe.

Founded in Jerusalem in 1118, the religious order’s history is intertwined with the foundation of Portugal and the crusades against the moors. Their military support granted them prime sites of castles and land, primarily sited around the Tomar region.

Despite their fearsome and 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.

Castelo almourol by boat

Castelo almourol by boat

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.

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.

This tour was designed for lovers of history, culture, and tradition. You will visit some of the most important historical Knights Templar locations in the world.

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.

And as they say: “Once seen, never forgotten…”

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival to Lisbon airport

On arrival at Lisbon Airport we will have a private coach transfer to Tomar.
Depending on our arrival time, a short introductory walk around town will be offered.
Free time until the evening meeting and dinner.

 

Day 2 – Tomar

The day will be dedicated to the town that will welcome us for the week. A morning introductory walk in the centre will allow us to pass the main monuments and points of interest. After lunch we’ll make our way to the town’s “Piece de Resistance”: “The Convent of Christ”. Built as a Templar stronghold in the 12th century, it still reminds us today of the power, knowledge, sacrifice and history of one of the most famous religious order of all times – The Knight’s Templars.
Within a short drive’s distance, we’ll have time to enjoy the views and the engineering prowess of the “Pegões Aqueduct”, a 6km long aqueduct built on the 16th century during the “Phillipine Dinasty”, to supply water for the convent.
From here and for those that wish to use the time relaxing by the pool or visiting Tomar’s special downtown atmosphere, our private coach will bring them down to the hotel.
Should you wish to walk, an optional stroll will be offered alongside the aqueduct (as much as possible) through the gentle countryside, descending into town and the hotel.

Distance: 2km/1.2mi; ascent/descent: +-67m

 

Day 3 – 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.
The “Santo António Caves” where discovered in the 1950’s by a small boy that decided to follow a bird and saw it disappear through a deep hole in the ground. Seventy years later, we are now privileged to witness a part of our planet’s geological wonders.
After lunch, we’ll walk the trails down the valley below the caves taking us through quaint villages, shady paths and superb scenery as the valley opens out.

Distance: 5km/3mi; ascent/descent: +98m/-74m

 

Day 4 – Tejo Valley

Amongst the middle reaches of the longest Iberian Peninsula river, on a small picturesque and picture perfect rugged island, there’s one of the most beautiful medieval military monuments in the country: the “Almourol Castle”.
Using a traditional boat to ferry us to this enigmatic island, we will have time to explore and visit this 12th century structure, where we’ll enjoy some of the best views of the week.
Back on dry land, we follow Tanco’s shore line towards the delightful garden of Vila Nova da Barquinha, a public garden and an open door gallery of modern sculptures from some of the most respected national artists.
Just near the garden and at the end of the walk, a visit to the Templar Interpretation Centre is included.

Distance: 4km/2.5mi; ascent/descent: flat

 

Day 5 – Batalha Abbey & Alcobaça Abbey

The day comprises a time travel visit through the Portuguese history and its glorious buildings.
The “Batalha Monastery”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s greatest Gothic masterpieces, was born out of a promise of gratitude for a won battle that granted Portugal its independence. During the 150 years that it took to be built, the initial project was subjected to numerous changes that resonate the evolution of architectural styles, from the exclusively Portuguese “Manueline Style” to the Renaissance techniques.
After lunch, a visit to “Alcobaça Monastery” a 12th century UNESCO World Heritage Site. This colossal complex was originally given to St Bernard of Clairvaux the main reformer of the Cistercian Order and built to reflect the “White Monks” principles: austerity, prayer, penitence, hard labor and constant silence, alongside the ones in need. This monastery is also the burial site of Portugal’s most famous royal lovers and their tragic history – “Pedro and Inês”.

 

Day 6 – Nabão River

Named after “Nabia” – the pagan goddess of rivers and water – the “Nabão River” is a 60km river with luxuriant riverbanks that runs from the northern village of Ansião to the south, eventually flowing into the Zêzere River.
Our walk this morning follows the margins of the river and, at times, our route coincides with the Portuguese Caminho de Santiago.
Later we’ll visit a nearby winery where there’ll be a tour through the winery and wine cellar, with some disclosure of the secrets behind the art of making wine. This visit also includes a wine tasting.

Distance: 6.3km/3.9mi; ascent/descent: flat

 

Day 7 – Ourém

A day dedicated to the medieval village of 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.

 

Day 8 – Departure

Transfer to Lisbon airport.

 

What's included

Accommodation

  • 7 nights in a twin standard room for two pax
  • Shared ensuite room with a travelling companion of the same sex
  • Single supplement available with a surcharge
  • Extra nights available on request

Meals

  • 7 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel
  • 7 Dinners with drinks included

Transport

  • Meet & Greet Airport Transfer to the hotel on the first day – group transfer
  • Transfer from the hotel to the Airport on last day – group transfer
  • All transports to walks and activities (as outlined) with dedicated driver and vehicle
  • Additional transfers available on request at an extra cost

Tour Leaders

  • Dedicated English speaking local tour leader
    The tour leader will assist and guide the group throughout the holidays, handle all the arrangements and other needs that might arise, making sure that you don’t have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday
    Each evening, your tour leader will discuss the details and program for the following day

Walks and Activities

  • Walks according to program
  • Visits: Convent of Christ, Almourol Castle, Batalha Monastery, Alcobaça Monastery, Santo António Caves, Local Winery visit, Medieval Ourém Visit
  • Wine tasting

Exclusions

Any services not listed as included

  • Flights to and from Portugal
  • Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
  • Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements
  • Guide services inside monuments

Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our Guided and Self-Guided holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday.

BeCool Travel has partnered with WorldNomads.com to keep you travelling safely. WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance is designed for independent and adventurous travellers, with coverage for overseas medical expenses, cancellation, baggage, and other expenses.

Please consult our Travel Insurance page, where you’ll be able to get more detailed info about insurance requirements and an immediate quote for your trip.