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Our 2-week long Permaculture Design courses give a rich, comprehensive introduction to living, designing and creating in harmony with nature. They also offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience of community living and the dynamics involved in successful social projects.

Expect to gain practical answers and solutions for the challenges of today, and immerse yourself in a transformative lifestyle designed for yourself, the global community and our planet to thrive.


Upcoming Courses

  • PDC // 26 September – 9 October 2021
    26 Sep, 14:00 – 09 Oct, 12:00
    Ulgueira, Ulgueira, 2705-349 Colares, Portugal
    A 2-week immersive course about living, creating and designing in harmony with nature. Scroll down for more detailed information, and secure your place by clicking RSVP.
  • PDC // 12 June - 25 June 2022
    12 Jun 2022, 14:00 – 25 Jun 2022, 11:00
    Ulgueira, Ulgueira, 2705-349 Colares, Portugal
    A 2-week immersive course about living, creating and designing in harmony with nature. Scroll down for more detailed information, and secure your place by clicking RSVP.


Terra Alta is one of the most established Permaculture projects in Europe. With 10 years as a permaculture site-in-development, and a centre for research and education with over 20 Permaculture Design Certificate Courses (PDCs) taught, we offer Permaculture education at the highest level, led by artist, visionary and certified Permaculture teacher, Pedro Valdjiu.

The two-week PDC is an internationally recognised intensive program that equips students with:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the concepts of Permaculture

  • tools and know-how to design your own regenerative projects

  • the basics for land design, and whole-systems thinking tools to better navigate society as well as your own inner landscape

This is an introductory course delving into a wide range of topics, and students need no prior experience of Permaculture or land design to enrol. Like many others around the world, Terra Alta's PDC has Bill Mollison's 72-hour curriculum at its core. David Holmgren’s seven domains of permaculture action are also paramount in our programme. Our PDC is designed to reflect the conditions of our locale - the beautiful bioregion of Sintra - while equipping students with the knowledge to design for their unique context.

Our PDC is designed for anyone, from those looking to build intentional communities to those simply looking to connect more with nature or reduce their ecological footprint. It is about 50% practical, with plenty of hands-on activities like gardening, natural building, herbalism and bread making. We create a participatory learning environment and use interactive, embodied learning methods.

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Regular: 850 euros

Early Bird: 790 euros

This includes food and camping. Upon registering you will be asked for your details and a registration fee of 200 euros to secure your spot. This is a deposit and part of the course fee. You just pay the balance when you arrive. We have a refund policy.


All our courses are conducted in English.


Camping with your own tent - free

1-2 person size tent is 60 euros* (includes a camping mat)

Bell tent is 250 euros* (includes all bedding)

* Total cost for renting for 2 weeks

The campsite is a semi-wild area where we have created level terraces among the trees, mushrooms, and stones for people to pitch their tents out of view from the rest of the garden.


We serve three vegetarian meals per day with ingredients sourced from our gardens. Students are part of the preparation of meals and cleaning as this experience is a component of the course.

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"Without permanent agriculture, there is no possibility of a stable social order."

Bill Mollison



  • Bill Mollison’s 72h curriculum

  • The seven domains of permaculture action from David Holmgren

  • The principles and ethics of permaculture

  • Permaculture design method for planning a project and designing a homestead - Schematic design 

  • Orientation to Terra Alta as home and land resource system

  • Appropriate technology and sustainable energy systems

  • Animals in permaculture systems

  • Introduction to plant care and seed saving

  • Community and social tools for project and personal development

  • Regenerative landscape design

  • Water retention and regeneration

  • Composting and Soil Science

  • Bio-intensive techniques for kitchen and market gardening

  • Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture

  • Vermicomposting flush toilet system

  • Introduction to beekeeping (as we’re natural beekeepers, we won’t always get to interact w/ the hives, preferring to leave the bees alone unless we need to do some maintenance or annual honey harvest)

  • Zero Waste strategies

  • Introduction to natural building

  • Food harvesting, preservation, and fermentation

  • Food Forest design, management, and implementation

  • Introduction to herbalism 




All students will have lifetime access to our easy-to-use online knowledge base which contains information from the core curriculum presentations, plus additional resources (which we update) to enhance students’ post-PDC self-learning path. This content is meant to be used as a complement to students’ notes taken in class.

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Get to know program facilitators, guest teachers, and the Terra Alta crew



  • Students looking for practical experience and holistic perspective (our certification can be accredited for university depending on the requirements of your programme-please check with your university first)

  • Project developers​

  • Permaculture designers, artists, architects, and landscapers

  • Small landholders

  • Ecologists and restoration workers

  • Activists

  • Designers

  • Landscape architects

  • Land developers

  • Artists

  • Farmers

  • Urban gardeners

  • NGO-members

  • Community members

  • People in urban and settlement planning

  • Social workers

  • Environmental educators

  • School teachers

  • People looking for nature connection




The time at Terra Alta was incredibly valuable to me. Being a bit insecure in the beginning I opened up to the people and found that they were all wonderful, without exceptions. It felt very good to meet so many people who are open-minded and who deeply care about the Earth. The teachings were great, easy to follow and accessible, regardless of the present level of knowledge you have.

Jan-Hendrik Pfleging