History tells us that in the year 1118 nine men formed a brotherhood in Jerusalem to give protection to the pilgrims who travelled to the Holy Land and came to be known as the “Order of the Temple”. Portugal, one of the oldest nation-states in Europe, was so largely due to the support given by these Templar Knights to the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques. Allegedly it was for the secret purpose of establishing a Templar Nation in Europe, granting thus a secure base for the Grail and where they could practice their utopia and Cistercian models. Almost two centuries later, in1312, when Pope Clement V extinguished the Order, they remained in Portugal as the “Order of the Knights of Christ”, becoming one of the incitements for the Portuguese Discoveries. The Mysteries and enigmas associated with the “Order of the Temple” are still to be revealed, and you will travel on its discovery, following the testimony sites and the heritage left by the Templars in Portugal.
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Recommended: April – June; September – November
Minimum Travellers: 4 (Van Tour) ; 1 (Self-guided)
Local/Rural Houses, 4* Hotel
Arrival at Porto Airport
Our van guide will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the hotel to meet for the briefing! Make sure to have a stroll around the city. The opportunities are endless and Porto is an absolutely gorgeous city!
The morning will be reserved for discovering a bit more of the city of Porto. After, you will go visit Braga following the History of the first Templars in Portugal. Check-in at a hotel in Braga.
The Birth of the Nation
Check-out of the hotel, and head to Guimarães the first capital of Portugal and look for some more interesting enigmas to solve around the person of the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques. Proceed to Lamego, discover its historical sites and check-in a winery hotel.
“Back” to the End…
From Lamego follow to the “backcountry” where nearby the border, at Penha Garcia, Monsanto and other neighbour places, the Templars erected their “last” castles, far from the headquarters in Tomar. Check-in at a local hotel (depending on the season).
Passing by Castelo Branco, proceed to Soure, the first fortress to be donated to the Templars, and Coimbra, the second capital of Portugal. Check-in at an hotel in Coimbra.
Tomar – The spiritual centre
A short drive till Tomar, the centre of the Templars operations in Portugal. We could stay a year and still miss something to discover about the Templars history there. Check- -in at a hotel in Tomar.
Leaving Tomar we’ll visit the surprising island-castle of Almourol and will follow to Santarém, with several interesting sites to visit in town and around. At the end of the day we head to Lisbon, and check-in at the hotel.
The Order of the Knights of Christ
Between Lisbon and Sintra you will be delighted with the heritage sites associated with the Knights of Christ and the Portuguese Discoveries they boosted. Stay at the same hotel.
Day of Departure
It’s time to end your tour but certainly Lisbon’s vibrant atmosphere will captivate you. Feel free to ask for an extension of your Tour to rest and stroll around Lisbon. It has been a great adventure and we would love for you to return and discover more of Portugal’s History and enigmas…