10th – 13th September 2024

Lisbon has become one of Europe’s most charming cities to visit. The city still retains the magical feel of stepping back into a bygone era of beautiful manners, haberdashers and wooden trams. Moorish castles, gothic monasteries, and baroque palaces await you, all set against a backdrop of the sparkling blue sea. A couple of days will then be spent exploring the historic town of Sintra, here we will visit the remarkable Pena Palace and gardens and the Quinta da Regaleira.


Tuesday 10th September
We will arrive in Lisbon in time for lunch, followed by a walking introduction to the city. This will take us to the Moorish São Jorge Castle with spectacular views over the city. Founded in the 10th century, when Lisbon was a Moorish port, this castle was later captured by the first king of Portugal, along with the city itself. The wonderful Romanesque-Gothic cathedral dates from this period of Christian conquest and rises from the spot on which the main mosque of Lisbon stood.

Finally, we will take a stroll through the winding cobblestone streets of the Alfama region of Lisbon which was home to St Anthony (although you may know him as Sant’ Antonio of Padua, he was not Italian!) The 18th century church that rises over his birthplace is well worth a visit. These sites will give us great insight into the many layers of history to be discovered in Lisbon. Supper will be at a good restaurant near the hotel.

Wednesday 11th September
We will spend the morning exploring the fascinating Monastery of St Jerónimos, founded by King Manuel I in 1501, during the Age of Discovery, to give thanks for Vasco de Gama’s successful voyage to India. The final resting place of Portuguese kings and other important figures, this is also one of the greatest examples of Portuguese Manueline architecture. This style is unique to Portugal and combines Gothic, Moorish and early Renaissance features, embellished with elaborate sculptural detail and maritime motifs.

After lunch we will visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Museum, built as an homage to the English businessman and philanthropist. The ambitious architectural setting was designed to reflect the character of Calouste Gulbenkian and houses the majority of his remarkable art collection, comprising of objects from antiquity to the 20th century. If there is time we will pay a visit to the Oriente Railway Station, designed by the important Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Built with a magnificent roof of glass and steel designed to look like a forest of trees, it is one of the world’s largest train stations. We will eat in a lively restaurant in the centre of town.

Thursday 12th September
The morning will be spent in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Portugal’s National Gallery and home of the largest collection of Portuguese paintings in the country. This will be a valuable chance to encounter lesser-known Portuguese artists such as Nuno Gonçalves, court painter for King Afonso V of Portugal and author of the Panels of St Vincent, a monumental depiction of the Portuguese court in the 15th century. We will see wonderful examples of Baroque wooden sculpture by the likes of de Castro, displaying the influence of the Portuguese colony in Brazil. There will also be excellent displays of azulejos, Portuguese glazed tiles, one of Portugal’s best decorative arts.

After an early lunch we will travel by private coach to Sintra, one-time summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and many wealthy aristocrats. En route we will stop at the Monserrate Palace, a fantastic building set in beautiful gardens containing plant species

from across the globe. The palace itself is a wonderful example of 19th-century Romanticism, demonstrating an eclectic mixture of Gothic, Indian and Moorish influences with exotic details and plant motifs. In the 18th century it was sublet by William Beckford who may have been responsible for its rebuilding, though he is better known in England for the building of Fonthill Abbey, which later collapsed. Monserrate fared little better but was restored in 1858 for another Englishman, Sir Francis Cook, a baronet created Visconde de Monserrate. From Monserrate we will travel the short distance to our hotel in Sintra where we will have dinner nearby.

Friday 13th September
We will start with the fantastical Quinta da Regaleira, a palace created by Carvalho Monteiro to display his eclectic interests. The palace, gardens and follies are bursting with symbolism referring to Masonry, Knights Templar, alchemy and the Rosicrucians. Many hours of fun can be had deciphering it all.

After an early lunch we will head into the Sintra mountains and up to their second-highest point. Here we will find the magnificent Pena National Palace. The colourful architectural complex is comprised of the 16th century Monastery of the Order of St Jerome, funded by King Manual I, and a later wing built in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II. These buildings are ringed by a third, rather fantastical structure that includes watchtowers, battlements and a drawbridge, showing the influence of German Romanticism. Ferdinand II was also responsible for the planting of the wonderful, exotic gardens surrounding the palace and we will have time to explore these and take in magnificent views. From here, we will travel to the airport for our flight home.


Further Details


The trip will be led by Nick Ross and Francesca Ramsay. Nick has run several successful Artemisia trips to Lisbon and is well-versed in the art and history of Portugal. Francesca has worked for AHA for many years, holds an MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture and has recently published two books.


For the first two nights of the trip we will stay at the beautiful York House Hotel, once a 17th-century Carmelite convent and located near some of Lisbon’s greatest sites.  The final night will be spent at Lawrence’s Hotel, a charming 5 star hotel dating back to 1764 where Byron once stayed in Sintra.  You can upgrade to a suite for an extra £150 per room.


We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates.  However, we recommend buying the following flights with Tap Air Portugal:

10th Sep          London Heathrow     08:00 – 10:45          Lisbon                         TP1351

13th Sep          Lisbon                      19:25 – 22:05           London Heathrow       TP1358


There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as uneven cobbles and steep slopes.  As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.


Dinner is by no means compulsory, but we book a table for the group each night at different restaurants and divide the bill equally between everyone.  The bill will be adjusted for those who do not drink wine or beer.

All lunches will be set menus and some restaurants may also require a set menu for dinner.


The fees are £1580 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, tuition, reading lists and local advice.  The single occupancy supplement is £150 (double room for single use).  Lawrence’s Hotel suite upgrade is £150 per room. Not included are the flights, all suppers, travel insurance.  The group will not exceed 16 people and we will divide in to two smaller groups wherever possible.

To register
Please complete the online registration form, having read our terms and conditions and pay a deposit of £600 via bank transfer.

If you have any queries please email charlie@arthistoryabroad or call 01379 871800 (302)

NB you must buy your own flights.

Registration Form

Terms & Conditions