As you stand before the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest, Europe’s largest synagogue, you can imagine the Jewish Quarter when it was at its peak. Plus, there’s also a thriving community that lives there today—the perfect opportunity to sample Jewish-Hungarian dishes like gefilte fish or Flódni cake.
Getting inside a culture is key to any travel experience—which is what makes the tours from AFAR partner Context Travel so appealing. Knowledgeable and engaging guides introduce private or small groups to the subjects they are passionate about. Whether you’re exploring Monet’s home or Venice’s Ghetto, it will be in the company of a PhD or M.A.-level art historian, historian, archaeologist or other expert. And with tours in more than 60 cities, there’s likely one—or a half-dozen of them—at a stop on your next trip.
But to learn—really learn—about and experience Jewish life in Europe, here are six Context Travel tours to book.
While the Anne Frank House is on the itineraries of many visitors, this three-hour Jews in Amsterdam tour, led by scholars of Jewish Amsterdam’s history and culture, focuses on places that aren’t as well known: the Portuguese Synagogue and a theater where Jewish children were gathered before being deported to German concentration camps.
Much of this Jewish Berlin Tour focuses on the Barn Quarter—the center of Jewish life from the 18th century onwards. It was here that figures like Max Reinhardt, Arnold Schoenberg, and Kurt Weill produced revolutionary theatrical and musical works. The tour, with a guide who has studied urban history, cultural studies, or a related subject, also includes the haunting Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
The Czech Republic’s capital has been home to a Jewish community since the 10th century, making it one of the continent’s most interesting destinations. Among the highlights of this three-hour Jewish Prague Walking Tour, led by historians specializing in Czech and Jewish history, are Europe’s oldest synagogue and the former ghetto, home to a number of beautiful art nouveau buildings.
Discover the Past and Present of Vienna’s Jewish Community
At some stops on the Jewish Vienna Tour, there’s no physical building to see. But your guide—an expert on the city’s cultural and Jewish history—can bring the long-gone synagogues back to life, while describing the days when they were centers of their communities. You’ll also hear about some of Vienna’s leading Jewish figures, including Sigmund Freud, Victor Frankl, and Theodor Herzl.
The Ghetto neighborhood of Venice, where the city’s Jewish community was confined beginning in the 16th century, introduced the word ghetto into English. Travel to that world with the Venice Ghetto Jewish Tour, which is led by a specialist in the city’s cultural history and explores this quiet corner of the city, including stops at several synagogues.
Learn more about Context Travel’s Jewish program in Europe and Israel and book your tour today!