Jews of Northeaster Spain

Jews of Northeaster Spain

Overview / Highlights


  • BARCELONASEE the medieval synagogue and speak with a member of today’s Jewish community
  • BESALÚVISIT the 13th -century Jewish quarter and mikveh
  • TUDELASEE the magnificent La Coruña Bible and HEAR about the “Jewish Marco Polo”
And also:
  • ALCALÁ DE HENARES - VISIT the birthplace of Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes, son of conversos
  • SORT — SEE the jail where Jews were protected during World War II.

Tour Program Summery Outline

  • Day 1: Barajas Airport - Madrid
  • Day 2  Madrid
  • Day 3  Madrid - Alcalá de Henares - Tarazona - Tudela
  • Day 4  Tudela - Belchite - Monzón–Sort
  • Day 5  Sort - Barcelona
  • Day 6  Barcelona
  • Day 7  Barcelona
  • Day 8  Barcelona - Figueres - Besalú - Girona
  • Day 9  Girona - Tarragona - Tortosa
  • Day 10  Tortosa - Sagunto - Valencia
  • Day 11: Valencia - Madrid
  • Day 12:  Madrid - Toledo - Madrid
  • Day 13:  Madrid - Aeropuerto de Barajas

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Southern Route

Day 1: Madrid


After we pick you up at the airport, we will have a panoramic tour of the city on the way to our hotel.
Our tour begins after lunch. We will visit the Bet Yaacov (main) synagogue with its small museum and meet with a representative of the Jewish community.
We will have a welcome dinner together in a kosher restaurant.

Day 2: Madrid

Our walk through the center of Madrid will take us to the Plaza de España, with its monument to Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. We will also visit the area in Moorish Madrid where the Jews lived under Moslem rule, near the Royal Palace and new Almudena Cathedral. We will walk through the bustling Plaza Mayor, now a magnet for tourists, but the site of far more sinister activities a few centuries ago.
In the afternoon you will have free time in Madrid to visit a museum, try some tapas, or just walk around the city.

Day 3: Madrid - Alcala de Henares - Tarazona - Tudela

Our private tour with a local guide specialized in Jewish Alcala will include what remains of the Jewish quarter, and Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes’ house. We will also see the patio of the Hospital de Antezana and the 16th-century University (and hear about why there were so many hidden Jews on its faculty...)


Our private guide is a local historian and expert in Jewish history in Tarazona. We will visit the unusual Jewish quarter, and see the recently restored “Casas Voladas”—overhanging houses built into the wall in the 14th century. We will also visit the recently opened Jewish Culture Information Center. We leave for Tudela, where we arrive in the evening.

Day 4: Tudela - Belchite - Monzon - Sort


TudelaWe will see the old Jewish quarter, and have a private tour of the museum which houses the 13th-14th century synagogue, containing copies of Jewish documents including the La Coruña Bible (written in Galicia, Spain, in 1476), the Sarajevo Haggadah (written in 14th-century Barcelona), and a list of 17th-century conversos living in Tudela. We will hear about the travels of Benjamin de Tudela, “the Jewish Marco Polo”, and read poetry by another of Tudela’s distinguished sons, 12th-century intellectual Abraham Ibn Ezra.

We leave Tudela and take a detour to Belchite on our way to Monzon.


We will visit the ruins of the original town and hear about the Spanish Civil War and the part played in it by Jews from many countries, as members of the International Brigades.


We will have a private tour of the Castle and Jewish quarter, guided by a local historian, and hear about the history of the Knights Templar and their relationship with their Jewish neighbors.
We go on to Sort, where we spend the night at the Hotel Pessets, owned and operated by a grandson of one of the protagonists of the pivotal events that took place in the town.

Day 5: Sort - Barcelona


We will visit the “Road to Freedom” prison-museum and the hotel where refugees fleeing from Nazi-occupied France were held. We will hear about how they were received by the local population, and what happened to them later.


We arrive in Barcelona in the late afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we will take a walk along the typical Ramblas promenade, from the busy Plaça de Catalunya down to the port. This wide pedestrian boulevard is full of flower stalls, shops, cafés and street performers, making it one of the most popular areas in the city to take a stroll.

Day 6: Barcelona

Synagogue, Barcelona, Spain
In the morning we will have a private tour of Jewish Barcelona. As we walk through what was once the Jewish neighborhood (call in Catalan), we will hear about the history of the Jews in Barcelona, and also about the modern-day community. We will visit the Call Information Center and medieval synagogue and see remains of the old community in the most unexpected places…

In the afternoon, our guide will show us non-Jewish Barcelona, including examples of the Roman, Gothic and Modernist periods.

Day 7: Barcelona

We will spend the morning on Montjuic (“Mountain of the Jews”), where the medieval Jewish cemetery was located. There we will visit the Fundació Joan Miró ( ), a museum which contains more than 10,000 paintings, sculptures and tapestries by the artist.
Also on Montjuic we will visit the Pueblo Español. ( ) Built for the 1929 International Exhibition, it is a synthesis of traditional regional Spanish crafts and architectural styles. For lunch you will be able to choose from the wide variety of restaurants, snack bars and tapas bars available.
In the afternoon we will walk through the Parque Güell, designed by Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí and, if you wish, you will be able to visit the Gaudí House-Museum, where the artist lived from 1906-1925.
After this you will have free time to shop, visit some of the places on our list of suggestions, or just walk around and discover your own Barcelona.

Day 8: Barcelona - Figueres - Besalu - Girona


On our way to Besalu we will make a detour to visit the Dalí Theater-Museum and hear about the artist’s little-known Jewish connections.


Our private tour will take us through the Jewish quarter where we will see the remains of the 13th-century synagogue and mikveh. We will also visit the Jewish Heritage Information Center, where we will see a video about Jewish Girona and Besalu.

We leave for Girona, where we arrive in the evening and spend the night.

Day 9: Girona - Tarragona -Tortosa


Our private guide will lead us on a walking tour through the narrow cobblestone lanes, high stone walls and stepped streets of the call (Jewish quarter), where we will hear about the history and culture of this thriving medieval community. We will also visit the Museum of Jewish History, built on the site of the city's last remaining synagogue at the time of the expulsion.


Our private tour will include a visit to the most important Roman sites. We will also walk through the winding labyrinth of narrow streets of the call, where we will see vestiges of the Jewish presence in the city, and visit the Diocesan Museum, where we will see tombstones with Jewish inscriptions that were found in the area.
On our way to Tortosa, we will make a detour to visit a winery where kosher wine is made. We will tour the 75-year-old cooperative and taste several of their wines.
We go on to Tortosa, where we spend the night.

Day 10: Tortosa - Sagunto - Valencia


Our private tour will take us through the “old” Jewish quarter, with its narrow winding streets. Documents have been found which indicate the location of the synagogue, butcher shop and bakery. The “Portal de los Judíos” (Jews’ Portal) is the only remaining gate that led through the city wall to the Jewish quarter. We will also see the “new” Jewish quarter, which dates from the beginning of the 13th century, and the Cathedral, site of the infamous Disputation of Tortosa.


We will have a private tour of historic Sagunto, including visits to the Castle, Roman Theatre, and Jewish Quarter, including the mikveh, and cemetery.

In the afternoon we go on to Valencia, where our private guide, who is a member of the Jewish community, will treat us to a special evening program about Jewish Valencia.

Day 11: Valencia -Madrid


You will have a free morning in Valencia to be able to take advantage of some of the many cultural activities –most not very well-known outside Spain—that the city has to offer. We especially recommend a visit to the unique City of Arts and Sciences. (Or you might prefer to just walk around, and maybe try some of the delicious food that Valencia is famous for…)
In the afternoon we head back to Madrid, where we spend the night.

Day 12: Madrid - Toledo - Madrid


Before entering Toledo we will stop to see the spectacular view of the old walled city, immortalized by El Greco, and the Tagus River flowing around it. The two ancient Jewish quarters can be seen clearly, as well as the Cathedral and the Alcazar (12th Century fortress). We will hear a detailed description of the imposing panorama.

Our private tour will include visits to the two synagogues remaining today-- Santa Maria la Blanca and El Transito, which houses the Sephardic Museum (the first museum in Spain to be specially adapted for blind visitors). The sinagogue was built by Samuel Ha-Levi, a prominent member of the Toledo Jewish community in the 14th century, and treasurer and advisor to King Pedro I. We will visit Ha-Levi’s house, where the painter El Greco lived two centuries later and which now houses his museum.
We will wander through the alleyways of the Jewish quarter and hear about the street battles that took place between the “old” Christians and “new” Christians (conversos) and the role of the Church and local nobility at that time.
We return to Madrid in time for you to do some last minute shopping, or take a last walk around the city.
In the evening we will have a farewell dinner together.

Day 13: Departure from Madrid - Barajas Airport