When I went:
What I did:
Dali-Theatre Museum, Figueres
Girona Cathedral, Girona
Old City Walls, Girona
Jardins dels Alemanys, Girona
Where I ate:
On the La Rambla, Figueres
Black Swan Hostel
One of my must-sees in Catalonia was the Dali museum in Figueres, a small town around 150 kilometres north-east of Barcelona. The night before I’d met this lovely American girl called Elizabeth in my hostel who told me she’d been planning to go. I’m always one for believing ‘the more, the merrier’ (and luckily for me, so was Elizabeth!) so we decided to get up early the next morning and go together.
Getting to Figueres from Barcelona
We caught the train from Barcelona-Passeig De Gracia, which is quite a central station, though you can catch it from Barcelona-Sants. We bought a single ticket (Barcelona to Figueres). The train ride was about an hour and a half, which gave Elizabeth and I some time to get to properly know each other – though I did warn her I might fall asleep! On the way, we passed this town called Girona – which I’d heard was quite interesting (and where they filmed some of Game of Thrones!) – so we decided to figure out how to stop there on the way back.
Once we stopped in Figueres, we made our way to the Dali-Theatre Museum. Elizabeth had already booked her tickets online, so she was able to go in the fast-track line, but luckily, as we were there when the museum first opened, the normal line wasn’t too long!
The museum itself is fascinating. Dali actually lived in the building and he curated the entire museum (in fact, he’s even buried at the stage). You’ll even get to see the famous melting clocks image (though sadly, the room was under reconstruction, so we saw the painting through scaffolding). The museum is so interesting, and surprisingly interactive in some elements. We spent about 2 hours here. If you head around the back of the building, you can see the iconic eggs and pink walls. I joked to Elizabeth – imagine being here in the 1960s, and suddenly seeing pink walls and giant eggs on top of a building in the centre of town.
We went wandering around the town, and came across the main ‘drag’ called La Ramblas. There’s plenty of nice little restaurants here and when the weather is nice (which it was) it’s perfect to sit out on the streets and people-watch.
Getting to Girona from Figueres
Getting to Girona is actually quite easy from Figueres (or Barcelona) as it’s on the same train line towards Barcelona. We bought a second single ticket (Figueres to Girona) and hopped on for the short ride.
To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from Girona, and it was a pleasant and lovely surprise. From the station, Elizabeth and I started walking towards a tower we could see (we later realised it was part of the cathedral), until we crossed the river and found stairs that lead up to the old city walls.
We walked the full way around the city walls (Passeig de la Muralla)- which provide stunning views of the city and old town. Looking from on high, the old town was stunning – winding narrow streets, lined with stone houses and red roofs. There are even little roof-top vantage points you can climb up onto for a better look.
It’s a lovely walk around to the Jardins dels Alemanys (or German Gardens), which is a quiet little green nook behind the cathedral. There’s an outdoor chapel with plants growing along the walls, and a lovely little flower garden in the centre. It’s perfect space for settling down in the sun with a good book and I wish I’d spent more time there!
After that we walked around to the Cathedral of Girona, taking time to notice all the Game of Thrones filming locations. There’s a little, and quite interesting, museum within the Cathedral that was free when I was there.
After spending a bit more time wandering around the old town, it was time to head back and try and get our train. We accidentally wandered down a little side street, hoping to cut across the river, but actually found a beautiful vantage spot of the colourful houses on the riverbank. If we’d had a bit more time, a stroll next to the river would have been lovely, but we were trying to get back in time for our paella class!