Permaculturing in Portugal

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

Courses at the quinta

Government restrictions on free movement and assembly put in place in response to CoViD-19 have very regrettably meant we had to cancel all our courses in 2020, some quite literally only at the last minute.

After 2019’s great start to the quinta’s career as an education centre and its ongoing recovery from the 2017 wildfires, this has been quite a considerable blow, not least in the resources invested in preparing for courses which could not then take place.

For 2021, we have plans to resume our programme of Permaculture Design Certificate courses in partnership with Circle Permaculture, as well as a rocket mass heater build and more natural building and vermicomposting toilet workshops, but at this stage they can only be tentative.

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 September 2020

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September 13 - September 27

After last year’s brilliant beginnings to Quinta do Vale’s partnership with Circle Permaculture, I’m delighted to be bringing them back to the quinta to offer our second fully certificated PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE! Endorsed by the Permaculture Association UK, George Christofis and team’s PDCs get enthusiastic reviews wherever they hold them (in Spain, Portugal and Sweden).

The course will run between September 13th to 27th 2020, with the option to stay on a further week for our Post-PDC Practical Course immediately afterwards..

Teachers will be George Christofis, Adriana Garcia Aparicio, Liselotte Willemijn and Wendy Howard.

Full details are on Circle Permaculture’s website.

Permaculture Design Course at Quinta do Vale

PDC practical session – sheet mulching to create new growing beds

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 schedule of last year’s 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


Accommodation is camping on designated pitches. Please bring your own tent and bedding. Alternatively, there is a comfortable caravan for 2-3 people and 2 pitches for camper vans. Bedding is not supplied for the caravan so please bring your own.

We have hot (solar-heated) showers and composting toilets. There is abundant off grid electricity for phone/tablet/laptop charging, free wifi onsite 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 signal is reasonable for all networks which can make use of Altice MEO’s infrastructure. Vodafone doesn’t get signal here, but you can connect from the village above us. There is also 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!

Students working on site designs during last year’s PDC


Includes all meals.
€600 camping (please bring your own tent)
€700 caravan twin or triple share (must be booked at the same time) BOOKED

Please also note the camper van pitches for this course are now booked.

There is a special non-resident rate of €480 for people living locally ONLY which includes all meals.

To sign-up for this course, please fill in the registration form and pay the €100 deposit. Please note that if you have to cancel for any reason we will refund 75% of your deposit provided we can fill your place. The refund can only be made once we’ve done so.

If you would like to stay on for the Post-PDC Practical course, please fill in the separate booking form on the event page.

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 drive from the quinta, we ask for a contribution of 15€ per journey. Please mention this in the comments section of the application form. We’ll give you the opportunity to arrange to share journeys with other course participants nearer the time.


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

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