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International Expeditions

Portugal: A Rich Cultural Tapestry

with Jennifer Spelman

October 3 – 10, 2025

  • Package Price $8750.00
  • International Deposit $1500.00

Course Description

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry and breathtaking landscapes of Portugal on this exclusive 8-day photography adventure. From the cobblestone streets of Lisbon to the sweeping hillsides of the Douro Valley, each moment promises to be an opportunity for photographic creativity and discovery. Participants are guided by renowned travel photographer Jennifer Spelman, who shares strategies for connecting with subjects across differences of language and culture, and guides students to master technical strategies skills for capturing the perfect moment on the go.

Our journey begins in Lisbon, where participants are greeted with a traditional dinner of Portugal’s culinary delights. On the first morning, participants embark on a scenic walking tour along the Tagus River and the winding streets of fashionable Alfama, rich with opportunities to photograph the distinctive architecture and brightly colored tiles. Participants continue by tram into the city’s historic districts, providing further visuals of the vibrant streets and iconic landmarks. We end our first day with a private musical performance of Fado, the local folk music referred to as “the Lisbon blues,” where the profound emotion and soulful essence of this time-honored genre shape the visual storytelling experience.

On the second morning, participants drive to the picturesque town of Sintra, with its elegant palaces, charming chalets, and lush countryside. Explore the enchanting Pena Palace, an architectural marvel of Romanticism and vivid color, and the Moorish Castle with its impressive panoramic view, before enjoying an authentic local lunch and returning to Lisbon.

Participants then journey north to Lousã, celebrated for its verdant forests, castles and villages, and stunning natural scenery. We arrive in time to photograph the streets at sunset before gathering for a traditional meal. The following day, participants embark on a full-day excursion throughout the captivating Schist Villages, a network of 27 villages crafted from the distinctive schist rock. We visit Cerdeira and Candal, each street and facade offering a glimpse into the region’s rich history. A highlight awaits as we indulge in an open-air feast at the Terreiro das Bruxas, savoring succulent roast from a wood-fired oven and traditional codfish. We then continue to the majestic landscapes of Trevim before exploring the natural beauty of Santo António da Neve.

We continue on to experience the cultural treasures of Coimbra and the scenic splendor of Douro Valley, where we visit the historic University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in Europe, and enjoy a wine tasting at a local vineyard. We then drive on to the coastal city of Porto, where we experience architectural wonders and vibrant markets on a guided tour, beginning with the historic market of Mercado do Bolhão, moving to the São Bento Station with its famed azulejo tiles, the Stock Exchange Palace, and other cultural heritage sites. There is time to enjoy a relaxed walk along the Cais da Ribeira’s picturesque waterfront and leisure time to explore the city at your own pace. Participants conclude their photographic adventure the next morning in Porto before returning to Lisbon for departing flights.

Join Jennifer and Santa Fe Workshops on a memorable autumn journey to Portugal to explore the intricate interplay of light, shadow, color, and culture in one of Europe’s most captivating destinations.

Additional Information

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

This program is open to all photographers at all levels who are passionate about travel and improving their image-making.

What You Should Know:

Participants should be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a program to learn how to use your gear or editing software. This a photographic tour, not a photography workshop and there isn’t structured classroom time. There will be group image review sessions with Jennifer, as well as help with photographic ideas and techniques on location.

Special Notes:

Participants make their own air travel arrangements to Lisbon (LIS) to arrive in time for the opening reception and dinner on Friday, October 3 at 6:00 pm. To avoid jet lag, it is advised to consider arriving a day in advance to rest before the tour begins. The tour operator can book additional nights in Lisbon if travelers choose to arrive early or stay longer. NOTE: Departure at the end of the trip is from the Lisbon airport but flights need to be scheduled for after 2:00 pm.

It is required that you purchase trip cancellation/travel insurance for this trip. Once the trip is confirmed, additional information and travel details will be provided. Enrollment is limited to 12 participants.

Activity Level:

To get the most from this international experience, participants should be in good physical (mobility, stamina) and mental health. In general, arrive prepared for long days and seasonal weather including variable temperatures. You must be able to carry your own photographic and personal gear at all times. You are responsible for being open and honest about your physical fitness, and we reserve the right to remove you from the workshop if we find your fitness to be less than that which you have described.

Policies:

View Payment, Refund, Withdrawal, and Transfer Policies for this International Program.

Package Price INFO:

$8,750 includes double accommodations for seven nights (ideal for couples and friends traveling together; a single supplement is available for an additional $850); all breakfasts, five lunches, and four dinners; all ground transportation in Portugal; airport transfers; and all entrance fees. Airfare to Lisbon, as well as required travel insurance, meals and activities not mentioned in the itinerary, gratuities, and passport/visa fees, are not included.

Categories
Nature & Landscape, Portraiture, Storytelling, Street Photography, Travel Photography
© Nerissa Escanlar
about
Jennifer Spelman

Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer. She is co-publisher of CubaSeen, a quarterly magazine showcasing photography and writing about Cuba.

Jennifer received her photographic training as an assistant with Santa Fe Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf, and Joe McNally.

A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. She is most at home on the streets of Havana and has worked with Santa Fe Workshops across Cuba since 2011. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in Morocco, India, Turkey, Romania, Mexico, Japan, in addition to Cuba.

A popular workshop instructor, Jennifer is also part of our Mentorship Program »

Instagram: @jennifer_spelman

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