Practical Information & faq

frequently asked questions

Covid Policy

Policy regarding Covid related cancellations: 

  • Cancellation with more than 2 weeks notice from the date of arrival, standard cancellation policy applies (you receive full refund minus transaction fees.)
  • If cancellation happens within 2 weeks of the date of arrival and is for a covid related reason and outside of the control of the client (eg.: flight cancellation, border closure, positive covid test, mandatory quarantine due to being a close contact), we can hold the full credit and rebooking for a later date is possible within 6 months. Acceptable evidence must be provided in the event of cancellation due to covid. Otherwise, standard cancellation policy applies. 
  • If there is a general lockdown issued by the government, which causes New Life to close, you may rebook for a later date within 6 months or receive a full refund (minus transaction fees).

Keeping safe and healthy in community: New Life Portugal COVID 19 guidance 

We are committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and healthy environment for all our community, including guests, staff, and visitors. We closely follow Portuguese and EU public health guidelines and continue to monitor updates and changes to these, with additional significant safety protocols. 

Safety Protocols

The following are New Life Portugal’s current primary required safety protocols. We actively evaluate and review these on a regular basis.

  • Rooms: We provide private, ensuite rooms for all guests. 

  • Mask requirement: Masks may be worn at the discretion of the individual.

  • Ventilation/air filtration: We have high-quality air filtration in all the main meditation halls and communal spaces. 

  • Hand sanitising stations are placed in convenient locations across our site.

  • Physical distancing: Cushions and chairs will be arranged to maintain physical distance in the meditation hall and main communal areas. Meal schedules will be designed to allow for physical distancing. 

  • Symptom check: We ask that everyone periodically monitor their temperature and overall health during their time  to help ensure the wellness of all. We ask community members to administer a self test in case of symptoms. If someone tests positive we ask to isolate to protect the wider community, and we do everything we can to help those who test positive to recover swiftly.


All the accommodation at New Life Portugal consists of ensuite rooms. Sheets, pillowcases, towels, and duvets are provided. There are reading lamps, a refrigerator, sink, floor heating, and private bathrooms with warm showers in every room. Soap, shower gel, facial tissues, and a refillable water pitcher are also available for your convenience. Hair dryers are provided upon request. Rooms are professionally cleaned and sheets and towels changed once per week. We have standard rooms and premium rooms. The main difference is that premium rooms come with a balcony / terrace with a great view.

We have a room that is designed for wheelchair access. However, the terrain on the property is very hilly and some pathways have steep inclines. Please get in touch with us to discuss your individual needs so that we can see how we can best support you during your stay.

There is a refrigerator and a sink in each room but no hotplate. There is a hot water kettle in your room but it is not possible to cook meals. We currently do not have facilities available for guests to cook their own meals.

Rooms are professionally cleaned and sheets and towels changed once per week. In between professional cleaning, we ask that you keep your room neat and tidy on your own. 

Travel and Visas

Members of certain non-EU countries are able to receive a 90-day visa exemption stamp in their passport upon entry to the EU. Citizens of some countries are also able to apply for a 90-day Schengen visa. 

We strongly recommend that you contact the Portuguese embassy or consulate in your country to check the entry requirements and find out what visa you may need, as policies and requirements are subject to differ. 

Further information about the Schengen visa for non-EU citizens can be found at the following link:

Food and Meals

At New Life Portugal we serve three buffet-style meals per day. The dishes feature plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. The food is mostly vegan or lacto-ovo vegetarian, but meals may also include light meat or fish options from time to time. Dishes will be marked clearly to show if they are vegan, vegetarian, or contain meat or fish. We serve minimal processed foods. 

Yes, we have a state-of-the-art filtration system. Please bring a refillable water bottle with you. 

We try our best to cater to a diverse range of dietary preferences. However, due to the large range of ingredients used in our kitchen, we are not able to guarantee that all our dishes are allergen-free. If you have special requirements, please feel free to get in touch to see how we can best meet your needs.

Fees and Payment

Please visit the Payment Information and Conditions page on our website for detailed information.

Please visit the Payment Information and Conditions page on our website for detailed information.

Please visit the Payment Information and Conditions page on our website for detailed information.

Are you wondering why the program fees at New Life Portugal are higher than at New Life Thailand? We understand, and we think it’s important to explain!

Founder Johan Hansen’s vision: to create a supportive place where people could go to learn, heal, grow, and continue their path of recovery based on the principles of mindfulness.

From Thailand to Portugal: The New Life project turned out to be wonderfully successful. When we needed to expand our services, we were lucky enough to find a generous group of sponsors who, like Johan, believed in changing the world for the better. With their help, we were able to open our new centre in Portugal at the end of 2021.

Same social enterprise approach: 100% of the fees at New Life Portugal go towards operational expenses, loan repayments, program improvements, and social initiatives. Read more about our Social Initiatives.

Main differences between New Life Thailand and New Life Portugal:

Johan purchased land in Chiang Rai and paid to construct facilities.   Sponsors provided a part of the funding we needed to purchase land and start building. Another part of our financial support came in the form of loans from the Tourism Authority of Portugal and the EC-funded Portugal 2020 program.
Johan supported operational costs for the first two years. This gave the foundation time to become self-sustaining without having to worry about any startup costs. In Portugal, we need to repay substantial loans. We also need to cover our own running costs right from the very beginning.
The low cost of living in Southeast Asia reduced our operational expenses considerably.  New Life Portugal is subject to more regulations, insurances, and taxes than New Life Thailand. There’s also a very big difference in operational costs in Europe compared to Asia.
In Thailand we struggled with the chronic issue of recurrent burnout and high staff turnover, which in turn affected community morale and standards of service delivery. To better care for our staff wellbeing and create a stronger organisation, a large part of our budget in Portugal will go towards paying living wages and social security.

We promise you that we are doing everything we can to keep our program fees as low as possible while meeting our financial commitments. And although the fees are higher in Portugal in comparison to Thailand, they’re still just a fraction of what you would pay at a comparable retreat centre in Europe with the same quality of programming, facilities, accommodation, and meals.  

Greater stability for our organisation and community
Allows us to work on our social projects
Higher level of staff wellbeing, which in turn increases the quality of support we can provide to our community members

Leisure and Recreation

Weekdays at New Life Portugal are filled with lots of program activities, but you will have plenty of time to explore the beautiful Serra Da Estrela region, especially on the weekends.

For an idea of the recreational activities available, please visit the natural park page on our website.

We have a wellness hall with dumbell weights, a workout bench, a rowing machine, a curved treadmill and a stationary bike with moving arms.

Yes, we have a massage therapist on our team that you can book an appointment with. There may be an additional cost depending on whether or not a massage is included in your package. For more information and to see what other optional extras we have available, please visit our Wellness Menu.

Yes, there are many trails close to the centre, including some trails that are exclusive to New Life Portugal. Please speak to our staff for more information or to get a map/directions.

Staying at New Life Portugal

1. Casual clothes suitable for outdoor activities, meditation, and yoga

→ May to September: light summer clothing with some layers in case of cooler evenings

→ Autumn and winter: warm, waterproof clothes and shoes suitable for rain or snow

2. A rain jacket, umbrella, and waterproof shoes

3. A light, comfortable outfit you don’t mind getting dirty for working meditation in the garden/farm/outdoors

4. A swimsuit and flip flops for the pool and sauna

5. Sturdy shoes for outdoor activities, sports, and working meditation

6. A reusable bag for shopping 

7. A refillable water bottle

8. Personal medications you might require, especially if you have a difficult-to-fill prescription (please make sure to check regulations about bringing prescription medications to Portugal)

9. Torch or flashlight

10. An alarm for the morning

11. Sunscreen

12. Insect repellent

13. Enough cash for transport and basic necessities (there is no ATM onsite)

A key part of joining our community is practicing noble silence. Every day of the week from evening until the morning meeting, we ask everyone to join in this practice. The silence is very healing, and an excellent opportunity to slow down and observe what’s happening in our minds and bodies. 

Noble Silence time is a chance to be free from the need to talk, listen, or communicate with others. If this is new to you, please ask for more advice from our meditation teacher. During Noble Silence, we don’t need to expend any energy trying to connect with others. This includes things like writing to each other, joking without words, and using devices like phones. It is not a silence imposed by an external authority, but something we choose to allow for ourselves. By being part of this community, we each choose to take this time each night just for ourselves, and we respect others while they do the same. 

Portugal operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50 Hz and Type C or Type F plugs. Please check your device for its supported voltage and use an adaptor and/ or transformer if necessary. If you are coming from outside of Europe we recommend coming prepared with these items.

Smoking is only permitted within the designated smoking area located away from communal spaces. However, if you are a smoker we encourage you to use the supportive environment of the foundation to reduce your cigarette consumption (or quit altogether!)

We have two coin-operated washers and two dryers for our guests to use. There is no need to bring your own detergent or fabric softener as these are built into the washers. 

We believe you picked us because you feel a longing to do life a bit differently, and sense that our mindful programming can help…and it’s not so easy!

We also recognise that, for some of us, the dopamine hit we get from our inbox is addictive. There is also a huge volume of self-help available at your fingertips which can cause FOMO (‘Fear of Missing Out’).

For these reasons and to keep our community space ‘spacious’,  we ask you to be thoughtful about your use of electronic devices during your stay with us. We suggest the following:

  • Set up an automatic message that says you are on retreat and will only be responding during ‘xyz’  hours, or for emergencies only…and stick with it.
  • During Noble Silence (9:30pm – 8:30am) please refrain from use of electronics. If you feel you are unable to do this, please use earbuds.
  • Talk with our staff about how to do this in a way that supports your goals for your time with us; we’d love to talk with you about this!
  • As a last resort, consider putting your devices in our safe and do a digital detox. Again, our staff are happy to support you if you choose to try this.

There is no fixed maximum term of stay at New Life Portugal. Extensions of your stay and requests to stay on a long-term basis are subject to the discretion of the director and staff and are subject to room availability.

For participants in the Resilience Path we advise a stay of 90 days to fully benefit from our program.


Our program incorporates a secular version of mindfulness. However, our teachers come from a wide variety of traditions.

To quote Jon Kabat-Zinn, ‘Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.’

Then we will teach you! Newcomers to these activities are welcome. We have patient instructors who will guide you according to your level of practice.

New Life Portugal is not a primary treatment centre for addiction. We offer a ‘secondary’ level of care, which means that we do not assist with withdrawing or detoxing from substances of any kind, nor are we able to support clients with substance use issues who are in early recovery.

New Life Portugal is not a primary treatment centre for addiction. We offer a ‘secondary’ level of care, which means that we do not assist with withdrawing or detoxing from substances of any kind, nor are we able to support clients with substance use issues who are in early recovery.

Resilience Path: The minimum commitment to the Resilience Path is 28 nights. 

Wellness Path: The minimum commitment to the Wellness Path is 14 nights.

Rest and Rejuvenate Path: The minimum commitment to the Rest and Rejuvenate Path is 7 nights. 

Surrounding Area

There are several hotels close to New Life Portugal if you’d like to spend a night or weekend away or explore the area.

Inatel Linhares – 21 minutes drive away.

Largo Da Misericorida, Linhares

Agroturismo A Fidalga – 19 minutes drive away.

Quinta da Portela s/n, Linhares

No website available

O Salgueiro – 10 minutes drive away.

Rua Cardeal Patiarca Mendes Bello 10, Melo Gouveia 

No website available

Solar Dos Cerveiras – 19 minutes drive away.

Rua Dr. Antonio Marques Fernandes, Mesquitela

Terra Mista B&B – 12 minutes drive away.

Rua da Saborida 3, Gouveia

No website available

The closest medical centre is the Centro de Saúde de Gouveia. 

Centro de Saúde de Gouveia

Phone: 238 490 400

Address: Rua Dr. Mário Gomes Figueira, 6290-370 Gouveia

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Distance: 20 minute drive

There is also a doctor in Gouveia who speaks excellent English and who can do home consultations. 

Dr. Luís Antonio Vicente Gil Barreiros

Phone: 968 579 796

Address: Urbanização Bela-vista Lote 26, 6290-368 Gouveia

Opening hours: Please contact the doctor directly for consultation hours or to make an appointment for him to visit onsite.

Distance: 20 minute drive

A bit further away are the Hospital de Seia and the Unidade de Saúde Local da Guarda. 

Hospital de Seia

Phone: 238 320 700

Address: Av. Dona Alexandrina F. Albergaria 22, 6270-498 Seia

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Distance: 40 minute drive

Unidade de Saúde Local da Guarda

Phone: 271 200 200

Address: Av. Rainha Dona Amélia 19, 6300-035 Guarda

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Distance: 45 minute drive

Cligouveia – Clínica Médico Dentária de Gouveia

The dentist speaks a little English.

Phone: 238 491 501

Address: Rua 5 de Outubro 22, 6290-525 Gouveia

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 9.30am – 5.00pm

Distance: 20-minute drive

Mymedic Clínicas – Fornos de Algodres

Both dentists speak excellent English but the receptionist does not. 

Phone: 271 701 444

Address: Estrada Nacional 16 Nº 131, 6370-148 Fornos de Algodres

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 6.30pm

Distance: 25 minute drive

Farmácia Central

Phone: 238 745 252

Address: Avenida Vergílio Ferreira 2, 6290-121 Melo

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 1.30pm and 2.30pm – 7.00pm.

Saturday 9.00am – 1.00pm. Closed Sundays.

Distance: 15 minute drive

Farmácia Feliz

Phone: 238 498 080

Address: Rua da República 5, 6290-518 Gouveia

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 8.00pm.

Saturday 9.00am – 12.00pm. Closed Sundays.

Distance: 25 minute drive