With more than 800km (497 miles) of hidden beaches, each rich in local color and history, Portugal has become a standout destination for sun salutations and self-care. Here are some of the most inspiring yoga retreats on offer in this Iberian paradise.
Secluded beaches, wind-swept cliffs, lush natural parks and mild, sunny conditions most of the year make Portugal a haven for yogis seeking to reconnect their practice with nature, perfecting their tan along with their downward-facing dog. From the islands of Azores and Madeira with stunning vistas over the Atlantic (look no further than the Praia Formosa or Calheta beach), to the southernmost point of Portugal in Algarve, where most retreats include surfing lessons (Praia da Falésia is one of the most popular spots), it would be hard to imagine a more perfect place to roll out a yoga mat.
Even if surfing doesn’t float your navasana, the laid-back surfer culture is perfectly tuned to a yogic and Ayurvedic lifestyle. Alternatively, you can opt for a more urban getaway in the northwestern coastal city of Porto, where there’s always a soulful fado tune floating on a fresh breeze, or in the fairy-tale mountain village of Sintra, with the heady scent of eucalyptus in the air. 300 days of sunshine throughout the year makes outdoor yoga a must, although the winter months can get a little chilly and windy. For a truly zen experience, skip the high season and book for October or April. Whatever time of year you choose, Portugal remains one of the most affordable destinations for yoga in Europe: it’s just a question of finding the right location and style of yoga for you.
8-Day Breathtaking Surf and Yoga Retreat in Cascais
Yin and yang yoga, surfing lessons and paddle board yoga are on the menu at The Salty Pelican retreat in the coastal fishing village of Cascais, on the Lisbon coast. An invigorating sunrise yang yoga session will be followed by surfing (beginners welcome, or just chill on the beach), winding things down at sunset with a gentle yin practice (followed by wine and nibbles). The shala is secluded but only a short train ride from Sintra or Lisbon. Between classes, hike to a secret meditation spot on the Praia da Ursa beach, explore the village and the Cascais beaches, venture further out to the Sintra National Park, or simply enjoy the terrace barbecue and hammocks on the grounds. From $787 / 8 days
8-Day Detox Juice Yoga Retreat in Corgas Bravas
Come for the juices; stay for the infinity pool. As the name suggests, Wild View Retreat is hidden way out in the wilderness: the remote mountain village of Corgas Bravas is situated in the foothills of Algarve, giving spectacular panoramic views of the Serra do Caldeirão mountains and its distinctive Portuguese cork tress. Nothing here to distract you from your fitness goals, as you will be aided and encouraged by a crack team of yoga teachers, holistic therapists, nutritionists and fitness instructors. Three varied juices and smoothies per day (just try the ‘carrot cake’ juice, go on, try it!) will keep you feeling cleansed and replenished to take on two daily yoga classes. The accommodation is beautifully thought out with something for everyone, from outdoor ‘glamping’ yurts to luxury private decks.
From $844 / 8 days
8-day Fluidity yoga eco retreat in Porto by the ocean
In the northern seaside village of Furadouro, just 30km (18.6 miles) from Porto along the coast, the Golden Waves Surf and Yoga eco lodge is tucked away between a seemingly endless stream of beaches. It’s the ideal setting for 7 early morning vinyasa sessions, 7 yin and restorative sunset sessions, and plenty of time to take a mountain bike on a spin on one of Portugal’s best bike trails, take advantage of all that stretching in the fitness center or on the tennis court, or explore the Praia da Furadouro and surrounding wild beaches, the nearby Maceda Pine Forest and the Lagoon Ria de Aveiro. From $392 / 8 days
6 Day Surfing and Yoga Holiday in Ericeira, Lisbon
Turns out that this peaceful seaside town on the west coast of Portugal is the surfing capital of Europe: the only European spot among the World Surfing Reserves. If you’ve never caught a wave, Moka Surfhouse and Yoga Retreat might just be the place to test your cobra and warrior 1 on a board. The international team of teachers offer three 2-hour surf lessons for beginners with state-of-the-art equipment (healthy breakfasts and vegetarian dining will give you the energy to face the waves). They’re no less serious about yoga: expect morning meditation and pranayama, evening yoga Nidra, and a daily 90-minute practice. Transfers to neighboring towns and beaches ensure you enjoy the best of the region (or stay put and book a massage to soothe tired surfing muscles). From $494 / 6 days
5-day not-so-serious yoga holiday in Cercal Alentejo
If you’re new to yoga or searching for a less intensive experience, Quinta Camarena might be the ideal choice: there is likely to be just as much vinho verde as vinyasa. Between countryside and beach, the retreat is located in Costa Vicentina in the southern region of Alentejo, close to the lovely town of Cercal. It’s also a long the Rota Vicentina hiking trail that spans nearly 400km (249 miles). Though a lighter practice schedule is on offer, leaving more time for wine-tasting, farm-to-table meals and horseback riding, the yoga instruction is serious: Nina was trained and fully qualified (500 hours YTT) in India. From $714 / 5 days
4-Day Personal Destress and Recharge in Castro Marim, Algarve
This luxury retreat is more one long chillout than a workout. Yin yoga is the order of the day, along with plenty of time to practice yin yoga, meditation, mindfulness and other relaxation techniques. You will spend two hours a day with Renata, a highly qualified mindfulness-based behavioral health coach, including one-on-one sessions to get you back on track, integrating her teachings into your daily life long after the retreat has ended. Companhia das Culturas is a beautifully maintained, sustainable and organic eco site located on the southeastern tip of the Algarve, 1.5km (just under a mile) from Praia Verde beach. Just relax, stretch your body and expand your mind. From $1457 / 4 days
3-day Vitalizing Yoga & Massage Retreat in Cascais
In the heart of Parede, not far from Lisbon and just five minutes from the beach along the Estoril coast, this yoga shala is ideally situated for yogis who want to explore the capital. From rooftop yoga sessions to restorative massage, your three dedicated teachers have extensive qualifications in holistic therapy and meditation. Yoga, vegetarian breakfast, massage, repeat. From $387 / 3 days
7 Day Yoga and Surf Holiday in Maiorca, Figueira da Foz
One of the most popular surfing and whale-watching destinations, Figueira da Foz is located in central Portugal and is known for its consistent waves, ideal for yogis wanting to take their surfing to the next level. The luxurious Quinta D’Anta Hotel and Surf Lodge is far from the crowd but close to the best waves and pristine white beaches. The retreat offers not only daily yoga and surfing lessons, but also a specially developed ‘Wave Fitness PT’ program: out-of-ocean training to imrpove skills on the board. From $1208 / 7 days
5-Day Yoga and Sea Addiction at Alamos Retreat in Albufeira
Active yogis with an adventurous streak will want to stretch their sea legs with this ocean lovers’ smorgasbord of activities. Mix and match to create your ideal schedule of kayaking, paddle board and surfing, in addition to a daily hatha yoga class and one relaxing massage session. Pamper yourself in the downtime at the gorgeous Alamos resort and enjoy its varied vegetarian dining. Located in southern Portugal’s surfing Mecca of Algarve, the property is a little isolated but lacks none of the creature comforts. From $1,168 / 5 days
7-day Yoga Meditation Explore Retreat in Santa Cruz
A beachside retreat on the Silver Coast that focuses on in-depth yoga and meditation… and not on surfing. In the quaint village of Póvoa de Penafirme, just 45 mins from Lisbon Airport and a 15-minute walk from the resort town of Santa Cruz, this weeklong retreat places the emphasis on holistic health, with vegetarian meals concoted using products from the property’s in situ farm. The indoor shala hosts up to 12 people, ensuring small classes with individual attention. Morning yoga and pranayama, long coastal walks, mindfulness, and evening stretching, yin and meditation enrich each day; your stay also includes an inspiring visit to Nazaré to see the world’s biggest waves. Just to, you know, contemplate them; no surfing required. From $822 / 7 days