Porto and the Douro Valley

Yoga Holiday

‘Portugal has a peaceful feel about it. I sit on the terrace overlooking the vineyard there and I feel cut off from the world. You need that sort of thing’ – Cliff Richard 

Situated on the banks of the expansive Douro River, crossed with six spectacular bridges, Porto is a fairy-tale city of narrow alleys, tiled walkways, majestic churches and adorable storefronts and homes. The natural scenery is made up of the ocean, the Douro River and the magnificent river valley famed for its terraced vineyards, historic wine estates and stunning panoramas.

The Holiday

Designed to enjoy both history and nature, our week will be spent between Porto, one of Europe’s oldest cities and the Douro Valley, the first demarcated wine region in the world with beautiful natural landscapes and viewpoints. 

Our luxurious accommodations are two amazing properties, Casa Camélia in Porto and Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo in the Douro Valley. A scenic train ride will transport us out of the city up the river to the enchanted valley where time seems to flow more slowly.

Mornings will begin with yoga practice followed by a delicious breakfast. Each day will be unique and thoughtfully planned to highlight beautiful areas, fun activities, delicious food and wine all sprinkled with mindfulness.

Porto

Charming, colorful and beautifully authentic, Porto is a city made for explorers and a place to stroll through mindfully discovering small treasures and slices of authentic Portuguese life. One of Europe’s oldest cities and the 2nd largest city in Portugal, Porto lies along the Douro River, 2 miles from the river’s mouth on the Atlantic Ocean. World-famous for its port wine, Porto’s historic center was proclaimed a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996.

Casa Camélia, Porto 

We will have exclusive use of this newly restored 9-bedroom manor house with over 10,000 square feet of gardens, including a pavilion for our meals and a rooftop terrace. The house dates back to the 18th century and has been a place of significant importance to the city ever since. Behind the house, hidden from the street, lies a romantic and vast private garden with a small forest of beautiful Camélia trees. The name of the house is not only in honour of these amazing flowering trees but also to the city of Porto, which is also called “The city of Camélias”.

Yoga classes will be outdoors when weather permits. The Casa is within walking distance of the historic center and has views of the Douro River. 


Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo, Douro Valley

“Stop… and observe. You are overwhelmed with sensations when staying at Quinta de Ventozelo. It is not just the view of the River Douro, or the neatly aligned vines, that surprise. It is also the stunning, penetrating silence and the unmistakable richness of scents that fill the lungs with every step. The magnitude of what one feels when visiting the farm inspires you to discover this place in depth.” 

This 500 year old wine estate (Quinta) is perched on a hill overlooking olive orchards, lavender bushes, herb gardens & over 200 hectares of terraced vineyards to the winding river below. Whitewashed former farm buildings are scattered around the property to make up 29 rooms including our two private houses near the river, Casa Grande and Casa do Rio, a small chapel, an olive oil press and a winery, all of which brim with authenticity and embodiment of the history of the place. In our largest house, Casa Grande, there are beautiful spaces both inside and outside for our yoga classes. There are several hiking paths around the property with the hotel having their own informative app on the paths.

Pool at Casa Grande (our private house)
Cantina at Quinta Ventozelo

Yoga

Yoga practice will be offered on arrival day in Porto and all mornings before breakfast. Appropriate for beginning and intermediate level students, classes emphasize the wisdom in honoring your strengths and limitations and to be grateful for all that your body can do. Classes are a combination of asana, breathing practices and deep relaxation.

Whether we’re walking the historic streets of Porto, enjoying a river cruise or tasting a delicious glass of port wine, our yoga practice helps us to be in the present, engage our senses and to savor the moment. Yoga doesn’t stop after savasana and some would say it’s where yoga begins.

“And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened sense of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”
― Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

Porto and the Douro Valley, Portugal

A Riverside Paradise

Date

September 16 – September 23, 2023
September 24 – October 1, 2023

Time
4:00pmSaturday afternoon
Sunday afternoon (2nd week)
12:00pmSaturday afternoon
Sunday afternoon (2nd week)
Location

Casa Camélia (4 nights)
Porto, Portugal
Website

Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo (3 nights)
Ervedosa do Douro, Portugal
Website (Hotel)
Website (Quinta)

Cost
(per person)

$3,200 shared room
+ $300 single room (only available at Casa Camélia)
Casa Camélia rooms
Magnólia + $150 
Camélia + $100 
Jacarandá – $50 (reduction in price)

 

Casa Camélia

Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo
 All bedrooms have en-suite baths. Rooms have either twin beds or a queen/king bed.
Deposit$900 non-refundable check/cash deposit to secure your spot
Balance$900 due on March 1, 2023 and the balance is due June 1, 2023. If registering after June 1, full payment is due at that time.
Register[email protected]
CanceLation
Policy
No refunds will be issued for the deposit. No refunds for the balance will be issued after March 1, 2023 unless your spot can be filled with a paying guest from the waiting list.
Includes
  • yoga and meditation classes
    yoga mats provided
  • 4 nights accommodations at a historic manor house in Porto – all rooms have en-suite baths
  • round trip train ride between Porto and Pinhão
  • transfers between hotels and train stations
  • 3 nights accommodation at a wine estate and working farm in the Douro Valley – all rooms have en-suite baths
  • all breakfasts, daily lunch or dinner
  • tea, coffee, water
  • local wine/beer at dinner
  • amenities at Casa Camélia
    exclusive use of 9-bedroom manor house, rooftop terrace, gardens, daily maid service, concierge,
    WIFI / TV in each room
  • amenities at Hotel & Quinta Ventozelo
    2 private houses (8 bedrooms) near the river bank, both with outdoor swimming pools, large living rooms, gardens, daily maid service, concierge, room service, WIFI
    estate grounds include winery, wine cellar, cantina restaurant, chapel, interpretive center, farm store
    hiking/biking trails

    PORTO
  • guided walking tour of Porto’s historic center and Ribeira
  • river cruise
  • visit to Livraria Lello bookstore
  • vist to Foz do Douro beach with lunch
  • port cellar tour and tasting
  • transfers between locations
  • free day – option to visit nearby towns by train, explore more of Porto & Vila Nova de Gaia

    DOURO VALLEY
  • tour of winery, cellars, gardens
  • wine tasting
  • hike & picnic lunch
  • private 2-hour river cruise on rabelo boat
  • free day for hiking/biking, wine tasting, visiting other wine estates, relaxing
  • transfers 
  • laundry service available at extra cost
Arrival Day

Taxis are easy from either Porto airport or train station to Casa Camélia. You may arrive at your convenience anytime after 4:00. Additionally, Casa Camélia is offering a discount to retreat participants for booking nights before and after the retreat. The retreat will begin at 5:30 with a gentle yoga session followed by a welcome dinner.

Does Not
Include

  • airfare 
  • travel insurance
  • gratuities
  • other travel related expenses
 
 
  
 Airport: Porto Airport
Travel
Insurance
For your own protection, we highly recommend that you have adequate travel insurance. You are solely responsible for ensuring that you are adequately insured for the full duration of the retreat with respect to possible illness, injury, death, loss of baggage and personal items, cancellation and curtailment, or any other potential loss. You may consider plans from allianz, travelinsure.com, insuremytrip.com, or any other option provided by your credit card, airline or travel company. Also note that your health insurance may not provide coverage internationally. Check with your provider and consider additional coverage if necessary.
More Information

Registrants will receive more detailed information including itinerary, travel tips, recommendations on hotels in the area for extended trips, and much more.

 

           A peaceful spot at Casa Grande

  

The Cuisine

Ask any local what to eat in Porto, and they’ll mention Francesinha. Translated as “Little French girl”, this infamous sandwich is like a heavier version of a croque monsieur. It has all kinds of meat inside, covered with melted cheese and drowned in a spicy sauce usually made with beer.

Pastéis de nata are arguably the most important Portuguese specialty sold worldwide and a unique gastronomic heritage, in Portugal and in the world. “The basket of crispy puff pastry embraces the iconic cream in perfect harmony, and if still warm, it’s like a cuddle.”

Port Wine

Port wine tasting in Porto is a must-do and an extremely rewarding experience.  Although port tastings are available all around the city of Porto, we’ll taste port at one of the original port wine houses of Vila Nova de Gaia across the River Douro from the old city center of Porto. You will immerse into the history of port wine production, taste different styles of port wine, and enjoy great views. 

Port wine is a big part of Portuguese culture and history.  Although the cellars are refurbished, most port wine houses still use original buildings, some equipment and follow traditional methods to make port.  

Other Retreats You May Be Interested In...