Sant per de Rodes Sant per de Rodes © Empordà Tourism

Empordà, Catalonia: a guide

Just 45 minutes from Barcelona, the Empordà region is the home of surrealism and some of Spain's finest wines 

The Empordà is the perfect destination for a break in spring and summer, offering a combination of culture, culinary specialities, green landscapes and intact nature. Often called the ‘Tuscany of Spain’ for its charming towns, winding roads, and delicious food and wines, this area, with Girona at its centre, is an enchanting experience. Girona itself has often been listed as the city in Spain with the best quality of life. Well-connected via the AVE train, you can board in Barcelona and within 45 minutes you will be in the heart of Empordà, ready to start exploring.

beach

Empordà beach

It’s great for motoring, particularly if you like the carefree elation of a cabrio. You could even consider renting a luxury vintage car, relishing the sensation of travelling back in time amidst the maze of roads, discovering all that the area has to offer on the way. There’s something very special about the countryside flashing by as you cruise along, enjoying the spring sunshine. Stop off in a medieval town and browse the antique markets, with streets and squares lined with ashlar buildings that speak of centuries of history.

Santa Helena de Rodes © Tourism EmpordàSanta Helena de Rodes © Tourism Empordà

Related: 5 places you didn't know existed in Barcelona

Lunch offers more opportunities to create lasting memories, purchasing some of the local specialities and wines, and stopping in a forest for a handmade picnic. There are countless restaurants offering simple, delicious cuisine in traditional settings, or maybe you´ll prefer the 3-Michelin-starred cuisine of The Cellar de Can Roca, where you can savour the very best of contemporary Spanish food. You’ll never be short of options, because Empordà is a region with hundreds of fine restaurants, many of which are off the beaten track, completely unknown to tourists. And if you like the wine you have tasted, there can be nothing better than heading off to the vineyard where you can meet the growers and winemakers, and discover how terroir and heritage merge into a unique sensorial experience.

Gastronomia de EmpordaGastronomia de Emporda

Related: Barcelona's best traditional restaurants

As for somewhere to sleep, there are many unusual options. Many people dream of sleeping in a lighthouse to the sounds of the sea, and this is a great location in which to bring that dream into reality. Or you may enjoy a crystal palace in the heart of the woods, where you can observe the nature outside, with the reassurance that no-one can see you inside. There is even a 5-star resort complete with a casino and castle for the complete luxury experience. 

 

029Empordà Harbour

Cultural attractions abound in Empordà. Visit the Dalí Museum to see a large collection of the Surrealist master’s works which continue to intrigue people far and wide, and learn more about his everyday life by visiting his home. With the right contacts, a select few may even be lucky enough to have the opportunity to drink a glass of cava atop the Museum with the director. 

People say that the Empordà engulfs you and that your destiny will be to become lost amongst the hills, towns and villages: in any case, you won’t want to leave.