Travel differently, discover more: Authentic farm stay experience in Catalonia

Have you ever visited a beautiful place and thought, sure this is great, but there has to be more to this country!

Whenever we feel that something is missing in our travels, the reason is usually because we’ve only had a glimpse of our destination but haven’t had the chance to truly connect with the place we’re at. What if we say travelling is not just about visiting tourist attractions and staying in hotels, but a unique opportunity where we can learn about a different way of life, and even spend a week or month (or longer) in a local’s shoes, to create meaningful experiences and connections that can last for a long, long time? 

workaway host Helen and two workawayers sitting under trees and chatting

An immersive local experience

Meet Francis and Helen, long-term Workaway hosts who have been inviting travellers to their home and vegan farm in Catalonia  since 2014!

“You have people who really want to connect with the local place, the people, the culture. Who are looking for something different,” they explain about the workawayers who venture off-grid for a different kind of experience. “They don’t want to be tourists, they want to experience the real life.”

In the countryside of Girona, Workawayers spend the day gardening, sharing meals, taking care of animals together and discovering a more tranquil yet rewarding way of life that many travellers can’t find back at home.

four workawayers and host Francis lining up to pass branches to each other

A place where everybody shines

These hosts truly bring out the best in people - the work varies depending on your own interests and abilities. No matter what I did, Helen and Francis made me feel appreciated and useful. The space is vast, the gardens are lush, the animals are glowing with personality… but most importantly, Helen and Francis are the most outstanding people who will uplift, inspire, and assist you.

workawayer Simoon from Canada

Francis and Helen describe their Workaway experience as a ‘university’, and when we read about all the fantastic feedback (over 60!) we can definitely understand why! Not only have they created a peaceful and wonderful farm surrounded by beautiful nature, it’s also a welcoming  space for workawayers to share their skills, explore new ones, and bring creative visions to life through the help of their host’s encouragement. Taking care of pigs and chickens, learning to cut bamboo, singing and making music together… every experience differs but are equally rewarding!

“We always say to our workawayers, we look forward to seeing you the next time!” Francis and Helen explain about all the workawayers who go back to their farm for a second or even third time. “The focus for us is about what they have given us and helped us with, but also their future and their development. And if that means they return to us, then that’s fantastic!” 

two workawayers making pizza on an oven and drinking wine outdoors

A second home to return to 

We lived in a beautiful place with all kinds of different landscapes surrounding them, from the mountains of the Pyrenees to the bay of roses and the beautiful countryside in between. Francis and Helen were eager to show me places around or bring me to the train station to visit surrounding cities, but I enjoyed the walks in the countryside surrounding the house the most.

workawayer Eelke from the Netherlands

Nestled between mountains and the sea, it’s not surprising that many workawayers marvel at the area’s incredible scenery! When it’s time to relax, Francis and Helen often bring workawayers on nature excursions, art events, as well as recommend interesting places to visit in the region: from the beaches of Costa Brava to hikes on the Cap de Creus, the Dali museum in Figueres, to the impressive architecture in Girona and Escala as well as the wine region of Emporda… just to name a few. 

Beyond these new places we get to see and discover, most workawayers highlight the incredible atmosphere and friendships they have found at Francis and Helen’s home, and that’s exactly what we love the most about travelling! What truly makes our trips memorable are the life-long connections we get to create along the way. Even though we may be travelling alone and far away from home, discovering more welcoming communities like this means we will always belong to somewhere that feels like a second home…

Check out our video with hosts Francis and Helen here!


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