Forget old-school holidays where you had to counter poolside indulgence with a serious liver cleanse on your return, join Zoe Macfarlane as she undertakes a juice detox in Portugal’s spectacular Algarve.

In the spirit of the popularity of well-being trips, I’m ditching the city stays and flop-and-drops and going full immersion at Europe’s most popular detox centre for a spring clean and some R&R.


A change of setting


Lagos Beach, The Algarve

There are hundreds of detox centres worldwide but the Algarve’s craggy coastline, pristine beaches and the holistic space of Moinhos Velhos called.

The grounds at Moinhos Velhos are beautiful. Vivid bougainvillea, blossoming vegetable gardens and a tranquil meditation circle surrounds the pool area. You feel at peace no matter where you are on site.


Squeeze me


Moinhos Velhos Juices

With my typical 150g-a-day chocolate habit, it may surprise you to find out that I had no cravings and wasn’t hungry during my 14-day detox. The length may seem extreme (7- and 10-day retreats are also on offer) but the combination of locally sourced, high-quality organic juices and a supportive retreat team made the fortnight a hunger-free breeze. The highlight was the daily orange juices so native they could have rolled down the hills to Moinhos Velhos.


 A day in the life


Moinhos Velhos Yoga Temple

So what goes down during a juice stay? First up, a mellow 7am bell allows an hour to awaken before a yoga warm-up session. Then it’s juice, supplements, juice, supplements, juice, supplements, broth, supplements – rounded out by meditation at 8pm.

The day is interspersed with relaxation. Perhaps a swim in the salt-water pool? Maybe the sauna? Or the weekly trip out to explore Lagos. Each day is filled with nurturing and peace, complementing your juicing efforts.


Fully charged


Moinhos Velhos Accommodation

It’s not just juices. Where other retreats offer a basic package and sting you for add-ons like yoga and meditation, Moinhos Velhos includes so much up front. Along with cute country-cottage accommodation, juices, supplements, yoga, and meditation, there is also access to the electromagnetic bed, foot spa and parasite zapper to maximise detoxing results.

Affordable additional therapies are on offer at €65 each, from traditional massages through to a range of treatments I had never heard of. Standouts were the Five Elements Acupuncture and a session with Janni on the Physiospect, a fascinating diagnostic tool used to hone in on ailment specifics.


The retox


Sunrise at the Pool, Moinhos Velhos

You might expect that I would leave a 14-day detox with a hankering for a pastel de nata pastry, and perhaps a cheeky glass of red but I spent the days after Moinhos Velhos missing the daily juices and the serenity of the space. My fortnight was so impactful I’m already planning my return visit this autumn. Will I see you there?


Getting there and away


Fly into Faro or Lisbon to reach Lagos. Book a shuttle from Faro airport with Moinhos Velhos or organise a Green Bus. From Lisbon, take a bus or rent a car for the 2.5-hour drive.

Would you consider swapping cocktails for juices on a detox retreat?