|May 26, 2016||No Comments|
The moment we stepped out of the car, a warm and gentle breeze brushed away our hair as it brought the smell of freshly bloomed flowers to our noses. We had been driving for 2,5 hours from the centre of Barcelona to the mesmerizing small fishing town Cadaqués, located along the Costa Brava in the province of Girona. We were now standing less than 5 meters from the sea surrounded by untouched nature, small fishing boats, a local niche store – ‘L’Atelier’ – and of course our accommodation, a house so unique and beautiful that you couldn’t imagine. For 2 whole days, this was ours to explore and fully enjoy.
Our first breathtaking meeting with the nature that defines Cadaqués and the surrounding areas was encountered as we approached the city, enjoying the sight of snow-covered mountains from the car. With the sun in our faces and the coolness from the air-conditioning, we reached the mountain-roads and were instantly left speechless. The further up the road took us, the more amazing the view overlooking the valley below became. The small white towns – built as a compliment to the nature and the clear blue water, so still and peaceful – made it look like something taken out of a dream. And so it continued. Wherever we walked and wherever we turned our faces we saw how Cadaqués had been integrated with nature.
Instead of levelling the ground in order to build up the city, people have been building on, around, and against rocks and hills, making Cadaqués very unique in different ways such as its infrastructure and open spaces.
But nature is not all that the city has to offer. A visit to Cadaqués is much more than beautiful nature: it is also a visit with local culture and great art history.
Strolling down ‘La Rambla de Cadaqués’ (it should be mentioned that it is a rather short stroll) we got the sense of a small community that thrives in every possible way. To our left, the local “beach” café and summer bar ‘Bar Boia’ was getting ready for the season opening while tending to their afternoon coffee customers.
Unfortunately for us the bar wasn’t opening until the day after our departure, meaning that we missed out on getting served a drink by one of the winners of the worldwide cocktail competition 2015 (also the son of the owner).
Fortunately, our local host Jessi knew where else to take us for the real local experience at both restaurant and bar.
Dinner was therefore served at ‘Casa Anita’ a small family restaurant just as unique as the rest of the city. With a personal touch on everything from wall decorations to customer service, you get the feeling of having been invited into someone’s home. Without a menu, just a single waiter – the owner himself – and only one brand of wine; the ‘Perafite’ which is produced at a family vineyard, we were personally presented with our options and recommended everything from drink to appetizer, main course to dessert.
After having experienced a very personal service and enjoyed the best homemade fries I have ever tried, we thanked our waiter and cooks and went straight for the “Café Tropical”, a place full of life even at a time when people were leaving it almost empty. Trees, plants, colourful lighting, beach-style bars and quality service made the entire experience complete. We quickly got the feeling that this was a place for everyone regardless of gender, age and preferences. Coming here in the summer season you will walk into a bar which is full of life.
However, no matter where you go in Cadaqués this will be the case – whether it is people enjoying the local experience, the warm weather, the beautiful nature or the artistic history and opportunities.
As Paris has the Eiffel tower, London Big Ben, New York the Statue of Liberty and Denmark the Little Mermaid, Cadaqués has its church. A church which many artists and painters over the years have traveled to, with the intention of capturing their own interpretation of its beauty and surroundings. This city monument and the presence of Salvador Dalí makes Cadaqués just as much a place for those with artistic interests as for nature lovers. Some are going to visit the house of Salvador Dalí and take a drive by his childhood vacation house while others will hike in the Parc de Natural de Cap de Creus. This is a place so beautiful and unique that it gave Gaudí his inspiration for La Sagrada Familia.
During our short stay in Cadaqués we did not get the opportunity to visit Salvador Dalí’s house, as the tickets were completely sold out. Instead we took the drive up through the Parc Natural de Cap de Creus and, at the very top, reached a local restaurant called ‘Restaurant Crep de Creus’. Here we enjoyed the incredible view and the sunset over Cadaqués as well as the view to the south of France.
Cadaqués has a lot to offer, so if you ever get the opportunity to visit this haven, as we were so lucky to do, I urge you to grab it with no hesitation. Maybe even create the opportunity yourself. Go there not only for the nature and the art history but also for the small town experience. Here, restaurants and bars leave the chairs and tables out during the night, you can rent a smaller boat for partying and even buy your own mountain. In this community trust and kindness are a common value amongst everyone.