View of Cadaqués at night- Alt Empordà comarca- Girona- Catalonia- Spain

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Salvador Dalí's Surreal Legacy Lives on in His Home Region of Catalonia

Barcelona captivates visitors with its modernist masterpieces, but north of the Catalan capital, the legacy of Salvador Dalí takes physical form on the Costa Brava. The Dalí Triangle is made up of three distinct locations of significance to the artist who shocked the world with his surrealist paintings, endless personality quirks, and an iconically thin mustache twirling upwards towards the sky.

Born in the city of Figueres in 1904, Dalí spent his childhood visiting the seaside and studying art before making the first significant moves of his career with exhibitions in Madrid and Barcelona. Coming into contact with the surrealism movement in Paris, fame, and epic travels around the world were just around the corner for young Dalí, who was turning the abstract concepts of his dreams—often contemplations of time, death, and nature—into surrealist forms and scenes.

The viewer may suspect that these impossible images are pure manifestations of the artist’s imagination, but if you walk along the well-trod trails of the Costa Brava, you may recognize a familiar sea stack or the dramatic coastal backdrop. Between his travels, Dalí often returned to his home in Catalonia, where he found endless inspiration in the landscape and left his mark in three distinct locations. In the city of his birth, he built a monument to his vast body of work. On the seaside, he transformed a series of fishermen’s huts into a dream home only an eccentric like himself could dream up. And in a small village, he purchased a castle for the exclusive use of Gala, his wife and muse.

Each location makes up a point of the Dalí Triangle, a journey worth setting aside a few days for while visiting Barcelona. Dalí’s vision and life story are far from the region’s only appeal. With one of Europe’s most beautiful coastlines, brimming with boutique hotels, renowned restaurants, and vineyards just over the hill, this is the ultimate itinerary for a trip through time, the surreal, sprawling visas, and the mind of one of the world’s most prolific and endlessly fascinating artistic minds.

Booking Tip

Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí operates each museum, so you will want to book tickets in advance and make sure to show up on time or risk missing your entry.

Spain - Catalonia - Salvador Dali Museum
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When you arrive, the small city of Figueres first appears perfectly ordinary. Narrow streets lead the way to shady plazas and coffee shop terraces, but as you get closer to the main attraction, the mustachioed visage of the city’s most famous son will appear everywhere, from gift shops to street art. Turn a corner, and the traditional streets are disrupted by a bright red castle topped with a trim of giant eggs. The Dalí Theatre-Museum is impossible to miss.

It's in this building that Dalí built a home for his vast body of work, but you’ll soon find it’s like no art gallery you’ve ever been in. The bones of the building are the remains of the Municipal Theatre of Figueres, which burned down during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, but Dalí preserved its stage as a centerpiece. It’s here where the geodesic dome above lets in the light, shining down on the marble slab that marks the artist’s final resting place. Over 1,500 of Dali’s paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings, photographs, and even holograms are on display in the surrounding wings—plus interactive exhibitions like the Cybernetic Princess with a surprise in store if you have a coin to spare.

You can enjoy Figueres in the afternoon before heading to the next spot. Or, if you’d like to spend the night, you can check into the Hotel Duran, where Dalí was often known to stay. In the summer, you may even experience the museum during its seasonal nighttime hours between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Getting There

Take the fast train from Barcelona or Girona, and you can be in Figueres in less than an hour. It’s the easiest of all the locations to reach by public transport, but a car will also allow you to explore the nearby vineyards in the Empordà wine region north of Figueres.


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Port Lligat & Cadaques

Cadaqués is one of Costa Brava's most famous fishing-villages-turned-holiday-hotspot. Sitting on a beautiful bay with a pebbly beach, the whitewashed walls of the city exude Mediterranean style, and the labyrinthine streets are made colorful by towering bougainvilleas, sweet fashion boutiques, and renowned eateries like Compartir, which serves gourmet tapas. You can spend the night in Cadaquès and take the 10-minute walk to the adjoining village of Port Lligat to see the Salvador Dalí House.

Serving as a window into the artist's domestic life, this is one of the most unique homes you may ever visit. Tours are guided, and the timed-entry ticket is strictly enforced, so do not be late. You'll learn how Dalí took the artist and transformed multiple traditional fishermen's homes into a surreal palace, filled with his quirks like a giant polar bear in the foyer and a tiny cage for crickets in his bedroom. The tour's highlight is his studio, where an unfinished painting sits on an easel just as he left it, with dry pots of paint on the side as if he had just gotten up for a break. Dalí lived here until 1982, and the home is a true time capsule, filled with his mementos and some of his artworks—as well as rooms with secret design features sure to surprise you.

Getting There

From Figueres, the bus to Cadaqués takes about an hour, but the drive, if you have your means of transportation, is just about 25 miles. If you want to get deeper into what Dalí found so inspiring about the northernmost section of the Costa Brava, you can travel another 5 miles north to the Cap de Creus, a barren peninsula and naturally surreal landscape sculpted by the fierce Tramuntana winds that blow in from the Pyrenees Mountains.

The wife of Salvador Dali
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Puból Castle

On your way back to Barcelona, you can make your final stop on the Dalí tour in the small village of Puból. While the Theatre-Museum is all about Dalí's work and the house is all about his home life, Puból Castle is all about Gala, the artist's beloved wife whose influence on his success is unquestioned. He purchased this 11th-century castle for her as a gift in 1969 and transformed it into a romantic abode that was just for her. Famously, he could only visit if she sent him an official invitation. The space is entirely dedicated to her and is filled with her own artifacts as mementos, as well as more than a few Dalí originals and rotating exhibitions. This final stop is smaller than the rest and harder to reach, but it's a must-see for romantics.

Getting There

From Cadaqués, the drive to Puból takes about an hour, and unfortunately, there is no direct public transportation option unless you return to Figueres or Girona to take a bus to the nearby town of La Pera and walk 15 minutes to the castle and Puból village.