Ever since I spent a month in Spain last September, I have wanted to discover more parts of this gorgeous and sunny country. This is why I was so excited to explore a part of Catalonia, a region to the North East of Spain, after the Christmas holidays.
I went with my mum to a town called Figueras for a few days and absolutely adored it! Here’s what we did:
Day one: exploring the coast
On our very first morning we headed to Cadaqués, a very pretty town by the sea, not so distant from Figueras. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so we walked around the whole morning, admiring the amazing views from the harbour and from a hill.
I especially loved all the white buildings and the transparent sea. We also drove around the town to see individual houses with lovely gardens and a stunning view on the horizon.
- Port Lligat
This place, that I wouldn’t even call a town as it was really so small, is where you can visit Dalí’s house, and even though you have to go there by car and there is nothing else to see, it is something I would 100% recommend to anyone. Not only the house has its own private beach and is surrounded by the sea, the visit in itself is very interesting.
Dalí is a very well-known Spanish artist, mainly famous for its surrealist art and eccentric moustache. Well, his house is exactly how you would expect it: out of the ordinary, surrealistic and eccentric. The whole visit takes around an hour and a half, and you can visit the gardens as well as the inside of the house.
The gardens offer an incredible view on the sea and the beach, but this is not their main characteristic: a lot of pieces of art and sculptures are scattered around: from weird-looking towers to a white patio with a swimming pool and very kitsch furniture. I feel like this would be great for kids as well, as it really feels like an adventure!
The inside of the house is eccentric in the same way and is kept exactly how it used to be: all the rooms are decorated with flowers – the immortelle – that Dalí’s wife used to put everywhere, and it is filled with interesting objects, pieces of art, photographs, and mirrors – so that all the light from the outside could flow in. I loved how all the furniture was arranged and how breathy and airy everything looked! You can also go inside Dalí’s studio and see how he used to work.
- The Cap de Creus national park
The last part of the day mainly consisted of driving around with the car, along the gorgeous coast. We stopped to eat a delicious paella in a restaurant that had an incredible view over the coast, and enjoyed the sunset and fresh air from there.
After that, we went back to Figueras, had a tasty dinner with tapas and headed back to our accommodation, to prepare for the next day!
Day two: San Ferran Castle & Figueras
- Castel de San Ferran
The day started with a visit to this military fortress, barely one kilometer away from Figueras, that overlooks the whole area. It was a gorgeous day and the hill-top location of the castle was absolutely perfect. We went there in the morning and we had the whole place to ourselves, which I appreciated a lot!
The San Ferran Castle is, as I said, a military fortress that was built in the eighteenth century. Nowadays you can visit pretty much every part of it, and it is a really interesting visit that brings you back in time for a while.
I especially loved the church because even though every building was perfectly preserved, it was the only “ruin”. It didn’t have a roof but the architecture was still recognizable, so it gave off that “abandoned-place” vibe that I really like. Same thing for one of the rooms where soldiers would sleep, where there were still the beds they used to have, as if people rushed out of it and never came back.
Another thing I loved in the castle was a viewpoint where you could see the surrounding countryside and the snowy mountains at a distance. Granted, the motorways all around it broke the illusion that you were back in time, but still, the view was dreamy!
Finally, I really loved the stable as well: this completely empty and large corridor, with dimmed lights was a perfect end to the visit!
- Figueras and Dalí museum
We had a lovely lunch in the sun, then continued our visit of Figueras. It is a small town so it only takes a few hours to walk around, but the old centre is lovely and there are a lot of cute shops. We wandered around for a bit, checking the shops we didn’t know, stopping in front of nice buildings.
Then came the time to visit the main attraction of the city: the Dalí museum. Well, not only its architecture (see the picture above) is, from the outside, quite remarkable and, again, out-of-the-ordinary, the inside has pretty much the same characteristics.
Obviously, inside the museum you can see a huge variety of works of art from Dalí that show how crazy his creative mind was: from optical illusions to furniture and statues, as well as many of his paintings.
Even though I am not much of a museum fan myself I would absolutely recommend this one. It is interactive, varied, colourful, and in general very interesting. Even the structure of the museum and the rooms are not common.
The ticket to this museum also gives you access to the museum of Dalí’s jewels, which I would also recommend 100%. In this very small museum are showcased the jewels that Dalí made with real gemstones, gold and silver. It is shiny, sparkly, fun and again, it really represents how crazy Dalí was. He didn’t just make basic jewellery, and this is what makes this museum special.
Day 3: the journey back home
Our third day was also the last one in Spain, and we started our journey back to the South East of France. But in doing so, instead of taking the motorway, we decided to drive on the small coastal roads with great views on the sea, passing through all the quaint little towns of Norther Spain and Southern France.
In doing so, we stopped at the French town of Collioure, a pretty little seaside town that is getting more and more famous. There, we wandered around in the cute little streets and around the harbour, then stopped for a delicious lunch – probably the best we’ve had in the whole trip – in a Catalan-inspired restaurant, hidden in one of the least crowded streets. Not only the food was delicious, but all the staff there was genuinely nice and had a true passion for good food. The perfect ending for this incredible weekend!
Now that I am back in rainy Brussels all of these sunny memories seem so far away, but going away in a warmer and sunnier place really made me feel better, more relaxed and at the same time energized to start the new year!
I am so happy that I had the chance to visit yet another part of Spain, and it makes me want to visit the country even more. I feel like it’s a country that just cannot disappoint you, with all the delicious food and warm people – and weather!
Have you ever been to Catalonia or Spain? Would you like to?