Since my stay in Spain was a month long, I decided to take advantage of the weekends and explore towns I haven’t been to before. I thought about renting a car, but unfortunately rules on the road have become more strict internationally, and now I needed an international driving permit if I wanted to drive in Europe. This wasn’t the case a few years ago when Sophia and I rented a car in Germany, but you learn something new every day.
Travel Tip: Lately, Europe has been enforcing rules for international travelers that include requiring a driving permit. You can register for one at your local AAA office. The process is pretty quick and you’ll need two (2) passport like photos that will be on your permit. AAA should be able to take your picture at their office as well. By getting this, you can drive stress free in Europe.
As I did my research leading to my big trip, I realized I had never visited the Costa Brava, a region filled with popular beach towns north of Barcelona. I remember watching a Rick Steves video on Spain and he raved about the Costa Brava. The preferred method of transportation to this region is by car, but I took trains and buses on my journey up north. I bought train tickets from Barcelona to Figueres. This was the only fast train that I could take to Cadaqués, afterwards I had to take a bus to reach this beach town. Once I arrived I was blown away by the beauty and calmness this simple town possessed. I’ve never been to Greece, yet, but this place had that white washed look that you see in pictures of Greece.
I stayed at a Hostel, but managed to get a room to myself. It was called Hostal Vehí, a very affordable option to take when visiting Cadaqués. After arriving in the late afternoon, I had some time to kill since most restaurants were closed until dinner time, which in Spain is about 7 or 8 PM. I walked almost the whole coast of the town. Quite a few beaches to choose from and the farther I went, the more beach houses I saw. As I strolled throughout the coast, I thought to myself, “I would like to live here, or even just spend a summer here.” The views were beautiful, and although small, it was just right for me. A plus for me was just hearing the many languages that were being spoken in all the shops and restaurants I passed: Spanish, Catalan, and French.
Fun Fact: Cadaqués is one of the most northern towns in the Costa Brava. Just an hour away from the border of France. Therefore, a lot of French people like to vacation here as a nice small getaway from home.
During my walk around town I noticed a Cafe had a board saying there was live music playing that night, so I decided to listen to a few bands after dinner. Because the place was packed, the service wasn’t perfect, but the cocktails did make up for it at Cafe de Habana. I saw a local artist who took us through some melancholy vibes through his guitar. After him, I saw Merkado Negro. I had never heard of this band, but now I’m a new fan. They’re a local band from the Catalonia region. Their style is rumba and flamenco. You could tell they were a crowd favorite as people starting dancing and singing along to some “classics.”
I had an early start the next day. Took a bus back to Figueres, just to visit the Museum of Salvador Dalí. This place was definitely a theatrical experience. You get to see sculptures, sketches, and paintings, all done by Dalí. There is also an exhibition of the late Robert Whitaker, a famous photographer who spent time with Dalí in the late 60s at his summer home. He captured the many moods of Dalí. The mad artist, the peaceful man, and the strange protagonist of his own life.
Fun Fact: Salvador Dalí created his own museum. He wanted to continue creating wild art and to make sure that he was remembered for it.
To be honest, there isn’t anything else to do in Figueres, so after the museum visit, I took a bus back to Cadaqués and had dinner at one of Dalí’s favorite spots, Restaurant Le Barroco. It was my first time having Lebanese food, and it was delicious. The place itself was very Dalí like. It was colorful and chaotic.
On my last full day, I decided to spend my morning at the beach, although it was cloudy, the water was refreshing. I got to continue reading my book, and relax on the slightly sandy beach alcove I found. After a quick shower, I walked to the next town (a mile away) and visited Port Lligat. Salvador Dalí’s summer house is located here. His house matched his art and his love for his wife. His house, now museum, has a short film they show in different languages, about Dalí’s life. I recommend to stop and watch to learn more about him.
After walking back to Cadaqués, I stopped at a local clothing shop to try on some outfits I thought were nice, and ended up buying some. I was having a conversation with the gentleman selling me my clothes and he recommended for me to visit Cap de Creus. My eyes widened with fascination when he told me its a must see and it was close to the border of France. I ended up paying for a mini truck to take me there for a few hours. It was very windy that day, but the views were magnificent! I ended up having a late lunch at a restaurant nearby with also great views!
When I got back to my hostel, I changed and decided to treat myself to a higher priced dinner for my last night. I had a delicious glass of white wine and then took a slow stroll along the coast from the restaurant back to my room. I was mesmerized by how the town was reflected on the water at night.
This quaint and simple beach town was probably one of my favorite parts of my trip in Spain. I had no expectations, and ended up enjoying myself and being in the same places that one of my favorite artists used to live in. I can’t wait to go back and hopefully gather some of my friends to join me. I think this would be a great place for a small group trip.
Stay tuned for my next stop!