You’ve probably heard of Salvador Dali, but have you heard of Figueres? The city is where Dali was born, and a town he loved, sharing much of his wealth with the town and painstakingly created his own museum there, perhaps one of the world’s most unique towns.
Thanks to a high speed line, Figueres can be done as a daytrip from Barcelona, or enjoyed as a part of time exploring the Costa Brava area. It is not on the coastline, but it’s fairly quick to get over to Roses or one of the other seaside towns to enjoy some sandy shores.
Here’s a bit more about this beautiful town.
If you’ve seen any Dali exhibition or just one painting, you’ll know the man was eclectic at the very least. But a visit to the Dali Museum in Figueres, and you’ll start to understand more about his character – perhaps you’ll think he was totally insane, or perhaps you’ll think he’s a genius.
The Dali Museum is a must visit, and spare a couple of hours to explore the unique circular museum, which has both paintings and installations. And in an added twist, the museum is the artist’s final resting place. It’s worth noting that the Dali Museum can be very busy, particularly in summer, so it’s recommended to plan for an early start on this one.
Once you’ve finished at the museum, take a look at the Faces of Dali, an outdoor installation that pays homage to the man.
Dali isn’t the only museum in town, though it certainly is the most popular. There’s also a toy museum that is very well-regarded, though I haven’t been. Two other museums also round out the options – an archaeological museum and a technology museum.
Now that you’ve had a bit of visual overwhelm, stretch your legs and clear your mind over at the city’s scenic viewpoint. Castell de Sant Ferran is said to be the largest castle in Europe. This is actually what made Figueres famous back in the 18th century. It was prominent economic base for the region, and then turned into a prison, and then a stronghold for various skirmishes, such as Napoleon.
The walk around the perimeter is about 2 miles, just over that including the 10 minute walk from the Dali Museum. The castle is free.
Last but certainly not least is to enjoy some nice wine and some classic Catalan tapas. Unfortunately I think many of the bars and restaurants near the museum are tourist traps, so it’s best to wander off the beaten path. Cerveceria Venecia (C/ Sant Domènec, 4) is not far and a great place to fuel up, though like most of the cafes in town, it’s small and can get busy.
There are also quite a few nice “pastisseria” bakeries in town – you might want to stop by one of these and grab a snack to keep handy if you spend a little too much time on your feet in the museums.
Posted : Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 10:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.