Halfway between the city of Girona and the coastal towns on the Costa Brava, the beaches seem to have disappeared – here, you will only find monuments made of old stone, and small streets that are hidden behind a thick curtain of lush vegetation.
The Empordanet is composed of several villages who are united by a common goal: promote their passion for arts and crafts, and foster the knowledge and interest around their heritage. Here you will find a heritage in crafts like you’ve rarely seen before, and learn more about Catalonia’s exceptional intangible heritage, from ceramics to handmade gemstone necklaces.
Here’s how to spend a day in the Empordanet to fully appreciate its amazing culture and crafts.
Start the day inside the medieval village of Ullastret, where Nuri’s family workshop will welcome you to teach you how to make the town’s infamous “Recuits drap”. This fresh cheese is typical of the Empordanet and it is just one of the many local products made with goat cheese. This unique recipe might be Nuri’s pride, but it’s far from being her only invention – from the goat cheese to the flavourful yogurt, Nuri shows ingenuity and passion in her homemade products and her countless original recipes.
If you wish to discover more about the Empordanet’s heritage and know-how in ceramics and pottery, several workshops will teach you all you need to know about the discipline. A large palette of creative workshops awaits, and artists will be happy to teach you their art, depending on your projects, your interests, and your knowledge in each craft. The Empordanet specializes in using the towns’ surroundings to create decorative and useful objects: take this opportunity to redecorate your home or bring a unique souvenir back!
Annick Galimont’s studio is one of the many workshops in town where you can create ceramics, but hers has its own unique feature: among several of her collections, you can see the “A Cup of Tea with Alice” series, where teapots are reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s world, or the “Whales&Crafts” series, where teapots are covered with whales and delicate floral patterns.
A different kind of ceramics for you to explore – a few minutes away, Josep Torres will welcome you in a workshop that is covered with mural frescoes. That’s what you’ll create here, and your creation is entirely yours, from the initial project to the final touches – the craftsman is only here to guide and advise you.
Where to eat?
After making the infamous Empordanet desserts, you might want to taste some more of the local gastronomy: lucky for you, many restaurants, food shops, and food stalls are available for you to experience the local culture in a deeper way.
A few kilometres away from Ullastret, the small town of La Bisbal wakes up with its weekly market, where visitors and regulars come from all over the region come find local homemade products and delicacies. This is the region’s lungs, where communities meet and unite for a few hours. Stroll through the small streets and discover several restaurants where the tempting and tasty smells that come from the restaurants will arouse your curiosity for the local gastronomy and the Empordanet’s wines. From fresh fish to homemade Catalan cuisine, the network of villages cultivates the idea of km0 products and slow food philosophy: every ingredient is either local or comes from producers that are situated on the coasts.
Although pottery and ceramics are undoubtedly stars in the region, the villages also distinguish themselves with an incredible source of inspiration, and their ingenuous use of the nature that surrounds them: in CarolinaCarolina, Marta’s workshop, you will learn to redecorate your home with surprising items. Don’t hesitate to bring your own object or unusual piece: here, art can come even from the most mundane things, as long as it’s accompanied with creativity and an open mind.
In her workshop, Sana brings two of her passions into her work – anthropology and jewellery making. Her Andes-inspired and Catalonia-influenced creations mix founds objects and semi-precious gemstones to create a unique piece of art. During her three and a half-hour long workshop, you will try your hand at jewellery and create your own necklace pendant or ring.
Even more atypical – the Empordanet gives you the opportunity to become a stonemason for the day. Artisan Gaetan Chapel cuts architectural decorations from blocks of stone and he will teach you the basics of his complex, but unknown job, for a whole hour.
The Empordanet is a wonderful region, filled with possibilities and discoveries to make each day – ride a horse through the region and its small streams of water, contemplate it from the sky in a hot-air balloon, or visit the Iberian and Indiano villages of the region. If you wish to discover more about the local culinary culture, you can visit the only remaining traditional oil mill in the region, or taste the local olive oil, bake your own ecological bread, taste their typical sweets and pastries…
Many things have yet to be discovered, and you might want to extend your stay to fully experience the region. Who knows? You might even fall in love with the Empordanet, and never want to leave again.
Overflowing creativity, unparalleled architectural styles and inspiring landscapes – these are all elements that form the very identity of the Empordanet. With the help of its resourceful and vibrant artists, the region will undoubtedly reveal your artistic soul and your dreams of creation.
Find out more about the Empordanet via their website
Or through our list of creative experiences