5 Craft Tours Around Europe To Sign Up For

For your next vacation, escape the ordinary, skip the usual sightseeing. Instead, sign up for craft tours which offer a unique experience
Holiday in Spain and discover  flamenco-inspired crafts
Holiday in Spain and discover flamenco-inspired craftsJOSE_ESCUDERO/Shutterstock

You may have heard of writers' retreats, but how about a craft retreat in the English countryside where you can master a new skill? For your next holiday, ditch the sightseeing tours and opt for craft tours instead. These tours offer a unique opportunity to explore breathtaking destinations while immersing yourself in captivating craft traditions on tours led by experts. Here's a list of craft holidays in Europe where you can engage with locals, savour delicious food, and explore stunning locations.

Stitch In Time

UK-based Stitchtopia offers exclusive small group craft holidays, with a maximum of 18 guests, designed and led by renowned crafting experts. All holidays are commissionable to agents and include workshops in knitting, crochet, patchwork, quilting, embroidery, and textiles. Tours range from a beginners’ crochet weekend in the UK to a 14-day Textile Sensations of South Korea itinerary accompanied by award-winning textile artist Janice Gunner. This autumn, they have a holiday tour lined up combining beautiful landscapes, visits to historic attractions, and the chance to enhance your hand-stitching techniques in workshops led by the expert Janet Goddard. The tour includes highlights such as Alnwick Castle, Beamish Open-Air Museum, Bowes Museum, and Durham Cathedral with an embroidery and textile tour, as well as two days of hand-sewing workshops. Each holiday is led by a passionate and enthusiastic expert who specializes in their craft, allowing you to learn different techniques and improve your skills from the best. For instance, there's Aleks Byrd, a knitwear designer with roots in Estonia, Canada, and the USA; Anna Nikipirowicz – a crochet and knit designer, tutor, and author of several crochet books; and Emma Leith, who is internationally renowned for her yarn-bombing exploits and has worked on numerous large-scale commissioned yarn installations. More details here.

Travel the world learning about crocket and knitting crafts
Travel the world learning about crocket and knitting crafts@stitchtopiauk /Instagram

Greek Emroideries

Embark on a journey to Greece and delve into the art of kofto/eyelet and traditional embroideries of the country. Through the tour, you will be introduced to Greek motifs and traditional needlework by Theodora Arampatzes, a multi-disciplinary artist who currently teaches therapeutic embroidery as part of her work at the Athens NeuroTraining Center. Her work has been exhibited at various prestigious venues, including the Goulandris Foundation and the Municipal Art Gallery of Athens. As an expert in this field, Theodora will also delve into the history of these crafts, which have been historically associated with dowry gifts in Greek culture. During your stay, you will reside in the picturesque village of Lafkos in South Pelion, one of the 24 officially 'listed' villages in the region of Pelion, located about 45 km from the city of Volos. The village boasts medieval paths, charming village lanes, a beautiful square with an impressive church and plane trees, as well as local amenities including bakeries, mini-markets, a craftsman jeweler, gift shops, museums, and tavernas. More details here.

The historic square of Lafkos, with cafeterias
The historic square of Lafkos, with cafeterias Apostolis Giontzis/Shutterstock

Balkan Odyssey

Embark on a captivating journey in Bulgaria, a land rooted in the rich tradition of Balkan art and crafts. Sign up for an immersive week of experiencing the beauty of handmade wonders. Learn the intricate art of pottery making, iconic icon painting, and wood carving. Engage in the spirited traditional Bulgarian dance, "horo". Indulge in delectable homemade delights such as banitsa and sarmichki, all while residing in a charming century-old traditional house constructed with natural materials like wood and stone. You will also get to meet the dedicated locals preserving Bulgaria's crafts and traditions. More details here.

A Spanish Fiesta

Embroidered scarves at a fair in Barcelona
Embroidered scarves at a fair in BarcelonaMiguel Zagran/Shutterstock

Discover the vibrant and culturally diverse world of needlecraft in Spain on a holiday with Creative Experiences. From the intricate lacework of Andalusia to the colourful embroidery of Catalonia, this country offers a rich tapestry of traditions waiting to be explored. Join their exclusive tours to visit specialised workshops in cities like Seville and Granada, where skilled artisans offer workshops and demonstrations, allowing you to learn the techniques and create your own flamenco-inspired crafts. In October 2024, they are hosting a lacemaking retreat on the Costa Dourada in Spain. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced lacemaker, this retreat at the Gran Palas Hotel & Spa offers a picturesque setting, right on the beach, surrounded by palm trees providing shade. More details here.

Paris Mon Amour

Enjoy the Parisian vibe on a tour
Enjoy the Parisian vibe on a tour Page Light Studios/Shutterstock

France is a great destination for those who love needlework and travel. With its rich history and tradition of artistic craftsmanship, the country offers unique opportunities to explore the world of textile crafts while immersing oneself in the beauty and charm of its cities and countryside. Explore Paris through its textiles on a special holiday with the "Textile Tour of Paris," which includes visits to some of Paris's most iconic fabric stores and a special private tour of "Au Ver à Soie." The tour also includes a trip to Versailles to visit the Musée de la Toile de Jouy and an exclusive experience at the magnificent Maison Sajou. Other activities include scenic river boat tours of the Seine with dinner served under the twinkling lights of Paris. More details here.

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