Spain: How to frolic in Cadaqués for (almost) free
Salvador Dalí, the super-famous surrealist painter who spent his later years in Cadaqués once said: “I settled here for the light breeze, the uneventful landscape and the absence of wild boars.” Really? No, he didn’t say any of that. But he did build quite the seaside house and workshop on the banks of this magical village set just a bus ride away from Barcelona.
And now it’s your turn. For a day, you too can be eccentric and free on this most eastern point of Spain without needing a surreal amount of money.
Visiting Casa Salvador Dalí
Let’s get straight to the point. Cadaqués’ main attraction is the cooky man himself. After spending many of his summers here as a youth, the mustachioed master turned a series of old fishing houses into his permanent seaside residence and studio. Visit both the house’s interior and the entire property set on picturesque Portlligat—including Dalí’s phallic-shaped pool—by booking your entry here or by stopping by the ticket booth (very) early on the day of your tour.
Enchantment 101 for a few euros
Once you’ve sauntered through the Dalí house, rip up your map (or turn off your mobile data) and lose yourself amongst the cloud-painted houses and quiet streets of this charming little village. Free highlights include the 16th century Santa Maria church with its stunning baroque altarpiece, the loitering cats from the nearby shelter chilling outside the church and the waterfront lined with restaurants, cafes and the emblematic Casino de la Amistat.
Then have yourself a coffee at the storied Bar Meliton (Paseo General Escofet, 30) where Dalí did his daily PR with patrons and Marcel Duchamp was known to play a game a chess. It will only set you back a couple of euros, because this old-school spot is still known for a great price to quality ratio along the waterfront.
Cap de Creus Natural Park: A free seaside oasis
What’s that you say? Feeling a little more adventurous? Surrounded by a very lunar-looking landscape, Cadaqués’ Cap de Creus Natural Park offers some of the most spectacular hiking potential this side of the peninsula. Although ear-flappingly windy at times, the park’s rocky trails will give you views of the Mediterranean and neighboring Cadaqués that will make you feel like the master of the universe.
Make sure to also ingest some unforgettable fare (and more panoramic wonderment) from the patio of the Cap de Creus Restaurant, which serves up unpretentious local food and drinks at reasonable-licious prices.
“Boarn” to run
Although it may seem like a fabulous idea to hike through Cap de Creus Park under a full moon after an evening of cocktails in Cadaqués, a close encounter with a wild boar welcoming committee might slightly change the aura of your evening. Although relatively harmless unless you mess with their young, the hefty mammals will scare the fearless wanderlust out of you and make you feel shame in front of your guests from overseas. Bring a flashlight because the natural park can be, well, pretty natural at times.
How to get there
Cadaqués can be reached by bus or a train/bus combo from Barcelona (about 100 miles away) with tickets starting around €24. You can also get there easily from Figueres or Girona. You can plan your route on the Visit Cadaqués website.