The harbour town where Salvador Dalí spent his summer holidays; Cadaquès, is filled with light, crystal clear water, colorful and sultry sea breezes.
Cadaquès really “arrived” as an artistic-literary colony after World War II when Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala settled at nearby Portlligat, attracting for some years a floating bohemian community.
Today, a seafront statue of Dalí provides the town’s physical and spiritual focal point, haughtily gazing on the artists, well-heeled Barcelona’s and art-seeking foreigners who have rolled up in his wake.
With whitewashed and bougainvillea-festooned houses lining narrow, hilly streets, a tree-lined promenade and craggy headlands on either side of a working fishing port, it’s genuinely picturesque.
Cadaquès is a small fishing village located in the Costa Brava, Alt Empordà region. It is known worldwide for having been the summer resort of Dalí and in it is the House Museum of the painter, the place most frequented by tourists.
The town has been developed with care, over the years, and most who come to visit, will find that they want to come back again. Around an hour and a quarter’s drive from the gorgeous city of Girona, and under an hour and a half to the French border. So in terms of access Cadaques is quite close, and of course, a bit further away, around a two hour drive, you’ll find the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona.
The Bay of Cadaqués forms the largest natural harbor in Catalonia and in it they moor, especially in the summer, numerous ships and ships of all sizes.
The name of Cadaqués comes from Cap de Quers, Cabo de las Rocas. In its origins it was a fortified village, the territory was donated at the beginning of the 10th century to the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. In the mid-16th century the famous pirate Barbarroja destroyed and razed him.
It’s not difficult to understand why Cadaquès has had such a deep, inspirational impact on Dalí, Picasso, Einstein, Lorca, Thoms Mann, Man Ray and countless others. Even off season, the drama of the sea, the wind and the birds is a show that I could happily watch for hours. During the sunny months, the sparkling sea shimmering in the sun, the sprawl of boats in the bay, and whitewashed buildings around it, are poetry in motion. Bougainvillea wraps itself around the houses and its perfume wafts through the air.
Cadaquès has a population of around 3000 people, who rely predominantly on tourism as their main source of income. Trendy clothes shops, chic restaurants and art galleries and studios are dotted around the town. Wandering around the winding cobbled streets of the old town is a wonderful way to get to know it, as you can feel the history literally from the pavements. Where the old town is today, is where the medieval walled town used to be and the ancient pavement (rastell)was actually handmade using slate. The best preserved pavement can be found in El Call street. At the highest point of Cadaquès Old Town you’ll find the important church of Santa Maria.
Cadaquès is the kind of place that makes you feel like you’ve just discovered it! Its small narrow streets, and its typical white-painted houses make Cadaquès a villa with great picturesque charm.
Although the town is small in size, there are plenty of things to see and discover in Cadaquès. Characterised by its cobbled streets and white buildings, simply walking around the town is a treat for the eyes.
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