Whether you travel by train to Barcelona from Perpignan like we did or you are in Barcelona or Girona and fancy a day trip this guide has you covered.
The city of Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dali, making this perfect trip for those who are into fantastical art. It’s also a lively city with a grand fortress, museums and plenty of shops to mooch around as well as eateries and bars.
How to get there…
Figueres lies north of Barcelona and Girona and is easily reached by train from either city making this the perfect day trip. Train tickets can be bought using the Renfe website which is the Spanish train service and in our experience is pretty timely.
You will either get off at the new station Figueres Vilafont (fast train) and get the bus to the bus station and then it’s just a ten minute walk from the city centre or to the main train station which is a hop, skip and a jump from the bus station.
Where to put luggage in Figueres?
Luggage is a big deal when you’re backpacking and if you do like we did and stop off on the way to Barcelona then put your luggage in the bus station luggage room. We found it really hard trying to find anything online and here we found you can store your bags for a day for only 2 Euros a bag.
You can also put smaller backpacks etc into the Dali museum which you will probably be there to visit which is also useful if you don’t have your life on your back but want to store something smaller.
Dali Theatre Museum
The main attraction to this small Spanish city just over the border from France is its connection to famed surrealist artist Salvador Dali, this was his birthplace and somewhere he found his way back to even after a lifetime of living all over the world.
Dali is everywhere – his face plastered on buildings, it’s really difficult to miss.
In the middle of the city is the Dali Theatre Museum, named as such because it is a spectacle full of interactive pieces of wacky design and has an abundance of intricate sketches and awe-inspiring paintings.
Even the building itself seems as if it was taken straight from a painting and plonked in the middle of this ancient Catalan city. For one thing it is red, castle like and has giant eggs on top of its turret.
This is an exploration into the mind of the museum’s curator, Salvador Dali, a true showman.
Be sure to take in some coins to operate a car that rains on the inside and other devices spread throughout the museum. Whatever your opinion on his art this is something everyone can enjoy, full of works you will never forget.
Once you’re inside you follow the rooms by number around the museum. You will encounter Mae West in her boudoir, a renaissance-esque ceiling and time just melts away in Dali’s bedroom of delights.
🎟️ If you can pre-book a ticket then we recommend this, the queues are very long and we waited about an hour to get a ticket, book a time slot (every half an hour) and get inside.
🕒 Hours: 9am-8pm Jul-Sep, 10.30am-6pm Oct-Jun, closed Mon Oct-May, also open 10pm-1am Aug
Other Dali Attractions
There are other Dali associated attractions but you will need two days to cover them. The three are the Theatre Museum in Figueres, his house in Portlligat and the Gala Dali Castle in Púbol a place he also resided in.
As they are all about 40km distance from each other this might be a better option for drivers but you can take trains and walk or use a taxi to get to each venue.
Tip: Check the website for the Dali Theatre Museum – all tickets can be found on the website.
Catalan Fortresses more your thing?
Not everything has to revolve around Dali, you can instead check out San Fernando – the largest Catalan monument there is!
This 18th century fortress and castle (Sant Ferran in Spanish) covers 32 hectares of land and sits on a low hill not far from the city centre (roughly 1000 metres).
Originally it was built to keep the French out but today you guys can enter for a mere €3.50 and follow an audio guide around the castle walls.
🕒 Hours: 10am-8pm Jul–mid-Sep, 10.30am-6pm mid-Sep–Oct & Apr-Jun, 10.30am-3pm Nov-Mar
Eating and Drinking in Figueres
For those with a bit more money to spend then Restaurant Durán has you covered. It’s another place with a Dali connection (this was his meeting point in the city) and it’s a gorgeous setting with chandeliers and swanky decor as well as a seasonal tasting menu.
On the cheaper end of the scale is Sidreria Txot’s which is a place with real local flavours. Serving up hot and cold pintxos (Basque tapas), L’Escala anchovies and your regular burgers etc this has something for everyone. The cider is the best part, you get to see it poured the traditional way (from on high) and there’s a summer garden for lounging around in the hotter months.
Next: We continue the next leg of the journey to Barcelona and get serious about Tapas! x