Our vision is that all who visit leave with an inner peace and calm. Our mission is to ensure all who visit or enjoy a retreat depart feeling a sense of connection with themselves, Nature and the Quinta.
We created our beautiful home from the ruin of a granite house with the large windows of its original forester watch tower. It is idyllic for creative and artistic people seeking tranquillity and inspiration or to explore the area. We also operate a retreat centre for those seeking to recharge their batteries, to escape from city life and also for those who are on their spiritual journey.
Many of our visitors have come seeking to learn more about the Beira Alta and perhaps to find a property for themselves. Our recommendation is first complete some searches on a site such as Pure Portugal (www.pureportugal.co.uk), make a list of what you are seeking (ideally separately if a couple) then arrange some visits to gain an idea of what is available.
Enjoy wandering in the serenity of our garden, sitting by its seven ponds and taking in the breathtaking, ever changing mountain scenery.
The Quinta da Luz has an unique presence where visitors often stay for longer than planned due to its calm, peaceful energy of wellbeing.
Various therapies such as craniosacral, energy work and massage, including shiatsu are available to book to help clear away any debris. There is also a house guitar should you feel the need to strum or drum.
Interaction with Guests - We will be on site during your stay, to help guide you around the hectare (2.5 acres) of the Quinta and point out local sites and places of interest.
We operate a very non-intrusive and empathetic home, respecting the privacy of all visitors.
We are happy you are thinking of volunteering at the Quinta da Luz and look forward to meeting you as you come to help in its continuing evolution.
It is important for all involved that before arriving you know what the Quinta is about. In that way you will ensure you gain the most from your time here. So please take a moment to read the “The Quinta da Luz” page to be clear on what is happening at the Quinta and that you are the right volunteer for us! If you resonate with what you have read then send us an email telling us a bit about yourself and we can set up a Skype call to come to know each other better. Experience of working with granite and ‘sandy’ soils would be useful, as is interest in using your skills to evolve our Quinta.
Some practical points:
We ask that our volunteers help us for up to six hours a day, five days a week during the Spring and Summer months with Saturdays and Sundays off. During the months when the days are shorter only five hours a day is really possible, five days a week with Saturdays and Sundays off. In return we will provide food and accommodation as well as the opportunity to experience the tranquility of the Quinta and the area. Working times can be flexible and are usually determined by weather and what needs to be done. When you arrive let us know your preferences and what you wish to learn and we will take these into consideration when planning work.
We make a charge of €15 per week to cover household usage costs.
As you may have gathered there is ongoing creation and evolution underway and so maintenance at the Quinta! Work includes gardening, pruning, weeding, water channel clearing, ground preparation, planting, cleaning ponds, wood chopping and stacking, pine cone collecting and bramble clearing to name a few. Depending on the season you may find yourself preparing ground, planting, picking or sowing seeds, and then there are our 80 olive trees to tend! Picking the olives is usually from the end of November on. In August and September the focus is usually on harvesting and processing produce such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, melon, sweet potatoes etc..
In December 2013, we picked and sent to the lagar 220 kilos of olives – which provided us with our first olive oil, 33 litres! 2014 was not so prolific as the yield was only 140 kilos and 14 litres! 2015 500 kilos went to the lagar providing 68 litres of oil; 2016 only a few kilos and 2017 we took 465 kilos to the lagar and received 70 litres of oil! In most years we also pick olives to eat, leaving them to soak for almost three months before combining with our own rosemary and garlic for our visitors, and ourselves to enjoy with our meals.
The need to prune the olives every year means at the end of each year there is also chipping and mulching to do, after harvesting. We are continuing to create a form and structure on the land, bring as much as possible into production so flexibility is essential.
We are open to hearing people’s ideas and insights, so please do set them out. They often provide an interesting topic for conversation at the meal times!
The diet at the Quinta is vegetarian with lots of fruit, vegetables, greens, nuts and seeds, many of our visitors have been vegan so that and allergy free are enjoyed. In the colder months we make soups, roast chestnuts and enjoy the cooler airs. Everyone that has visited has enjoyed the simpler diet and seems to go through a cleansing process and leave much healthier and calmer than when they arrived. With that said, everyone’s body responds differently to the diet so people are welcome to cook if they so wish - the vegan chefs who have stayed have all enjoyed taking over the kitchen!
Because we are interested in living a conscious holistic life we have a few rules to support this during your stay:
No smoking – it is a major fire risk
No drinking (other than an occasional glass of wine with a meal)
We have accommodation as set out in “The Quinta da Luz” page. If you are interested in coming please let us know the dates you are thinking about and how long you would like to stay. We prefer volunteers to stay at least a week, many have stayed far longer too!
We provide in each bathroom bio-degradable soaps and shampoos as we intend keeping the water as pure as possible for the next users and caretakers. We also provide towels.
Other things to bring – hat, work clothes and boots, sandals in the summer for pottering about. A musical instrument if you play one, or even just your voice and repertoire of songs! We are building our “educational” library for volunteers so we ask that if you wish please bring a book or other material that you are willing to leave behind. It is your choice if you want to have insurance that covers medical care including transportation home, accidents, and loss of property.
Make sure your insurer knows that you will be a volunteer on a working Quinta. Obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in case you need medical treatment whilst in Portugal, either as the result of illness or accident.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact us. Once we check on availability, we will contact you by email and set up a time to do a quick Skype call.
For those of you looking for more of a challenge and preferring life under canvas and only basic facilities, you may be interested in volunteering at Quinta da Ribeira. Our two sons live here. Find out more of what is going on by visiting Bosque Verde´s Facebook page. It is possible to combine stays at both if you would prefer some comfort for a few days!
We look forward to meeting you and enjoying your stay at Quinta da Luz.
"The essence or soul of what we are is drawn to shiny things. We feel inspired to reach toward things that sparkle, like those jewels in the eyes of true human beings that in our most natural state we feel compelled to look into in order to discover what we need. We want to seize the glow and serve the light simultaneously, and I fervidly believe we have the power to do both."
- Insights of an Ordinary Man - Wayne Allen Levine
Quinta da Luz is vegetarian and non-smoking. You are welcome to bring your own wine to enjoy an evening drink on our terrace, at the stone picnic table, under the pergola or one the other 16 seats around the garden. We offer a vegan choice as well as allergy free meals. Please let us know of any dietary requirements when booking and we will do our best to accommodate you.
We offer half and full board, or you can use our kitchen for a charge to cover costs. It is also possible to purchase fruit and vegetables from our horta. The chefs who have visited have all commented on the fullness of flavour compared to what they are used to – must be the sunshine!
Guests have a choice of four rooms - the Oliveira and Serra have en-suite bedrooms with extra large beds; the Estrela has two single beds; and the Zen, one single bed. The Oliveira, Estrela and Zen bedrooms and separate bathroom on the ground floor are along a private corridor.
There is a Garden room used for therapy work, yoga, meditation and events, or perhaps even your sketching and photography. It is a converted agricultural building heated by a wood burner. Our visitors are welcome to use this space.
Quest access - You will be able to access the living room where we enjoy breakfast when not taken outside. In the tower we have our library where guests may sit and read books during their stay. There is a seating area leading to three of the guest bedrooms and kitchen, used more in winter when its wood burner is alight!
The granite walls keep an equable temperature through the year, so allowing all to just sit and enjoy the ever changing Serra da Estrela mountain range.
Whether you wish to be inside or sit on the terrace listening to the evening noises of the crickets and frogs, watching the twinkling lights of Seia, or find one of the 17 benches in the garden where you can just be a peace with Nature. All is available.
We welcome guests on arrival. We take pleasure in settling them into our home and showing them around the Quinta. There are maps and local information on places to visit. Every Wednesday there is an open market in Seia, about 20 minutes away, which also hosts many social and cultural activities.
The Quinta is 500m down a rural track and is car and tractor accessible. If you wish to swim there are various river beaches nearby and a lake in the mountain about 45 minutes drive away. There is also the ski resort on the Torré! The nearest sea beach is Aveiro which is about 1.5 hours drive.