Immerse yourself in surreal art.
Barcelona is a living tribute to great artists: Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell and the Picasso Museum are on most art-lovers’ itineraries when they visit the Catalan city. But to see more great art, it’s necessary to take a daytrip about two hours north-east of Barcelona to the towns of Figueres and Port Lligat, where you’ll find several tributes to surrealist Salvador Dalí. Even if you don’t consider yourself an art aficionado, the buildings dedicated to his life there are breathtaking, one-of-a-kind spectacles.
Visit the Dalí-designed museum
First stop is the Dalí Theatre-Museum (Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5) in Figueres, the town where the artist was born. Dalí built the museum on top of the ruins of the former municipal theatre, designing every detail of the structure and the displays within. Opened in 1974, it contains more than 1500 works (including some that were made specifically for display here) from all stages of his artistic journey, as well as his crypt and pieces from other invited artists. It’s around a 90-minute drive from Barcelona and entry is €14.
Take a stroll down La Rambla
The museum will take up most of the morning but a wander down this busy street is the perfect way to spend time before lunch, if only to look out for the perfect Dalí souvenir. On the street and in the surrounding historical centre you’ll find big-name stores, such as the ubiquitous Zara, as well as a mix of locally owned boutiques.
Time for tapas
The El Motel Restaurant in Hotel Empordà (Avinguda de Salvador Dalí i Domènech, 170) is about a 15–minute walk from the museum. Seafood croquettes, salty Iberian cured ham with tomato, and zucchini flowers with two types of cheese are a good place to start appreciating fresh Spanish produce.
Stretch your legs
Once you’re back in the car on the way to your final stop, make a detour to the Cap de Creus Natural Park, the first marine and terrestrial nature reserve in Catalonia. As you gaze upon the ruggedly beautiful coastline, you’ll understand why it’s been protected: hidden coves, bizarre rocky outcrops and sheer cliffs abound. Take a short drive along the coast or park and hike up one of the trails for a fuller appreciation of the spectacular scenery.
See a home like no other
It’s hard to believe the home Dalí and his wife, Gala, lived in for more than 40 years in the village of Port Lligat was once a humble fisherman’s hut. The amazing structure has now been preserved as a museum – and the couple’s artistic touch is everywhere. This cosy, whitewashed building is truly a treasure-trove of weird and wonderful objects. Where else would you find a large bear adorned in jewels and holding a lamp greeting you upon entry? Or a hot-pink, lip-shaped bench overlooking a pool? Tickets are €11 and must be reserved beforehand. Visitors are assigned an entry time, which is strictly enforced, as only eight people can enter at once. The house can be accessed via a short walk from the nearby town of Cadaqués, around an hour’s drive from Figueres.