Gaia Retreat & Eco Hostel
Farm Stay

Farm Stay

Gaia Retreat is what’s known in Portugal as a “Quinta”, a small farm or homestead. Alongside a rapidly growing number of young people, we have long been motivated by the pull to return to the land, learning to provide food, shelter and medicine for ourselves, with the hopes of creating enough abundance to also support others in our community in the future.

A farm stay might appeal if you’re considering a return to more nature-based living yourself and want some hands on experience, or if you simply love the idea of getting stuck into some land-based activites during your holiday. Ideal for individuals, couples, and families with children small or grown, you’ll be invited to help out with the tasks of the day. There’s plenty to do and so entirely flexible to differing needs and abilities.

Some examples of farm stay activities include:

  • sowing seeds and planting out seedlings
  • learn about local medicinal plants and herbs
  • pruning trees & bushes and clearing beds
  • fruit tree, bush and herb propagation
  • construction projects
  • learn ancestral techniques like cob walls & wicker fences
  • a project of your own creation!
The forest garden at Gaia Retreat
Organic wheat

Food Forest

The land here is comprised of several terraces, all lined with mature oak and cork oak trees. Beginning our food forestry project with a largely established canopy trims years, if not decades off our timeline. We’ve been here for over two years now and have made great headway developing the understory of our forest, with fruit and nut trees, herbs, fruiting vines and generous ground cover crops providing beans, herbs and flowers.

Definition: A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. Food forests are three dimensional designs, with life extending in all directions – up, down, and out. Generally, there are seven layers of a forest garden – the overstory, the understory, the shrub layer, the herbaceous layer, the root layer, the ground cover layer, and the vine layer. Some also like to recognize the mycelial layer, layer eight (mushrooms). Using these layers, we can fit more plants in an area without causing failure due to competition. Read more here.

Regenerative Agriculture

Industrial, modern agriculture is incredibly damaging to soil and ecosystems leaving land all over the world dangerously degraded. Regenerative agriculture seeks to establish new ways, based in ancient Earth wisdom, Indigenous practices, and existing natural processes, to mitigate the damage and restore vitality and abundance to the land. Here at Gaia Retreat there is a focus on regenerative agroforestry, due to the extensive canopy cover already in situ. We are absolutely still learning ourselves, and the land here teaches us every day. We’d be glad to share our journey with you.

Definition: Inspired by nature, Regenerative Agroforestry is a cultivation system that merges trees and agriculture (crops or livestock). All these different elements complement each other. This leads to enhanced resilience, increased biodiversity and a more productive, profitable, and climate-friendly use of the land compared to a monoculture system. Read more here.


You might have heard about rewilding here and there as it’s become a bit of a buzzword lately. But what is it, exactly? Often used to describe the way in which we inhabit and work with the land, the term rewilding is also being coined to describe a process of a more personal kind. A farm stay would be an excellent way to discover rewilding for yourself.

Rewilding doesn’t have to mean giving up everything and going to live off-grid. Let’s not pigeon hole such an expansive and enriching practice! No, rewilding is a slowly unfolding, and personal, often lifelong process that can show up differently for each of us. For sure, some common, core elements will thread through each of our journeys though: increasing awareness of our impact on the land we inhabit; remembering our roots, where we come from, the wisdom we already hold; shifting our perspectives to hold more of the Earth’s life in a respectful and compassionate regard; uncovering the wild ways of our hearts and souls; reconnecting with our own, beautiful body and its intelligent communications.

And that’s where it truly begins in our bodies. Bring your body here and get to know what rewilding means for you.