With Marju Kivi (essential oil distiller)

and Vivienne Campbell (herbalist)

Spending time together with wild herbs… in the beautiful Portuguese countryside.

* We will harvest wild herbs, distill the essential oil & hydrosol, make nourishing, therapeutic & beautiful seasonal herbal extracts and use herbs to enhance our food & drinks.

* Food for our body, heart and soul!

* Enjoy walks and spending time in this stunning area.

* Time summary: Arrive Monday. Classes Tues, Wed & Thurs. Leave on Friday.

Day 1.... Arrive, Gather, Meet & Eat!

Mon. 17th Oct 2022

We come together, meet and settle in….

* Pick up can be arranged from Castelo Branco train station or bus station

* Check in and settle in to our accommodation. Rooms are available to share at the beautiful venue we will be based in on a converted Olive Farm and single rooms are available at their sister hotel nearby (see accommodation details, inc. photos, in the booking section below).

* The group gathers together for an evening meal in the restaurant on the converted Olive Farm (the restaurant is inside the converted Olive Mill see photos) to meet each other and start to enjoy these beautiful surroundings. 

Day 2.... A Day with the Herbs

Tues 18th Oct 2022

We gather at Marju’s beautiful garden to start to meet and use herbs….

* Collection from the accommodation with bus transfer to the beautiful village of Louriçal do Campo, the home of Marju’s distillery.

* We walk through this traditional village to Marju’s garden and distillery, enjoying our glorious surroundings. The village is gorgeous and is surrounded by hills and mountains. We will stroll by orange groves and olive trees on this gentle walk to the distillery.

* Herb Walk: we spend our morning meeting wild and cultivated herbs growing around Marju’s distillery. Together we collect some of these and add them to enhance our lunch with tasty, natural wild food dishes.

* Lunch

*Afternoon: Seasonal herbal extract-making session (led by Vivienne). We will learn how to prepare and/or preserve medicinal herbs.

* Evening meal together in the Olive Farm restaurant.

Day 3.... Distillation Day

Wed 19th Oct 2022

Together we harvest a seasonal wild herb and distill it to extract the essential oil and hydrosol.

Session led by Marju Kivi.

* We are brought to learn how to sustainably harvest and collect wild herbs for distillation: a beautiful, peaceful, meditative process where we hand-cut herbs with care using a traditional sickle.

* We bring our herbs back to the Naturalness Distillery where Marju will begin the process of the distillation, in the still in her beautiful water mill.

* At the end of the day the distillation will have produced essential oil and a hydrosol from the wild herbs we have collected. Everyone will get a sample of both to bring home.

* Day includes a break for lunch.

* Transfer back to our accommodation. Evening meal together.

Day 4....Making Things Day

Thurs 20th Oct 2022

A lovely day making and trying out herbal extracts.

Session led by Vivienne

* We will make beautiful treatments and herb products using some of the distillates we made yesterday, as well as with herbal extracts from the local plants.

* We will also see how to press out oil from one of the local oil-producing trees e.g. olive oil or almond oil.

* We will try out our extracts and treatments during this day. We will also make samples (in jars, sealed bottles etc.) so that you can bring these sweet memories of your experiences in Portugal back home with you.

* Day includes a break for lunch.

* Evening meal and transfer back to accommodation.

Day 5 ... Tour ends: with option of staying on for a Morning Walk (either exploring wild fungi or the local area [see details below])

Fri 21st Oct 2022

A wild walk in the area finding edible fungi

Session led by fungi specialist Tristan Coverdale

* We check out of our accommodation (there are options available for you to book to stay on in the area too, just ask Vivienne to help you with these). People who need to leave in the morning to start their journey back home can do so (we can help to arrange travel by taxi from our accommodation to the train or bus station in Castelo Branco). For people who choose to stay on for the optional morning walk, storage will be arranged for luggage so that we don’t need to carry things on the walk.

* Fungi/Edible Mushroom walk: We will spend the morning walking and gently exploring the area, ideally searching for edible wild mushrooms with fungi specialist Tristan Coverdale.  Please note that we cannot guarantee that this morning walk will focus on mushrooms because the growth of fungi is weather-dependent. If there has been rain then fungi should be plentiful by this time in October, but if the autumn has been very dry, fungi tend not to appear until November in which case we won’t be able to do this. If the fungi walk cannot go ahead then we will go for a non-fungi/plant and beautiful view walk around Castelo Branco. There are stunning views (we can see across to the mountains of Spain from here), lovely wild herbs and beautiful things to explore right here.

* We lunch together one last time.

* Transfers back to train or bus station for onward journey home or continue your travels/holiday in Portugal (I recommend that if you can you stay at least one more night to take a bit of time in Castelo Branco, this area has so much to offer).


Accommodation is in a beautiful 4-star hotel in Castelo Branco. The price of the week includes a single room in this hotel. If you are coming with a friend, spouse or partner [they could be on holiday, they don’t need to attend the herbal classes during the day] then we could also arrange for a twin or double room instead (at a little more cost). Please state your preference when booking your place on this course.

Individuals are very, very welcome and are encouraged! You do not need to come with a friend or in a couple. We will be a group of people with the common interest in learning about herbs. It is so nourishing and heartening to spend time immersed in a subject that intrigues you, with other people who love it too.

We will eat at various local restaurants, includint this beautiful one in a converted Olive Mill

If you have any special dietary requirements then please email these to Vivienne when you book your place (

About the Castelo Branco Area

A stunning area of natural beauty in central Portugal

GETTING THERE…To Castelo Branco

  • From Porto
  • From Lisbon 

There are major airports and train stations in both Porto and Lisbon.

Train:  Train travel in Portugal is great value and the journey to Castelo Branco goes through beautiful mountain areas covered in wild flowers. This is the train service website where tickets can be booked (it’s available in English too)

There is a direct train service from Lisbon to Castelo Branco that takes around 3 hours. It costs around €25 or less (!) for a return ticket. The scenery for part of this is so beautiful that it is common to see Portuguese people filming the view from the train. It is also possible to travel from Porto by train, although this takes longer and involves changing trains at one station.

Buses: There are direct buses from Porto and Lisbon to Castelo Branco. These are a bargain. The bus from Lisbon is about  3 hours. The bus from Porto takes about 5 hours.

Car hire: Cars can be hired at the airport. Driving in Portugal is on the right hand side of the road. The major roads are straight forward to drive on. There are charges for tolls on these roads. Porto to Castelo Branco by car takes approx 2 hours 45 mins. Lisbon to Castelo Branco by car takes approx 2 hours.

I recommend that you allow a day to get from the airport to Castelo Branco and vice versa. Portugal is so beautiful, you really can enjoy your journey within this country. Any glimpse of another region is usually a real pleasure!

After you book your place (either by paying in full or paying a deposit) you will receive an email from Vivienne with more details. She can help with tips for booking trains, buses and car hire. If you have questions then please ask!


About Castelo Branco: A thriving little city, the capital of this region that is rich in natural beauty. Lakes, mountains, parks, ruins, villages… there is even a a lovely walk within the city from which there is a glorious view over to Spain. Our accommodation is just a short drive nearby. Find more info here and please consider staying on to explore the area if you can

About Louriçal do Campo: This is where we will spend time in this village at Marju’s herb distillery. This beautiful traditional village is surrounded by mountains, has beautiful buildings and scenery, we will even collect fresh spring water from the village well on our way to Marju’s garden. This village is only 30 min drive from Castelo Branco city (we have our own transfers arranged by private bus), yet we could be in another world!


You can see more about Marju’s distillery and the products they make from native wild Portuguese plants here

About Vivienne & The Herbal Hub

Vivienne is a herbalist (qualified in 2003) formerly based in Ireland and now resident in Portugal. See her work here

About Tristan Coverdale

Tristan is an organic horticulturist, specialising in fruit trees and has a plant nursery in Fundão, north of Castelo Branco. He is also passionate about edible mushrooms and takes wonderful wild fungi walks in various locations in Portugal.


This is a small tour group, with a maximum number of 10 participants.

The price of this Herbal Holiday is 975 per person


This includes:

  • Accommodation for 4 nights in Hotel Rhainha d Amelía in Castelo Branco.
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner).
  • Transfers between accommodation and teaching locations.
  • All teaching fees.
  • All teaching materials.
  • Samples of what we make to bring home with you (if you are flying make sure that you book a check-in bag so that any liquids are not confiscated during security checks [creams & ointments are classified as liquids too]: or arrange to ship the liquids back to your address).
  • *Option of booking collection from Castelo Branco train station.

It does not include:

  • Travel (flights/trains etc) to Portugal
  • Travel to Castelo Branco (by car, bus or train)
  • Travel insurance
  • Additional nights of accommodation


♥ An invoice for the balance of the tour price will be emailed to you, along with options for you to pay online by credit or debit card, Pay Pal or send a bank transfer.

♥ You are welcome to pay in installments.

♥ The full price of the tour must be paid by Friday 7th Oct 2022.

* Payments accepted by: debit or credit card (card processor fees apply), Pay Pal (no fees charged for the deposit payment) or bank transfer.

* Price is in Euros.

Cancellation, refund policy, Covid-19 T&Cs.

THIS HERBAL TOUR IS AIMED AT ADULTS. If you have a teenager who is keen to attend with you then please contact Vivienne before booking to check that this is suitable. The tour is not suitable for younger children.

♥ DEPOSITS:These are essential to book your place. Places will not be reserved for people without the payment of a deposit. Deposits are non-refundable because deposits are essential to ensure the tour can run and reserve the accommodation and other costs in advance. However, if you are unable to take up your place as planned but know someone else who would like to attend in your place then we can swap your deposit to their booking with that person paying us directly for the remaining balance.

♥ FULL PAYMENT: The full price of the tour must be paid by Friday 7th Oct. 2022. Refunds will not be possible after this date (exception: see Covid 19 statement below). However, if you are unable to take up your place as planned but know someone else who would like to attend in your place then we can swap your booking to that person, with you two sorting out the money between yourselves. Please remember that the new person will need to book their own travelling to Portugal (plane tickets are usually non-transferable).

COVID 19 statement

Thankfully the grip that Covid-19 has had on our lives seems to be coming to an end. However, we’re not taking anything for granted! So should the Covid-19 saga take another twist which means that there are travel restrictions into Portugal then the retreat will be postponed/re-scheduled with the options to transfer your booking to the re-scheduled date (or another event on offer) or receive a refund of the money you have paid. We will notify you of Covid-19 requirements in Portugal prior to your travel to this tour.


The price listed if for a single room in this hotel. If you have a friend, partner or spouse who is coming too (either to attend the course as well, or just to be on holiday in Portugal while you attend the classes) and you would prefer to swap to a double or twin room then please email this request to Vivienne when you book and pay your deposit.

We hope that you can join us!


We are so very much looking forward to welcoming people to this group where we will have a very special time exploring herbs, and relaxing and enjoying this beautiful country.

It is our pleasure to share our love and passion for herbs with you!

Walk, Find, Distill, Extract, Explore, Connect, Eat, Enjoy!