Discovering Costa Brava: Cadaques

Discovering Costa Brava: Cadaques
  • 2023 update: now you can get some of my best travel photos in digital form to have them as prints in your home (or phone wallpapers)! Check out the selection on my Etsy Shop!

Hola! What’s up everyone?

This is actually the first blog article I’m writing while in a train – let’s drink to that!

I’ve often fancied the idea of getting stuff done and making the most out of the boring hours wasted with transportation but so far I never really did it because a) I’ve either had the luck of crammed seats with no place for a laptop, b) I was way too tired to work or c) reading a book or a blog appeared to be way more entertaining. So now, I’m on a 3-hours train journey to Valencia, with the luxury of a comfy, spacious seat and a conveniently foldable table that simply invites you to take out your laptop and start working. This is what I’m talking about! Do you work while traveling from point a to b? Let me know in a comment, cause I’m curious how you manage it!

Now, that being said, let me share with you my most recent discovery in Costa Brava: the white town of Cadaqués, situated by the Mediterranean Sea, pretty close to the French border. You probably already heard about it because it’s quite popular (it’s especially known as “Dali’s town”) and, as a result, often mentioned on travel websites, blogs, tours and Instagram.

To be completely honest with you, I was seriously thinking to completely skip this place, as I’m lately trying to avoid places that are overly promoted (and many times oversold as well) and stuffed with tourists and instead try to discover something less known, but beautiful nonetheless. However, when I asked you guys on Instagram for recommendations of what to see in Costa Brava, Cadaqués was right there in your top favourites, along with Tossa de Mar. So I thought: this place might be over-promoted, but there must be something good about it.

So I went to Cadaqués.

Guys, the photos you see of this picturesque fishermen village don’t really do it justice! Nothing compares to walking yourself the cobblestoned streets winding up and down the hills, surrounded by the white washed houses with colourful wooden doors and window shutters and, from time to time, views towards the sea! The steps and the walls are adorned with greenery, flower pots here and there on the steps and rich bougainvilleas loaded with flowers frame most of the streets into a capture as if painted by a talented artist.

If you’re here just to aimlessly get lost on the streets and not for all the art venues this tiny place offers, it takes quite a short time to walk all its streets and the initial excitement might soon wear off but that’s by no means a reason to call it quits.

It’s time for a walk by the sea!

First, we went South of the village and stumbled open a few secluded beaches, pathways winding through pine trees (with their fresh smell filling the air), amazing rock formations hanging over the glittering sea in the midday sunlight and offering lovely views of Cadaqués and its crowded harbour area. We eventually ran into a few private villa entries so decided to return and go North.

This might have been my favourite part of this trip! After leaving the village behind you and passing by a couple of lively chiringuitos on a tiny beach, there’s a raw pathway that goes right by the sea, up the rocky coastline, now and then descending into tiny, almost secluded beaches. As far as I learnt, it is part of Camí de Ronda, a trekking path that goes by the coast Costa Brava all the way from Blanes up to France. 

Guys, the sea here has deep blue and turquoise hues and it is so clean, crystal clear and calm that you can see from up the edge of the coastline the marine life, the rock formations underwater, the plants, maybe even some fish if you’re lucky and, occasionally, a jellyfish nonchalantly roaming around.

I wish we had the time to continue further on this path! We walked for around 20 or 30 minutes and stopped for a while on one of the tiny beaches, when a bunch of clouds suddenly darkened the sky, we could hear thunders in the distance and a lightning ushered us back into the village. We arrived at the bus station just when the rain started pouring (weather app still showing us no rain) and remained stuck there waiting about an hour for the bus back home.

A thing I didn’t expect was that most of the people seemed to be French, either tourists or locals. This is justified by being so close to the border with France, but still it made me quickly lose the feeling of being in a Spanish village. Not that this took any of the village’s beauty away, not at all! 

I’ll tell you a little secret. Everyone seemed to be flocking in the main area of the village, especially on the streets leading to the church. Looking at the map, you’ll notice the village has two main street cores: one to the left (the one with the church) of Dali’s Statue and one to the right. Well, go to the right one and you’ll discover a labyrinth of calm streets, sea views from the highest points and locals’ gardens with bougainvilleas and lemon trees. It’ll probably be just you and your camera there (and a local’s loud TV – what’s with the Spanish people and their TV played at maximum volume?!).

Was Cadaqués over-crowded with tourists? Yes. We also arrived there during a swimming event, so that probably added quite a bit to the general crowd. Was it expensive? Pretty much, yes.

Did I enjoy it? YES! Cadaqués really is one of these precious locations, that no wonder became so popular. The road to it is spectacular itself, winding through a hill region flaunting with olive trees and vineyards (reminded me a bit of Cinque Terre in Italy) here and there, the gulf hugged by rocks and the white houses slowly unraveling itself at your feet.

The village itself is a feast for the eyes, as I already mentioned it on my instagram, and I’d say it’s worth at least a short pit stop to admire the beautiful streets yourself.

How to get to Cadaqués from Barcelona

By car is the easiest way, however we took the train early morning at around 7 from Barcelona (Passeig de Gracia station, but check beforehand to be sure the train does actually stop in the station you pick) to Figueres, where we spent about an hour (that was great for fuelling up with coffee) before we boarded the bus to Cadaqués. Very important to consider is the bus’ schedule – there are only a handful of buses running between Figueres and Cadaqués every day, so make sure you check those out and pick a train that fits with their schedule. Always leave some spare time in case one of them might be late! 

For the bus the tickets must be bought from the station in Figueres/ Cadaqués. 

Price: 12 euro train (the price depends on the train you choose) + 5,5 euro bus (one way).

There is also a bus that takes you directly from Barcelona to Cadaqués (and back) for about 24 euro.

Aaaand if you’re in for some historic background of this village, here you’ll find more info!

All the important and technical stuff being said, it’s time to enjoy the photos! 😉

16 thoughts on “Discovering Costa Brava: Cadaques”

  • Feels a lot like some of the little towns and villages I have been exploring now on Mallorca, la isla. Except they don’t have many White buildings, almost all are tans and pastels of reds, oranges, and mustards, even olive greens. Looks incredible and that’s great that you found a way to both enjoy a city full of TOURISTS by ditching the areas they were flocking too. Looks like a little gem you found. Happily noted this region of Spain for future travel inspiration too!

    • That’s so nice that you’re in Mallorca, Ari! I’ve yet to visit it, but heard it’s amazing! From the photos I’ve seen, the sceneries at least seem pretty similar with rocky coastlines, pine trees and cute hidden little beaches! Curious about the architecture!

  • Ahaha congrats for writing while in the train! I’m trying to do it as well but I face the exact same problems as you. It’s funny because I even told my boyfriend a few weeks ago that being able to work while travelling from a to b was going to be my main goal in the next months ahah.
    I went to Cadaqués a few weeks ago (only for a few hours though) and I loved it as well, it’s just so charming! Your picture are really great, I absolutely love them. Especially the first one, it’s sooo beautiful!

    • Thank you so much Léonor! I’m happy you like the photos and that you had a good time in Cadaques! ^_^ About the working while traveling, I have to say that the sense of accomplishment once you do it is great, however despite that I felt asleep on the way back so that’s how my whole experience turned out :)) Started ambitiously and ended up sleeping! Hope you’ll have more drive to do it than I did! 🙂

  • Absolutely stunning photos! Costa Brava is a coastal city I wouldn’t mind growing old in, the views and streets are simply breathtaking. Love that you wrote this post while on the train, haha.

    • Thank you Kim! Costa Brava is actually an entire area, not just a city 🙂 If you were referring to Cadaques, then yes, I agree it seems like a good place to grow old in – quiet and calm, but with enough activities to keep your interest up! 😀

  • Looks like such a beautiful place to visit, love the photos! I will definitely consider visiting there sometime, I live in Valencia!

  • My husband and I want to go to Barcelona next year and this would be a perfect stop. We often try to get away from a large city after a few days. How long is the car/bus ride from Barcelona? Ohhh and love the photos!!

    • Yes, definitely include Cadaques (and maybe more of Costa Brava if you have time! I have a few more articles with different spots around Barcelona that can be perfect for short getaways from the city)! 🙂 The ride was quite long: around 2 hrs with the train, about 1 hour waiting for the bus in Figueres and then almost another hour and a half with the bus from Figueres to Cadaques.

  • Incredible of photos of an incredible place! I would love to pay Cadaques a visit. And I can totally relate with finding it hard to get work done on public transportation. Those comfy, spacious train seats on route to Valencia would have invited me to a nap.

  • That place looks gorgeous (and your photos are amazing !) It definitely jumped at the top of my bucket list for next spring/summer. It’s good that you can still find some pretty empty streets even when the city is filled with tourists!

    • So happy to hear that Alice! Thank you! When you’re coming to visit Cadaques, make sure you set aside a few more days for the rest of the area of Costa Brava – it’ll be worth it! And yes, just move a bit further from where everyone crowds to enjoy the place in a calmer atmosphere ^_^

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