Small farm with gorgeous views and animals in Serra da Estrela, Portugal

  • Favourited 200 times
  • Last activity: 31 Mar 2024



 Min stay requested: at least a week



  • Description


    Shahnaz (my wife), Arianna (our baby girl, born in Feb 2021) and myself, Francois, are the proud owners of beautiful quinta nestled at the foot of Serra da Estrela mountain range and national park in Central Portugal. In 2018, we took over this farm that was abandoned for 15 years. We are in the slow process of reviving it, clearing shrubs and brambles, planting new trees, and trying to create a badass veggie garden. What we do is inspired by permaculture principles and an ecosystem approach, and one of our goals is to become more self-sufficient.

    The whole property is off-grid. We live in one of two tiny houses, and are renovating two other old stone buildings. Part of our vision is to turn this already amazing place into an edible landscape / food forest, increase biodiversity, and strengthen drought resilience.

    But we're not the only ones working at the renaissance of our little piece of Portuguese wilderness paradise! Our three donkeys (who are so very fluffy) work tirelessly - all day, every day, and all week - at savoring all kinds of vegetation, suiting their whims and fancies, while delightfully dispersing their homemade fertilizer (yes, that means poop).

    Our dogs, Mojito and Castanha are an unlimited source of entertainment.

    Murdoch and Fuji, the cats, do the usual cat stuff: purr [FEED ME], miaouw, leg-rub [FEED ME], a nap here, scratch the carpet [FEED ME], a bounce there, and repeat [FEED ME][FEED ME][LOVE ME].

    Last but not least are our various daredevil free-range birds (chickens and ducks) who are some of the finest fox escape artists of the whole district. Well, we wish, but as we naively noticed once or twice, they're quite low in the food chain (if you forget to lock them in at night).

    In terms of getting to us, the closest airports are Porto (approx. 3h away by bus) and Lisbon (approx. 4h30 away by bus). You can take the bus or train to Guarda, the big town 20min away from us. We'll pick you up from there.

    On days off, you are welcome to explore the area on your own (see some ideas below). If we're headed to town for errands we can drop you off somewhere, and if we go to a regional market or other event you're welcome to come with us.

    Note: We're an LGBTQI-safe space.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We are quite well integrated in our community; we speak decent Portuguese and regularly go to local shops and events. During your stay with us, you'll have a glimpse at what living in rural Portugal entails.

    That said, we also lived in many different places before moving to Portugal, such as New York or La Paz, and we traveled a lot before settling down here. We learned a good deal of homesteading (among other things) along the way, and we enjoy sharing our experience with volunteers and visitors.

  • Help


    Well, we need all kind of help around the quinta - the work follows whatever project(s) we are doing at the moment - on-going examples include clearing and cutting vegetation, shrubs etc.; taking care of the animals; fencing; planting; composting; gardening; and much more.

    We don't require special skills and welcome all kinds of experience, as long as you're motivated and don't forget to have fun along the way. However, you get bonus points if you're good at woodworking, building, growing things, training animals, photography, video filming and editing, and... ok nevermind, we are quite open-minded and can probably find a use for almost any skill or interest you have.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Portuguese: Intermediate
    Dutch: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    We have a few tents (for 2 and for a family of 4) that you could deploy wherever pleases you on the land (think night sky with zero light pollution and so many stars).

    We provide mattresses & pillows, but ideally you bring your own sleeping bag. If that's not possible, we'll find a way to make it work.

    We have one outside solar shower with solar-powered hot water that offers privacy for the summer months, two indoor shower for colder months (and summer is that's what your prefer!), and vermicomposting toilets.

    We sometimes cook together and would be sharing some meals. Other times, you'll be cooking on your own or with other volunteers. Either way, we cover your food costs as per the Workaway framework!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We're a 20 min walk or 5 min drive to a pristine and untouched piece of the river Mondego - yes you can swim in it, and nothing beats that in the summer.
    It's a 30 min walk or 5 min drive to the closest village for local shops, bars, restaurants, a bank, and a post office.
    It's a 10 min drive to a nice lake where you can swim and relax.
    There are numerous historical villages in the area, that all organize their own medieval fair (usually summer or fall).
    We're by the Serra da Estrela national park, which means breathtaking views, walks, Portugal's highest point, and skiing about an hour away.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    If your campervan can make it down our rather rustic path (2km of dirt track, often bumpy and with quite a few turns), we would love to have you! Don't hesitate to ask, and we can figure out based on the vehicle you drive whether it's feasible.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 217766823461

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Traditional schist-stone farm renovation and permaculture foodforest in central Portugal.
Looking for a couple, (or single person), interested in a long term opportunity. Experience with horses, gardening, maintenance and repairs.