The Catalan region of the Costa Brava in north-eastern Spain is usually associated with beaches full of tourists and package holiday trips. However, turn the clock back 100 years and the region was somewhat different. Untouched by tourism until the mid 1960’s, the Costa Brava was mainly a fishing region, with small fishing villages and towns pocketed along the Costa Brava coastline.
This was the landscape into which the surrealist artist Salavador Dali was born in 1904, and the spectacular scenery and lighting of the region inspired many of his finest paintings. Dali was born in the town of Figueres which is approximately 35km north of Girona (Gerona) Airport, and around 150km north of Barcelona. Apart from his artwork, Dali has left 2 legacies to his admirer’s – his home in Port Lligat near Cadaques, and the museum which he designed in his hometown of Figureres, both of which are open to the public.
Dali’s House, Port Lligat
Cadaques is a small fishing village around an hour and a half drive north-east of Girona. Cadaques is where Dali spent many of his later years, and the spectacular coastline provided the inspiration for many of his best known paintings. Cadaques itself is a former fishing port, but is now an exclusive tourist resort, popular with the French and Spanish. Dali’s house is located in the small village of Port Lligat, slightly to the north of Cadaques. Dali’s house is open to the public, but check opening hours before visiting.
The house itself was formerly a number of small fishermen’s houses which Dali purchased and converted into a single palatial home where he lived with his wife Gala, and painted many of his most famous paintings. There are many strange exhibits inside the house such as a stuffed polar bear which greets visitors, and a tiny cage in Dali’s bedroom which once contained a cricket. Dali loved the sound of the cricket singing. Don’t expect to find many of Dali’s paintings at the house, although there is a large unfinished work in one of the rooms.
The Dali Museum, Figueres
The Dali museum in Figueres was designed by the artist himself, and although it contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of his original paintings, it is the internal design and architecture which is possibly even more striking. Dali was a big fan of the visual arts, and many of the works in the museum are visual experiences which were intricately designed by Dali. In the busy summer months there may be queues at the museum, so it is worth booking tickets in advance.
Getting to Girona
Girona Airport is served by Ryanair, so if you want to visit the region please check their website for flight information.