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2 Days In: Cadaqués, Spain


Situated two and a half hours from Barcelona on the famed Costa Brava, is the strange and beautiful town of Cadaques. Nestled into a bay, this sleepy fishing village is home to only a couple of thousand residents but because of its peacefulness and clear ocean waters, will on Summer weekends hold ten times that in tourists. There are only two ways to reach Cadaques, by road or by boat. Buses leave Figueres frequently, which itself is easily accessible by train or bus from Girona or Barcelona, and take a little over 30-minutes. A word of caution, the road is picturesque but winding and hilly making for some, a nauseous trip. The other route to Cadaques is via boat which during the Summer months come frequently to many towns along the Costa Brava, especially Roses.


For such a small village, Cadaqués holds a wealth of history owing both to its reclusive location and sweeping coastline. It’s location is reason why many locals up until the early 20th century were more likely to have visited the Americas than Barcelona or even nearby Figueres. Until that time, only a small trail, which could take several hours to traverse, led to Figueres, the location of the nearest train station.
Interestingly, the village of Cadaqués has its own dialect of Catalan which in some cases can differ greatly from the rest of the province, in particular, the use the of articles. This variation is a leftover from the Middle Ages, which because of the town’s isolating geography has persisted into modern times.

View of Cadaqués with Shadow of Mount Pani, Salvador Dali, 1917

View of Cadaqués with Shadow of Mount Pani, Salvador Dali, 1917

Many artists throughout the years have travelled here both for a respite from Barcelona and inspiration including Pablo Picasso, Joan Míro, Marcel Duchamp, who used to spend afternoons at the bar Meliton playing chess with the locals, and most famously, Salvador Dalí. Cadaqués was a popular holiday spot for the Dali family and later in life the artist built a home in the nearby village of Port Lligat. Dalí’s house is visible from the bay at Cadaqués and only a 30-minute walk along the bay. Much of Dalí’s later work was influenced by the geography of Cadaqués, in particular, the strange rockformations that line the coast. The formations are made both from the sea and the intense winds that batter the town called Tramuntana (author Gabriel García Márquez mentions the town and the winds in his story Tramuntana) that can blow has hard as 100km an hour. The winds are said also to cause the residents of Cadaqués to have strange quirks, perhaps another reason why so many artists are drawn here.
IMG_6397Casa Museo Salvador Dali
Port-lligat, S/N
17488 Cadaques, Spain
972 25 10 15
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Passatge Maritim, S/N, 17488 Cadaques, Spain – 972 25 82 01
Google Map
Art lovers may also recognize the 16thc. Santa Maria church perched high upon the hill of Cadaqués. Dali includes it in his work and writes about the golden altarpiece in one of his books, which was financed by local fisherman, saying that the fishermen hanged living lobsters among the angels when it was built.
Church of Santa Maria
Carrer del Portal de Mont, Cadaqués 17488 – Spain
Phone: +34 (0)97 225 8315
Google Map
Streets of CadaquésFor those seeking further adventure, the bay around Cadaqués is a national underwater park incredibly rich in marine life. Many of the shops around the town square rent snorkeling equipment and there are diving schools offering day tours of prime locations around the area. And if simply lying on the beach is what you are after, simply walk along the shore to find the perfect beach for you. The sand will be gravely but during the Summer, the water is warm enough to swim. Remember though, you are in Spain and nude sunbathing for all ages is common. The family beach in Cadaqués is S’Alqueria Gran which will offer shy tourists a little more modesty.
S’Alqueria Gran‎
17488 Cadaqués, Spain
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All photos © Jennifer Kellas

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