Best Day Trips from Barcelona: Marvelling at the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres
Whilst I am definitely not artistic at all, I have come to really admire art. Europe produced some of the world’s greatest artists and as such you’ll find phenomenal art museums in almost every city you visit. It’s not uncommon to just be touring a castle and find an amazing piece by Rubens, or Van Gogh or Rembrandt hanging on the wall.
But the more art museums I visit the more I realise that I am a huge fan of surrealists art and much of the art that emerged in the early 20th century. When the National Gallery of Victoria hosted a temporary exhibition displaying the many works of Salvador Dali, I made sure I visited. This was perhaps the first time when I fell absolutely in love with Dali’s style and his art.
Hence when I recently visited Barcelona, a visit to the Dali museum was at the top of my list. Whilst the Dali Museum isn’t located in Barcelona itself, it’s not a very difficult or strenuous journey to nearby Figueres where it is located.
How to Get There
Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dali and every year thousands of tourists visit the museum. The high speed rail connection between Barcelona and Figueres now means that you can make the journey in just under an hour.
I booked my tickets online two days before I intended to go and made by way to Barcelona Sants to catch my train.
Upon arrival at the Figueres-Vilafant station you can jump on the bus like I did on the way there, or walk into the centre of town (this is what I did on the way back). Either method shouldn’t be too difficult, as the bus always seems to be waiting when a train arrives, and the walk only takes 20 minutes.
Entrance to the museum costs 14 Euros and in high season it’s recommended that you book online in order to avoid waiting. As I was visiting in the lovely month of February, I just turned up at the office and purchased my ticket.
The Museum itself is incredibly quirky. Salvador Dali designed it himself and his personality, quirkiness and his eccentricity is obvious in every part of the museum. From the golden nude sculptures in the windows, to the round shape of the building and the old car with a sculpture on it, the museum is just one big piece of Dali artwork in itself.
The one thing I did find disappointing about the museum was the apparent lack of information. The Van Gogh Museum, the only other museum I have visited dedicated to one artist, took me on a journey through the artists life. There was information and audio guide explanations for paintings, the museum was set out to reflect the changing techniques and influences on the artists and personal stories accompanied many exhibitions.
I expected to be taken on a journey with Salvador Dali at the Dali museum. Instead it was almost like someone just vomited Dali art everywhere and hung it up where it fell. Whilst some collections of pieces were definitely grouped together (such as his pieces on the war) other seemed to have no connection to another.
But whilst I left the museum not really knowing more about the life of Salvador Dali than I had when I entered, I did still enjoy the many hours I spent walking around and viewing some amazing pieces of Dali art.
The museum does have some educational qualities, in that after seeing such a broad array of Dali pieces it’s quite easy to realise how different his different styles could be. The things he painted, the various inspirations for his works, the political and serious context of some pieces, the light-heartedness of others, it’s all something that is reflected within the museum.
Usually when I visit an art museum, I point to a Dali piece as one of my favourites. Hence I found it extremely difficult to pick a single favourite piece out of the whole Dali exhibition. But here is a large group of my favourites:
The second part of the museum is a part of Dali art that I actually never knew about it, and that was the Dali jewels. Salvador Dali didn’t just paint and sculpt; he loved to create art in the form of jewels. Dali believed the jewels to be as much as a work of art than a painting. He saw it as just another way to express his art and demonstrate his talents.
Moreover his interest in jewels came from his idea that society had become too engrossed in the cost and prestige of certain jewels without contemplating the design. Through his pieces he demonstrated that jewels could be beautiful works of art without a prohibitively expensive diamond in it.
What to Eat in Figueres
After I’d been through the two Dali Museums I was desperately hungry. I headed to Sidreria Txot’s for some food. Upon researching places to eat I heard about this place that serves Basque food. Given how amazing the food I ate in San Sebastian was I immediately put it on my list for lunch.
Apparently how amazing this restaurant is was no secret as the place was packed when I went in. It wasn’t too difficult to sit at the bar with a glass of Catalan wine while I waited for a table.
Following what had become a pattern for my time in Spain, I definitely over ordered. I ordered three of my favourite Spanish dishes; a ham and cheese croquette, patatas bravas and octopus. Everything was super delicious although I thought I was going to pass out for being too full.
Feeling slightly guilty about how much I had ate, I figured I should back from the train station. I was a little earlier than expected but the machine lets you change your ticket and train time at no extra charge so I arrived back in Barcelona ahead of schedule.
If you find yourself in Barcelona with a day to spare for a trip out of the city, and you are a fan of Salvador Dali than definitely consider making this trip!