Cadaqués on the Wild Coast of Spain

Click the thumbnails below to read more about what to see, things to do, and where to eat in Cadaqués.

In the region of Spain known as Catalonia, along the rugged ‘Wild Coast’ or Costa Brava, you’ll find the sleepy village of Cadaqués. A picturesque community of whitewashed buildings, fishing boats, and the Mediterranean Sea, this ‘Jewel of the Costa Brava’ is our recommendation for a slow and relaxing few days outside of Barcelona.  Situated on Cap de Creus, the most eastern point of the Iberian peninsula, Cadaqués is about 110 miles (172 km) NE of Barcelona; an easy two-hour drive for those with a car, but can also be reached by bus from Figueres (~1 hour).

Though the first written record of the village dates to the early 9th century, the settlement has been greatly influenced by much older civilizations, including the Etruscans, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.  It’s also seen its share of pirate attacks and is said to have been raided by Ottoman admiral and privateer Khair ed-Din, also known as Barbarossa (Redbeard). Today, Cadaqués is a relaxing and pleasant place to take a break from a fast-paced travel itinerary.  Enjoy walks along the rocky shore (there are walking trails all along the harbor), sunbathe on the secluded beaches, and take in the magnificent views of rocky landscape, hillside village and clear blue sea.  Or, wander through the maze of medieval stone streets (notice the vertical slate stones in a herringbone pattern, which allows for proper drainage and traction).

Cadaqués has been an inspiring location for a number of writers and artists, including Paul Eluard, Federico García Lorca, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and eccentric painter Salvador Dali who depicted the area landscape in many of his paintings, for example Cap de Creus in the background of The Persistence of Memory and the harbor in Port of Cadaqués (Night). Born in nearby Figueres, Dali lived for many years in Portlligat, a short walk from the old town of Cadaqués, and his home (now the Portlligat House-Museum) is one of the area’s major tourist attractions.

We really enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of Cadaqués. Compared to other coastal communities along the Mediterranean, Cadaqués offers great service, affordable lodging and restaurants serving well-prepared seafood dishes.

“I spent a delicious summer, as always, in the ideal and dreamy village of Cadaqués. There, beside the Latin sea, I gorged myself on light and colour. I spent the fiery days of summer painting frenetically and trying to capture the incomparable beauty of the sea and of the sun-drenched beach.“

~Salvador Dali, letter to his uncle, 1919, Ian Gibson, The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí, Faber and Faber, London, 1997, p.65 

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