Are you looking for a inspirational list of hands-on travel experiences in The Mediterranean? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Over the past years, there has been a big trend in tourism where travellers no longer want to participate in just the standard sightseeing tours and attend so-called ‘cultural shows’, but really feel the need to get involved in experiences that are characteristic to the destination that they are visiting. This is called Creative Travel.
In this article, you can find some of the best creative travel experiences in Japan. Keep coming back, because this list will keep growing!
- HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
- Creative Travel Definition
- Complete Hands-on Travel in The Mediterranean List
- HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN FRANCE
- HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN ITALY
- HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN SPAIN
- Do You Travel to Discover Hands-On Experiences?
- Creative Tourism Network
- Map of The Mediterranean Creative Travel and Tours
- Creative Traveller’s Handbook
- Creative Travel Around the World
HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Creative Travel Definition
According to the Creative Tourism Network, creative travel is considered “a new generation of tourism”, that offers visitors the opportunity to “develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences, which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are taken”.
From volunteer travel programs and language immersion programs to cultural immersion travel experiences and real community immersion, Creative Tourism is a way of travel that really is for everyone.
Whether you travel alone, as a couple or with a family or group of friends, there are many activities around the world where that offer educational courses and workshops, creative experiences where you get to learn different art forms or even adventure activities where you interact with the local nature and people in a fun, yet authentic way.
Complete Hands-on Travel in The Mediterranean List
HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN FRANCE
Try a Van Gogh Painting Workshop
Arles, located in the south of France, is a town filled with art and history. It was an important Roman city, and some famous painters like Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso spent some time there.
TIP BY: Tea Gudek Snajdar, culturetourist.com (< read all about Van Gogh locations in Arles, France!)
“Many people are visiting Arles because Vincent van Gogh lived here for a year, during which he produced some of his most famous paintings. So, it’s not by surprise Arles is home to an exceptional painting workshop, related to this famous painter, too.
The Van Gogh Painting Workshop is organised by La Couverture Verte. It’s held in a painting studio right in the centre of Arles. During the workshop, you’ll understand Van Gogh’s art a bit more by copying some of the famous art pieces he created while in Arles.
You’ll start with making a simple drawing, mix the colours then and, finally, try to recreate some of his expressive brushstrokes. You don’t need to have any prior painting knowledge, because this activity is suitable for anyone. If you’d like to do this activity yourself, check out La Couverture Verte Facebook page!”
BOOK THIS ACTIVITY:
- La Couverture Verte (See their Facebook Page >>)
Do a Permaculture Work Away Exchange
With France being such an incredible country to visit but unfortunately being rather pricey, a great solution is to explore via work exchanges.
TIP BY: Josh & Sarah, veggievagabonds.com (< read all about Bouldering in Fontainebleau)
“We wanted to spend some time climbing in Fontainebleau, just outside of Paris, so arranged a Work Away placement in a nearby village. It was our first time doing this, but it felt like we struck gold.
The arrangement was to help with general renovations and decorating in their house, but to really focus on gardening and permaculture. We also spent a huge amount of time getting to know the family, the local community and walking their two beautiful dogs. The husband was a leading botanist, with experience doing field research in many of the world’s most fantastic natural areas.
We did plenty of basic gardening tasks and also learned many permaculture and eco-design skills. From the exchange, we picked up enough to begin our own permaculture projects in the future and share our knowledge with others. You’ll find plenty of similar exchanges on Work Away or similar work exchanges platforms.
You didn’t need any previous knowledge, just a big smile, enthusiasm and to enjoy getting your hands dirty! It was a fascinating experience that let us learn something new, spend some time climbing in a beautiful environment and make some life-long friends!”
BOOK THIS ACTIVITY:
- WorkAway (See their website >>)
HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN ITALY
Learn how to make Orecchiette
Making pasta in Italy is one of those experiences that will stay with you forever. It’s a skill that, once learned, can be practiced back home and enjoyed for years to come.
TIP BY: Nadine Maffre, lelongweekend.com (< read all about her world travels!
“As far as Italian pasta is concerned, each region has its specialty, so the key is to learn the local favourite. In Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, the local variant is called Orecchiette, or ‘little ears’, due to their auricle-shaped appearance.
The art of making this unique pasta has been passed down through the generations, and today you can learn from local nonnas (grandmothers) who have learned from their mothers and nonnas before them. They will come to your accommodation (provided there is a kitchen), or you can book an experience in a local home.
The process, which they make look incredibly simple, is actually an art form in itself, and one that’s a little tricky to get the hang of. But once you do, you’ll have a lot of fun churning out the little ears. Once they’re ready to cook, top your creations with another local specialty, turnip tops. Although the combination doesn’t sound particularly appealing, it’s a surprisingly delicious way to enjoy this regional delight!”
BOOK A SIMILAR ACTIVITY:
- Pasta Making Classes in Italy (See best prices on Get Your Guide >>)
Do a Ferrari Test Drive in Modena
Have you always wanted to know what it’s like to drive a Ferrari on the race track? Well… you can find out in Modena!
TIP BY: me! >> Read my blog about doing a Ferrari test drive on the blog! >>
“Modena is the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari, a.k.a. the racing driver and entrepreneur that would put the Ferrari brand on the map and change the future of motor racing forever. Now you can drive a sports car all around Italy, going through towns and villages behind the wheel or as a passenger, but in my opinion, nothing beats driving on a real racing circuit!
At Autodromo Di Modena, you can choose between Lamborghini and Ferarri cars and we suited up for the Ferrari 458 Challenge, especially fitted for the tracks.
We accelerate from 0 to around 200 km/h in just a few seconds, and the rush that you feel when being pushed back in your seat, and shaken in while going through the bends of the track, are almost indescribable. You HAVE to experience this for yourself! Check out the blog to read all about this experience.”
BOOK THIS ACTIVITY:
- Autodromo Di Modena (See their website >>)
Learn how to make Tortellino
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Italy, think pasta!
TIP BY: Lori Sorrentino, travlinmad.com (< read all about slow travel in Italy)
“When you’re in the heart of the gastronomic region known as Emilia Romagna, learning how to make the famous egg pasta is as good as it gets. This part of Italy is known for their stuffed pastas, and whether you call it tortellino, tortellini, or tortellacci all depends on how many or how big you’re going to make them.
Take a tour with Emilia Storytellers to meet local artisan cooks who learned pasta-making from their grandmothers. You’ll learn how to make the egg pasta, roll it whisper thin, stuff it with flavorful ground fillings like pork, cheese, and spinach, then twist it around your fingers into just the right shape and size for the dish you’re preparing.
Afterwards, you’ll sit down to lunch and savor every bite you made with your own hands. But the fun doesn’t end there. A stop at a local tannery in Modena takes making pasta to new heights — you’ll craft a small stuffed tortellino from a piece of supple leather, for the perfect Italian souvenir of your pasta making experience in Modena!”
BOOK THIS ACTIVITY:
- Emilia Storytellers (See their website >>)
Make your own Murano Glass Jewellery
Venetian glass is famous throughout the world for its quality and glass-makers in Venice have been crafting jewellry from Murano glass for centuries.
TIP BY: Claire Sturzaker, talesofabackpacker.com (< read all about this experience on her blog!)
“In this private lesson you can make your own Murano glass jewellery with the help of a master craftsman. Massimiliano Calderone has a workshop in the backstreets of Venice, where he welcomes you to show you how he moulds the glass into intricate shapes and helps you to make your own piece of glass jewellery.
I booked through GetYourGuide where there are timeslots available almost every day (except for when Massimiliano is on holiday!). The cost includes a private lesson with a demonstration of Massimiliano’s work and his guidance as he helps you to create your own glass jewellery, which you get to take home with you.
I loved learning more about the artistry of Murano glass, and the opportunity to craft my own glass pendant in Venice was unique! I also know that when I wear it, no one else has one like it which makes it extra special.
This workshop is not suitable for children due to the open flame and the height of the worktop, and unfortunately is not accessible for wheelchair users as it is a small room.”
BOOK THIS ACTIVITY:
- Murano Island Glass Blowing Demo and Workshop (See best prices on Get Your Guide >>)
HANDS-ON TRAVEL IN SPAIN
Learn Flamenco Dancing
If you are looking to immerse yourself in Southern Spanish culture, then flamenco dancing lessons are a must!
TIP BY: Catherine Brady, travelingwiththelittles.com (< read all about her world travels!)
“I took flamenco dancing lessons in Granada, Spain, but you can find lessons, shows, and dance halls across Andalucía. In Spanish flamenco lessons, you’ll learn hand and feet movements, along with some basic dance moves.
Look for a class that guarantees dancing with a partner, and one that provides a bit of the history surrounding flamenco dancing. From the vibrant colors to the elegant singing to the sharp sounds of the guitar, castanets, and shoes dancing flamenco is as unforgettable as it is enjoyable.
After you’ve taken a lesson or two, be sure to go flamenco dancing or catch a flamenco show. After taking a class, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the time and commitment it takes to master this art form. Flamenco dancing is dripping with culture, history, and vibrancy; it’s a great way to immerse yourself in Spanish culture and experience an art form unique to Spain.”
BOOK A SIMILAR ACTIVITY:
- Granada 1-Hour Authentic Flamenco Show (See best prices on Get Your Guide >>)
Have a go at Medieval Calligraphy
Ripoll is a small town in the Girona Pyrenees, famous for its monastery and ‘scriptorium’, where monks used to copy bibles and books by hand during the Middle Ages.
TIP BY: Margherita Ragg, thecrowdedplanet.com (< read all about hiking in the Girona Pyrenees!)
“To honour this past, the Ethnographic Museum of Ripoll set up an interactive experience called ‘Scriptorium’, in a building separate from the main museum.
First, visitors are taken through an exhibition about the history of Ripoll, the monastery, and the development of the Scriptorium through the centuries. Then, it’s time to practice Medieval calligraphy – after a quick ‘crash course’ visitors can try their hand at writing following Medieval script with a feather or a pen and ink.
The result of this experience will be a great souvenir – a bookmark with your name (or whatever you like) written in Medieval calligraphy to take home with you!”
BOOK THIS ACTIVITY:
- Ethnographic Museum of Ripoll (See their website >>)
Do You Travel to Discover Hands-On Experiences?
Let us know in the comments below what your favourite activity in this list is – and if you have any great additions to share with us. We are always adding to this page, so keep your suggestions coming! Look below for more information about creative travel and where else in the world you can have great hands-on experiences:
Creative Tourism Network
If you are looking for more creative tourism examples, then make sure to head over to the website of the Creative Tourism Network, as they are a fantastic source of information and inspiration for your upcoming travels.
The Creative Tourism Network is the international organization for the Creative Tourism development worldwide. They offer consulting and training to tourism professionals and also host the Creative Tourism Awards to reward projects, companies and destinations that foster the new generation of tourism with the active participation of tourists in creative activities.
Map of The Mediterranean Creative Travel and Tours
Creative Traveller’s Handbook
My travel blogger friend Elena wrote a wonderful book about creative travel that I can highly recommend reading. In this inspiring handbook, she answers not only the question who creative travel is for, but she gives practical tips on how to be creative on your own travels and how to plan your next creative trip down to all the details.
Read my full review of the Creative Traveller’s Handbook >>
Creative Travel Around the World
Read our other articles:
- Creative Travel: Is This The Best Way To See The World?
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