Lisbon is a truly remarkable city and this short pre-trip to our conference will let you take in all the highlights. The city itself is well less than a million people, very easy to get around, no traffic whatsoever. We will gorge ourselves on museums – the Calouste Gulbenkian, the Center for Modern Art of the Gulbenkian, the National Museum of Ancient Art, the Decorative Arts Museum – and an amazing and spectacular highlight, the National Tile Museum. We will have great cultural walking tours of both parts of the Old Town – the Chiado side and the Alfama side - and at the end of our first day’s walk, we will have a major food/wine/everything experience at The Lisbon Winery. During our time here, we will stay at the 5-star perfectly located Intercontinental Hotel. Hope you can join us.
thursday oct 5
lisbon pre-trip Arrivals



For anyone wishing to arrive even before the pre-trip begins, we can organize hotel rooms, guides and visits that do not overlap with what we will be seeing in Lisbon during the days following.  It is a city that can easily support more time, whether it be filled with cultural visits, gastronomic exploration or simply good shopping. 

Lisbon is Portugal's capital city and has been influenced by many disparate and distant cultures over the centuries.  It is the oldest city in Western Europe, inhabited by a series of conquerors – the Celts, Phoenicians, Hannibal and the Carthaginians, Julius Caesar and the Romans, Germanic Vandals and Visigoth tribes, Moors, the Spanish and the forces of Napoleon – before settling down in the 21st century to a contented and tolerant existence that welcomes virtually everyone within its borders.  

The city carries UNESCO World Heritage status and is filled with major monuments and museums - the Jerónimos Monastery, the Tower of Belém, National Azueljo Museum, The Gulbenkian, National Coach Museum, The Roman Theater, The Opera House, The Castle of São Jorge and many other major sites. But Lisbon’s real allure lies in its historic neighbourhoods, the lively areas filled with local bars, family restaurants and fado houses.  You can walk easily from spot to spot and an evening in the Bairro Alto will stay with you forever. 

Arrivals into Lisbon over the course of the morning.  The airport is quite close to the city centre, a mere 15-minute taxi ride.  Transfers in cost about €15 for a taxi to the hotel. 

Check into our 5-star deluxe Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon Every effort will be made to have the rooms ready for when you arrive but official check-in time is 3:00 pm.  If you want to guarantee early check-in, the best thing to do is to reserve the night before.

Located in the perfect central Lisbon location, The InterContinental is a luxury 5-star hotel overlooking the famous Eduardo VII Park. It is just 500 metres from Marquês de Pombal Square and 700 metres from trendy Avenida da Liberdade's boutiques.  The hotel has chic, spacious guestrooms, many of them with panoramic views overlooking the park's green areas. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and free WiFi.

4:00 pm.  Gather for a welcome in the lounge of the hotel.

4:30 pm. Starting in the Praça dos Restauradores we begin our historical and cultural walking tour of the Baixa, Chiado, Carmo and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods of Lisbon.  We will split into small groups of 8-10 people.

In 1755 Lisbon suffered one of Europe’s most catastrophic recorded earthquakes which destroyed much of the historic heart of the city.  The result of the rebuilding campaign is Baixa, a carefully planned network of 18th-century streets lined with elegant classical buildings most notable of which is the Teatro Nacional de Dona Maria.  A 45 meter elevator (which we will take) links downtown Baixa with Carmo and Chiado above where we will explore the maze of tiny alleys and squares where fado still thrives and the chic streets that are lined with sumptuous boutiques. 

We end our walking visit high up in one of the tiny hidden streets of Chiado at The Lisbon WineryWe will privatize the entire space and match white, red and sweet port wines with a long list of local food specialties.  

Warm soups, Pata Negra ham, extra virgin olive oil, codfish croquettes, fresh goat cheese, chorizo, chicken pies, custard tarts.  We will have a gastronomic food tasting and wines to match. 

We walk back to our waiting bus for the short 10 minutes back to the hotel.  But since this Chiado area is filled with lively cafés, bistros, wine bars and music, you may decide to stay on and make it back to the hotel on your own. 

Overnight: Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon.

friday oct 6



Breakfast in the hotel dining room.

Private Morning at the Decorative Arts Museum with expert Margarida Serra.  We will split into three small groups and rotate at 45-minute intervals.  One group will visit the collection.  Another will visit the 18 different craft workshops.  And yet another will have a hands-on workshop experience marbling paper, engraving leather or colour trimming a silk tassel.  Everyone will do all the activities. 

A 17th-century Baroque townhouse is home to the Ricardo do Espirito Santo Silva Foundation with its fine collection of 18th-century furniture.  But more importantly, it is also the centre for craftsmanship, conservation and reproduction of 18th-century pieces and decoration.  An army of 100 skilled artisans works here on textiles, paper, leather, silk, tiles, musical instruments, iron work, upholstery and marquetry.  We will have a behind-the-scenes look at their skilled talents and then get a chance to try our hand at some of the actual work using their tools and materials while they guide us. 

Private lunch in the dining room at the Museu de Artes Decorativas.

Private visit to the Atelier of world famous artist Joana Vasconcelos.  We will have a drink in the studio surrounded by the massive works of art.

Joana Vasconcelos is one of Portugal’s most famous and most controversial living artists.  She has exhibited regularly since the mid-1990s but after her participation in La Biennale di Venezia in 2005, her work became known internationally. Recent highlights of her career include a solo exhibition at the Château de Versailles, France (2012), participation in the group exhibition 'The World Belongs to You' at the Palazzo Grassi/François Pinault Foundation, Venice (2011), and her first retrospective, held at the Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2010).  Her work is featured in the top collections, both public and private, all over the world. 

Following our artist studio visit we have time at leisure to shop, enjoy a drink, explore the downtown area.

Return to the hotel.

Private after-hours visit to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is a sanctuary for both contemporary and ancient arts founded by Calouste Gulbenkian, an Armenian businessman and philanthropist who bequeathed his astonishing collection along with an undisclosed sum of money. Every piece of art - whether it be a painting, sculpture, ceramic jug, Persian rug, piece of English silver - is absolutely the finest in the world. 

Dinner and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon.

saturday oct 7



Breakfast in the hotel dining room.

Visit of the highlights of the incredible collection at Lisbon’s National Museum.

Created in 1884, and housed in the Palácio Alvor for almost 130 years, the MNAA-Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is home to the most important Portuguese public collection of art – paintings, sculpture, gold, silverware and decorative arts from Europe, Africa and the Far East. Comprising over 40,000 items, the MNAA collection has the largest number of works classified by the State as “national treasures”.

We break into small groups of 8-10 people and follow our expert guides through the fascinating Alfama neighbourhood on foot.  

The Alfama is a maze of narrow alleys, most of which cannot be accessed by normal vehicles.  This was the grandest area of the city under the Moors and continued to be so under early Christian rule but a series of small tremors scared the nobility away, leaving intact the district’s Moorish character. Because it is built on rock, right against the castle hill, the massive 1755 earthquake caused little damage and the distinctly Arab latticed windows and labyrinthine streets designed to confuse enemies remain to this day.

Lunch at leisure in the tiny streets of Alfama.

Some time at leisure.  We will give the option of being dropped in the downtown center or coming back to the hotel. 

We depart our hotel for the Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira.  A private visit of the formal gardens and then a private visit of the house and its treasures. 

Fronteira Palace was built in 1640 and is still one of the most beautiful residences in Lisbon.  It contains splendid rooms with 17th and 18th-century decorative tiles, frescoed panels and oil paintings. But it is most famous for its stunning formal gardens with even more tiles, some of the country's finest, depicting hunting, battles, and religious scenes, as well as statuary figures personifying the arts and mythological figures, busts of Portuguese kings, and extravagant fountains. Along with the Tile Museum, this is the most important place to see great tile work -- the Room of Battles has been called "the Sistine Chapel of Tile work."  The palace is still privately owned and lived in by the present Marquess. 

Drinks on the terrace overlooking the gardens followed by a private dinner in the Battle Room of the palace.

Short transfer back to our hotel following dinner. 

Overnight: Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon.

sunday oct 8
lisbon to evora



Breakfast in the hotel dining room.

Guided visit of the National Tile Museum.

This collection presents the entire history of Portuguese tiles or azuelos and includes tiles dating from the second half of the 15th century to contemporary examples using new technologies. One of the major highlights is the Mannerist retable of Nossa Senhora da Vida and the Lisbon panel, 23 meters long, representing Lisbon before the 1755 earthquake.

Lunch at leisure.

Our rendezvous today will take place at the Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon at 1:30 pm.

From our pick-up point it will be a 1 ½ hour transfer to our 5-star hotel Convento do Espenheiro just outside the UNESCO classified town of Evora.


Minimum of 30 registrants are required for the Lisbon Pre-trip.