Figueres & the mad, mad, world of Salvadore Dali

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

With our route decided, the 1698km round trip journey to the campsites of Toulouse in France would take us close to Figueres in the north eastern corner of Spain.

An ideal opportunity, my husband thought to visit the town, the birthplace of Spanish Surrealist artist Salvador Dali and home to Spain’s second most visited Museum - The Salvador Dali Museum.

The Museum occupies an old theatre that was left in ruins following the Spanish civil war and remained so until 1960 when the then mayor of Figueres asked Dali if he would be willing to donate a painting to one of the town’s museums. Dali’s response was that he’d not only donate a painting but an entire new museum.

It took a further 14 years for Dali to realise his dream, when on 28th September 1974 Dali’s theatre museum finally opened its doors to the public.

The main building is “bizarre” as one would expect from Dali, the surrounding streets are dotted with wonderful sculptures and outdoor exhibits, so that if by some miracle you didn’t know what to expect when entering the museum, you certainly would by now.

The ticketing system works well, unlike some other Spanish attractions which I could, but won’t name. The queues, for July were reasonably short and they moved pretty fast. Entrance for us, was by choice 3 hours later on that same afternoon, giving us plenty time for a drink, a bite to eat, and a stroll around Figueres.

You can prebook your tickets online, adults 13€, children 0-14 yrs are free, however during the off season it’s just as easy to buy from the ticket office.

It’s often said that you’ll leave the museum having either loved it or hated it, but one thing is certain you won’t walk out with a feeling of indifference.

Prior to the visit I’d had my reservations, but I have to say I was one of those that “loved it” moreover my daughters, aged 6 and 8 at the time also enjoyed it.

From the moment we stepped inside the museum and onto the patio, coming face to face with Dali’s Rainy Cadillac and bronze statue of Queen Esther (given to Dali by the Austrian sculptor Ernst Fuchs) we were all hooked.

For the next one and a half hours the exhibits, one after the other managed to keep the children’s attention, it opened their minds, their curiosity and introduced a new way of thinking.

Their favourite room of the exhibition was undoubtedly “The Mae West Room” featuring an elephant ladder leading to a platform, from where you’re able to view through a magnifying glass, a lip shaped sofa, nose shaped fireplace (complete with “bogies” much to the children’s amusement), two photographs of Paris, and a hair covered archway that transformed the whole thing into a woman’s face.

Personally, I couldn’t possibly decide upon a favourite, each room and each exhibit was worth the entrance fee alone.

If having visited the museum your appetite is suitably whetted then you can also visit Dali’s house in Portlligat and Gala Dali Castle in Pubol.

The locations are not exactly close to each other, so while in theory you can visit all three in one day, it’s certainly not recommended and unless you have a car it’s a logistical nightmare. Ideally you need three days, though on a later visit with a friend we managed it in two**.

Both the house and castle have to be pre-booked online. Time slots for both are snapped up quite fast so you may not have a lot of choice with regards to time or day.

Costs are 12€ for the house and €8 for the castle.

All three places are worth a visit, however if you are short on time or have children the museum is hands down the pick of the three.

** for further information on, buses, trains and costs etc… please do not hesitate to contact me.


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