Figs On The Funcho

Painting Holiday in Europe – A Riverside Location

Art Holiday Europe

Paint Holiday in Europe’s Picturesque Portugal

Listed in Simon Heptinstall’s 10 Best Art Escapes in 2019 for the Mail Online, this riverside location is perfect for plein air painting and exploring the Algarve countryside when searching for paint holidays in Europe.  

Wake-up every morning to Algarve blue skies and an undisturbed and tranquil location with unbeatable sunsets and spectacular views to inspire your creativity and develop your drawing and painting skills in a wide variety of media.

Our Shropshire experienced, fully qualified Art Tutor, a member of Algarve Society of Artists and a Professional Member of the S.A.A., now resident in the Algarve, has a passion for sharing her knowledge and skills through tutorials and demonstrations and has her own step by step lessons in the series “Pick up a Paintbrush”, a regular feature in the quarterly online Algarve Artist magazine.

Tracy-Jane is full of enthusiasm and passion and it is reflected in her vibrant and colorful art work.

Southern Portugal Is The Perfect Place To Spend 6 Nights And 7 Days

This art and walking holiday offers an opportunity to improve your artistic skills and enjoy the positive healing affects of nature.

Immerse yourself here in blissful tranquility and timelessness, a secluded location, with breathtaking views and stunning sunsets. This serene setting will allow you to fully relax, improve your mood and allow your creative juices take over.

During your stay, you will enjoy daily art lessons on the waterfront deck under the mature carob trees with accompanying bird song. The surrounding countryside and views of the river will make you feel as though you have discovered a secret oasis and you won’t be at a loss when choosing your landscape art scenes.

The clean, country air and beautiful views of the river and countryside can be best enjoyed during picturesque, easy going walks where you will discover the lovely cistus rockrose, thought to be magical and therapeutic and Portugal’s national tree, cork oak, showing their bright orange-brown coloured trunks when stripped for cork.

sunset algarve portugal

10 Reasons To Join Our Art Workshops

  1. Develop self confidence within your own artistic practice in a beautiful relaxed waterside location.
  2. Learn new techniques and approaches through preparatory drawing.
  3. Experiment with different materials while loosening up your creative practice.
  4. Gain an understanding of the importance of contrasts.
  5. Learn how perspective affects landscape painting.
  6. Let the artistic journey dictate your finished results without pressure or force.
  7. Immerse yourself here in blissful tranquillity and timelessness, a secluded location, with breath-taking views and stunning sunsets.
  8. An opportunity to improve painting landscape reflections as seen on the river Funcho filled with sunset or sunrise colours.
  9. Groups are kept small to ensure individual attention for all levels and abilities.
  10. Non-painting partners are welcome as there are plenty non-painting activities on location and nearby.

Art and Walking

There’s plenty of space to either join in the everyday activities and socialising, or you can simply opt out and enjoy the magical ambience in a space of your own. The River House provides plenty of relaxation spaces in the sunshine, shelter and natural shade. 

Day 1 

Arrival: Settle into The River House and your room before enjoying a group welcome dinner.

Day 2 

Morning: Natural inspiration workshop
Afternoon: Explore the via Algarviana waking route

Day 3 

Morning: When colour runs riot workshop
Afternoon: Sunset river walk

Day 4 

Full Day: En plein air landscape painting workshop

Day 5 

Morning: Ink and mixed media workshop
Afternoon: Visit the historical town with Moorish castle and dinner (optional)

Day 6 

Morning: Suggestive animals workshop
Afternoon: Massages for those who have booked (optional)

Day 7 

Departure: Enjoy your breakfast by the river before heading home.

Painting Workshop Program


Suitable for all painting levels from beginners to advanced.
Minimum age 18 with no upper age limit.

Art Supplies

Art equipment is supplied so don’t worry if you’re just starting out but if you have favourite brushes, paints or materials, please feel free to bring them
Art supplies on hand include graphite pencils, chalk and oil pastels, charcoal, watercolour and acrylic paints.
A3 paper is the maximum paper size; should you like to work with large canvases, these can be purchased for you at an extra expense.

Art Itinerary

The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:

Day 2 Art Theme – Natural Inspiration (Half Day)

Relaxed introduction morning at Figs on the Funcho learning how to use different shapes, textures and form from the nature. Using various drawing techniques and materials including graphite, charcoal and pen where you can ease into your art holiday learning new tips and tricks or a good refresher for the more experienced. Also a great way to get to know each other and discuss our art interests.

Day 3 Art Theme – When colour runs riot (Half Day)

A day letting vibrant colours and bold imagery inspired from many different sources comes together to create powerful abstract art. This will be a creative day exploring different colour and how it makes us feel. Chance to try out different art materials like watercolour, acrylics or chalk. All that is required is an open mind willing to explore.

Day 4 Art Theme – En Plein Air Painting Landscape (Full Day)

En plein air painting is the French expression for “in the open air” and we will be outdoors using the stunning location of Figs on the Funcho as inspiration for creating some plein air landscape painting. The morning will be used to work together and discuss how to select your landscape, then compose a painting or drawing while on location. After lunch, we will continue with the landscapes back at base where we can tune the fine details with guidance to create some impressive works of art. The hardest part of this day will be which view to choose, so maybe bring a camera. Material choice is  totally up to you, but maybe try something loose and see where the inspiration leads you.

Day 5 Art Theme – Ink and Mixed Media (Half Day)

A session on the joys of using ink in various ways to create interesting art works. A morning of play and experimentation where we will show you how versatile this medium can be, not to mention the possibilities when other mediums are used. From the application of ink from a pen for sketching, to brush work and the introduction of bleach and other unusual things.

Day 6 Art Theme – Suggestive Animals (Half Day)

Have you ever tried to draw an animal but felt it wasn’t quite right? Have you attempted to draw furry coat but it ended up looking flat? Well this tips and tricks session on all things animal will help you master simple shapes into various species followed by the techniques needed to make fur and feather come alive. From the smallest mouse, to the biggest elephant, anything goes in this session.

Walking Itinerary (optional):

If you feeling energetic, Cheryl will take you walking to explore the countryside.  We will explore the clearly signed walking route of the Algarve, know as the via Algarviana. This walking route is perfect if you enjoy solo walking or running in the morning allowing you to clear the mind of chatter and make space for clear thinking so that you can focus on the peaceful surroundings and enjoy the present.

Our second guided walk will be a late afternoon river walk to admire the sun setting behind the hills and the water reflections. An ideal opportunity to study water reflections for your painting projects.

Wildlife spotted in our area includes owls, foxes, herons, Algarve tiger and stags with amazing antlers. The surrounding countryside and views of the river will make you feel as though you have discovered a secret oasis in this remote and beautiful location on southern Portugal.

The walking pace easy and relaxed and perfect for any age or fitness level. 

Outside seating | sun beds | with views of the river and pool | algarve, portugal
A lazy day by the pool

Painting Holidays For Singles

Solo travellers are more than encouraged to join as you will meet others with similar interests in the group.

You have the choice to share with another solo traveller of the same sex for no extra cost or pay an additional supplement for your own private room.

What is a Non-Painting Partner To Do All Day?

There are several quiet areas on the property to enjoy and take advantage of the peaceful, tranquil, scenic surroundings. Enjoy bird watching, book a relaxing aromatherapy massage, a stand up paddle boarding lesson, fishermen can find a spot to fish anywhere around the villa and we can help you obtain a fishing license or you could simply chill out by the infinity pool and soak up some much needed vitamin D.

The River House is also great for relaxing and is stocked with a small collection of reading books, board games and a DVD library. 

The clearly signed walking route is ideal for exploring the countryside on your own and you are welcome to join the art group when they go out walking and exploring the countryside.

There is so much to discover and enjoy in the Algarve that is within easy reach:

  • A 10 minute walk takes you to the quad bike adventure centre where you can join Hugo on a Quad Bike Safari and venture into the countryside and along the river.
  • A trip to the seaside by car is a mere 25 minute drive by car or taxi to Falésia beach with its gorgeous ochre coloured sand cliffs and is known as one of Europes best beaches.  Visit the neighbouring Portuguese fishing village, Olhos d’Agau, with its seaside restaurants and Portuguese souvenir shops.
  • Caldas de Monchique is surrounded by the mountains of Serra de Monchique and is a 40 minute drive by car. Stop at the highest peak in the Algarve, Fóia, to enjoy magnificent scenic views of the countryside.  A leisurely lunch under the mature trees in the village square of Caldas de Monchique is very pleasurable. Visit the art gallery, Portuguese craft shop and stroll through the beautiful woods with natural water features and a fitness trail. 
  • A visit to the historical town, Silves, is a 15 minute drive by car. Visit one of the best preserved Moorish castles in the area, the magnificent gothic cathedral and an archaeological museum.  Sample the traditional Algarvian confectionary at the beautifully decorated Portuguese tearoom, Da Rosa. Seafood lovers can enjoy Rui’s seafood meals or enjoy your meal with accompanying live music at Café Inglês.  Both restaurants are a stones throw from the castle. 
  • A 15 minute drive to Alte, a typical and picturesque Algarvean village where you can experience wild swimming in the cool refreshing springs and the local waterfall. The 13th century church with hand painted pieces is worth exploring and visit the local tile shop, craft shop. Pop in for tea at Agua Mel and try one of their delicious homemade cakes.

Cheryl loves finding places to shop, dine and explore that add a touch of authentic flavour and variety to your Algarve visit, and she is always excited to share them so that you can also experience these wonderful discoveries. Talk to her about  some of  her personal recommendations on things to do in the area.

Delicious Delights Will Dazzle You

You will feast on a varied menu of raw, local seasonal produce and fresh juices, exploring what feels good and tastes great. Our menu includes tasty homemade cakes and treats too!

We will be lovingly preparing a variety of wholesome vegetarian dishes, to include a couple of fish options, in our riverside farmhouse kitchen using fresh produce from our local village market.  All meals are seasoned with the Algarve Portugal sea salt, Flor de Sal, known as the white gold of the Algarve that is manually harvested from clean Atlantic water.

You will enjoy a variety of healthy breakfast options under the carob trees. Breakfast options include fresh fruit, my home made granola, freshly baked muffins, gluten free buckwheat pancakes, oat porridge served with local Algarve lavender honey and freshly squeezed juices and  smoothies.

Feeling hungry? Take a look at the delicious wholesome meal options and sweet treats on our sample menu

art holidays europe
Outdoor area for alfresco meals and relaxing

Spectacular Accommodations. Await You.

Just a 35-minute drive from Faro Airport into the Algarve’s peaceful countryside, The River House features:

5 Double spacious, airy and fully air-conditioned bedrooms, some with TVs.

All bedrooms are twin/doubles; 2 are ensuite, and 3 rooms share a gorgeous family bathroom with a shower and double sink basins. Hairdryers in all bathrooms.

Comfortable rooms, stylishly decorated maintaining many traditional of wood beams & skylights in the upstairs rooms and the downstairs room have french doors leading onto the garden.

Light and airy social spaces, a high-ceiling lounge and kitchen fitted with a centre island and a cherry wood dining table. All meals are provided but the space allows you to keep snacks handy.

Weekly clean up and linen service is included, mid-stay clean and bath towel change. Weekly swimming pool towels provided.

Free internet connection is available.

Spacious deck area with terraces offering warm sun, a cool canopy, and natural shade, all with stunning views of the countryside and breathtaking sunsets.

Your meals will be enjoyed with the group on an outdoor river facing deck under the carob trees (weather permitting).

An infinity pool with jaw-dropping views of the Funcho dam and river area.

Reading books, board games and a large selection of DVD’s are  available for the enjoyment of our guests.

luxury bedrooms at riverside retreat
Spacious, luxurious bedrooms at The River House

What’s Included

  • Daily art tuition from day 2-6. Four morning sessions and 1 full day session – 18 hours in total.
  • All art materials:  graphite pencils, chalk pastels, charcoal, watercolour and acrylic paints.  Maximum paper size A3. Larger sizes on request.
  • Optional afternoon guided nature walks
  • Spacious, comfortable accommodation
  • Welcome drinks
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (not included: alcoholic and cool drinks (honesty bar provided and one evening meal))
  • Airport Transfers. We’ll have one Faro airport pick-up at 3pm for the group. We can arrange airport transfers for you at other times for your cost. 
  • Mid week room clean and towel change
  • Bath and swimming pool towels
  • Wifi
  • Check in is after 2pm and check out is after breakfast on day 7

What to Bring

  • Your swimming costume to enjoy the pool
  • Something warm to relax in at night
  • Sun hat and suitable footwear for walking to explore different paths and also if you plan to visit the historical town nearby, during free time, as the cobbled roads can be slippery
  • Plastic or cardboard postal tubes to take your rolled artwork home. Paper sizes provided will be no larger than an A3

What’s Not Included

  • Optional activities such as massages
  • Optional trip to the historical town, Silves on Day 5. Please note: this trip is optional but the kitchen at the villa will be closed on this evening, however, if a guest prefers not to go soup and sandwiches will be provided. The additional cost is the cost of a taxi (€90 round trip for a group of up to 8 people) and evening meal)
  • Travel Insurance (recommended)
  • Alcoholic drinks and cool drinks, we have an honesty bar
  • Airfares to Portugal

Flights to Portugal

  • Direct flights from the UK to Faro Airport (FAO) or Lisbon (LIS)
  • Direct flights from the United States cities New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Boston and Los Angeles to Lisbon (LIS)

Optional Activities

  • Aroma Body Massages – 1 hour – €55 
  • Indian Head Massages – 45 minutes – €45
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding – 3 hours – €65


06 – 12 June 2020

19 – 25 September 2020


Rates start from £745. Private room from £995. Share with a friend and get £250 off your rate – £745.

Accommodation choices:

Shared Room With:

  • shared bathroom – £745 | non-painter £495
  •  en-suite bathroom – £1,295 | non-painter £1,045

Private Room With:

  • shared bathroom – £995
  • with en-suite bathroom – £1,500

Bedrooms with En-Suite Bathroom

Bedrooms with Shared Bathroom

The Green and Zebra bedrooms are exactly the same.
Beds in all rooms can be made up as double or singles.

Payment Plan

Deposit : £360 Now to secure your place

June holiday : 1st payment 08/02/2020; 2nd payment 11/04/2020

September holiday : 1st payment 18/05/2020; 2nd payment 25/07/2020

Cancellation Policy

Should you decide to cancel your reservation and we confirm receipt of notice of cancellation more than 8 weeks before the course date, you shall be entitled to a refund of the total amount paid by you to us in relation to such booking less a cancellation charge equal to the amount of the deposit paid by you.

If we confirm receipt of notice of cancellation of your reservation 8 weeks or less before the course date, the balance remains payable. If you can arrange for someone to take your place or we may have someone on the waiting list for the entire course, we will refund to you the amounts paid to us by the new guest, less an administration charge of 15% of the monies paid by you to us in relation to your booking with us.

Read our full terms and conditions.

Your Art Tutor – Tracy-Jane

artist landscape art
Art tutor, Tracy-Jane, using pastels for her landscape art at Figs on the Funcho

Tracy-Jane has a BA Hons degree in Fine Art as Social Practice from Wolverhampton University and then went on to achieve teaching qualifications in further education.

Tracy-Jane is a member of Algarve Society of Artists and a Professional Member of the S.A.A.

She was so appreciative of the support she received once she was diagnosed as Dyslexic that it inspired her to become an art tutor so she in turn could help other adult art students break down some of their learning barriers.

Originally from Shropshire, but now based in Portugal’s Algarve and blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery, a great inspiration to her wonderful vibrant, colourful sometimes expressive with its foundations firmly based on Realism.

Tracy-Jane likes to capture life and energy in her work and has a passion for sharing her knowledge and skills through tutorials and demonstrations, and has her own step by step lessons in the series “Pick up a Paintbrush”, a regular feature that can be found quarterly online in the Algarve Artist magazine.

Her art teaching experience varies from working in Family Learning with parents and children as young as 4, to working part time in Prison Education for over 9 years. Her UK experience with teaching adult beginners and intermediates in the Telford College of Art Technology, tutoring private groups, running art workshops and organising art day trips makes her the perfect painting instructor for all ages and levels.

Paintings by Tracy-Jane

Your Host and Walking Guide – Cheryl Smith

paint holidays in europe
Cheryl enjoying painting Van Gogh’s Starry Night landscape in acrylic paints

Cheryl, organiser of the art painting holiday, is passionate about Portugal; holidaying, exploring, experiencing new creative hobbies, good food, joyful living, well-being and mindful connection, especially with regard to a healthy work-life balance.

I love to share my love of healthy, delicious, simple cooking with friends.  I enjoy exploring raw, vegan and vegetarian recipes.  My knowledge of the locally grown produce enables me to source the best and prepare deliciously creative fresh food for you daily.

Having visited the Algarve for more than 20 years I am keen to share my Algarve experience with you as I love to explore the area, find new beaches, restaurants and activities, visit the traditional villages nearby. And I can spend hours in the local markets, surrounded by the colours and scents of locally grown produce.

Algarve Countryside