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Online Program

Adventures Online: The Best of Portugal From Lisbon to the Sea

Program No. 24188RJ
From the comfort of your home, discover the best of Portugal as you learn about its medieval history, its connection to the sea and the fascinating cities of Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon.
Length
5 days
Rating (4.94)
Starts at
499

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DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

DATES & PRICES

Online Program
Accommodation Details

Learn from the comfort of your own home.

At a Glance

“Bem-vindo” (“welcome”) to Portugal! On this online exploration through Lisbon, Porto and along the Mondego River region, immerse yourself in the culture and history of Portugal during virtual field trips, expert-led lectures and even a performance by local musicians. Under the tutelage of your local expert, learn about Portugal’s connection to the sea as you hear about its early maritime explorations, including those of Vasco de Gama, and gain insight into the local fishing industry and how seafood is incorporated in regional cuisine. Trace history from medieval times to modern day during online field trips through Porto, Coimbra (the former capital city) and Belem, Lisbon’s most notable neighborhood. Along the way, enjoy insightful lectures and group Q&A sessions that allow you to bond with your fellow Road Scholars, all while you enjoy Portuguese music, art and culture.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Through virtual field trips and lectures, explore Porto, Coimbra and Belem, Lisbon’s most important neighborhood and the point where Vasco de Gama set sail for the New World.
  • Learn about Portugal’s connection with the sea during a presentation by your Group Leader and enjoy a virtual field trip to a local market and learn how a “barbecue” of sardines is prepared in a Portuguese home.
  • Enjoy a virtual field trip along the Mondego River to learn why rice production is so important in this region, then enjoy explorations of a local castle and tile collection, both known for their exquisite artworks.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. This session is offered live only and will not be available on demand. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Featured Expert
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Adriana Alves
Adriana Alves earned her master's degree in strategic management of travel destinations. Adriana is an energetic and knowledgeable group leader who delights in sharing her experiences as well as cultural, historical information on Portugal with Road Scholar participants. She is fluent in English and her native Portuguese.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Helena Baltazar
Helena Baltazar View biography
Helena Baltazar has a degree in Art History from the University of Porto where she also completed a post-graduate degree in Museum Studies. She then completed her Master's thesis in the university’s Heritage Department. Helena is passionate about her country and has dedicated the past 20 years to lecturing on Portugal’s art and history, participating in projects of museum evaluation, and leading educational visits for travelers interested in Portuguese culture, art, and architecture. She also develops and operates programs in Portugal for Road Scholar.
Profile Image of Adriana Alves
Adriana Alves View biography
Adriana Alves earned her master's degree in strategic management of travel destinations. Adriana is an energetic and knowledgeable group leader who delights in sharing her experiences as well as cultural, historical information on Portugal with Road Scholar participants. She is fluent in English and her native Portuguese.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
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by Fernando Pessoa
Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-1945
by Neil Lochery
The First Global Village: How Portugal Changed the World
by Martin Page
Circumnavigation of the Globe
by Laurence Bergreen
A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire, 2-Volume Set
by A. R. Disney
The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama
by Nigel Cliff
The Lusiads
by Luis Vaz de Camões
The Portuguese: The Land and Its People
by Marion Kaplan
Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire
by Roger Crowley
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5 days
DAY
1
Introduction to Portugal, Lisbon & Belem
The comfort of your own home

Activity note: All times noted are Eastern Time. Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Your program handouts are available online, located in your account on roadscholar.org. Once you’ve logged in to your Road Scholar account, click on Upcoming Online Programs and you’ll see an option to select this program. You should have received instructions to view these in your pre-program email.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Our Group Leader and expert instructor will lead an Orientation and welcome meeting (60 minutes) with introductions.

Afternoon: 12:00 Noon. We’ll take a virtual stroll (45 minutes) through Belém, the section of Lisbon with the most significant buildings and monuments associated with Portugal’s golden age of discovery. We will start at the Tower of Belém, built in the early 16th century, that marks the entrance to Lisbon. It has become the symbol of the capital city. We will proceed to the Padrão dos Descobrimentos — Monument to the Discoveries — erected as a temporary exhibit for the 1940 Portuguese World Exhibition. It was rebuilt nearly two decades later as a permanent monument to honor the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry “the Navigator.” More than 170 feet (52 meters) high, it represents the prow of a ship surmounted by the figures of 33 prominent figures of the time. We will end with a glimpse of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos — Jerónimos Monastery — grand, ornately decorated in the unique Manueline style, and a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Inside are the tombs of Portuguese kings; the country’s most important poet, Camões; and Vasco da Gama. 1:00 p.m. Break. 1:30 p.m. Lecture and field trip (60 minutes). , we will have an overview of Portugal, Lisbon, the Belém district, and learn about the “golden age” of Portuguese navigation that began in the 15th century and the discovery of the sea route to India led by Vasco da Gama. We will then have a virtual field trip to explore the Museu de Marinha — Maritime Museum — also known as the Navy Museum, and examine the evolution of Portuguese shipbuilding in this period. We will see models of ships of the time as well as scientific instruments that allowed daring voyages, and learn about the daily life of sailors.We’ll also have a question and answer (Q&A) session. 3:00 p.m. After a short break, we’ll engage in a Q&A session (30 minutes) focusing on how Portuguese people today see this period of their history. 3:30 p.m. Today’s online session ends.

DAY
2
Fado, Coimbra, Universidade
The comfort of your own home

Activity note: All times noted are Eastern Time. Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. The day before each session, the instructor will remind the handouts needed and available online, located in your account on roadscholar.org. She will also recommend any extra reading or background research to complement the day’s themes.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Fado music has been called the song of the Portuguese soul. In our next lecture (20 minutes), our instructor will introduce fado and Portuguese song, followed by a virtual live performance of Coimbra fado — a distinctive style that developed out of student groups at the famed university — followed by Q&A.

Afternoon: 12:30 p.m. Break. 1:00 p.m. Our next virtual field trip (50 minutes) will take us into the old city of Coimbra. This was the capital of Portugal and residence of numerous kings of the first dynasty. It also houses the Portugal’s oldest university. With a local expert, we will explore the old city and do what many students do: leave the train and walk uphill to the university that overlooks the Mondego river and valley. We will learn about the history of the city, what “republics” are, and see some of the most important monuments in town, before ending at the renowned Universidade de Coimbra that was founded in 1290. 2:30 p.m. Today’s online session ends.

DAY
3
Portugal’s Geography & Art, Montemor o Velho, Delft Tiles
The comfort of your own home

Activity note: All times noted are Eastern Time. Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m. The day before each session, the instructor will remind the handouts needed and available online, located in your account on roadscholar.org. She will also recommend any extra reading or background research to complement the day’s themes.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Today’s lecture (60 minutes) will address how Portugal’s geographical position and many links with other continents shaped its art. Due to its position in relation to the rest of mainland Europe, artistic movements often took some time to reach Portugal. That same position also ensured that the Portuguese paid close attention to art and artefacts originating from Africa, Asia, and South America thanks to contacts established by great navigators and later by merchants, noblemen, and clergy.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. We will have a Q&A session (15 minutes). 12:20 p.m. Open discussion (30 minutes). 12:45 p.m. Break. 1:15 p.m. Our virtual field trip (30 minutes) will reveal Montemor o Velho, a rural municipality on the Mondego River, that derives its livelihood mostly from corn and rice production. Between Coimbra and Figueira da Foz is a huge castle on top of a hill. We will make a virtual stop to learn about its history and visit the local 16th century church that houses some significant art works such as a 14th century pregnant Madonna and 16th century tiles. We will also learn about the local tradition of “ex votos” offerings to saints. 2:00 p.m. We’ll have an expert-led virtual view of what may be the world’s largest collection of Delft tiles at the Casa do Paço in nearby Figueira da Foz. How these 6,700 Dutch tiles came to be here is something of a mystery. 2:30 p.m. We’ll engage an informal conversation (40 minutes) about Portugal with former students from Universidade de Coimbra. 3:15 p.m. Today’s online session ends.

DAY
4
Present-day Portugal, The Coast, Sardinhada
The comfort of your own home

Activity note: All times noted are Eastern Time. Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. The day before each session, the instructor will remind the handouts needed and available online, located in your account on roadscholar.org. She will also recommend any extra reading or background research to complement the day’s themes.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Lecture (60 minutes). Portugal has faced numerous challenges since 1910, starting with the change from monarchy to republic, seeing the rise of a dictatorship that would last for 48 years, the collapse of its African empire, and adapting to being a member of the European Union. We will analyze these changes and the huge impact they have had on society.

Afternoon: 12:00 p.m. Q&A session. 12:15 p.m. Break. 12:20 p.m. Lecture (30 minutes). Our instructor will discuss the importance of the sea for Portugal with a focus on modernity and tradition. 12:45 p.m. Break. 1:15 p.m. We will have a virtual “sardinhada-market-traineira” field trip (30 minutes) to see and learn how a sardine “barbecue” is prepared in a Portuguese home. 1:45 p.m. We will have an open discussion (30 minutes) on the “Mediterranean” diet and its benefits. Do new generations follow it? 2:30 p.m. Today’s online session ends.

DAY
5
Porto Ribeira, Napoleonic Invasion, São Bento, Farewells
The comfort of your own home

Activity note: All times noted are Eastern Time. Today’s session will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m. The day before each session, the instructor will remind the handouts needed and available online, located in your account on roadscholar.org. She will also recommend any extra reading or background research to complement the day’s themes.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. We will set off on a virtual field trip (45 minutes) that will take us into Ribeira, the old section of Porto that developed in the medieval era. After crossing a 19th century bridge named for King Luis I, we will enter the neighborhood’s narrow streets with houses painted in bright colors or decorated with colorful tiles whose patterns indicated when they were made. In one of the city’s oldest squares, we will see the Praça do Cubo — Square of the Cube — a bronze sculpture that has become a focal point. We’ll than move over the 14th century wall to view the last city gate left from the old ramparts. We will also learn about the 1809 invasion by French troops and the death of hundreds of locals trying to escape from the French who died in the waters of the Douro River. Finally, we will go uphill to the railway station of São Bento with its incredible azulejos — beautiful Portuguese tiles that depict historical and other scenes. We will conclude at a downtown garden to admire the view. One of the finest port wines is produced just across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. 11:45 a.m. Q&A.

Afternoon: 12:00 Noon. We’ll have a demonstration on how to prepare Porto Tonic, a popular libation that owes its existence to bars by the wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. We’ll then have a wrap-up session and say farewells. 1:00 p.m. This concludes our program.






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.