Bica Boa Writing Retreats

Monchique, Algarve



More than just a writing holiday, this all-inclusive retreat in the mountains of the Algarve will stimulate your imagination, relax your mind and refresh your senses. Although primarily an opportunity to develop your writing skills, it is also a chance to meet like-minded people, share ideas, relax in a beautiful environment and explore a small but still traditional part of Portugal. Most importantly we hope you will enjoy the experience.

The week-long writing holiday includes transport from Faro airport, accommodation at the Bica Boa with full-board in its restaurant, (the only exception being 2 lunches and 2 dinners so that you can try other local restaurants in Monchique), morning meditation (optional) and writing workshops from 10am - 12.30pm. The workshops, run by Lisa Selvidge, will be aimed at writing fiction, long and short, and will include writing exercises, examples and discussions on setting, characterisation, plotting, narration and editing. You could either be working on something, ready to begin a new project, or you may simply want to explore your imagination through writing, or experiment with a first story. Everyone is welcome, including all nationalities although writing will be in English. A guest writer will come to do a reading and there will be plenty of opportunities for feedback on your work but in case you want to spend more time walking, exploring, or simply reading on the terraces, you are invited to submit a 2,000 word story up to 3 months after the holiday for feedback. We also offer a complimentary copy of Writing Fiction Workbook, a step-by-step workbook on how to write fiction.

In addition, there will be a couple of organised trips in the afternoon to the west coast, and to either Silves or Lagos (both historical towns), and a choice of activities, including donkey trekking, yoga, Reiki or a full massage – or if there is something else you would prefer to do in the area, we will organise it for you. Also included in the price is a trip to the Monchique Spa where you’ll be able to relax and absorb the healing waters. The last evening at the Bica Boa will be accompanied by traditional Portuguese live music, followed by an opportunity to read from your work if you want. Click HERE for a more detailed itinerary.

The accommodation at the Bica Boa is perfectly situated just a mile from the centre of Monchique, a traditional Portuguese mountain town. It offers a tranquil and beautiful setting overlooking the mountains from its large terraces, and yet is only a short walk into the centre where there are cafes, bars, restaurants, places to explore, including a ruined monastery high up on the hill, people to meet, and a way of life to observe. There are no desks in the rooms but there are many areas, both inside and out, where it is possible to sit and write, either by hand or on your laptop. There is a printer available to print out short pieces. Click HERE to find out more about the Bica Boa and Monchique.

The retreats are held from Saturday to Saturday. You may arrive whenever you want – just let us know your flight numbers and arrival time and we will meet you (and if you want to stay on an extra day or two or arrive early this may be possible). Groups are small with a maximum of 8 people sharing twin rooms with en-suite facilities (if you would like your own room there is an extra charge) and a minimum of 4 people. If you have a friend who would like to come but who does not want to do the writing workshops they would be welcome.

Dates for 2011:

29 May - 4 June and 23 - 30 July

 Cost: €765  per person inclusive (shared room)

           €965 per person inclusive (own room)

           €665 per person not participating in writing workshops (shared room)

There is an initial deposit of 200 euros and the rest can be paid on arrival.

If you would like to book, please contact or call 00351 282955415

Getting to Faro

Faro airport is just over an hour’s drive away. EasyJet flies to Faro daily from Stansted, Gatwick, Luton, Bristol and East Midlands. There are also many chartered flights flying into Faro from Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester and Glasgow – as well as the London airports. Check for an overview of prices at the time you are coming. Monarch airlines and bmibaby often have good deals. Air Berlin also flies Stansted-Faro and BA flies from Gatwick-Faro. Prices range from anything between €50 - €500 return depending on when you book and fly but the average cost should be between £100 - £150 from the UK.

From elsewhere Ryanair flies from Dublin to Faro. Air Berlin flies from most destinations in Germany. There are also flights from Aarhus, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, Zurich, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, Salzburg and Torronto… and more. See

We recomend that you take out travel insurance for your trip. Try the Travel Quest travel insurance section which links to UK travel and holiday insurances.

About the facilitators:

Susan Clare Cassidy is a full qualified Reiki master and the owner of Bica Boa. She was born in Ireland but has lived in the Algarve for 27 years.

Lisa Selvidge is a graduate from the University of East Anglia’s MA in Creative Writing and has taught writing and literature at both the Norwich School of Art & Design and the University of East Anglia for many years, including online courses. She is the author the Writing Fiction Workbook and has edited an anthology, Summer Times in the Algarve, as well as three novels, including The Trials of Tricia Blake and soon to be published The Last Dance over the Berlin Wall.


For writing retreats in other countries and other literary vacations including literary apreciation, literary tours, poetry courses and creative writing courses see the Travel Quest writing/literary section.



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Please note that you must have your own travel insurance and we will not accept liability for any costs incurred as a result of  delays, closure of airports, natural disasters, technical problems with transport, loss of, or damage to, personal property, or any other event beyond our control. While we aim to ensure that all the information on our website is correct, in the case of an unforeseen event, some of the amenities and/or services may be unavailable.