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Decanter travel guide: Empordà, Catalonia

The wines of the historic region of Empordà are bubbling with life and Mediterranean character once again thanks to young winemakers in northern Catalonia, as Sue Style discovers. Read her Empordà travel guide here.

Empordà: Where to stay, eat, shop and relax


Can Xiquet
Five chic, modern rooms with vineyard views. The restaurant serves local food with a short wine list favouring the best local producers. www.canxiquet.com
Hotel Peralada Wine Spa and Golf
Four-star country club-style hotel under the same ownership as Castillo Perelada winery. Restaurants, wine bar, wine spa, indoor and outdoor pools and golf course. www.hotelperalada.com
Hostal de Empúries
A respectfully modernised 1920s-built hotel on the beach next to the Empúries archaeological site (see right). Enjoy dinner on the seafront terrace at Villa Teresita or an epic breakfast buffet both courtesy of consultant chef Rafa Peña, then book in to the decadent spa. www.hostalempuries.com
Hotel & Spa Mas de Torrent, Torrent Customary Relais & Châteaux elegance in this stone-built former masía (farmhouse) with pool, spa and two restaurants with Mediterranean-inspired food by chef Jorge Garrido and monthly tastings by sommelier Pere Palmada. A good base for exploring Baix Empordà. www.mastorrent.com


El Roser 2
With a prime position and picture windows looking onto L’Escala’s famous bay. Top fish and seafood from chef Jordi Sabadí and expert advice on Empordà wines from his sommelier brother Rafel. Good-value weekday lunch menu. www.elroser2.com
Restaurant Pera Batlla, L’Armentera
Inspirational food by chef Antonia Quiñones in an old watermill with large terrace and cosy dining room. Local fish, shellfish and meat, vegetables from her kitchen garden and wines (70% from Empordà) selected in tune with the house preference for local, characterful products. www.perabatlla.com
K La Gina, Garriguella
Designer tapas and coques (Mediterranean flatbread) with many local wines by the glass, plus mojitos, ‘gin-tonics’, tasting events and live music at weekends. www.klagina.es
Can Batlle, Garriguella
Simple, family-run village restaurant with a rabbit warren of vaulted dining rooms and a large terrace, hugely popular with locals and visitors alike for classic Catalan cuisine. The lunch menu is a steal. Tel: +34 972 53 05 98
Compartir, Cadaqués
Stylish, top-quality, excellent-value sharing plates from an ex-El Bulli team. There’s a patio fringed by orange trees, cool dining rooms, attentive service and a wine list with input from former El Bulli sommelier Ferran Centelles. www.compartircadaques.com


Arrels del Ví, Sant Martí d’Empúries
Meet the top wine growers of DO Empordà, taste their wines and buy at ex-cellar prices at this annual, open-air wine fair organised by local resident Dominic Abernethy in the beautiful medieval village of Sant Martí d’Empúries. 8-9 June. www.arrelsdelvi.com
Salvador Dalí House- Museum, Portlligat
A suitably quirky shrine to the surrealist artist, which was originally a fishing shack on the beach and his home from the 1930s until 1982. Booking via the internet is essential. www.salvador-dali.org/museus/portlligat/ en_index.html
Archaeological site, Empúries
Extensively excavated remains of Greek and Roman settlements on the coast between L’Escala and Sant Martí. Guided tours run daily in summer. www.mac.cat/eng/ branches/empuries
Museu del Suro, Palafrugell
See how the bark is peeled from the local cork oaks and is then boiled, pressed, cleaned, shaved and cut to shape in this former cork factory. www.museudelsuro.cat

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