This post is about my brief trip to Cadaques to see the famous Salvador Dali’s place and I hope this gives you useful advice on your journey!
To give you a quick back story, during a trip in France in April 2014, it started to rain and as Spain was 2 and a half hours away from where we were (Narbonne), we decided to travel to Spain for some sunshine.
Top tip for shoppers – if you are going across the border, there is an amazing retail outlet that has the big brands including Mango Outlet, United Colors of Benetton, Guess, Mango H.E and many more.
The outlet is called Grand Jonquera SC OT, Avinguda Galicia, La Jonquera
The famous Salvador Dali was born and baptised in Spain, Dali placed his main exhibition in next to the church where he was baptised in. Dali’s sculptures are placed around the area so you will know if your in the right place. The building is noticeable.
Unfortunately, we were unprepared for the MASSIVE queue due to the kids on half term meaning that we couldn’t see Dali’s masterpieces, however, it wasn’t a wasted journey as in the same building (different entrance) there is Dali’s Jewels exhibition which is around the back and the tickets for the jewels are purchased in this area. Dali’s jewels exhibition wasn’t busy, however, tickets for the main exhibition allows them to visit the Jewels afterwards so I would imagine that this part got busy later on.
We paid 9 euros each and saw some magnificent pieces, here’s a few to see.
Address: Gala-Salvador Dali Square, 5 E-17600
Website: Click here
We travelled to Cadaques to see where Dali created his masterpieces. Cadaques is a picturesque town with the sound of soft waves, fishing boats floating still and the smell of fresh air makes you feel glad that it is not tourist season. A village with over 2000 habitants, the land that was almost cut off by the main land, that is of course until the 19th century with catalonian warm weather and beautiful – no wonder Dali and Picasso loved painting in this town!
We stayed in a 3 star Hotel Llane Petit (address and link will be posted on the bottom) a little further out but a 7 minute walk to the centre and has side parking (which can be difficult to find in this small town!), but the views were gorgeous! The breakfast is quite nice, but only if you get there when they open at 8.15am – otherwise all the hot stuff will be cold however, they had the usual croissants, pain au chocolate, cereal, salami etc.. so was a good breakfast to start the day. In April, it’s not peak season (THANK GOD) so the town wasn’t busy nor touristy and we decided to have drinks in the centre on the seaside (huge gin and tonic drinks that came in glasses the same size as fishbowls).
But I must say, we went to one restaurant on the road behind the main strip and the food was tastier!
I heard some good reviews for a restaurant Casa Anita – but this was closed as I assume it’s quiet season as many restaurants were closed, so we settled on the restaurant next door and I cannot remember the name (my bad!).
The restaurant is family owned and we ordered :
Starter – prawn/croquettes, main scallops / steak and had a delicious home made sorbet that was very refreshing.
The food was nice but the only issues we had in this restaurant was that the eyes of the owner were constantly looking over your shoulder. Doesn’t help that we were placed next to the bar, but my friend took a look on their red wine menu, then decided that there wasn’t anything he fancied. So the manager took the initiative to try out a wine (I’m just observing in the background) and gave the glass to my friend – obviously my friend being too polite and accepted the gesture, pretended to like it and then not drink it. The night was a bit chilly and you could feel the cold breeze flowing through, however the owner refused to close the doors. I would assume that this is to attract people in and to let them know they the restaurant is open – but it means that customers inside will feel cold.
Hotel Llane Petit Cadaques – C/Doctor Bartomeus, 37, Cadaques, Girona
So in the morning, we set off to see Dali’s House – top tip: make sure you book your tickets in advance as you will not be able to get tickets on the day -these do sell out!
There were quite a few people waiting for their time slot to go in, the Dali Foundation planned this well as you go into the house as a small group from 6-8 people but not to fear, there is a cafe opposite the house to kill time and a small port that shows the stunning views – you can see why Dali fell in love at this place.
However, there were four of us and four bad smelling French people (I’ve got nothing against the French, but the guide will translate in both English and French if you so happen be in a group that speaks two languages) – they really stunk of horrific body odour which filled up Salvador Dali’s place, you just wanted to heave for fresh air, my stomach was turning to gasp for clean air and you could smell them nearby as the rooms would fill up with their stench – it was as if they were oblivious to their poisonous body odour. Only part of the tour is guided in Dali’s house and then you get to explore the other areas on your own, so I could breathe after the guided tour – bear in mind that this is my experience, I’m sure there will be others who have been in a group with other people that had a nicer and pleasant smell.
You can’t bring any bags or bulky items into the house, but there is a separate room where they hold your bags and give you a ticket so you can collect it later (it’s free service!).
The house is very interesting, from stuffed swans, polar bear with bling, rhino’s head with owl wings, swimming pool shaped as a cock (yes it’s true) and interesting cracked egg shell sculpture on the roof. I was never a fan of Dali until I saw his house, he was absolutely bonkers and it shows through in his art – it’s good to see that an artist lives and breathes what he believes in, even though some of his art freaks me out, but he was an eccentric person and this is reflected in his life, his house and his work.
Dali’ purchased the house with only two bedrooms in 1935, then brought the houses next door to him throughout the years and expanded his pad. His success allowed him to expand his house and you can see that this place lives and breathes his spirit.
On the way back to the French border, we stopped by a nearby town called Llanca (only 20 minutes from Cadaques) which is also a small town with a port and found a hidden gem to eat.
We parked up in the main car park, for the ladies, there is a cute little boutique shop opposite the car park that sells some nice womens clothes and bags at a reasonable price!
Otherwise, the restaurant we picked was Els Prescadors next to the car park and by the port so we could enjoy the sunshine. The restaurant had a maritime theme, there were real napkins and the image just drew us in.
We sat outside, with only the sound of the water, no tourists – just peaceful noises. As we sat down, the waitors and waitress greeted us with such delight, they couldn’t speak English and we could only speak basic Spanish, but the experience was fantastic.
They gave us a glass of prosecco (complimentary) which is a nice touch and definitely meant that we were staying in this restaurant! We ordered mixed starters so we could nibble but the presentation was stunning! The deep fried tanglietti’s which was delicious and light, brushetta and anchovies, salami ? ( As the main, I had scallops with popcorn, and a white fish dish with tomato sauce – it was divine!!)
Dessert was mint julep and lemon sorbet ice cream (at this point, I’ve only had a mint julep as a cocktail and not as a dessert) – it was refreshing and just what we needed to go on a 2 and half hour drive back to France.
We would definitely recommend this place – make sure you stop by if your in this area and have some money to spend as this was on the high part of the scale. The customer service was impeccable despite a minor language barrier, however, great restaurants never let this barrier become an issue.