About 35 kilometers south of the French border, Cadaqués beckons to me as one of the most captivating coastal towns along the Costa Brava in the Mediterranean. Once a quiet fishing village, it has blossomed into a beloved destination, accessible only through a winding road that winds through the majestic Cap de Creus mountains. Despite its growing popularity, Cadaqués has managed to preserve its natural beauty, remaining untouched by the overwhelming impact of mass tourism.
With its whitewashed houses, sun-kissed beaches, rugged coastline, and refreshing sea breezes, Cadaqués exudes a unique charm. What sets Cadaqués apart from other seaside towns is its breathtaking landscape, complemented by the presence of the nearby Cap de Creus Natural Park. Additionally, throughout the year, Cadaqués hosts cultural events, ensuring that Cadaqués is a delightful destination at any time.
If you have a holiday to Cote-Vermeille area in France, it is possible to have a day trip the Cadaqués. Here are things to do in Cadaqués :
- Lost in the maze of the narrow streets
- Stroll around the Promenade
- Stroll around the Promenade
- Take a boat tour to explore the Cap de Creus
- Taste the Catalan food
- Get to know Dali’s World
- Join the cultural events in Cadaqués
Lost in the maze of the narrow streets
As we arrived in Cadaqués, we parked our car at the entrance of the village, ready to embark on a journey through time. Our first destination was the Barri Vell, the captivating Old Town. Stepping onto the rustic stone pavements, we surrendered ourselves to the labyrinthine streets, eagerly embracing the sensation of getting lost in its enchanting charm.
The narrow streets of Cadaqués create a magical atmosphere in the old town. Made of rustic stones and lined with white-washed houses, they tell stories of the past. The steep inclines served to confuse pirates long ago. The air carries the delightful scent of flowers climbing the walls, adding bursts of vibrant color to the scenery. Along the seafront, traditional houses with blue on white paint capture the essence of the coast.
As I wandered through the hidden alleys of the old town, a sense of tranquility washed over me, despite the presence of fellow tourists. Trendy clothing stores, chic craft shops, and charming boutiques lined the streets, enticing me with their unique offerings. As I leisurely explored these establishments, drawn to the allure of finding stylish summer dresses that would perfectly complement my seaside adventures. However, our family had already booked a boat trip, scheduled to depart from a location near the promenade. Filled with excitement, we headed straight to the beach.
Stroll around the Promenade
As I meandered through the old town towards the promenade, a breathtaking sight greeted me—the glistening Mediterranean stretching before my eyes. Its azure waters shimmered under the sun while gentle ripples danced upon the surface. The beaches along the Bay of Cadaqués boasted a blend of pebbles, rocks, and sand. The main beach, Platja Gran y Esportal, consisted solely of large gravel, making it less suitable for families with young children.
In the early 20th century, many Cadaqués’ residents embarked on journeys to America or Cuba, seeking their fortunes. Many achieved financial success and eventually returned to their beloved hometown, constructing magnificent colonial homes along the promenade. These imposing buildings, once owned by the prosperous returnees, stood as a testament to their achievements and added a touch of grandeur to the coastal landscape.
Take a boat tour to explore the Cap de Creus
The best way to explore the stunning coastal landscape and the Cap de Creus in a short time is to join a boat tour. Our boat tour started from the bay of Cadaqués and headed toward the Lighthouse of Cap de Creus. During the first part of the journey, we discovered islands, such as the islands Massa Oros and Encalladora.
As we sailed through the azure waters, a tapestry of hidden inlets emerged at the foot of Cap de Creus, revealing small beaches accessible solely by foot or boat. Our tour took us on a voyage to Hell’s Cave, Fredosa Creek, and Jugadora Creek, where we were amazed by the stunning view of the Cap de Creus Lighthouse. Our boat eventually found a peaceful spot in Cala Bona, a hidden creek, where we happily swam in the crystal-clear waters for 15 minutes.
On our return journey, we entered the sheltered bay of Port Lligat, where the magnificent White House Museum of Salvador Dali stood as a testament to the artist’s genius. As we continued sailing, the captivating vistas of Cadaqués’ coastline unfolded, presenting us with postcard-worthy views, including the prominent Church of St. Mary. Nestled in the heart of this charming fishing town, the church stood proudly, harmoniously contrasting the town’s scenic allure.
Taste the Catalan food
Restaurants and bars can be found along the promenade, offering a variety of local specialties that combine unique ingredients from the sea and land. I decided to have a three-course dinner at Restaurant L’Hosta. For my starter, I chose Tuna Salad and Codfish. The fish tasted incredibly fresh, and the sauce had a delightful and indescribable flavor. Surprisingly, the price for such a menu was below 20 Euros.
The restaurant is a popular spot among locals. While waiting for our order, several guests arrived and confidently placed their food and drink requests without looking at the menu. Other locals seemed to have a silent understanding of the waitstaff, effortlessly receiving their desired food and drinks.
Interestingly, the restaurant was not only favored by locals but also by Dali himself. Everywhere I looked, I could spot the logo designed by Dali. The walls were adorned with pictures and posters related to Dali, creating an atmosphere that celebrated the renowned artist.
Get to know Dali’s World
Salvador Dalí brought international fame to Cadaqués. He spent most of his childhood in Cadaqués and loved it so much that he later had his own home in the nearby village of Port Lligat. Today, his former home is the House-Museum Salvador Dalí. There is even a sculpture of him on the beach. However, I don’t think the sculpture blends in with the surroundings, but it shows his influence on the town.
The Cadaqués Museum showcases works by various artists who found inspiration in the town. However, the standout exhibition is dedicated to Salvador Dalí, featuring his biography and artworks. It is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and a vital part of the Cadaqués experience.
Join the cultural events in Cadaqués
On January 1st, the year kicks off with the Rising Sun Festival. People from all around the world gather to celebrate this event. The festival happens near the Cabo de Creus lighthouse, the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a special moment when everyone comes together to welcome every year’s first sunrise.
In February, we have the Carnival, a fun and lively event. In May, there’s the Indian Fair, which honors the villagers who sailed to America. And in August, the Cadaqués International Music Festival takes place, featuring a variety of concerts. For more details about these events, please visit Cadaqués’ website.
Travel Tips for Cadaqués
Where to stay
You won’t be bored during your entire holiday in Cadaqués. To fully experience the beauty and charm of this town, it’s best to book your holiday home in Cadaqués as soon as you can. There are plenty of hotels and apartments available at various price ranges. For example:
How to get to Cadaqués
Take the train to Figueres and then walk to the nearby bus station. From there, you can buy a “Sarfa bus” ticket that will take you directly to Cadaqués. You can check the schedules and purchase tickets on their website.
Another option is to rent a car in either Perpignan or Girona. You can use Google Maps or any other GPS service to navigate the way to Cadaqués. It takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes to drive from Girona and about 90 minutes from Perpignan. If you’re coming from bustling Barcelona, it takes around two hours.