Once a traditional fishing hub, Cadaqués is a thriving tourist destination, yet unlike many of its neighbours it retains all the charm of a small Mediterranean village. A tree-lined promenade runs along the small but well-kept harbour and boats bob peacefully in the bay. Tourists lose themselves in the narrow warren of old town streets, admiring the blue shutters and pink bougainvillea that contrast against white walls. The city may feel olde worlde, but it also embodies a bohemian vibe left over from its days as an artist colony, when it was home to the likes of Picasso, Man Ray, Bunuel, Lorca, and Dalí.
Wander the cobblestone streets and small squares, while taking in an array of trendy boutiques, galleries and studios around town. Visit Gemma Ridameya (Carrer Vigilant), which specialises in handcrafted metal and stone jewellery, or Calçats Roig Castañer (Plaça Frederic Rahola 3) for a pair of the famous Mediterranean espadrilles made by local designers. Mo Cadaqués (Plaça Doctor Pont 7) has women’s clothing and goods for the home, while Sa Botigueta (Avinguda Víctor Rahola 3) is a good place to find children’s toys. Brown Sugar (Plaça Art i Joia) is a handy place to stop off for a fresh juice, tasty salads or tapas.
The top tourist attraction in Cadaqués is Dalí’s Portlligat home, but if you can’t make it there, visit the Cadaqués Museum, which is dedicated to the artist’s work. It also has temporary exhibitions of works by other artists, such as Picasso, Pichot, and Niebla. Climb to the highest point in town and visit the 16th-century Esglesia de Santa Maria. Inside the late Gothic church you’ll find one of the oldest organs in Catalunya and a fresco by Dalí. Contemporary art lovers will also be impressed with the many galleries in town. Check out Galería Cadaqués - Huc Malla (Hort d’en Sanes 7) for an interesting range of works.
While there’s plenty to do in the town, the surrounding region is also a must-see. Head up to Cap de Creus, the rocky easternmost point of land just eight kilometres north of the town, for a beautiful, albeit blustery, view of the rugged but scenic landscape. This coastal national park is home to an impressive variety of birds, including eagles, falcons and kestrels, hundreds of plant species, and a great network of hiking trails. Walk among fragrant rosemary and sea lavender and take in the impressive views, or stop inside the Cala Nans lighthouse, dating from 1853, and visit Espai Cap de Creus, a science centre which explains the geology, flora and fauna of the region. If being on the water is more your thing, charter a one-hour sailing tour around the cape with Charter Sant Isidre.