Entering the high stone walls of Castello d'Empuries is like taking a step back in time. Surrounded by the centuries-old vineyards along the Río Muga, this town seems little by the decades, save for the assortment of fine hotels, restaurants, and adorable shops now inhabiting the ancient buildings.
The most famous edifice is the 14th century Santa María parish church, so grand in its Gothic finery that most people, incorrectly, refer to it as a cathedral. Its massive portal and equally impressive organ are among the finest in Catalonia.
After perusing the antiquities, you could also head to the Empuriabrava, just a few kilometers/miles away, one of the world's largest marinas. This classic resort town, with all sorts of accommodation, clubs, and cafes, makes a fine, wine-soaked foil to Castello de'Empuries' cultural panache.
The closest train station (Renfe) to Castello d'Empuries is in the town of Figueres, 15 kilometers (9mi) away. You can catch the Castello d'Empurie-Empuriabrava bus right from the train station. There are also direct buses to Barcelona and Girona, with the region's two most important airports.
While Castello d'Empuries is always a festive place to visit, September's Terra de Troubadours, a Rennaissance Festival par excellence, offers handicrafts and food stands, jousting, and period costumes galore. Make reservations well in advance.