Permaculturing in Portugal

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

Getting here

By air

If you’re travelling from outside Portugal, our nearest airports are Porto (2 hours) or Lisbon (3½ hours). Although further away, Lisbon is the easiest airport to travel from if you’re relying on public transport to get here. There’s a direct bus service.

By train

We do have a train station in the area (Santa Comba Dão, which is on the line from Coimbra to Guarda), but whether coming from Lisbon or Porto airport, you will need to change in Coimbra. It’s easier to change from train to bus at this point, because the bus route is much closer to the quinta than Santa Comba Dão and the buses are more frequent than the trains. The train and bus stations in Coimbra are just a short walk from each other.

Coimbra transport

By bus

There is a national express bus service (service 20) running direct between Lisbon (Sete Rios bus station) and Catraia de Mouronho which is the nearest stop to us on the EN17, although still around 25 minutes by car. This is the easiest way to get here by public transport. Catraia de Mouronho is the second stop out of Coimbra, shortly after Moita da Serra. It’s a roadside stop in the middle of nowhere with just a café on the other side of the road.

Buses from Porto necessitate a change in Coimbra, and you can go to Catraia de Mouronho, Tábua or Arganil.

Course participants, volunteers and interns can be collected from Catraia de Mouronho, Tábua or Arganil by prior arrangement. Please note we only provide a public transport pick-up service for course participants, volunteers and interns. If you’re just wanting to visit, you’ll need to find your own way here.

If you’re travelling to Arganil, a local bus runs to and from the village of Benfeita. However there’s only one bus a day – out to Arganil first thing in the morning and back to Benfeita in the evening (except on Thursdays – market day – when there’s an extra bus in and out of Benfeita in the middle of the day).

Show timetable

By car

The quinta is about 2km by road from the village of Benfeita. Half of that distance is by dirt track.

A more precise map with directions from the village to the quinta will be sent to you in good time for your arrival, whether you’re visiting, volunteering or arriving to take part in a course.

It will be emphasised in the directions – but it’s worth repeating here – that GPS is unreliable in this area. Not only can people end up in the wrong Benfeita (there’s another one about an hour and a half’s drive away) but GPS has a disconcerting habit of sending people a circuitous route down tracks which are often only suitable for 4×4. So please make sure to read the directions, and if your GPS isn’t matching up with them, then don’t go down any dirt tracks!

For people arriving for courses by car, we have limited parking available at the quinta (number of spaces depends on whether the camper van pitches are occupied or not) but there is ample parking in the village, which is much closer on foot than it is by car.

The 1km track from the nearest public road to the quinta is a mountain forestry track, but it’s in good condition and suitable for ordinary vehicles, including camper vans. There is a good turning space close to the quinta.

The track to Quinta do Vale

However, if …

  • your vehicle struggles on very steep hills from being underpowered for its weight,
  • has very low ground clearance and/or is heavily loaded, or
  • driving unfenced tracks with 100m drops to one side makes you nervous

… we would advise parking in the village of Benfeita below. The car park in the village is about 500m from the quinta via a steep hillside path. Directions for walking can be sent on request.

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