Spain not only offers many beautiful, interesting and vibrant big cities but it also boasts lots of absolutely stunning more rural or seaside settlements. The northern part of the country has a rocky and somehow jungle-looking landscape with amazing beaches along the coast.
A weekend trip to the Costa Brava north of Barcelona is absolutely worth your time – you will discover small fishermen’s villages with beautiful creeks offering pebble beaches, completely secluded from the rest of the world and almost untouched. Between the cliffs lies Cadaqués, a small fishing town, known since the 1960s as home to some of the most famous European artists like Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dalí. The latter made this town famous – he established himself in Cadaqués because he found inspiration for his work in the rough landscapes. These landscapes are a recurrent theme in his art, especially the Tudela National Park.
Situated on the north of the Costa Brava, only about an hour from the border with France, Cadaqués is approximately two and a half hours’ drive from Barcelona. Even though it’s a small town, there are plenty of things to see and discover – let’s start with the town itself. Walk around in the cobbled streets, have an ice-cream in the town’s charming harbour, visit the Parròquia de Cadaqués a well as the Catholic Church overlooking the town. As you wander the streets, be sure to check out the Casa Serinyana (Sa Casa Blaua) or ‘Blue House’, located on the seafront, a modernist house built in the 20th century.
For lunch or dinner, try Xiringuito de la Mei on the Ses Oliveres beach and enjoy their fresh seafood, rice, pasta and traditional dishes with an ice cold glass of white wine. Over the years it has built up a strong following, and its popularity means it attracts the same hungry diners year after year who return to devour its delicacies. The big highlight of this wonderful little town, however, is its relationship with artists like Salvador Dalí, whose house you can visit to get a glimpse into the eccentric mastermind’s head. Located on the road to Portlligat (a beach in Cadaqués), it stands out with the enormous egg and the giant silver heads on the eaves of the roof. For more information on times and tickets, click here.
From Cadaqués, there are a lot of possibilities to visit the surroundings – our favourite is the walk from Portlligat to the Tudela National Park and finishing at the Cap de Creus, with stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea. The Tudela National Park has been made accessible for pedestrians with a large path. Along this walk, you will notice how erosion has sculpted the limestone into wild shapes, which are said to have inspired Dalí in his work. You can access Tuleda and the Cap de Creus either by car or walking – but we do recommend that you take the path on foot as you’ll find some beautiful hidden beaches where you can enjoy the afternoon sun and work up an appetite for a delicious dinner!
For dinner, head to Talla Restaurante on the other side of the harbour of Cadaqués. From there you can enjoy the sunset and savour some delicious Spanish food. If you have more time and don’t feel like leaving just yet, explore the peninsula – it’s absolutely breathtaking. Roses, south of Cadaqués, and its bay have perfect conditions for windsurfing (if you fancy giving it a go!) and a beautiful citadel that you can visit. On the other side of the peninsula lies Selva del Mar, a small fisherman’s town, equally as beautiful as Cadaqués. The Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, hidden between the sea and the mountains, is also worth a visit.
Cadaqués is only a 2½ hours’ drive away from Barcelona and makes for a beautiful journey. If you prefer to use public transport, trains run frequently from Barcelona and Girona to Figueres, from where you can take a 1 hour bus for just €6. Alternatively, there are buses leaving 5 times a day from Estació del Norte in Barcelona. The journey is about 3 hours. Visit the website for bus timetables and prices.