Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Courses at the quinta

Due to the current global crisis we have very regrettably had to cancel our June courses. At the moment, September's courses are still planned to go ahead, though since this is an evolving situation, we have no guarantees. Watch this space for updates!

The fires of October 2017 which destroyed so much on this quinta and in 2,000 square kilometres around it brought the focus very clearly onto the urgency of our present global situation and the need to drastically improve eco-literacy. Since then, we have been working non-stop to restore buildings and infrastructure and get the quinta into a fit state to function as an environmental education centre.

2019 got us off to a great start with 6 weeks of back-to-back courses and we're building on this further in 2020.

Students on the Permaculture Design Certificate course making compost

Keep an eye on this page for further developments or sign up for our newsletter below if you're interested in joining us.

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Permaculture Design Course 2019

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June 23, 2019 - July 7, 2019

I’m super excited to be partnering with the guys at Circle Permaculture to offer Quinta do Vale’s first full certificated PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE this year! Endorsed by the Permaculture Association UK, George Christofis and Wallace Toughill’s PDCs get enthusiastic reviews wherever they hold them (in Spain, Portugal and Sweden).

The course will run between June 23rd and July 7th 2019.

Teachers will be George Christofis, Wallace Toughill and Wendy Howard.

Full details are on Circle Permaculture’s website.

Permaculture Design Course at Quinta do Vale

The gardens at Quinta do Vale

Permaculture Design Course program

The 72-hour certificated Permaculture Design Course follows the curriculum as laid out in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture – A Designer’s Manual. It covers subjects ranging from ethics and principles of permaculture, natural systems, aquaculture, sustainable design methods, patterns in nature, land restoration, water harvesting, grey water recycling, natural building, food forests and guilds, energy conservation, appropriate technology, renewable energy, urban permaculture and invisible structures.

The course teaches how to develop sustainable human settlements, and how to extend and preserve natural systems. The content will be covered between theoretical lectures and practical applications. The courses aim to utilise the collective intelligence of the group with engaging participatory classes.

You can view a sample schedule of the course here. The schedule gives a general idea of what to expect but will vary course to course.

Permaculture Design Course at Quinta do Vale

Wendy Howard teaching a vermicomposting toilet workshop, a system developed at Quinta do Vale


Thanks to the fires destroying most of our visitor facilities, accommodation is camping on designated pitches. Please bring your own tent and bedding. There is also a comfortable caravan for 2 people (4 at a pinch) and 2 pitches for camper vans.

We have hot (solar-heated) showers and composting toilets. There is abundant off grid electricity for phone/tablet/laptop charging and course participants have the use of refrigeration/kitchen facilities/laundry plus the social/hang out space in the communal building and any evening activities (movies, etc) we might put on.

Phone and wireless internet signal is reasonable for all networks which can make use of Portugal Telecom’s infrastructure. Vodafone doesn’t get signal here, but you can connect from the village above us. There is free wifi in the nearest village below us, along with a river beach and outdoor café.

Beyond the quinta, there’s a lively international social scene in summer revolving around the river beach, craft cooperative and local cafés. There’s lots of music, local markets, events, workshops, parties and lots of opportunities to meet locals and the sizeable community of eco-immigrants in the area.

Permaculture Design Course at Quinta do Vale

Benfeita river beach

What to bring

  • comfortable clothes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • sturdy shoes
  • a swimsuit for the nearby river beach
  • tent (if camping), bedding and sleeping bag
  • flashlight/torch
  • ecological body care products
  • note taking (blank pages recommended) and drawing materials
  • musical instruments!
Permaculture Design Course at Quinta do Vale

Water retention landscaping at Quinta do Vale


Includes all meals.
€600 camping (please bring your own tent)
€700 caravan twin share (must be booked with a partner)

Local people can also attend. Non-resident rate is €480 and includes all meals.

To sign-up for this course, please fill in the registration form and pay the small €50 deposit.

Getting to Quinta do Vale

See the Getting here page.

If you would like to be collected from the nearest long-distance bus stop at Catraia de Mouronho, which is half an hour’s distance from the quinta, we ask for a contribution of 15€ per journey. Please mention this in the comments section of the application form.


Quinta do Vale
Benfeita, Coimbra 3305-031 Portugal + Google Map

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