Emergency Medicine Update Europe has come to represent outstanding innovative continuing medical education combined with custom travel at the highest level.  Every trip we challenge ourselves to take the conference to greater heights and for 2017, we have our sights set on Southern Portugal.  Now that we have decided to shift countries - and thus language, food, wine and culture - a whole new set of exciting possibilities opened up.  

We will base ourselves in the deluxe 5-star Convento do Espenheiro, a leading member of Starwood’s Luxury Collection and, without a doubt, the most comfortable hotel ever to host our conference.  The sprawling property around this once 15th-century monastery is covered with 500-year-old olive trees, cork oaks and red wine vineyards while numerous bars, a gourmet restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court and a wonderful spa are among the hotel’s amenities.  

And just 10 minutes away is the historic and picturesque town of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting a 1st-century BC Roman temple and an eye-popping 16th-century aqueduct but whose real appeal remains its quiet central medieval core filled with interesting shops, bars, bistros, cafés and relaxed restaurants hidden away down narrow cobbled shady lanes.  

The biking and hiking will be quite relaxed through this mostly flat/slightly rolling bucolic landscape that often feels frozen in a time from 50 years ago.   But the quiet paths and roads will take us to ancient Megalithic dolmens and menhirs, excellent wine makers and fascinating villages where ceramics and rug-making carry on as they have for centuries.  

Great food and great wine, that goes without saying.  It wouldn’t be an “EMU” trip without those and the Alentejo province is not only famous for its cooking but is also home to the finest sparkling, white, rose and red wines of the country!

Don’t miss out on the pre-trip in Lisbon.  Lisbon has captivated visitors for centuries.  Tom Hamilton and his team has designed a program that combines all the things you have come to appreciate about Benefactor Travel – hassle free first class travel, great food (including dinner at the Lisbon Winery) and special access (including a private after-hours visit of Museu Calouste Gulbenkian). But space is limited.

We truly hope that you can join us in 2017 for what promises to be a very special journey to Southern Portugal. 



Rick Penciner MD, Course Director
Emergency Services Program
North York General Hospital
Associate Professor
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto