Writing holidays in the Algarve

Bica Boa Writing Retreats

'A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.' Eugene Ionesco

Writing holidays are offered for small groups of 2 - 3. The courses are particularly suited to those already in a writing group or a couple of friends/colleagues interested in writing - and in discovering a more hidden part of Portugal. The accommodation is 2-bed so it is ideal for two people. For three people, two will need to share the large twin bedroom or stay down the road in separate accommodation with neighbours (see below). There are two types of writing holidays:

1. For more experienced writers who would like an independent holiday with feedback on their work and a couple of workshops, we offer 1 week for €250 per person (minimum 2 people). This includes self catering accommodation, initial meeting/discussion on your writing project, one individual tutorial and two group workshops. This can be booked at any time (subject to availability).

2. Alternatively, we can offer a more inclusive holiday for €550 per person (minimum 2 people) for one week any time (subject to availability). All levels welcome. For beginning writers and those with some experience, the course is more structured (see below). For more experienced writers (i.e. those who have completed diplomas in creative writing) the course is workshop based. There are 5 x 2.5 hour workshops in the mornings (10-12.30 pm), one tutorial and three afternoon excursions (4 x 2 hour workshops for advanced courses). We recommend hiring a car but transport can be arranged to and from the airport for an additional €70 per person. These holidays need to be booked at least two months in advance.

If you are on your own and would like to rent the house out for a week or a month for a writing project then please see 'mountain accommodation' for normal rental prices. Tutorials/workshops can be arranged on a 1:1 basis for 30 euros (up to 2,000 words) after an initial free tutorial. If you are on your own and would like to do holiday 2, then send your name and your preferred dates and we will try to match you up with someone. We can offer the more structured workshops (5 x2.5 hours) for an additional 150 euros if you are on your own but only as a self-catering option at normal rental prices.

See the sample itinerary below to give you some idea of what we can offer for the second type of holiday.

Sample itinerary


Sample course (2) for beginning writers of fiction or those with some experience.

(Advanced courses are workshop based.)

Tutor: Lisa SelvidgeT

The aim of the workshops is to introduce you to the basic skills required in writing and provide you with an opportunity to practise them. By the end of the week it is hoped that you will have drafted out a short story and have understood the basic principles of narrative (such as character, dialogue, point of view and story structure) and have lots of ideas for the future. We will look at a different aspect of narrative in each workshop.

It is also hoped that you will have an opportunity to discover more about this region of Portugal and, of course, to spend an enjoyable and memorable time here.

Workshop 1 - Warm up and sourcing stories. Keeping a notebook. Painting in words.

Workshop 2 - The shape of stories.

Workshop 3 - Creating characters and listening to them.

Workshop 4 - Whose story is it anyway?

Workshop 5 - How to redraft.

We will also look at some published fiction including some Portuguese prose. A one-to-one tutorial will be based on your work at the end of the week (1000 words approx.) and you may also submit electronically your complete story for written feedback of up to 2,000 words when you get back home.


Courses can be offered in writing fiction (including short fiction, novels, children's and genre fiction), scriptwriting and writing memoirs and can be designed to suit each group's particular needs.

Accommodation at Mira Montanha

There are two bedrooms available in the house: one twin loft room and one single. If there are three of you then two of you will need to share the large loft bedroom. For a group of 3 (or possibly up to 5), there is a possibility of staying with our neighbour Liz Allen, at Quinta Pintados (a two minute walk from Mira Montanha) at no extra charge (subject to availability). Liz Allen (visual artist) provides B & B accommodation (a twin room with en-suite facilities) and excellent vegetarian food. She also offers half-day workshops on painting.

For writing holiday (1), the accommodation is self catering.

For writing holiday (2) food, wine and other provisions will be available for you to make your own breakfasts and several evening meals (if you let us know your dietary preferences we will do our best to plan accordingly). The kitchen is fully equipped and includes a dishwasher, hob, oven, microwave etc. Lunch is provided at a local restaurant, or at Mira Montanha. The only meals not included in the price are some evening meals (3 or 4) in restaurants - average cost €15 - €20 per person.


‘We had a great time! Lisa devised a programme just to suit us and it was absolutely right (and we could easily change it if it wasn't). There was enough structure to keep us writing but plenty of time to explore as well. Lisa's a brilliant tutor. The accommodation was very comfortable indeed and the surroundings peaceful and beautiful. The whole experience was invigorating - we got so much out of it both as a time to focus on our writing and to have a nice holiday. Excellent value, too. We'll be coming again!’  Sue Cox and Viv Greenwood

‘Lisa’s teaching gave me the start I needed - skills, confidence and an enthusiasm for writing. I have visited Casa Mira Montanha, breathed cool air in the hot sun, and promised myself a treat – to return so she can help me finish my first novel.’ John Nicholson

Publish your book

For more information please email  Lisa (lisa.selvidge@clix.pt) or call 00351 962887680 (mobile)


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.



Last updated 31 October 2009