The sight of the turquoise sea together with the green surroundings and the orange coloured rocks are something you won’t ever forget. In the Algarve, Portugal lie precious treasures, a beautiful ocean and in the midst of that natural glory, you can find To The Sea Retreat.
A yoga and surf retreat offering two yoga sessions and one surf session as day, To The Sea is everything you want from a retreat and more – especially if you love an active, healthy lifestyle. This paradise getaway spot also offers personal packages to allow you to get exactly what you are looking for out of your holiday. This includes dietary requirements, like vegan or vegetarian meals, which are standard at the retreat – smoothie bowls for breakfast, nourishing salads for lunch and warm, cosy meals and delicious desserts in the evenings – and that is exactly what my task was at the latest retreat.
I didn’t know neither Anna nor Jodie, however by fate I saw their call for help on Facebook and responded. Before I knew it I was in Portugal as a chef to prepare and serve all meals of the day, for two retreats. I felt incredibly lucky to be able to cook delicious vegan meals for everyone while also having the chance to experience breathtaking nature, getting into yoga and having my first surf lessons. My sixteen-year-old self was rejoicing, as I had always wanted to learn how to surf but never actually had the chance.
It’s easy to tell that organisers Anna and Jodie are passionate about what they do – during my time with them, I saw nothing but happy, smiling faces. Taking a personal approach with their guests (who come from all over the world), these entrepreneurial ladies aim to bring the magic of Bali, which is where they met and became best friends, to Portugal, where they recently started holding their retreats.
And it’s easy to say they do succeed. Anna’s love for Portugal is apparent in everything she does: “I found myself in Bali and I wanted to bring the magic Bali holds to my favourite place in the world. That’s why we focus on delicious fresh food and surfing and yoga, which works the body as well as the soul.”
The location of the retreats can differ, but one thing is for sure: the villa you stay in will be fabulous, and the views even more so. The upcoming July retreats are one week long (Monday to Sunday) and with every location there’s a beautiful outside patio to have morning yoga sessions, taught by Jodie who is a yoga teacher.
The sessions will leave you awake, rejuvenated and ready to take on the day, while the after-surf sessions are focussed mainly on stretching and relaxation. After morning yoga, breakfast and some personal time, Anna will then take you surfing. Whether it’s your first time on a board (like me) or the 100th time, she’ll cheer you on for every wave and they only work with the best surf schools in the area. Everything is catered for, so all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the view (or take a dip in the pool).
In short, To The Sea Retreat is a fantastic opportunity to relax, enjoy the beauty that Portugal has to offer and to nourish yourself with delicious meals. You won’t have a care in the world while taking on the waves! If you are looking to get away from the day-to-day stress and to fully make the most out of your holiday, To The Sea Retreat is a perfect escape. These young women will do everything in their power to make you feel at home and Jodie told me that she “just love[s] showing people how happy they can be with good, uplifting surroundings and a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise for both body and mind.” There’s no doubt that I’ll be back – and you should pay a visit too.
Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls
One of the dishes I prepped as a snack during the retreat were these easy and delicious energy balls – they were a huge hit.
- 100g oats (rolled oats are the best option)
- 10 pitted dates
- 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a bit of salt
- desiccated coconut (optional, for coating)
This must be the easiest thing on earth, because all you have to do it whiz the oats in your blender and after that add all other ingredients until mixed and semi-smooth. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and shape it into little balls, roll them in coconut if you want! Then set for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
All photos by author
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