Very rarely do I write about a place I’ve stayed on my travels unless of course it is a sponsored post, however, sometimes you stay at a place that completely sweeps you off your feet and you fall madly in love with it. This is basically how my love affair with The Salty Pelican in Cascais, Portugal started.
I originally heard of this magical place when a friend I met in Morocco had visited. Since I’m into yoga and I’ve always wanted to do a yoga retreat type thing but hadn’t really found the right place or destination yet, I thought I would check it out. I started following The Salty Pelican months before my trip to Portugal, and months before I even knew I’d be going to Portugal, but since I ended up booking the trip and was going to be traveling alone, I thought this be the perfect opportunity to take a side trip to Cascais and visit.
About The Salty Pelican
The Salty Pelican is located in Cascais, which is a short train journey from Lisbon or a quick Uber/bus ride from Sintra. What attracted me to Salty was that it offered yoga (as well as surf and stand-up paddleboarding) but it didn’t give that cult-like vibe that many yoga retreats seem to advertise. Plus, the price was really reasonable in comparison to other retreats.
The Salty Pelican is technically a hostel, you stay in dorm rooms, unless you opt for their private rooms that are located up the road in a different building from the main building. The dorms are bright, clean and come in a variety of different sizes starting at four-bed dorms like I stayed in (note: the four bed dorms are the nicest).
The actual building that the hostel sits in is gorgeous, and full of great common areas to hang out in like their garden patio, shared kitchen, downstairs living room, and their front yard that is usually filled with loungers and big comfy bean bag chairs. I found the overall vibe of this hostel to be awesome. I’m 28-years-old and I’m not into party hostels, and this definitely didn’t have that vibe at all. If you want to sleep, you could sleep, if you wanted to party, you could join in on one of their evening activities and head to Cascais’ main strip for bars or restaurants. The hostel also attracted people of all ages, there were couples staying there in private rooms, young people, and middle aged people, all coming to the Salty Pelican for different reasons.
The hostel offers a ton of regular activities which I love because you have the option to be super social and participate in them all or you can opt out and do your own thing. Each night there is some sort of event like a tapa and wine night or BBQ with live music. These range for around €13 for unlimited drinks and food. During the day, you can opt for yoga that happens in the morning (7am) or afternoon (around 3-4pm) each day, but Monday and Thursday don’t have afternoon classes. There are surf lessons that take place daily and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). They also offer some other speciality events some days like the meditation hike that takes you to a gorgeous secluded beach on the Western most part of Europe. Note: this isn’t an “easy” stroll in the park.
Most people that stay here book a package as they offer a variety of short- and long-term packages that suit different guests interests. These packages range from just yoga, yoga and surf, or SUP and yoga. However, ensure that you will get the best bang for your buck when booking these. For example, I didn’t book one because it was cheaper for me to book a room on its own and pay for my yoga classes (€20 each) and other things separately just because of the way the days I was arriving/leaving fell.
Another common thing I heard from other guests were they were a bit too ambitious with their packages. For example, they may have thought they’d want to surf every day but after trying it once or twice they didn’t want to do it anymore, meaning they weren’t maximizing the package they paid for. Ensure that whatever you decide to book fits your needs and makes the most sense, because there is the option to pay for things as you go. Note: breakfast is included in all stays and is an awesome spread of fruit, yogurt, breads, etc.
One of the best parts of this retreat is its location. Cascais is a fantastic day trip from Lisbon and lots of people often only come for the day because it is pretty small, however, I loved that I was there for three days and got into a little routine of morning yoga, and afternoon beach time. This truly is a spot for lots of rest and relaxation. They have some beautiful beaches and the little main town is cute and filled with restaurants and entertainment. I discovered a restaurant called House of Wonders which is a vegetarian heaven!
My biggest piece of advice if you decide to come to the Salty Pelican is make sure you leave the hostel to go explore and do other things. It can be easy to stay at the hostel for every event they host at night and sit around their beautiful grounds, however, you don’t want to miss out on everything else Cascais has to offer and the staff is great for recommending things to do and see in and around the area.
Overall I absolutely fell in love with the Salty Pelican. Everything about it was just perfect. I loved that I could do yoga everyday but not have to do yoga 24 hours a day, I had the freedom to still go out and do my own thing. I also loved all the people I met there, my roomies in my dorm room and I got along so well. We all seemed to be on the same page with everything and had so much in common. I honestly can’t wait to return the next time I need a nice relaxing break and I just read that they’re building a new hostel in Sri Lanka. I might just need to go check that out 😉
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