I’m a doer. I get antsy after fifteen minutes on a sun-lounger and I find it hard to sit still for long. When I’m travelling I’m happiest exploring, checking out food markets, taking photos or talking to local people. So, when someone suggested a craft holiday in Spain I didn’t need to think twice.
A chance to explore a new destination, meet local people and indulge my artistic side with a group of friends. Perfect. Creative Escapes sounded like my kind of trip.
Four of us booked flights to Almeria in Spain; Nicky one of my best friends, Sue, who I’d been on a girl’s trip with years ago, and Lea who I’d not met before. We were off on a Creative Escapes crafty holiday and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Creative Escapes craft holidays are run by Karen and Kathryn, British ex-pats who have lived in Spain for ten years. For a bit of background, Karen and I go back a long way, we’ve been good friends since our children were at school together. Too many years to mention, let’s just say they’re all grown up now… I’ve known Kathryn for around 20 years since she and Karen got together.
Karen met us at Almeria airport with driver and minibus and we made the journey, through beautiful rugged landscapes and valleys of olive groves to our accommodation around 45-minutes away. We spent a wonderful few days under the Spanish sunshine trying our hand at new crafts, eating wonderful local food, chatting and laughing. There’s always a lot of laughing at Creative Escapes…
Creative Escapes in 2022
That was back in 2018. Fast forward to 2022 and there have been some exciting changes.
Creative Escapes has survived the pandemic and emerged better than before with a change of venue and they’re more passionate than ever to help you learn and love new crafts.
So, it’s time for an update to let you know how Creative Escapes will give you an amazing crafting holiday in Spain in 2022.
Creative Escapes has come home and now welcomes guests to Karen and Kathryn’s own Cortijo. This traditional Spanish property sits nestled in the hills close to Bedar in Almeria. It has a pool, crafting areas, lounge with well-stocked honesty bar, peaceful outdoor nooks, patios, terraces and far-reaching views over the hills.
Cortijo Panes can accommodate six guests in three rooms all with private en-suites. The stylish rooms are all newly built or renovated, with impressive attention to detail and authentic touches. Let take a look around…
The Craft Room
A large bright craft room, designed by Kathryn, sits at the back of the Cortijo. Floor to ceiling glass doors can be opened up to take in every bit of the stunning view beyond.
Beautiful tiles inspired by the Alhambra in cool blues and greens decorate the walls, there are comfy chairs (re-upholstered by Karen) for taking in the view and the large table is perfect for crafting.
This gorgeous room, which is air-conditioned, also makes a perfect dining area and is where breakfast and dinner are served.
The Pool and Gardens
The gardens are beautifully planted with cacti, palms and colourful flowers. It’s also home to a beautiful ancient olive tree.
There are various patio areas, terraces and shady nooks which are perfect for tucking yourself away with a book and a glass of wine or take an indulgent siesta. If you’re feeling energetic there are some good walks into the countryside from the Cortijo.
The pool is new and sits in a grassy area surrounded by sun loungers and parasols. A six-seater hot tub is soon to be added. The views from the gardens are gorgeous and seemingly endless.
There are three rooms with private bathrooms at the Cortijo. Two in the grounds and one in the main house. Tea and coffee making facilities are in each room and there’s WiFi throughout the property.
Follow the plant-lined pathways from the main house to the Casita. This pretty bungalow is decorated in cool blues and greens and is located away from the house at the end of the well-stocked garden.
The open plan kitchen and living room have exposed beams and comfortable furnishings. The bedroom has twin beds and there’s an en-suite shower room and air conditioning.
Outside, the Casita is surrounded by plants and patios and has direct access to the swimming pool terrace by steps or ramp.
The Crafters Cabin
This self-contained solid pine garden room was built during the first lockdown in 2020. These girls know how to keep busy…! The cosy cabin has a double bed and en-suite shower room and air-conditioning.
Outside the cabin there’s a patio area with table and chairs and a hammock for relaxing for when you’re not crafting or enjoying the pool.
The Guest Room
This twin room is in the main house with double doors leading out onto a terrace in the shade of an ancient olive tree. The perfect spot to enjoy your morning cuppa.
The room is beautifully decorated with cool, calm colours and still has the original beams on the ceiling, There’s a bright, colourful en-suite shower room and ceiling fan.
The Food at Cortijo Panes
The food is local, fresh and creative. The meals you have will vary depending which time of year you visit and what’s in season. To give you an idea here are some of the dishes we enjoyed.
Breakfast and dinners are accompanied by stunning views from the craft area. The food, which is all beautifully prepared and cooked by talented chef Kathryn, is first class. Pack stretchy pants. Ingredients are all locally sourced or home-grown. The olive oil used for cooking is pressed from olives from the garden’s olive tree.
Food allergies and dietary requirements are all taken care of at the Cortijo and if you ask Kathryn she might even pass on a recipe or two.
Breakfasts are the kind that will have you getting up early – there’s an excellent choice. Fresh fruit and local yoghurt with honey from Sierra Cabrera and home-made granola; beautifully crunchy but not too sweet.
Also on the breakfast table you’ll find jamón, goat’s cheese, freshly baked bread and eggs from their own hens. And, of course, tea, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.
On arrival, we were welcomed with a glass of sparkling cava and delicious home-made canapés of Ibérico jamón with sun dried tomatoes, smoked salmon cream cheese, caviar and artichoke with manchego.
Expect delicious lunches of a salad of crisp lettuce, local cheese, walnuts and potato, ripe juicy tomatoes, fabulous frittata and fresh crusty bread served with Spanish wine and beer.
Kathryn’s Indian themed meal is superb and I hope it’s on the menu during your visit. Think aromatic lamb biryani, vegetable curry and a selection of accompaniments including mango chutney, lime pickle, a red onion and pomegranate salsa and raita.
Melt-in-the-mouth slow cooked pig cheeks in a leek, sherry and mustard sauce followed by chocolate fondants garnished with olive oil pearls and homemade vanilla ice cream was another favourite meal.
There’s a cooking demonstration of Paella one morning, which really is a must-do on any visit to Spain. Afterwards, sit down and enjoy Spain’s national dish for lunch with a glass of Sangria.
The wine served most nights is a very acceptable Ribera del Duero and Albariño.
The craft holidays run from Saturday to Saturday and you’ll take part in plenty of activities and workshops as well as having time to enjoy the Cortijo grounds and relax. The crafts included in your itinerary will vary depending on the availability of the tutor. The following are some of the crafts and activities on offer and are guaranteed to inspire your creativity.
Silver Jewellery Making
This is a fabulous day spent with goldsmith Clare at Castellón De Bedar, her home studio, to learn elementary jewellery making skills.
First-timers will make their own silver ring from start to finish using traditional techniques. Returners will make the match bangle and charms. There’s a break for lunch with a delicious meal served at the property.
At the end of the day you’ll celebrate your finished jewellery with cava and canapés.
All the materials are provided to make two bars of Castile soap in a choice of fragrances. The virgin olive oil used for the soap is made from the olives produced by the old olive tree in the Cortijo garden.
Choose from a selection of moulds and essentials oils and learn how to make your own soap which make unique handmade gifts. This simple technique is easy to learn and can be done back at home too.
Precious Metal Clay
Spend a day getting creative with precious metal clay (PMC) and make some beautiful silver jewellery. The clay contains millions of tiny silver particles and you’ll learn how to shape and mould it before cutting and texturing the clay into a piece of jewellery.
The clay is then fired before being burnished and polished to finish. I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at the jewellery making and made a pair of solid silver earrings and a pendant to take home.
Cyanotypes also known as Blueprints, Sunprints, Ferroprussiate prints or Iron prints and need a sunny day to produce. Luckily, there’s no shortage of those at the Cortijo.
The photographic printing process produces a Cyan Blue or Prussian Blue print which is where the name blueprint comes from. It’s a non-camera, negative process which can produce some beautiful results.
Take a creative foray into card-making with Julie using coloured inks and a fine pen using wet on wet technique. Julie teaches simple ways of creating designs and patterns.
It wasn’t long before we were all amazed that we’d produced two or three pretty decent cards. I used mine as birthday cards for special people when I got back home.
Time to try your hand at making mosaics. Learn how to design and create your own mosaics with a huge selection of materials like glass, porcelain, vintage china and glass. Design your mosaic freeform or use a moulded pattern for your piece.
Design tips and guidance are provided with tips on cutting tiles, laying the pieces and grouting.
Visit to Mojacar
A day during your craft getaway is spent visiting Mojacar, the Moorish pueblo. There’ll be time to take in the views, shop and have a coffee on the viewing terrace. There is a relatively new museum which details how life used to be in Mojacar which makes for an interesting visit.
A tapas lunch is enjoyed together by the beach. Afterwards there is some time for beach combing, swimming or just relaxing before heading back. Mojacar is around 45 minutes from Cortijo Panes.
Our few days with Creative Escapes were spent creating some lovely mementos, memories and having a massive amount of laughs. I found my craft holiday totally therapeutic and relaxing and loved making jewellery, ceramics and painting.
I enjoyed every minute of my time spent at Creative Escapes, the food was amazing and we were beautifully looked after by Kathryn and Karen throughout our stay, as you will be too. They both want you to have the best possible craft holiday.
More about Creative Escapes craft holidays in Spain
Creative Escapes craft holidays in Spain are designed to take care of everything from the moment you land in Almeria.
Airport transfers to the Cortijo from Almeria, the silver jewellery making workshop and day trip to Mojacar are all included. All tuition and materials are included in the price and everything you create goes back home with you as a memento of your craft holiday in Spain.
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation is on a full-board basis. Meals are served at the Cortijo except for one lunch at Castellon de Bedar and a tapas lunch on the visit to Mojacar. Home cooked evening meals using locally sourced ingredients are served with Spanish wine or beer. The food is excellent.
For availability and more detailed information including costs please visit the Creative Escapes website. Do please say The Travelbunny sent you if you decide to book.
Flights and airport transfers
Flights are not included in the package price and arrive and depart from Almeria airport. Transfer times from Almeria are approximately one hour and are included in the cost. Check flights to Almeria Spain.
Flights also arrive into Murcia and Alicante airports. These airport transfers are not included in the cost but Creative Escapes can help with organising these at a small cost. They will pick you up and drop off at the coach stop.
Holidays run from Saturday to Saturday.
Personal holiday insurance is a requirement of your booking and is not included. Don’t forget to protect yourself and your trip. I use and recommend World Nomads travel insurance.
Have you been on a craft holiday? Which activity appeals to you most?
Many thanks to Creative Escapes who hosted my 3 night stay and mini craft-break.
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