For those who want their vacation to capture the true essence of a culture, a dive into a country’s unique artisanal experiences is a must.
You can discover the people who uphold long-lived customs, participate in celebrations of cherished heritages, and explore historical traditions birthed centuries ago. Whether life-changing or enchanting, artisanal experiences reveal the beauty and charms of Old-World technique coupled with the fast-pace of modernity.
Here are seven incredible destinations that will introduce you to fascinating artisanal experiences from around the world, including art, architecture and cuisine.
Making a sword or knife in Japanese tradition ventures beyond simple skill, traveling into the realm of art. The Japanese sword, also known as a katana, has gained legendary status around the world. The soul of the samurai revolves around the katana, and few master artisans continue the arduous and skillful practice of crafting the iconic blades. You can not only witness a master sword maker at work but can also participate in crafting your own genuine blade under the skilled, trained eye of a genuine swordsmith certified by the Japanese government.
The glinting metal suits of Spanish armor speak not only to incredible craftsmanship, but the fierce, dedicated way of life that typified the medieval warriors of Europe. Knights bravely faced one another in hand-to-hand combat as these finely crafted suits protected heads, arms, and legs from impending strikes. One can’t help but to couple these impressive Medieval Spanish armor with the brave pursuits of Spain’s fight for the Reconquista of Spain or the royal guards venturing to the Crusades. On your trip to Spain, you can observe artisans who continue the traditions of their fathers, shaping metal into armor and steel into swords.
Italy is known for its authentic cuisine, celebrating centuries and even millennia of gastronomic traditions. When you visit Italy, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Pellegrino Artusi, a cooking school established in the late 19th century, where you can observe master chefs at work in the kitchen and join in for a learning session of pasta crafting. The historical school carries the traditions of its founder, considered to be the father of the modern Italian kitchen based on his revolutionary cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. The chef's risk of publishing the book in Italian instead of the more commonly used French language at the time brought a spotlight to the significance of Italian cooking in the Western World.
When thinking of high-end handmade garments in Italy, your mind most likely wanders to Milan or the leather goods of Florence. However, the city of Naples has the world’s highest concentration of high-end handmade menswear, specifically for tailoring and shirt-making. Shopping in Naples offers a handful of shops renowned in the small but elegant fashionable menswear community, crafting impressive, sophisticated, and stylish threads designed with each individual customer in mind. Choose your preferred fabric, style, and stand for fittings to make yourself a fully personalized garment.
Chocolate has been a customary tradition in the French dessert zeitgeist since the wedding of Maria Theresa of Austria to King Louis XIII in the 17th century. The Chocolaterie de Puyricard is founded upon the cornerstones of a craftsmanship tradition, shunning the modernization of mechanization for more intimate and tasteful handmade chocolates. The handmade quality of the confectionery spill over into the workshops, and you will become immersed in the world of Master Chocolatiers crafting nougatine and caramels, or embarking on fillings, dips, or molds akin to culinary artwork.
Bali stands in strength and pride as a nation grounded in tradition and raised into greatness, symbolized by the Garuda, the powerful golden-winged bird that populates Buddist texts and stands as the national emblem of Indonesia, symbolizing the greatness of the island nation. On your visit to Bali, you can visit the private workshop where the tradition of paneling and woodcarving brings pieces to life that stand multiple feet tall, all crafted by a third-generation specialist. The class provides an immersive experience into the art and sophisticated technique of woodcarving in view of the long, lush stretch of neighboring rice paddies.
Learn more: Bali Vacations & Tours
The Aboriginal nations of Australia account for some of the oldest cultural peoples in the world. The work of local Indigenous art in the Anangu paintings have become educational stories, telling of events and unveiling certain ceremonial purposes. You will have the chance to listen to these fascinating lessons, where the knowledge of generations and secrets of local custom-keeping are passed down to you.
Artisanal crafts inspire visitors from around the world to embrace preservation, a connection to past generations, and beauty in daily life. From sword-making to chocolates, crafting noodles and exploring the depths of storytelling culture, a travel specialist with local knowledge can tailor any trip to your preferences. If you are thinking of planning a trip, you can speak with a travel specialist free by filling out a Trip Request Form or by calling 1-888-265-9707.