Figueres (Spain) is a rather beautiful old city, which probably would have been unknown to anyone if it had not been for Salvador Dali. It was here that he was born, spent most of his life, and the great surrealist painter died.
Figueres, located in the north-eastern part of Catalonia, is one of the largest cities in the province of Girona: it covers an area of almost 19 km² and its population is about 40,000 people. From the capital of Catalonia, the city of Barcelona, Figueres is 140 km away, and to the border between Spain and France “at a glance”.
Usually the bulk of tourists come to this town from Barcelona with a one-day excursion. This is very convenient, given the small distance between the cities, and the fact that in Figaras all the sights in one day can be seen.
Theater Museum Salvador Dali
The Theater Museum of Salvador Dali, the most outstanding surrealist of the twentieth century, is the visiting card of Figueres and the most visited museum in Spain.
The Dali Museum is the largest surrealistic object in the world and one of the largest projects of the ingenious hoaxer. It is often even said that the main exhibit of the museum is the museum itself.
This center was founded by Salvador Dali during his lifetime. The official opening of the attraction took place in September 1974 – the year of the 70th anniversary of the artist.
By the way, why exactly a museum-theater? Firstly, before, when this building had not yet turned into ruins, it housed the city municipal theater. And secondly, many of the expositions presented here can be compared with a small theatrical performance.
Drafts for the project, which restored the dilapidated building, was made by Dali himself. And the implementation of these ideas involved a group of professional architects.
The result was a medieval castle that looks like a festive cake. Golden bulges on bright terracotta walls – this decor is nothing more than Dali’s favorite Catalan buns. Along the perimeter of the roof and on the tops of the towers balancing giant eggs are placed and golden mannequins of the Humpty Dumpty are installed. One of the most notable features of the building is the transparent dome crowning it, designed by architect Emilio Peres Pinero.
The space inside the museum creates the illusion of being in a completely different world. There are corridors ending in dead ends, completely opaque glass walls, and rooms made in the three-dimensional version of Dali’s creations.
The museum’s collection contains 1,500 of the most diverse exhibits.
Here, even the walls are unique: they are painted by Salvador Dali or decorated with reproductions of his works. And the “Hall of the Wind” got its name from the name of the painting depicted on the ceiling and showing the feet of Salvador and Gala.
The Figueres Museum houses the largest collection of Dali paintings, the basis of which is his personal collection. “Galatea with Spheres”, “The Phantom of Sexual Attractiveness”, “Galarina”, “Atomic Leda”, “Poetry of America”, “Mysterious Elements in the Landscape”, “Portrait of Gala with Lamb Ribs Balancing on Her Shoulder” – this is only part of the world-wide famous paintings by Dali, placed within the walls of the theater. Of great interest to visitors is the illusion painting “The Naked Gala, Watching the Sea” – it is worth looking at it from a farther distance, as a portrait of Abraham Lincoln emerges from broken lines and color spots.
The museum has paintings by other artists from the personal collection of Dali. These are the paintings of El Greco, William Bouguereau, Marcel Duchamp, Evarist Valles, Anthony Pichot.
There are other attractions in the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres: sculptural sculptures, installations, three-dimensional collages created by the great master of surrealism. At the entrance of tourists, a completely unusual sight is met: “Rainy taxi” and “Great Esther” standing on it, created by sculptor Ernst Fuchs. Esther holds Traian’s column of tires, on which a copy of Michelangelo’s Slave sculpture is mounted. And the Gala boat propped up with crutches completes this unusual composition.
Another unusual creation of the ingenious surrealist is the face room of the Hollywood star May West. The portrait of the actress is made from interior items: lips-sofa, eyes-paintings, nose-fireplace with burning wood in the nostrils. You can see the portrait room through a special lens in a wig suspended between the legs of a camel.
In 2001, an exhibition of jewelry created according to Dali’s designs was opened in a separate hall of the museum. The collection includes 39 jewelry masterpieces of gold and precious stones, as well as 30 drawings and design sketches of the great surrealist.
There is one unique copy in the hall under the glass dome: a white marble tombstone with the inscription “Salvador Dali i Domenech. Marques de Dali de Pubol. 1904-1989. ” Under this plate is a crypt, and in it is the embalmed body of Salvador Dali.
Address of Figueres main attraction: Plaça Gala-Salvador Dalí, 5, 17600 Figueres, Girona, Spain.
The Dali Theater and Museum in Figueres operates according to the following schedule:
- January-February, November-December: from 10:30 to 18:00;
- March and October: from 9:30 to 18:00;
- April-July and September: from 9:00 to 20:00;
- August: from 9:00 to 20:00 and from 22:00 to 01:00.
In summer, the Dali Museum receives visitors daily, the rest of the time on Mondays, off. Before the visit, it is still advisable to clarify the current schedule on the official website: https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/museums/dali-theatre-museum-in-figueres/.
Cost of visiting attractions:
- a full ticket at the ticket office of the museum – 15 €, when buying online on the official website – 14 €;
- for students and senior citizens – 11 €;
- August night visit – 18 €;
- night visit + show – 23 €;
- Children under the age of 8 are allowed free admission.
The tickets indicate a specific time (9:00, 9:30, 10:00 and so on), and they remain relevant for 20 minutes (from 9:30 to 9:50, from 10:00 to 10:20 and so on Further). When buying online, you can choose any time. At the box office, a ticket is being sold soon.
- A visit to the museum is best planned in the morning. Already by 11:00 a lot of people gather, you have to stand in line at the box office and the museum itself.
- The building is launched through 2 neighboring doors: groups enter the left and independent visitors enter the right.
- There is no audio guide, but in the lobby you can take a brochure-guide on museum halls in Russian. In addition, you can use the services of a Russian-speaking guide.
- At the entrance there is a left-luggage office, where you must hand over large bags, strollers, umbrellas.
- The jewelry exhibition is located separately from the main museum, the entrance to the right of the main one, around the corner. Tickets are re-checked at the entrance, so do not rush to throw them away after leaving the museum (you do not need to buy a separate ticket).
- Taking photographs in the halls is allowed, but without a flash: the lighting is already good, photos are obtained even at night. Part of the exhibits is forbidden to photograph at all – special plates are installed next to them.
- Many art objects are functional and require a paid inspection, so it is advisable to have small change coins of 1 euro, 50 and 20 cents. The most expensive attraction of this kind – Rainy Taxi – will work for 1 €.
- When leaving the museum there is a souvenir shop, but the prices are high: a mug from 10.5 €, jewelry 100 € or more. It is better to buy souvenirs in city stores, where they are 2 times cheaper.
What else to see in Figueres
In Figueres, there is something to see besides the Dali Museum, because it is a city with a long history.
In the Middle Ages Figueres was surrounded by a huge wall. All that remains of it now is the Gorgot Tower, which has become part of the Dali Theater and Museum. There are other elements of the Middle Ages, for example, Town Hall Square, the old Jewish quarter and its main street Margé.
And the heart of Figueres is La Rambla, laid in 1828. For reasons of hygiene, the bed of the small Galligans rivulet was then filled up and built along it picturesque buildings with architectural features of neoclassicism, baroque, eclecticism and modernism. It is on La Rambla that such Figueres attractions as the Toy Museum, the Museum of History and Art are located. There is also a sculpture of Narcissus Monturiola, created by Enric Casanova.
Plaça de les Patates got its name as a consequence of the fact that until the middle of the 20th century they traded potatoes and various vegetables on it. Now trade is closed here – it is a beautifully equipped modern pedestrian zone where citizens and tourists like to relax.
At the same time, the Plaça de les Patates is also an architectural landmark, because it is surrounded by houses of the 17th-18th centuries with beautiful facades in the style from Baroque to Classicism.
Very close to the Dali Museum, on the Plaça de Sant Pere, there is another city attraction: St. Peter’s Church.
It was built in the XIV-XV century on the site of an ancient Roman temple. At the foot of the tower on the north side of the church, the remains of an ancient Roman structure dating from the X-XI centuries are preserved.
St. Peter’s Church is made in the traditional Gothic style.
It was in this temple that Salvador Dali was baptized.
Booking.com offers around 30 different hotels and apartments in Figueres. As in any other city in Spain, accommodation prices are determined by the number of “stars” and the quality of service at the hotel, the remoteness of housing from the city center.
The average cost of a night in a double room in 3 * hotels will be about 70 €, and the price range is quite large: from 52 € to 100 €.
As for the apartments, their cost ranges from 65 € to 110 €.
How to get to Figueres from Barcelona
There are several options for how to independently get from Barcelona to Figueres.
When planning how to get to Figueres from Barcelona by train, it is important to know that you can leave from several railway stations: Barcelona Sants, Passay de Gracia or El Clot Arrago. But the best option is from Barcelona Sants station (it is convenient to get to it by metro on the green, blue, red line).
There are 3 classes of trains running in this direction:
- Media Distancia (MD) is an average speed and comfort electric train. In time, the journey takes 1 hour 40 minutes, a ticket costs 16 €.
- Regional (R) is a slow train, less comfortable than MD. The journey lasts a little more than 2 hours, the cost of tickets in the II class starts from 12 €.
- AVE, AVANT – comfortable high-speed trains. The trip lasts only 55 minutes, the ticket price is 21-45 €.
Tickets are sold at vending machines and at ticket offices at the railway station, as well as online on the Spanish Railways website: http://www.renfe.com/. On the same site you can see the schedule. Trains run frequently: from 05:56 to 21:46 with a frequency of 20-40 minutes.
In Barcelona there are 3 bus stations from which you can leave for Figueres:
- Estació d’Autobusos de Fabra i Puig;
- Estació del Nord;
- Rda. de St. Pere 21-23.
The most convenient and best organized is the Estació del Nord North Bus Station.
There are 8 flights per day in Figueres, the first at 08:30, the last at 23:10. A detailed schedule is on the station website: https://www.barcelonanord.cat/en/destinations-and-timetables/journeys/.
In Spain, buses do not charge stowaways for cash, a ticket must be purchased at the box office or on the Sagales carrier website: https://www.sagales.com/. The price of the trip is 20 €. Travel time is approximately 2 hours 40 minutes.
Another option how to get from Barcelona to Figueres is to take a taxi. This is an expensive way to travel around Spain, about 300 € to go on this route there and back.
It is convenient to take a taxi for a company of 4 people, and it is better to book a car in advance. On the kiwitaxi website you can book any car: economy, comfort or business class for 4, 6 and even 16 people.
When is it best to come to Figueres
The historical, architectural and cultural attractions of Figueres in Spain are open to tourists throughout the year.
The best time to explore the city of Figueres (Spain) is the period from April to October, when it is most convenient to spend time on the street. In spring and early autumn, the daily air temperature here is kept at + 20 ° C, and in summer it rarely rises above + 25 ° C.
A visit to the Salvador Dali Museum and many interesting facts about the artist: