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8 Days Culture and Cooking Holidays in Spain

  • Raison d'Art Retreats, Catalonia, Orriols, Girona, Spain

8 Days Culture and Cooking Holidays in Spain

  • Raison d'Art Retreats, Catalonia, Orriols, Girona, Spain

Themed Cooking Holidays Spain

Raison d'Art is pleased to offer an unforgettable culinary retreat to the heart of Catalonia, Spain, together with Chef Carol Cotner Thompson. Spend time learning to cook wonderful new dishes with local, fresh ingredients; discover the food, culture, and history that this ancient and authentic region is known for, and enjoy staying at a 200-year-old restored stone farmhouse located just north of Girona. Life in Girona is all about slowing down, relaxing, and being in the moment. Your stay will allow you time to do just that.


  • 4 themed cooking classes
  • Day trips to Barcelona and Girona
  • Visits to medieval villages, an olive oil producer, museums, beaches and coves
  • Transfers to and from the airport or train station
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 4 dinners at the house
  • Daily breakfasts
  • 8 days with instruction
  • English
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You will be staying in a 200-year-old restored house, situated between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. The house was part of an ancient castle, but is now a separate house. It has five bedrooms with twin beds in each room, four bathrooms, two living rooms, a dining room, a large kitchen, a painting studio, a pottery studio and a cave.

The large backyard is fully private and is overlooked by two large terraces. Dining or sitting outside on a warm night is wonderful. During most of the year the bedrooms are set with queen size beds, but in the summer they are replaced with single or bunk beds.

There is plenty of space to relax and unwind. When you arrive, you will find your room and the shared bathroom freshly cleaned, the bed made with fresh linens, and a set of fresh towels in your room. Fresh towels will be left outside your door on Wednesday.

Linens are not changed during the week. Your bathroom will be supplied with toilet tissue, soap, basic shampoo, conditioner and lotion, but not with other bathroom supplies. Two people will share a bathroom in two of the rooms, and three people will share a bathroom in the other two rooms; two of the bathrooms are en suite, but one will share the bath with the single room. Raison d' Art Retreats does not provide daily maid service.

The itinerary includes four hands-on cooking classes led by Chef Carol. Based on what Carol sees at the open markets there, she will have four themed cooking classes following these cuisines - Spanish, Moroccan, and cuisine of Provence and Ligurian (Italian Rivera). There will also be gourmet food and wine, shopping at the local outdoor markets, day trips to Barcelona and Girona, visits to medieval villages, an olive oil producer, museums, beautiful beaches and coves of the Costa Brava, and much more.

Enjoy day trips to Barcelona and Girona, visits to medieval villages, to an olive oil producer, museums, beautiful beaches and coves of the Costa Brava. Their admission and transportation are included in the price.

This vacation will take place in Catalonia, in the Girona Province of Spain. This area has the most beautiful 11th and 12th century villages.

Alt Empord

This area of the Costa Brava is called Alt Empord . This area is marked by the broad sweep of the Golf de Roses, site of a nature reserve, the Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de lEmpord , and the alluring peace of the ancient Greek and Roman settlement of Empries, and extends to the bohemian Cadaqus, which attracts an arty crowd paying tribute to Salvador Dal; the artist lived most of his life in the labyrinthine warren of converted fishermens huts in a neighboring cove, now a fabulous museum.


Catalonia packs a lot into its four provinces. The stunning cove beaches of the Costa Brava make it one of Spains loveliest coasts, backed by the top foodie scene and Jewish history of the medieval city of Girona, and Salvador Dal's gloriously surreal 'theatre-museum' in Figueres.

If that werent enough, there are the flamingo-tinted wetlands of the Ebro delta, the Roman and Greek ruins of Empuris, and mighty medieval monasteries, gorgeous Romanesque churches, and isolated hilltop villages scattered throughout. Wherever you venture there is the undeniable sense that Catalonia (Catalunya in Catalan, Catalua in Spanish) is different from the rest of Spain. Its a difference worth celebrating.


Girona is an elegant, provincial capital that features a beautiful walled medieval quarter, Barri Vell, perched on a hill above the city, a delight to explore, with narrow cobbled alleyways, balconied houses, and shady little plaas. Clinging to the banks of the Ru Onyar, as it meanders through the center of town, is a long row of picturesque pastel-hued houses, the Cases de lOnyar.

Historically, Girona has seen it all, at least by Spanish standards. The Romans settled here, and called the town Gerunda. Girona then became an Islamic town after the Moors conquered Spain. A vibrant Jewish community also flourished here for more than six centuries, and Gironas Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, remains one of the best preserved in Spain. Elsewhere, youll spy a fetching mix of architectural styles, from Romanesque to modernism. Girona also features a range of excellent museums, a lovely cathedral and lively arts and music festivals. Rambla de la Llibertat, running along the river, is the citys grand promenade, where locals take their daily paseo past a bustling strip of shops and restaurants.

La Garrotxa

The fertile landscape of La Garrotxa, which unfolds west of Girona and Figueres, is anchored by the historic capital of Olot. To the east lies lovely, quiet Besal; to the north, mountain peaks march along the French border; and to the south extends the Parc Natural de la Zona Volc nica, a verdant, hilly terrain punctuated by volcanic cones and craters.

  • Hiking trail nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Beach nearby
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant nearby
  • River nearby
  • Studio
  • Terrace
  • Free toiletries
  • Local market

You will be served daily breakfasts, four dinners at the house, and all beverages at the house.


  • Lunches, three dinners, and drinks and snacks outside of house will be at your own costs.


For something utterly different, head north to where the Pyrenees rise up to mighty 3000 meters' peak from a series of stunning valleys crisscrossed with numerous hiking trails.

  • 4 dinners at the house
  • 4 hands-on cooking classes
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All admission and local group transportation for all outings
  • All beverages at the house
  • Copy of all recipes for the week
  • Daily breakfast
  • Group pick-up and drop-off at Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) or Girona train station
  • 3 dinners
  • Drinks and snacks outside of house
  • Lunches
  • Roundtrip airfare to Barcelona, Spain, or train to Girona

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) Raison d'Art Retreats will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

Arrival by train

Please book your train to arrive at Girona train station. Raison d'Art Retreats will pick you up from the station. The pick-up is included in the price.


  • Barcelona - less than 1 hour
  • Figueres - 15 minutes
  • Girona - 20 minutes
  • Mediterranean sea - 25 minutes
  • Pyrenees mountains - 30 minutes


  • Review by Kendall

    "Going to camp at Raison d'Art was the best trip I have ever taken. The places we visited were nothing like I'd ever experienced or seen. Once we landed, our group bonded quickly. Everyone was comfortable and ready to get out and explore the first day. We lived as if we were locals during our stay. I slowly began to step back in time and take everything in. The old cobblestone roads, the smell of hay balls and the cheerful people lit up the countryside. Throughout the whole trip I believe many people discovered a lot about themselves, people and the world we live in today."

    Raison d'Art Retreats website, edited

  • Review by Taylor

    "Raison d'Art in a word is incredible. The experiences I had throughout those weeks are ones that I will never forget - swimming in rivers, going through a ropes course, kayaking, walking the streets of the surrounding villages, riding a bike past cows and horses, painting in the meadows, eating fresh croissants, waking up and feeling like you're in a whole different century, and simply just being with a fun group of people who love art just as much as you do. So much fun!"

    Raison d'Art Retreats website, edited

  • Review by Sienna

    "My experience was definitely unforgettable. From starting every morning with a fresh croissant, to seeing a stunning new town every day, to eating delicious group dinners on the patio; France was the best vacation of my life. Going with a group of kids, as well as two fun and accepting adults made it a monumental experience that no other vacation will live up to."

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  • Review by Claire

    "The trip I took over the summer to Raison d'Art with Bruce and Alisa was without a doubt the best experience I've had in my life. Not only was our group surrounded by a gorgeous countryside, but we were also lucky enough to do what we love most, art every day. Along with painting and sketching, our weeks were filled with kayaking, trips to museums, village festivals, and tours of medieval towns. I don't think I could have asked for anything more!"

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  • Review by Kira

    "Raison d'Art was truly an unforgettable experience. From the simple things like watching the sunset go down while sitting on hay bails, to drinking the most amazing apple juice in the world, this camp changed my life. The new culture and lifestyle I experienced are everlasting in my memory. I met some of the most amazing and creative people, and I gained an experience of a lifetime all in this camp. I never wanted to leave, so I am going back next year!"

    Raison d'Art Retreats website, edited

  • Review by Rafe

    "After the second time going to Raison d'Art, I still can't think of a better way to spend a piece of my summer. From painting in a medieval village to ropes courses in the trees, Raison d'Art covers it all. This camp is probably one of the best happenings in my life."

    Raison d'Art Retreats website, edited

  • Review by Maggie

    "Raison d'Art was a wonderful experience. I got to meet new kids from different countries, learn about the culture, and most of all become an independent individual. We got to visit museums, go rock climbing, zip lining, and kayaking, but the most fun was getting to hang out together after the busy day."

    Raison d'Art Retreats website, edited

  • Review by Millie

    "Raison d'Art was one of the best experiences of my life. Drawing and painting was only the beginning of the schedule. We would wake up to our daily dose of beautiful countryside and have our choice of activities lined up like kayaking, rock climbing, or just hanging out! I met some really great friends and I'm planning on having just as much fun next year!"

    Raison d'Art Retreats website, edited