The simple beauty of Cadaqués lies not only in its spectacular sea views but also in the quaintness of the town itself, particularly the old town or medieval quarter. This neighborhood, centered around the Church of Santa Maria and extending down to the harbor, is a maze of narrow, sloping walkways lined with whitewashed houses. Getting lost amidst these charming streets is a great way to experience the history, culture, and artistic nature of Cadaqués.

Castell de Cadaqués and Medieval Cadaqués

Although the Castle of Cadaqués, documented since 1030, no longer exists, remnants of a tower (now part of the Town Hall) are believed to have been part of this early castle. The tower, known as la Torre de sa fusta des Baluard, can be seen at Bastion Point (Punta des Baluard) in the heart of the old town, overlooking the bay.

Other reminders of medieval Cadaqués include:

  • Portal de Mar de la Muralla: An arched entrance to the Old Town near Platja des Portal (Portal Beach)
  • Casa del Baró de la Roda (Santa Maria #5) and Casa Puignau (Santa Maria #7): Buildings incorporated into the old city walls

Exploring the Medieval Streets

As you wander through the medieval quarter, take note of the ancient arched entryways and the buildings that have been seamlessly integrated into the old city walls. These architectural features offer a glimpse into the town’s rich past and the way life has evolved over the centuries.

The Church of Santa Maria

Perched on the highest point in Cadaqués, the 16th-century Esglesia de Santa Maria is a defining feature of the village skyline. The previous church on this site was reportedly destroyed in 1543 during an attack led by Khair ed-Din, sometimes called Barbarossa. The ‘new’ church, the one we see today, was constructed in late Gothic style with funding from local fishermen.

Notable Features

  • 18th-century Baroque altarpiece, designed by Jacint Moreto and sculpted by Pau Costa and Joan Torres
  • 17th-century organ, one of the oldest in Catalonia, made by Josep Boscà

Artistic Details in the Old Town

As you walk through the Old Town, keep an eye out for the colorful tiled panels and paintings of boats covering the utility access panels. These whimsical works of art celebrate the local culture and add a unique charm to the streets of Cadaqués.

Supporting Local Artists

Many of the artworks you’ll see in the Old Town are created by local artists. By appreciating and sharing these pieces, you’re helping to support the thriving artistic community in Cadaqués and ensuring that this creative spirit continues to flourish.

Passeig and Platja Gran

For a bit of leisurely entertainment, stroll closer to the main beach (Platja Gran) along the Passeig, where you’ll come across a narrow park. If you’re lucky, you might catch the locals (mostly men) playing pétanque, a traditional French boules game that’s popular in the region.

People-Watching and Relaxation

The Passeig and Platja Gran area is perfect for people-watching, enjoying the sea breeze, and soaking up the laid-back atmosphere of Cadaqués. Grab a bench or a spot on the beach and take a moment to relax and absorb the beauty of your surroundings.

Casa Serinyana or Sa Casa Blaua (The Blue House)

Just past the Passeig, at Plaça des Portitxó, 11, you’ll find Casa Serinyana or Sa Casa Blaua (The Blue House). This early 20th-century home, built for Octavius Serinyana, is one of several examples of Modernist architecture in Cadaqués.

Architectural Influences

The Blue House, with its ornate façade of glazed blue tiles, was designed by Salvador Sellés i Baró. It’s said that he borrowed aspects of this particular architectural style from Cuba, where the Serinyana family (and other notable families of Cadaqués) reportedly made their fortunes.

Navigating the Old Town

To help you navigate the Old Town and discover its hidden gems, consider using a detailed map of the sites and services in the area. Many local businesses and tourist information centers provide these maps, which can be invaluable in ensuring you don’t miss any of the must-see spots.

Getting Lost with Purpose

While having a map is helpful, don’t be afraid to put it away and simply wander the streets of the Old Town. Getting lost in this charming labyrinth is part of the Cadaqués experience, and you never know what delightful surprises you might stumble upon.

Immersing Yourself in the Local Culture

As you explore the Old Town, take the time to learn about the local culture. Strike up conversations with friendly locals, pop into small shops and galleries, and sample the delicious Catalan cuisine at one of the many restaurants or cafes.

Learning a Few Catalan Phrases

While most people in Cadaqués speak Spanish, the local language is Catalan. Learning a few basic phrases in Catalan, such as “bon dia” (good morning) or “gràcies” (thank you), can go a long way in showing respect for the local culture and endearing yourself to the residents.

Capturing the Beauty of Cadaqués

As you explore the Old Town, don’t forget to capture the beauty of Cadaqués through photographs or sketches. The whitewashed houses, colorful shutters, and charming streets make for stunning visual memories that you’ll cherish long after your visit.

Photography Tips

  • Look for unique angles and perspectives that showcase the character of the Old Town
  • Play with light and shadow to create depth and interest in your images
  • Respect the privacy of locals and always ask permission before taking close-up photos of people

Planning Your Visit

To make the most of your time in Cadaqués, consider planning your visit during the shoulder season (spring or fall) when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are smaller. This will allow you to explore the Old Town at a more leisurely pace and fully appreciate its beauty and charm.

Staying in the Old Town

For a truly immersive experience, consider staying in a hotel or vacation rental within the Old Town itself. Waking up to the sound of church bells and stepping out onto the ancient streets each morning will make your visit to Cadaqués even more memorable.

Exploring the Old Town of Cadaqués is an essential part of any visit to this enchanting Costa Brava village. By wandering the narrow streets, admiring the architectural details, and enjoying the local culture, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the history, art, and beauty that make Cadaqués such a captivating destination.

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