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Join the Permaculture movement, gain practical answers and solutions for today's global problems and immerse yourself into a transformative lifestyle that can make a real difference for you, the global community and our planet!


Upcoming Courses

  • PDC // 25 July – 7 August 2021
    25 Jul, 18:00 WEST – 07 Aug, 12:00 WEST
    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 // 15 August – 28 August 2021
    15 Aug, 18:00 WEST – 28 Aug, 12:00 WEST
    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 // 5 September – 18 September 2021
    05 Sep, 18:00 WEST – 18 Sep, 11:00 WEST
    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 // 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.


Learn at one of the most established Permaculture projects in Europe—the off-the-grid Permaculture education centre, Terra Alta. With 10 years as a permaculture site-in-development, a center for research and education, and with over 20 Permaculture Design Certificate Courses (PDCs) taught, Terra Alta, led by visionary Permaculture teacher Pedro Valdjiu, offers Permaculture education at the highest level. Alongside Permaculture, Terra Alta is committed to bioregionalism, evidenced by the involvement of local guest teachers and by the Waldorf school, "Escola da Terra", that Pedro Valdjiu and his life partner, educator Rita Seixas run which, together with Terra Alta form the nonprofit “Waldorf Association of Sintra”. 

The two-week PDC is an internationally recognized 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

The course is an introduction and stepping stone towards advanced land-design or teacher training programs. That being said, we support students’ continuing education through offering lifetime access to our knowledge base (read more about it below) and by providing recommendations for advanced programs you may want to take after the PDC. Formats vary from locale to locale, tailored to suit the local environment and expertise of the teaching team. Like other PDCs around the world, Terra Alta's PDC has at its core Bill Mollison's 72-hour curriculum. David Holmgren’s seven domains of permaculture action are also paramount in our permaculture teachings. Also in line with other PDCs, ours is designed to reflect the conditions of our locale—the beautiful bioregion of Sintra. Pedro is a certified teacher through the UK Permaculture Association.

The focus of our PDC is to enable students to design regenerative systems that can be applied to all aspects of life through learning-by-doing experiences and is geared towards anyone: from those looking to build intentional communities to those looking to reduce their ecological footprint. Interspersed within the course are hands-on activities like gardening, natural building, zero-waste cosmetics and bread making to create a participatory learning environment that's both fun and empowering for everyone.

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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*

Bell tent is 250 euros* (per availability, we only have 4)

* Total cost for renting for 2 weeks

For regular tents, it is an additional 20 eur for a mat.

For large tents, included in the cost are mattresses and bedding (including blanket and pillow).

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 multiple natural buildings techniques 

  • Food harvesting, preservation, and fermentation

  • Food Forest design, management, and implementation

  • Introduction to herbalism 


Permaculture Land Design

Students will be introduced to a Permaculture land design method called "SADIM" which stands for Survey, Analyse, Design, Implement and Maintain. We use our land-based project to illustrate this methodology. See our land plan below. Read more about our land features and history of project developments in each area.

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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 program--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



We treat Terra Alta's off-the-grid site as a teacher in its own right as students get to experience Permaculture daily, learning from our existing projects and being part of our intentional community by helping shape it further through co-designing their final projects. This hands-on, holistic learning environment is complemented by the collaborative methods of hosting we use. We employ Open Space Technology as this cooperative, solution-oriented technique effectively demonstrates the design principle "integrate rather than segregate" as students co-create solutions based on in situ challenges they identify together, utilizing everyone's unique knowledge. Facilitators also use other learning methods including action learning, site visits, lecture, walk and talk, games, movies, group work, think and listen, and participatory art.




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


Terra Alta is a holistic-education host site where students and visitors alike get to see all 12 Principles of Permaculture in action. It’s located in between Almoçageme and Ulgueira, two quaint sea-side villages with easy access to amazing beaches and is relatively simple to reach from Lisbon and Sintra. The following Permaculture elements and functions are on display amongst others:

  • Small-scale earthworks to capitalize on impervious surface runoff

  • Extensive food forest of subtropical, temperate, and Mediterranean species corresponding with the earthworks

  • Hot & cold composting (vermiculture) systems for boosting soil life, picking up on waste streams, and cycling nutrients

  • Food preservation and supporting the local economy of food production

  • Small intentional community focused on adult education through permaculture courses but more importantly holistic, Waldorf and permaculture inspired education for the children of the local area

  • Natural building techniques utilized for dwellings, outdoor cooking, and social spaces

  • Renewable energy technology featuring solar panels – we provide charging only for mobile phones due to the limited amount of energy

  • Internet available (limited)