One of the major tourist attractions in Cadaqués is the former home of artist Salvador Dali. The residence evolved over time, first with the purchase of a small fisherman’s cottage, sold to him by his friend, local resident and fisherman’s wife Lidia Noguer I Sabà. (You may notice, near the Bay of Cadaqués, the bronze silhouettes created by Ramón Moscardó in honor of ‘La Lidia’.) The Dali residence would eventually grow to include a collection of cottages pieced together to form a labyrinth of narrow passages and odd-angled rooms where Dali and his wife, Russian-born Gala would live for 50 years. A tour of this home, now the Portlligat House-Museum, is an interesting look into one of the world’s most eccentric artists.
The house is mostly decorated with items from the couple’s personal collection.
On display in the library are the stuffed swans, of which Dali was so fond, and throughout the house are dried arrangements of Gala’s favorite flowers.
The walls of the Closet or Cupboard Room are still decorated with the original photos and magazine clippings that Gala collected. There’s the Time Magazine cover featuring Dali and photos showing the couple with celebrities Ingrid Bergman, Maria Callas, Coco Channel, Walt Disney and Gregory Peck, to name a few.
From most of the rooms, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the bay and the fishing boats on the beach.
Included in the tour are the Yellow Room,
the Summer Dining Room with a unique u-shaped table, Dali’s Workshop/Studio where you’ll see the adjustable easel that allowed him to paint at all times while sitting in his favorite chair,
the couple’s bedroom, the Oval Room with its shockingly loud echo,
and the pool area where visitors can sit for a spell on a replica of the Mae West Lips Sofa and gaze out at the phallic-shaped pool.
You’ll also get to wander out onto the patio and into the garden.
You may just stumble upon what we thought was just a pile of junk under the olive trees, until we viewed it from the elevated lookout point.
Turns out that we were looking at one of Dali’s creations. Called The Christ of the Rubbish, it’s made of found objects that the artist collected from Portlligat. Looking closely at the sculpture one may notice roofing tiles, pieces of iron, and even the framework of a boat. Obviously, one man’s trash is another man’s treasured artwork.
Possibly the most bizarre personality in the art world, Salvador Dali was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain. As a young boy, he studied art at the Figueres Municipal Drawing School, later enrolling in the Special Painting, Sculpture and Engraving School in Madrid. He wrote articles and essays on art and met other young men, who would become famous in their own right, like writer Federico García Lorca who also became one of Dali’s close friends. Influenced greatly by the works of Raphael, Vermeer, and Velázquez, Dali experimented with various styles including Classical, Cubist, and Impressionist, ultimately adapting the Surrealist style for which he would be recognized around the world. Salvador Dali died in January 1989 and is buried in the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres.
We’re not great fans of Surrealism, but the tour of Dali’s home was enjoyable, enlightening and well worth our time. We have a newfound appreciation for his art and his life, and we highly recommend planning a visit if you’re traveling in the area.
You can reach the Portlligat House-Museum via a 15-minute walk from Cadaqués.
Visit the House-Museum’s official website for up to date information on tickets and opening times.
Adult Admission = 11.00€; Tickets must be reserved in advance and picked up at the ticket office no later than 30 minutes before your scheduled entry time. You’ll recognize the ticket office by its multi-colored door.
Though the official website states that tours of the House-Museum are not guided, we had a guided tour (maximum 8 people per group), presented by a guide who accommodated the two of us in English and translated everything into French for the six French speakers who joined us. Guided tours may be available in other languages as well.
Visitors are not allowed into the House-Museum with bags or purses. The cloakroom/coat check is located right across from the ticket office.
Ticket reservations can be made online. Note: Booking deposit applies. We were fortunate to have our ticket reservations made by our hotel at no charge.
While walking along the beach of Portlligat, we noticed what looks like a food hut where fresh seafood is cooked up. It was closed at the time of our visit, but if they serve up freshly caught seafood it may be worth a try. If you’ve tried something from this place, please let us know.