The Quinta

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 the Quinta.

Watching a winter´s sunrise over the Serra from our terrace.

We created our beautiful home from the ruin of a granite house with 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, 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. Very often this will lead to a compromise compared to your ideal!

Olives from the Quinta

There are also various Facebook groups you can join to gain an impression of life in Portugal. Though beware, the Algarve is very very different from our life here!

It was whilst enjoying the peace and calm Gregory finished his first book The Seven Secrets to Living in Harmony – A Guide to freeing You to Create Your Life. Published by Divine Time Books in December 2014 you can purchase your copy from anywhere in the world by clicking on Amazon. Or purchase one and Gregory will sign it during your visit.

In November 2017 The Seven Secrets to Living in Harmony was nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards!

In addition to Amazon, the Seven Secrets in pdf format is available from Gregory´s Creating Harmony site if you wish to read a copy.

Garden room terrace

There is a Garden room used for yoga, meditation and joyshops, or perhaps even your sketching and photography! The Garden room is heated by a wood burner. Our visitors are very welcome to use this space freely.

Enjoy wandering in the serenity of our garden, sitting by its seven ponds and taking in the breath taking, 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. Perhaps enjoying an energy session or a massage to help clear away their debris.

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. If you have any dietary requirements please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.

A day’s picking at the Quinta

We are vegetarians ourselves eating whenever possible our own fruit, vegetables and nuts. We welcome visitors joining our evening meal, at an additional cost, bringing your own bottle if you wish to enjoy a glass of wine.

Our beautiful home has two en-suite bedrooms with extra large beds; one room with two single beds; and one with a single. The Oliveira, Estrela and Zen bedrooms and separate bathroom on the ground floor are along a private corridor.

Oliveira bedroom
Oliveira bathroom

The Oliveira and Serra bedrooms are en suite with king size double beds. The Estrela bedroom has two singles and the Zen bedroom one single bed.

Estrela bedroom

The Estrela and Zen bedrooms share a bathroom along the private corridor.

Zen bedroom
Serra bedroom

We have a Quinta cat who spends most of her time outside especially in summer – the bedrooms are off limit to her! If you have cat allergies please mention them to us. We request that no dogs are invited.

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!

Living room with fireplace
Dining room, with yoga mat

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.

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.

Location – the Quinta is 500 mts 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. The nearest beach is Aveiro which is about 1.5 hours drive.

If you wish to make a book please fill in the Accommodation Booking Form and submit.

Central Portugal

This part of Central Portugal is a blessing, not only because the landscape is beautiful, the local people are welcoming as are the other outsiders or estranhos in this part of the Beira Alta. The area has many river beaches  – playa fluvials, to enjoy in the summer – warmer than the Atlantic and no waves! The one at Vale do Rossim on the Serra also has canoes etc. to hire. There are stunning walks through the spectacular terrain of its large granite rocks.

In the area can be found many dolmens, burial stones and other artefacts from the Celtic period as well as their conquering Romans. There is an old Roman road running along the Serra and south of Coimbra {Aeminium} is to be found the largest Roman excavation in Portugal at Conímbriga.

The area´s Celtic traditions go back before Roman times, though there is debate as to when it became known as Lusitania. It is said to be the home of the tallest standing stones in Europe at Evora and the Celtic influence is still strong with many of the annual festas being linked to events from the Celtic calendar.

For example on 1st May to celebrate the arrival of summer, sprigs of yellow broom are often to be seen fixed to car bonnets and some also on the doorways of houses. These are symbols to attract prosperity for the coming year – 30th April is the date of the Celtic festival of Beltane. In Celtic tradition, the two greatest festivals of the solar year are Beltane and Samhain (31st October), celebrations of rebirth and death, respectively.

Looking up at the twin towers of Linhares castle

In addition to the wonderful ever changing views of Serra da Estrela from the Quinta, there are many other places of interest in the Beira Alta. About 30 minutes away is Linhares castle built on top of a Lusitanian hill fort. Expanded by the Moors, later its garrison sallied forth to defeat the Spanish invaders besieging Celerico. Paragliding can also be experienced here – it is a regular host for their World Cup.

Bussaço Palace and grounds

On the way to or from Coimbra there is the charismatic forest of Mata Nacional do Bussaço. Walk around enjoying its 700 exotic and local tree species, garden features and its palace. Built for the last King of Portugal, it is a must to view its architecture as well as the internal decor, perhaps whilst taking afternoon tea!

Just over an hour away is Coimbra. Its University is older than Oxford and Cambridge and many of its buildings, including the Library, are open to visit. The Botanical Gardens contains many trees and plants brought back by the Portuguese Navigators as they sailed and traded East, South and West from Europe.

University of Coimbra
An October sunset

For those looking to experience some of the activities in the area visit: www.rockandriver.com.pt. If whilst staying at the Quinta and seeking just to enjoy the local peace, there are plenty of walks through the surrounding forest and land either from the front gate or the gates on the bottom terrace onto the Rua Chão da Vinha – the name is far more exotic than the track!

Some History, if of interest …

Light and rainbow over the Serra

In 2009 Caroline and Gregory visited Portugal to view first property they had identified  to make their home. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon they met the vendor at a petrol station outside Seia and came to inspect this property. After agreeing to purchase it, Gregory was standing inside talking to the vendor when Caroline came along to say ‘come outside and look at this’ – a rainbow over part of the Serra da Estrela in the cloudless bright blue May sky.

The land had originally been used as forest and during that period a tower was built to provide a platform to watch for fires. When the land was re-designated for agricultural use the tower plus a hectare of land had been purchased. In the period after that a single storey house was built using the tower as one corner. The land was also terraced and vines, olives, hazelnut and other trees planted.

However, the house was never completed as the owner had built it for his daughter, Sara, and she preferred to stay in Lisbon. So Casa Sara as it came to be known locally, was abandoned and became overgrown.

We arrived in June 2010 to start our new life in Portugal. The ruin was re-built and re-modelled without altering the original footprint and granite walls. The tower contains the stairs as well as library and sitting space on both floors.

Looking up the stairs in the tower

Within the almost one hectare of land, the garden and horta (vegetable growing) areas have been established on each of the seven terraces. In the garden a stone circle has been created with the granite posts used originally to support vines and a series of seven linked ponds created to represent the flow through the seven prime chakras. You can walk over the three Japanese style wooden bridges, lose yourself in our labyrinth or simply sit on one of the 17 benches to enjoy the ever changing interchange with Nature.
Many fruit, nut and ornamental trees have been planted as well as different varieties of fruit bushes to enable the land to become its productive self once more. Adding to the over 80 olives trees, oaks and pine trees which provide well needed shade during the summer months.

A shady view from the Garden room
The Zen garden outside the Garden room

A Zen garden has been laid out in front of the Garden Room, so adding to the peace and calm presence.

There is also a pergola, built by a visiting volunteer, which provides a wonderful spot to sit or carry out your daily practice, accompanied by the breeze and birdsong, and perhaps even the clangs of the passing goat bells!

The original Quinta was created with love and we view our role as caretakers to re-create a sense of peace, abundance, joy, love, balance and harmony that all visitors and those joining to learn will acknowledge from the moment they arrive at the Quinta. The intent is that those who come here will have experiences and shifts in their perspective and understanding that will positively impact their lives, so when they leave they will spread this word wherever they may be.

The tower and house – September 2009
View of Serra da Estrela through the ‘garden’ – September 2009
August 2010 looking up the `garden´

In August 2010 one of Portugal’s ubiquitous forest fires came within 500 metres of the house they were renting and after watching it pass by for the next few days the horizon glowed and smoke billowed as the wind blew it eastward. A week later they visited the Quinta and turning onto the road found pine and olive trees smouldering. As they came to the house they found a very effective ground clearing had been completed!

For the first time they were able to view the seven terraces as well as its two wells and water tank. Though many of the olive trees were badly burnt and other trees were burnt to a cinder, the house itself was untouched.

Work started on 26th December 2010 to remove the roof on the existing building. At the end of June we moved into a friend’s caravan sited on one of the terraces and into the house itself at the end of August 2011.

Since then work has gone into creating the garden, building the seven ponds and three Japanese style wooden bridges, the vegetable growing area and planting many trees. Each year the Quinta evolves as we adapt to the climate and learn more about how to connect with Nature.

Volunteering

Entering the Quinta one evening

Depending on demand, there is space to accommodate some volunteers in the house or in their own tents in the warmer months. Several volunteers have stayed after completing the Caminho do Santiago, using the Quinta as a place of adjustment before returning to their lives. Volunteers who feel a resonance with the Quinta’s overall vision and who can stay for at least one week to assist with the garden and other duties are welcome. Anyone with the skills to help on the specific projects outlined in the Volunteering section would be especially welcome.

There is always gardening, in the dry months our main activity is harvesting and watering the plants, trees and bushes.

As to our Evolution…

It is up to each person to find their truth and uphold it. To help achieve this inner peace requires balance, an essential part of recognising we are all connected is to spend time in Nature.

Whilst each of us is responsible for our own choices, our aim is to co-create at the Quinta the environment to inspire and enable all to do this. Whether visiting, volunteering or just enjoying the many different and varied aspects it offers.

For those who seek further understanding and help on the journey we are all on, we also host events, courses and jpyshops. If you are interested in participating in the learning we have available, please go to Fun and Learning. Or, if you wish to hold an event at the Quinta, please contact Caroline.