Sunday, December 29, 2013

Incantato Performance Venue: Auditorium of the Colégio do Espírito Santo, Central Évora University.

The Occidental College Glee Club, under the direction of Désirée La Vertu, will perform in the University Auditorium on January 16th, at 8 pm, in a Joint Concert with TAUE - Tuna Académica da Universidade de Évora, as a finale for the music exchange.

The University of Évora is one of the buildings most visited by tourists from around the world flocking to the city. The University of Évora, the second oldest in Portugal, was founded in the 16th century (1559) by Cardinal Infante Dom Henrique (the future king of Portugal), and by the Pope Paul IV, and it was delivered to the Society of Jesus.

The Colégio do Espírito Santo, (College of the Holy Spirit) is the core of the University of Évora and appears today in the same format in which it was conceived and executed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, housing the Rectorate, many Departments as well as many college classrooms and units.

Its monumental and artistic ensemble includes the Renaissance Cloister, with harmonious double galleries in Tuscan order; the Refectory (sixteenth century); the Chapel of Nossa S.ª da Conceição (1641); the Old Library, with a painted ceiling fresco (1708), and a magnificent collecion of ashlars and paintings along the Johannine Classes (1744-49)

The Tuna Académica da Universidade de Évora, TAUE, is a traditional ensemble that has became one of the main vehicles to publicize the good name of the University of Évora and the true spirit of the University and its students.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Weather in Spain and Portugal and What to Pack for your Trip

Dear travelers of the Occidental College Glee Club,
As your departure for your 2014 performance tour comes closer and closer, Incantato Tours would like to provide you with a couple travel tips.

For most people, packing for a trip is the most difficult part. The solution for many is to just pack as much as you possibly can into your suitcase and backpack, but as a colleague explains it: "You'll be thanking me later when you don't break your back from having to carry everything on your own. Don't do it!" Her advice: "Pack as lightly as you can. The best way to get it all to fit nicely into your suitcase is to fold it nicely and then roll it tightly. It can all fit into your bag like a puzzle."
The major factor is that you should bring only 1 suitcase, no heavier than 50 pounds.

Knowing the weather forecast can be helpful, keeping in mind that it is still too early to have a good prediction… However, here you have some examples of how the weather can be in the cities you will visit for the month of January. Remember it is winter!
  • Madrid: Temperatures between 35º and 50ª F, scarce rain, chilly wind from the snow-capped mountains. 
  • Córdoba: January temperatures usually vary between 40º and 55º F. It is never as cold as in Madrid, so you can expect fair non-rainy winter days… being outdoors at sunny midday is nice!
  • Sevilla: Very much like Cordoba, average temperature in January runs from 45 to 60º F. It is a bit warmer, and it might rain occasionally.
  • Évora: 43º and 55º degrees, some rains, mild temperatures unless it gets windy up-and-downhill. 
  • Lisboa: Well, this could be the rainiest part of the trip – though you can always be surprised!!. Lisbon January temperatures run from 45º to 60º F, and there is a 47% chance of getting some rain!!

Even if you are used to lower temperatures and you feel these forecasts sound like summer, please keep in mind that many churches have a dress code and will not allow you to walk in if you are wearing tank tops or shorts. A scarf is a good solution here. Shorts should always go to your knees (both for ladies and gents).

Now it is time for you to start planning your luggage! We hope the weather forecasts can help you to decide what to bring. Here are a few things that we think are essential to have to be comfortable with what the weather brings and with the weight of your bag - remember, we allow only one checked bag per person, (maximum 50 pounds) and one small carry-on such as a backpack. 
A sample packing list (just a suggestion!):
  • Rain jacket, maybe with fleece insert
  • Umbrella
  • Gloves, scarf, hat… if you tend to feel chilly!
  • An adapter plug/converter (if you are bringing electronic devices, please check if they are compatible, most new devices are – most……)
  • Camera and batteries or charger with adapter
  • At least two pair of jeans/pants, ladies may want to bring a couple skirts or dresses, too
  • A sweater or two, (or three, if you tend to feel chilly).
  • Plenty of shirts, including a polo or two and at least two dress shirts (Europeans dress much more formal than Americans)
  • Plenty of undergarments and socks for daily changes
  • A watch, make-up and jewelry if applicable (carry on any valuables at all times)
  • Choir music and attire
  • Don't forget shoes, we recommend a maximum of three pairs (tennis shoes, good everyday shoes, dress shoes). Bring nice concert shoes, but make sure that you will be able to walk long distances in them. Europeans do not wear flip flops other than to the pool or at the beach.
  • Put all liquids that are in your carry-on into a zip-lock bag. And remember the 311 rules: TSA | Transportation Security Administration | 3-1-1 on Air Travel
  • All scissors, fingernail clippers, etc. are better packed in your check-in luggage along with liquids over 3 ounces. Bring enough contact lense solution and prescription medication that you may need for the whole duration of the trip.
  • If you forget anything there are plenty of shops where you can by shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Occidental College Glee Club is featured choir at the Basilica de Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder, Sevilla.

Occidental College Glee Club will be singing Mass on Tuesday 14th January at the Basilica of Our Father Jesus del Gran Poder, a very beloved temple in Sevilla.
The temple was consecrated as a Minor Basilica in 1993 and only two years later, in 1995, was awarded the Gold Medal of Sevilla, being the only image of Christ that holds such recognition.

The second Basilica in the city, this basilica is home of the Brotherhood Hermandad de Nazarenos de Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder y Mª Santísima del Mayor Dolor y Traspaso, (brotherhood of Our Father Jesus Nazarene of Great Power and Blessed Maria of Suffering and Traspass), was founded in 1431 with founds from the powerful Duke of Medina Sidonia.

This brotherhood procession takes place at dawn on Easter Friday, and it's followed by thousands of penintentes. For the processions, the Pasos (steps) are carried by the brotherhood members, called costaleros, a tradition that honours them deeply and has its roots in the. The pasos, carrying the very sculptures, very enriched and ornated, can weight all together up to 2,500 kg ( 5,500 punds), and each costalero can be holding a weight up to 100 kg (220 pounds). The processions are held in silence, just broken by the saetas singing -  a very flamenco song singed from soul and faith.

The brotherhood was located in different places until in 1703 he moved to the Church of San Lorenzo , which was its usual venue until the construction of the current basilica.

The new temple was completed in 1965, although the first consagration took place the following year.

The building features Sevillian baroque architecture on the outside, and inside forms a central plant, similar in structure to that of the Pantheon in Rome. The temple itself is a large circular area covered by a very hemispherical dome decorated with moldings, with a large central oculus illuminates the entire temple.

We can admire in this temple the image of Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder (our Father Jesus of the Great Power) , to be dressed effigy , carved by Juan de Mesa in 1620. 
We can see another sculpture of San Juan Evangelista also made ​​by Juan de Mesa , considered the best sculpture of the saint of the whole city .

Alongside, the image of Mª Santísima del Mayor Dolor y Traspaso is venerated: a Sevilian anonymous work of 1798 . 
The Cesta del Gran Poder (Great Power Cage) is very interesting, being the only survivor in the city from the XVII century, and was carved by Francisco Antonio Gijón. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A glimpse of Spain at the holidays

On December 22 almost everyone in Spain takes part in the Christmas Lottery, and prizes are celebrated in style out in the streets.

Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25) brings families together. Traditional dishes such as lamb and sea bream are prepared, along with seasonal desserts such as turrón (rich sweet made with almonds), polvorones (crumbly shortbread) and marzipan.
Many attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, to commemorate the birth of Jesus. 

 December 28,  the Day of the Santos Inocentes, where people play pranks on each other similar to those of April Fools’ Day. Novelty items purchased at street markets add to the entertainment.

Bid farewell to the year with the New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31. Tradition has it that you have to eat 12 grapes one by one, in time with the striking of the clock at midnight on December 31. If you manage to eat all the grapes on time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. People gather at the clock towers in their towns or cities (usually found in the main square) to toast and  welcome in the New Year. Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid is a popular place to spend New Year's Eve. Thousands of people decked out with hats and squawkers joyfully toast in the New Year. Celebrations continue throughout the night at hotels, bars and clubs throughout Spain.

Another tradition is found in Alcoy, where young and old alike anticipate Christmas and the arrival of the Three Wise Men with special excitement. On the Sunday before January 6 (Epiphany), a  children’s parade called “les Pastoretes” (the little shepherds) is held. Children dressed up as shepherds parade with their flocks to give gifts to the new-born Baby Jesus. Excitement builds until January 4 when the Royal Envoy reads a royal proclamation announcing the coming of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, The Envoy is accompanied by “les Burretes,” small donkeys that carry letterboxes where the children put their letters to the Three Wise Men.

Finally, when night falls on January 5, the Three Wise Men make their spectacular entry into Alcoy, riding camels, loaded with presents. Torch bearers (antorcheros) light the way as the Wise Men ride through the streets of the town. Christmas carols fill the air as the royal pages (“les negres”) hand out  presents to the children.

To learn more about New Year's Eve in Spain, visit

To find out more about the Three Wise Men visit

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Little things to know about Spain and Portugal before packing

At Incantato Tours, we strive for you to enjoy every single step of your way. Here you have some info on little things you might want to know about Spain and Portugal before getting on the plane. Maybe these tips are able to help you enjoy the trip better!
Spain and Portugal at night by NASA

In Spain there is a saying that :
“one just-in-case is worth more than a hundred if-I-had-known”

- It is customary to always have some kind of picture ID. You can use your passport or your driver's license. It is a good idea to have a photocopy of your passport
 to be kept with the rest of your valuables.

- In order to use a credit card, you will need to activate it and get a pin number before coming. Let your bank know that you will be using it abroad so that the card will not get blocked!

- American Express credit cards are not accepted in many places.

- Any kind of Traveler Checks are not accepted. If they are, it can become very expensive.

- Please click here for more info on money matters.

- Food and clothing are generally more expensive in Spain than in the USA. Portugal is cheaper than Spain for most things.

- It is forbidden to smoke in all public places.

- Please bring a photocopy of your prescriptions in case you need medication. This is a just-in-case! The active ingredient is good to know too, as we do not always have the same medicines (though mostly).

Cooblestoned Praça do Giraldo, Évora
- Old towns mean cobblestones and hilly streets, pedestrian areas, steps, stairs... Happy feet help to have a happy tour. Please bring flat, comfortable shoes.
- Flip-flops are definitely not comfortable in our old towns, but they might be in the hotels. We do not walk around barefoot! Remember that January maybe rainy, especially in Portugal!

Showing your knees/shoulders is forbidden inside churches. We will be entering churches almost daily – concerts, art, history... Please bring appropriate clothing. Knee-long pants/skirts, girls can use a scarf to cover their shoulders. Men are not supposed to use scarves, so please do bring shirts with sleeves (short or long).

- Pocket-knives, scissors and sometimes drinks and food are not allowed inside some monuments and museums.

- Laundry service in hotels is very expensive. Unfortunately there are only a few laundromats in Madrid and Lisbon.

Suitcase: 1 per person, NOT heavier than 50 pounds!!

If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. There are so many little things that we can tell you, and we will be hapy to address your doubts!

Hasta la vista!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Occidental College Glee Club: Incantato Tour Poster

Wonderful Occidental College Glee Club and Director Désirée La Vertu, sure deserve great marketing, and in the next weeks you will see them here:

Incantato proudly presents the concert poster for the 2014 Performance Tour to Spain and Portugal.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Incantato Performance Venue: Auditorium of the Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Córdoba.

As a great finale for their Exchange program with the Coro del Conservatorio Superior de Música de Córdoba "Rafael Orozco", both choirs will perform a Joint Concert in a wonderful venue: the Auditorium of the new headquarters of the Conservatorio Profesional de Córdoba.

Inaugurated in 2011, the new building of the Conservatorio hosts the most modern equipment of all of Spain's conservatories.
The government has paid over 7 million Euros for the building, measuring over 7000 sq. meters, including 51 individual instrument classrooms, 24 individual study carrels, a choir classroom, drums classroom, orchestra classroom, four music classrooms, a library, a sound library,... and of course the administrative offices.
The Conservatory has some 1212 students this year: 546 in elementary music levels and 666 in middle music levels. The number of teachers: 122 professionals are in charge of the teaching.

The new auditorium is also impressive: a whole year non-stop Concerts Programme is hosted by this reknown hall. The 296 seats and its very good acoustic will make a warm and brilliant concert.
A wonderful end to the Spanish part of the Occidental College Glee Club Performance Tour to Spain & Portugal.
For more information, you can visit the Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Córdoba "Músico Ziryab" webpage

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Travel Tip: Money matters

Dear travelers,

Money is a delicate subject. The best way to use your money during your upcoming trip is to have adebit card; this allows you to withdraw money from any ATM machine with only being charged a small withdrawal fee. This fee will differ between banks. Be sure to call your bank before yourdeparture to tell them where you are going and for how long so they won't freeze your account. Thedebit cards given by a bank has the compatibility of Visa, MasterCard, however, Visa is the most widely accepted worldwide.

If you bring cash, you can exchange it but you will lose more money as they often charge for their services. Most places in Europe won't accept traveler's checks anymore. Also, be prepared to pay for water and a small fee for restroom use. There are no free refills on soft drinks in Europe which is why mostEuropeans ask for little to no ice in their drinks.
We suggest you have some spending money available and our recommendation is around $20-25/day for the meals not included, snacks, drinks, postcards and some souvenirs. It is notimperative that you have this amount of money. 

There are many ways to lower your expenses such as:
  • Most restaurants have menus outside so you can check their price range. 
  • Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and better prices. 
  • Bring your own water bottle. Most places have safe tap water to fill up with. 
  • Buy food from the "convenient" stores. You don't have to sit down in the restaurant for every meal. 
  • Shop around for souvenirs; many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices.
Remember that your Incantato Tour Manager is with you pretty much 24/7. The guide is there to help you make the right choices.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Performance venue: Palácio Foz, Lisbon.

The magnificent Palácio Foz, in Lisbon, will be host the final concert of the 2014 Occidental College Glee Club Performance Tour to Spain and Portugal, on Friday 17th January, at 6 pm.

The neo-classical Palácio Foz, originally called Palácio Castelo Melhor, was designed by the Italian architect Francesco Saviero (or Francisco Xavier) Fabri, and built shortly after the great earthquake in 1755, for the Marquês de Castelo Melhor. 

Mirror Hall for concerts
It was purchased by the Marquês de Foz in 1886 when it received the first of many facelifts.

It is magnificently decorated internally and the ballroom features outstanding paintings by Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, (1857-1929), one of the leading painters of his generation and a master of realism in Portugal. 

It now houses 11 different institutional offices, and a very rich Cultural Program at the concert hall Sala dos Espelhos (Mirror Hall). Among the institutions there is an Art and Cinema Museum, a Lisbon’s Tourist Information centre and important cultural gobernment and private entities.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Performance venue: San Jerónimo Church, Madrid.

The Occidental College Glee Club, under the direction of Désirée La Vertu, will sing Main Mass at the Royal Monastery of San Jerónimo el Real Church, in Madrid, on Sunday January 12, at 1pm.

The Iglesia Parroquial de San Jerónimo el Real  belongs to the Royal Monastery of St Jerome, founded in Madrid in 1503 during the time of Queen Isabella I, and popularly known as "Los Jerónimos.". 

During 300 years, San Jeronimo was the official Royal Church of the Spanish Crown. From 1528 to 1833 the monastery was the site of the investiture of the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne. 
The impressive stairway leading to the entrance was constructed in 1906 for the wedding of King Alfonso XIII, and the present King of Spain, Juan Carlos I was proclaimed King in the church in 1975.
The church itself is an impressive sight next to the Prado Museum. It also contains its share of art treasures, including works by Benlliure, Carducho and José Méndez and Juan de Mena's Cristo de la Buena Muerte.

This temple has undergone many alterations and refurbishments over the years, from the original Isabelline gothic and soon reached reinassance, to the most contemporary tendences on the 21st century.

The renaissance-style cloister, originally built in the 16th century, was replaced a century later by one in Baroque style, by Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolás. This is the cloister which survived sufficiently to be included in the recent extension to the Museo del Prado
The cloister was dismantled and removed stone by stone to be incorporated into the Prado museum's new extension, leaded by the famous architect Rafael Moneo. A total of 2,820 stones were removed and carefully documented and catalogued before being taken for restoration in studios in Alcalá de Henares. 
The stones of the cloister were then replaced in almost exactly their original position and enclosed with a concrete skin, to make it an integral part of the Prado extension. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Your last home away from home in Lisbon

The five star Real Palácio Hotel is set close to Edward VII Park, in a quiet quarter at the very heart of Lisbon City. Originally a seventeenth century palace, this building has kept its original layout. Built in two separate but adjacent wings the Real Palacio Hotel has benefited from a renovation retaining its original architecture and natural ambience.

The hotel's main building houses 135 bedrooms, comprising 4 suites, 63 double rooms, 60 twin rooms and 8 single rooms, all equipped with the most up-to-date technology in terms of comfort. The palace has 12 rooms, all of which are decorated in the style of the era to create a romantic ambience.

An access control system for guest areas based on room keys reinforces the security of the hotel. The rooms offer individual air-conditioning, telephone (digital & analogue line), mini bar, free personal safe, hairdryer and 24 hour room service.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

News from Madrid, presented by Incantato Tours

In the past, Madrid has often been considered the stately, classical cousin to the cooler, hipper Barcelona. However, the ambiance of Spain's capital is changing and it is evolving into a trendy destination in its own right.
One of the main contributors to this transformation has been the emerging and contemporary art exhibitions and there has also been a spike in shopping venues opened with international visitors in mind. 
One of the events to watch is the fourth annual Apertura contemporary art exhibition, presented by the ARTE Madrid Association of Art Galleries. The festival features simultaneous activities at museums and some 50 galleries city-wide.  
There will also be the first ever Summa, a fair hosted by the Matadero Madrid cultural center, that will showcase everything from emerging art and photography to gastronomy. The Matadero center itself is also a happening venue, with year-round events and exhibitions. Located in the previously less touristed Arganzueal district, the center has revitalized that part of the city. 
If shopping is more of interest to you than art, be sure to watch out for the Las Rozas Village. It is a large complex that acts not only as a tourist draw, but is also set to help revive the country's down economy. Close to Gran Via is also TriBail, featuring young designers, appealing shops and one-of-a-kind boutiques. 
An addition to the thriving shopping and art scene, the San Anton Market has also been a valuable addition to what Madrid has to offer. Situated in the popular neighborhood of Chueco, which is a hub of welcoming restaurants, this modern, refurbished market offers visitors typical season Spanish products in a three-story building. The building originally dates back to the 19th century, but it was modernized in 2002 and finally opened in 2011. San Anton is not a market in the traditional sense, but a combination between market, show cooking and restaurant. 
On the first floor, vendors present stands of food from hamburgers to a selection of more than 60 types of bread, vegetables and fruit. On the second floor, there is a tasting area, as well as the opportunity to purchase Spanish and international cuisine to go. A restaurant is located on the third floor where typical products form the market below are cooked. It also features a terrace lounge with a view.

For more news from Travel Weekly, please click here. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Your home away from home in Évora

The Hotel M`ar de ar Muralhas is a 4-star hotel located right in the historic centre of Évora, a 5 minutes walk from the famous Giraldo Square, hub of this magnificent city and capital of the kingdom during the first years of the XVI century. Because of its location the hotel benefits from an ample garden framed by the historic city wall.

The hotel offers 85 double rooms and 6 suites, and the restaurant "Sabores do Alentejo" where one can taste the local gastronomy under the signature of Chef António Nobre.
The rooms have internet access, in-room safe deposit box, room service and laundry and dry cleaning services.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Your hotel in Seville

The Barceló Renacimiento hotel, entirely refurbished in 2012, is situated in Seville on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. The hotel was designed by Javier Carvajal Ferrer, one of the foremost Spanish architects of the 20th century, a standard bearer of modernism, and internationally considered a master. The hotel is considered by many as the Guggenheim of Seville for its singular design and architectural similarity to the museum in New York of the same name.

It offers 295 light-filled and spacious rooms measuring 40m2, with large, comfy beds. The modern, comfortable décor and services on offer such as Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service are sure to make your stay in Seville an unforgettable experience.

Exceptional facilities with restaurants, computer room with free Wi-Fi and fitness room. At the restaurant, you can enjoy a complete American buffet breakfast and show cooking. Visit the chill-out terrace with views of the Guadalquivir river or the Barbacoa restaurant located in the hotel gardens.

Isla Mágica Theme Park is located just 200 metres away. The popular Alameda de Hércules, and the districts of Macarena and San Lorenzo are also located very close to the hotel. You can shop at the city's most exclusive stores at the Plaza del Duque and Plaza Nueva shopping areas. The historic district, where you can visit the Cathedral, La Giralda, the Royal Alcazar palaces and the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, is just a short stroll away.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Incantato Update: Lisbon

Lisbon was voted top city destination in Europe!
Portugal’s cosmopolitan and intriguing capital has been named Europe’s Leading City Break Destination 2013 at the World Travel Awards, considered to be the “Oscars” of tourism.
This win is the third time Lisbon has been recognized as Europe’s Leading City Break Destination over the last five years. Known for its year-round pleasant climate, rich culture and beaches located just 20 minutes from the city center, Lisbon also has a price-quality ratio unrivaled anywhere else in Europe.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Your first home away from home in Madrid

The Senator Gran Vía 21 Hotel, a 4-star hotel in the very center of Madrid, is close to the most important leisure areas and tourist attractions: Sol, Ópera, Tribunal, Chuec and also a few steps away from the metro station (Gran Vía) and taxi services to reach any part of the city.

The hotel has 136 fully equipped rooms. Every room has a 32” LCD TV with international channels and Pay per View, CD player, wardrobe with iron and ironing board, coffee maker, bathrobe service, private bathroom, air conditioning, heating and ceiling fan. Most of the rooms have a relax armchair, free minibar (non-alcoholic drinks) and magnetic safe. The rooms are perfectly soundproofed with double glazing and double Climalit® door, premium high-speed Wi-Fi (payment not included), a courtesy tray with tea and coffee and beds with quilt.

Incantato News: Have you tried our APP yet?

Incantato Tours is proud to present our Incantato App, now available for the Apple and Android systems. 

Based on our motto "Be a traveler, not a tourist", this App is designed to provide you with all the vital information prior to your journey to Europe. Currently, the App presents all of the group tours traveling in 2014. 

Under each tour, you will find:

Tour Info
Included in this section are all the necessary documents, such as your flight information, registration form, tour information, as well as Incantato's Terms and Conditions.

Once other participants traveling with you have signed up, you are able to connect with them, exchange information, travel tips, etc or just find out who else is going on the journey with you!

In order to give you some first impressions of your destinations, this section includes pictures of the cities you will be traveling to, as well as of their most famous sights. There are also first previews of the hotels you will be staying at, as well as the venues you are performing in. Each group also always has their own picture album on our Facebook page, which is updated frequently, especially while you are on tour!

Here you find a break-down of your day-to-day activities, where you will be when and a first idea of what you might be doing on any given day. First confirmed performances are also included here.

In case you need another look at your tour brochure, which includes information such as tour pricing and other tour details, you can access it anywhere you go through this section of the App.

Believe it or not, we receive a lot of similar questions. We have compiled the most common ones here so that you can gather information and the basics regarding your tour. Should you have more detailed or specific questions, always feel free to email us. 

In addition to the tour-specific information, there is also a general section, including information about us as a company, how to best contact us, as well as some information about our favorite destinations and personal highlights. 

So if you are traveling with Incantato Tours in the future, or if you are interested in more information about what we do, download our App today!

Click here for the App from the Apple iPhone Store
Click here for the Google Play Store for Android devices

Your flight schedule for Europe

Friday, January 10, 2014
Air France flight AF65 leaves Los Angeles (LAX) for Paris (CDG), France, at 3:50 pm, arrival is at 11:35 am the next day (Saturday, January 11, 2014).

The group then connects from Paris (CDS) at 12:35 pm with Air France flight AF1600 to Madrid (MAD), Spain, with an arrival time of 2:40 pm local time.

Sunday, January 19, 2014
Air France flight AF1125 departs Lisbon (LIS), Portugal, at 6:00 am local time for Paris (CDG), France, to arrive at 9:30 am local time.

The group then connects from Paris (CDG) at 10:30 am with Air France flight AF66 to Los Angeles (LAX) with an arrival time of 1:15 pm local time.

Your travel route with Incantato Tours

Fun and interesting facts about Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is full of beauty and charm. However, don't scrape the surface thinking it's just like any other place in the world. Lisbon has a list of interesting secrets as you see below:

  1. In Lisbon, the streets are pretty much all black and white. People say the reason for this centers around the patron Saint of Lisbon; Saint Vincent. It's said that the black represents the attire worn by Saint Vincent whereas the white represents the white outfit of the Christian Crusaders who vanquished the Moors.
  2. The main river basin of the Tagus Estuary in Lisbon stretches up to 14 km (8.7 m) across and is said to be large enough to contain all the warships in the world.
  3. Beneath the streets of Lisbon's downtown shopping area lies a hidden Roman Underworld with chambers, rooms, bridges and corridors. The entrance to this fascinating world is marked by a block of metal at the top of Rua da Conceicao which is only open to the public two days a year due to the dangerous conditions lurking below.
  4. Lisbon was practically destroyed on 1st November 1755 as a massive earthquake tipping the scales at 8.9 took the lives of 40,000 people and could be felt as far away as Scotland and Norway.
  5. Visit on of Lisbon's favorite attractions; the Torre de Belem. The tower's first purpose was to safeguard the harbor but from the late 16th century up till the 19th, the tower served as a prison. Today however, it serves as a monument to Portugal's Age of Discovery and it provides a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
  6. Lisbon is also known as "the town of seven hills" which are compromised of the seven hills: Castelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina and Estrela.
  7. Instead of hiking, why not take a one of a kind the Ascensor de Santa Justa (street elevator). This is another beloved landmark which takes passengers 45 meters (147f) from the Baxia elevator to the Chiado district.
  8. A very large statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King) stands on the left bank of the river. This statue was erected to commemorate Portugal's survival of World War II without its direct involvement.
  9. Ironically, The Alfama, which is the oldest section of Lisbon, was spared by the 1755 earthquake and is one of the places to visit if you want to see that Lisbon is full of history.
  10. The Santa Engrácia church is in the Guinness Book of Records. Why? It has had the longest construction time of all churches in the world - it started in the 17th century and in 1966 was the last dome completed.
  11. Lisbon’s Vasco da Gama Bridge is the longest bridge in Europe. The world record for the largest dining table was set when some 15,000 people were served lunch on the bridge as part of the inauguration celebrations.
  12. The Lisbon Half Marathon, held every year in March, is one of the most attended events of its kind in the world.
  13. Lisbon is home to the Stadium of Light, one of Europe's biggest and famous soccer venues in which the main sporting team Benfica play their home game at.
  14. Speaking about Benfica - the football club is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for having the largest number of fans (an estimated total of 14 million worldwide and over 170,000 registered paying supporters).
  15. The first passenger streetcars were built and introduced in the U.S. in the 19th Century (New York and New Orleans). The rails are called “carris” in Portuguese and this is the name given to Lisbon’s public transport company that operates the trams today. Due to their origins, Lisbon’s trams were originally called “americanos” and the first operational route was inaugurated on 17th November, 1873.

Lisbon the city of the seven hills

Lisbon, (Portuguese: Lisboa) the capital and largest city of Portugal, is the twelfth most populated urban area in the European Union.

It is the westernmost capital city in Europe, lying on the western Iberian Peninsula along the Atlantic Ocean and Tagus River, less than 200 miles northwest of Cape Spartel, Africa.
Like IstanbulAmmanRomeSan Francisco and Bergen, Lisbon is built on seven hills

Lisbon is recognized as an alpha city due to its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, and tourism. 
It is also the world’s 25th most livable city, according to the lifestyle magazine Monocle, and the sixth most visited city in Southern Europe with more than two million tourists annually.
As with the rest of Portugal, Portuguese is the main language in Lisbon. However, most younger people know enough English for basic communication and it is possible to get by speaking only English. Spanish is widely understood, though few are fluent in it, and many locals will respond more readily to English than to Spanish. Nevertheless, any attempt to speak Portuguese is always appreciated, and even simple things like basic greetings will often draw smiles and encouragement from locals.

Lisbon reigns as one of the world’s oldest cities. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon’s status as the capital of Portugal has never been confirmed or granted officially - neither by statute nor written form. 
Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

The city boasts two registered UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Belem Tower constructed during the maritime exploration, and the Manueline-style Jeronimos Monastery. It was honored in 1994 as the European Capital of Culture.

The Portuguese capital enjoys subtropical-Mediterranean climate. Among all of Europe’s metropolises, Lisbon experiences the warmest winters with average temperatures of 59 degrees from December through February. Snow and frost are very rare.
The typical summer season lasts approximately six months, from May through October, however November, March and April often also experience temperatures upwards of 68 degrees. Rain occurs mainly in winter, the summer is very dry.
Lisbon is very close to the Atlantic ocean and that brings windy and fast-changing weather, so you'd better bring an extra pair of underwear or an umbrella with you, at least in winter, spring and autumn.

While in Lisbon, why not explore the city by riding the famous street cars or enjoy watching people strolling by at one of the beautiful plazas?

Discover Evora with Incantato Tours

Evora is one of Portugal's finest and most delightful towns. It is a true open-air museum with a large number of wonderfully preserved monuments and buildings of public interest that led UNESCO to protect it as a World Heritage Site.

Each age has left its trace on Evora. It was the Celts who named it Ebora and the Romans gave it its most famous landmark, the Temple of Diana. Dating from the 2nd century, it is one of the Iberian Peninsula's best preserved Roman monuments, raised on a 10ft high stone platform, with 14 of the original 18 granite Corinthian columns still standing. The whitewashed houses, arches, and twisting alleyways that characterize the town reflect the Moorish presence.

Outside the city walls on the road to the train station is Ermita de São Brás ("Hermitage of St. Blaise"), an extraordinary building that looks like a medieval castle, complete with large battlements, gargoyles, and round buttresses. It was built in 1485 in thanksgiving for survival from the plague.

Around Evora are also numerous prehistoric monuments - dozens of sizeable Neolithic menhirs, cromlechs, and dolmens (the one in Zambujeiro, now a national monument, is the largest in Europe, consisting of seven stones, each 6m/20ft high, forming a huge chamber).
The Cromlech of Almendres dating from somewhere between 4000 and 2000 B.C has been called "the Portuguese Stonehenge." It is the most important megalithic group in the Iberian Peninsula, consisting of a huge oval of almost one hundred rounded granite monoliths, some engraved with symbolic markings, assumed to have been used for cult purposes. They have their origins in a culture that flourished in the Iberian Peninsula before spreading north as far as Brittany and Denmark.

Pictures and information are courtesy of

A quick guide to Portuguese cuisine

Food plays an important role in Portuguese culture. Traditional Portuguese dishes are often made from simple ingredients, based on regional products with an emphasis on fish. 
The former colonies in Africa, India and the Far East have influenced Portuguese cuisine making it very different from the nearby Mediterranean countries. Many herbs and spices such as pepper, saffron, ginger and coriander were introduced into Europe by the Portuguese, as were coffee, pineapples, potatoes and rice amongst other ingredients.

Breakfast (Portuguese: pequeno-almoço) consists mainly of milk, coffee, bread rolls or toast, butter and jam. Lunch (Portuguese: almoço) is the main meal of the day and can be a leisurely affair, while dinner (Portuguese: jantar) is usually served late in the evening.

Portuguese recipes are characterized by their use of a wide variety of spices, for example, piri piri(a spicy chilli pepper), vanilla, cinnamon and saffron. Southern Portuguese cuisine has Arab and Moorish influences and an old tradition of almond and fig sweets.

Many of Portugal's dishes are fish-based due to the country's situation on the Atlantic. The most famous fish dish is salted cod, bacalhau, which it is said can be cooked in 365 different ways. Each region has its own bacalhau speciality, for example bacalhau à Gomes de Sã from Porto (salted cod, potatoes and onions topped with eggs and onions) or bacalhau à bras from Estremadura (salt cod, potato, onion and scrambled eggs). 
Other popular fish include sardines, especially grilled (sardinhas assadas), sea bass, octopus, squid (often stuffed), anchovies and swordfish. Shellfish such as mussels, prawns, oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams are also very popular.

One of the most popular meats in Portugal is pork, which can be cooked in a variety of ways. Roast suckling pig (leitão assado) is a delicacy of Central Portugal. Another popular pork dish is the carne de porco à Alentajana, which consists of pork marinated in wine and is garnished with clams.
A common meat dish is the cozido à Portuguesa, a sort of hotpot of beef, sausages, potatoes, vegetables and rice. Grilled skewers of beef with garlic (espetada) are often served, as is aromatic grilled chicken (frango grelhado), seasoned with piri piri, garlic and olive oil.Feijoada, a meat stew with kidney or butter beans, is a dish popular throughout Portugal.

Soup is served at most meals. Seasonal vegetables, fish and meat are used to make a variety of soups. One of the most famous Portuguese soups from Minho is the caldo verde, which consists of a mashed potato base, green Galician cabbage, olive oil and black pudding (tora) or slices of sausage, such as chouriço and salpicão. Bread soups (açordas) where shellfish and vegetables are added to thick slices of bread are found in all regions.
In the south, gaspacho, a soup of tomatoes, cucumber, onions, garlic, chillies and vinegar, is popular. Caldeirada is a fish soup made of water, tomatoes, onions and garlic and other ingredients that traditionally will depend on the fisherman's catch.

Many of the desserts in Portugal are rich egg-based specialities, often seasoned with spices such as cinnamon and vanilla. A popular dessert is the arroz doce, a rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and lemon. The Portuguese have a variety of cakes and other delicacies that can be found in a pasteleria or confeitaria. 
Northern delicacies are rich, very sugary and often flavored with cinnamon, whereas in the south the sweetmeats reflect the local harvest of figs and almonds.
Throughout Portugal variations of the pão de Ló can found; this rich sponge cake can be flavored with lemon, port wine, cinnamon or orange juice.

Bom apetite!