Guide to Cadaqués
The white-washed houses perched unassumingly along the rocky coastline greet any traveler willing to drive 30 minutes along the curvy road leading into the fishing village of Cadaqués. The Bohemian vibe, unique history, and range of available activities makes it a stand out destination from the many other towns that hug the blue Mediterranean along the Costa Brava. Cadaqués is world-renowned as an artist colony thanks to Salvador Dalí, who called Cadaqués home. These days, the village is more likely to draw residents of Barcelona and surrounding cities who are looking for a little tranquility by the sea. Despite this, Cadaqués remains relatively quiet, making it a perfect weekend trip from Barcelona. Here’s a how-to.
L’Hort d’en Rahola
Travelers without children will appreciate staying in this former farmhouse. The charming building has been converted into a chic, laid-back boutique hotel, all while maintaining the essence of life on a farm. With a lovely bougainvillea-filled garden, pool and restaurant on-site, it feels like you’re spending your time in the countryside. Yet L’Hort d’en Rahola is only a pleasant five minute walk from the centre of Cadaqués.
Hotel Rec de Palau
For those who prefer a fantastic view overlooking the bars and beach more than being close to them, Hotel Rec de Palau should appeal. The reward for a 15-minute steep walk from the city centre to the hotel is an incredible view of Cadaqués and the bay. Guests may not want to leave though. The hotel has three swimming pools on-site and a huge garden with olive trees, vineyards and fruit trees.
Hotel Playa Sol
This resort-style hotel is the right pick for active couples and families. A large swimming pool, tennis court, table-tennis, and a pétanque rally on-site means there is something do to for everyone. A pool bar lets parents enjoy a fresh Aperol Spritz in a sun lounger, while the kids play in the pool. Hotel Playa Sol is located right on the promenade and a stone’s throw away from a little beach bay.
Sometimes it’s just easier to book a private space, especially for families and groups. AirBnB provides options for those instances. Of course, do your homework, read the reviews, and connect with the owner/manager. Examples of what can be found in the area include Mediterranean style homes for six, a modern triplex for seven people, and a duplex with stunning views that can accommodate up to six.
Compartir means ‘to share,’ and that’s exactly what Compartir invites you to do. Spend an evening with friends or family, drinking wine and sharing dishes. Compartir is the sister restaurant to the high-end, Michelin star Disfrutar in Barcelona. Despite it being located in far-flung Cadaques, Compartir has become extremely popular over time. Book in advance if you wish to try their tasting menu of thirteen dishes.
Coco Cuina Viva
Viva healthy souls! Coco is a slow-food restaurant that works with only ecological and local ingredients. Pop in after your morning run for a delicious smoothie bowl topped with granola, accompanied by an eco coffee with creamy oat milk. As with all things though, balance is the key. Fortunately, Coco Cuina Viva has both wine and brownies on the menu (organic of course).
We all need a pizza sometimes. In Cadaqués, Raviyu is the go-to place for deluxe, wood oven baked pizzas. The menu has other dishes, but try the pizzas, please! Locally sourced toppings such as butifarra or duck make for extraordinary versions of a classic dish. Stay and enjoy your meal in Raviyu’s bright space or take away to enjoy pizza on your own balcony or at the beach.
S’Olivar del Ros
Just off of Platja del Ros, inside of a little olive grove hides a relaxed beach bar-ish restaurant. Chilled white wine and Mediterranean dishes on the menu make for a classic Costa Brava afternoon meal break. Best for a leisurely bite under the shade of an olive tree after a sunny morning by the beach. No need to change outfits either (unless you really want to). S’Olivar allows patrons to relax in their beach wear.
On the complete opposite end from S’Olivar del Ros is Talla. You definitely do not want to show up in beach wear. This high-end(ish) restaurant sits right by the sea. Seriously. One step too far and you’ll fall over. If you like a meal with a view, Talla’s location is hard to beat. A 360° view of the town, church, and Med can be enjoyed from their terrace. The classic menu serves up local dishes with a modern twist. It’s the chic Cadaqués bohemian-dream come true.
After you’ve washed the sand and saltwater off your skin, had a siesta, dressed up and want to impress your partner with an excellent wine menu, head to Es Baluard. They serve exquisite local fish dishes and are famous for their selection of wines. The menu has other options for non-fish lovers.
The Cadaqués area is home to the famous D.O. Empordà wine, so make sure to get some sips of that while there. An ideal getaway would be to combine a visit with a wine tour in the area, but that’s a whole another conversation! For now, here are some local places to experience regional wine, cocktails, and tapas by the sea.
About ten metres from the shores of the Mediterranean lies the specialty cocktail bar Boia Nit. It’s an institution in Cadaqués and a place frequented by Salvador Dalí himself. During the day, it’s a chiringuito (“beach bar”), but at night Boia Nit transforms into a classy cocktail bar with the most incredible location. The place is just like a movie, where the main characters sip cocktails while watching the moon shine on the sea right at their feet. Hollywood couldn’t make it more magical.
Wine tastes better when you drink it by the sea. Fortunately, Enoteca MF is located right next to the usually quiet waves of the Med. This gastrobar offers homemade beers and wines from their private cellar. Local tapas servings can round out your wine for a lovely taste.
Lazy afternoons require nothing more than a stroll through the streets, a little copa de vino, and some shopping. Here are a few places to pin on Google maps for just such an afternoon.
The most Instagram-worthy shop in Cadaqués grabs the attention of passersby thanks to the bright red façade and classy Mediterranean look. The store contrasts nicely with of the typical white houses in the village and the blue Med beyond. Besides being photogenic, Colmado is also a great place to pick up some straw baskets, rugs, cotton beach towels, pillows, handmade soaps and other natural accessories for your home.
An actual wardrobe upgrade during a vacation week(end) is made possible at Boutique Pepa. Their curated selection of Spanish and international brands includes bohemian-inspired dresses and, in winter, warm cosy knits. Pepa is not a typical tourist shop, but an actual year-round clothing store in Cadaqués.
Every shopping excursion needs to end with a bite of something delicious. The local Patiserria Quer is perfect for history buffs and those who enjoy bringing local produce home from a holiday. The bakery dates back to 1879 and is now run by the fifth generation of the Quer family. The patiserria sells homemade jam with local fruits, chocolate truffles with herbs from Cap de Creus, and locally-sourced olive oil. Their specialty is Rocas del Cap de Creus, which are caramelized almonds covered in chocolate.
More to Do
Hike in Cap de Creus
There are people who come to Cadaqués because of the town and then there are the ones who come because of the nature. The nearby Cap de Creus Natural Park attracts passionate hikers all year round and it’s easy to understand why. Fourteen hiking trails present options for hikers (and dogs!) of all levels. Some trails lead to the Cap de Creus lighthouse and some will take you past a sheltered cove that’s perfect for a refreshing swim.
Visit the Salvador Dalí House
It’s hard to say Cadaqués without mentioning Dalí. The artist and painter looms large in the village and was an important personality in the area for decades. His house, right outside of town, is now a museum (not to be confused with the Dalí museum in Figueres) and definitely worth a stop. Cadaqués drew him to the area due to the light. One visit to his house and you’ll understand why. Schedule a visit in advance as it’s a fairly popular destination. Only visitors with pre-bought tickets are allowed entry.
Make it a long weekend
Girona is only an hour and 15 minutes away by car from Cadaqués. Chocolate, a world-renowned Michelin star restaurant, and lots of history make for a great stop-over on your way back to Barcelona.
Nice to know
Getting to Cadaqués
Getting to Cadaqués is by far easiest by car. The drive from Barcelona is about 2 hours 15 minutes, with the last 30 minutes being a curvy, hilly adventure of hairpin turns. If you don’t have a car, there are buses departing from Estación de Norte. The trip by bus is about 2 h 45 min.
What is “La Tramuntana”?
Once in Cadaqués you’ll probably stumble upon this word a few times. Cocktails named Tramuntana, a hotel of the same name, books and even Instagram captions. La Tramuntana is the name of the vicious wind that blows into town in winter and early spring. It’s a classic name for a northern wind, but in Catalunya it’s mostly linked to Cadaqués and the surrounding areas. So, while France has the “Mistral,” the Costa Brava has “La Tramuntana”.
Practice your French
Cadaqués is obviously in Catalunya, having Catalán as the main language spoken, followed by Spanish. However, if you visit in summer, you may think you’ve landed in France. Cadaqués sits close to the French border, making it is a popular destination for the French, especially boat tourists, who sail to the area.