A little over the Spanish border with France and nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Pyrenees, Figueres is a sleepy Spanish town with lots of charm, lots of traditional architecture and, oodles of authentic Spanish eateries… The town also is actually the birthplace of the surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí. Here’s your ultimate help guide to following in the footsteps of Dalí in Figueres, as well as insider tips to know before you go!
Who was Salvador Dalí?
Born in Figueres in 1904, Salvador Dalí is better noted for his surrealist creations and his larger than life moustache. In more recent years, you may well recognise the iconic ‘Salvador Dalí’ mask that’s been made famous through the hit TV series La Casa de Papel (or Money Heist in English).
Otherwise, you should know that Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Dalí de Púbol was one of the most important artists from the 20th-century who lived both in Paris and New York during various periods of his life.
Dalí was a prolific painter, sculptor, and creator (in addition some of his jewellery has become on display in the own wing from the Theatre-Museum) and he is often considered the father of modern surrealist artwork. Some of his most well-known pieces range from the Temptation of St. Anthony and The Persistence of Memory.
Where is Figueres Located?
The sleepy capital of scotland- Figueres is home to a population close to 46,000 residents and it is found just half an hour’s drive from the border with France. Located in the location of Catalonia, the town is better known as being the birthplace of Dalí, though it’s also the place to find one of the best-preserved forts from 18th-century Europe, as well as some other interesting museums (including one dedicated to toys!)
Located around an hour and a half North of Barcelona via train, for those wishing to have a excursion from Barcelona to Figueres, it couldn’t be easier! While you can always have a self-guided excursion via public transit, allowing you to explore the town and its surrounds at the own pace (check train times and purchase tickets here), there’s also the chance of booking a tour like this one, which will allow you to see the top Dalí highlights of Figueres over the course of a day.
Dali Attractions in Figueres
Casa Natal de Salvador Dalí (Birthplace of Dali)
Though not a museum or even a location where you can visit (asides from enjoying the facade from the street), the Birthplace of Dalí is to be found close to the historic town centre. Complete name Salvador Dalí i Domènech, the famous Spaniard was created on 11 May in Figueres to Salvador Dalí Cusí (a notary) and the wife Felipa Domènech Ferrés.
Today, the birth house are available at Carrer Monturiol, No. 20, 17600, Figueres, Spain, where vintage photos from the artist’s formative years are displayed on along side it of the building. A home is actually closed to the public due to a legal dispute! Other Figueres locations that are closed towards the public but which were once visited through the artist School from the Immaculate Conception in Figueres (where Dalí learned French) and the Figueres Grammar School.
During his adolescence, Dalí visited classes at the Municipal Drawing School in Figueres by Juan Nú~nez, before attending classes through the teacher once more just under a decade later. Although the birthplace of Dalí isn't much to determine today, it is indeed an essential place on the Figueres Dalí trail, most famously because its where the story from the great artist began!
Church of Sant Pere
The largest church in Figueres also happens to be among the oldest buildings around and it is where Dalí was baptised. Romanesque in style and straightforward in design, the Saint Peter Church dates completely back to the 14th-century, though there has probably been some form or another of ecclesiastical building on-site because the 10th or 11th-century. Today, a stroll inside is free, though donations will always be appreciated.
Teatre-Museu Dalí (Dalí Theatre-Museum)
Hands down, the very best attraction in Figueres is the Dalí Museum. Part art gallery part installation, you’ll know you’re within the right place when you spy the fantastical eggs on the red rooftop, the glittering golden figures dotted around the facade from the building, or you simply begin to see the impressive glass dome.
In 1919 Dalí displayed his works of art in Figueres’ Municipal Theatre the very first time included in an organization showpiece. In time, the impressive building near to the Església de Sant Pere church would become his personal museum, where he'd showcase some of his greatest surrealist creations to the rest of the world.
Dalí first announced his idea for that theatre-museum around the world in 1970, in the French capital city of Paris. By 1973, the venue had held its inaugural exhibition of Dalí works, His Art in Jewels, before opening towards the public on a more permanent basis the year after.
Placa Gala i Dalí
Just outside the Theatre Museum, you’ll soon spy one of the prettiest plazas around, which simultaneously gives a view to the Theatre Museum, as well as the Romanesque/ Gothic church. Nearby, there’s an outpost from the Figueres tourist office, where you can get local maps, tips, and helpful hints to help make the much of your Figueres visit. If you’re seeking to further follow within the footsteps of Dalí in Figueres, then you’ll soon discover plenty more information there!
Duran Hotel & Restaurant
If you’re looking for a quirky location to stay that’s well-reviewed and in the heart of town, then your Duran Hotel is the place to book (find every detail here!). Over time, the Figueres accommodation has welcomed many a famous face, including Dalí on several occasion.
Wander in to the reception today and you’ll soon spy a life-sized Dalí bust greeting you virtually as soon as you step over the hotel threshold. Otherwise, you should also know that the Duran boasts a tiny museum of sorts, which explore the history of the town and its surrounds.
Castell Sant Ferran (Saint Ferdinand Castle)
One from the more from the beaten path Dalí spots in Figueres may be the Castillo de San Fernando (which is also known in English as Saint Ferdinand Castle). It was here in the 1920s where Salvador undertook his military service. Just a couple decades later, famous artworks (such as those in the assortment of the Prado in Madrid) were deposited in the castle walls in order to save them from destruction.
Nowadays, this 18th-century fort remains one of the best things to do in Figueres, in addition it’s among the best-preserved forts available in Europe. In the end, in the elevated position from the fortress, it’s easy to understand the lay of the land; came from here, you can spy both Figueres disseminate below, as well as the mighty Pyrenées beyond.
Just several euros to enter and wander around, a stroll around the historic ramparts gives visitors an idea of just why Dalí fell in love with the Catalonian landscape in this area. If you’re looking to enjoy some of the best Figueres attractions, make sure to follow my free and self-guided Figueres walking tour.
Figueres was not only the place where Dalí was created, but also the place where he died around the 23 January 1989. Originally its own wing of the Theatre-Museum, Dalí moved to the tower after a fire started in the Castle of Púbol and that he was forced to leave the abode which he had provided to his wife Gala, just before her death.