Figueres is a small city in Catalonia, Spain with a population of 40,000. It is the seat of the Alt Empordà county in the Girona Province and has a wealth of history spanning many centuries that has been preserved and shown in several museums in the area as well as in the compact Old Town.
This large museum is mostly devoted to the work of Salvador Dalí, who spent many years in his later life designing and living in it; the museum itself is Dalí's single largest work. Depending on your level of interest, a visit to the museum can be anywhere from one hour to most of the day. The central building was the old town theater, long vacant after being bombed during the Spanish Civil War. Even art fans who are otherwise lukewarm to Dalí's general artistry can find visiting here a rewarding experience, and may come out with new appreciation for the eccentric genius. The museum also contains displays of other Catalan artists, and Dalí's personal collection of work, ranging from old masters to Marcel Duchamp. Note that Dalí's most famous work, 'The Persistence of Memory ', is not in this museum, but in New York City's Museum of Modern Art. Many other major works were removed by Spanish authorities shortly after his death and displayed in the Prado, in Madrid.<br>'''Usage tips:''' Reservation is ''not'' essential, but it will likely save you from spending half an hour in a queue. There's lot of coin-operated gadgets all around the museum--therefore, take as much change as you have when you leave your belongings to a cloakroom; ask personnel to change banknotes if you don't have enough. Most famous example is ''Rain Taxi'' in the center of the courtyard for 1€. Plus you can have audioguide for 1€ per room--although Dalí's original concept was to not allow ''any'' guides explaining anything to visitors: they should understand as much as they're able to without help. Also note that visitors to the museum are extremely heavy during the summer months. Weekends are best avoided as the experience will not be pleasant. Also to be avoided are cloudy days in the summer as those on a beach holiday will inevitably make a trip to the museum to be their day event as the beach is less than ideal.
Billed as the largest castle in Europe, this is the primary reason why Figueres became the prominent town in the region as it acted as the commercial base for the castle which was built in the mid 18th century. It has a long history of being a prison (ironically from the North side, you can see the new provincial prison across the highway), as well as being occupied by Napoleon's forces. Visiting it is a pleasant 10 minute walk straight up from the Dalí Museum. Walking around the perimeter of the castle is a flat, 3km walk that gives a splendid view over the Empordà Plain out to the sea. Locals regularly come up to castle to walk or run around it as it is free to walk around and always 'open'. The interior is also viewable with hours that change depending on the season of the year and reasonably priced (€3 for an adult with free audio guide). Additionally there is a café inside the castle for those looking to relax.
Figueres was initially settled along a river aptly named the Riera de Figueres. The boundaries of this river formed the core of the town that grew a good deal once construction on the aforementioned castle took place. In the early 19th century, the river was covered and became what is today the Rambla, which explains why the Rambla is such a central part to the town and a haven for those wanting to sit in the shade of the massive trees that line it. The streets still retain their old charm and while not as historic as the pedestrian areas in Barcelona or Girona, Figueres is quite pleasant to walk around with any number of big brands shops mixed in with local businesses. Depending on the time of the year, there are often fairs or local vendors selling in the Rambla and main squares in the area, which provide additional entertainment.
This historic square was named 'square of the potatoes' as it used to be where the Farmer's market for vegetables was held up until the 1950's. These days, this is a quiet square flanked by large shade trees and the façades of 17th century buildings. While tranquil during the day, it is rather lively at nights, especially during the summer due to the two bar/cafés that have opened on the square in recent years. While the main local "scene" is still up on Plaça del Sol due to the row of bars and parking lot up there, many come to this square as it is a more pleasant atmosphere in the pedestrian zone where one can meet with friends and sit outside for a drink during the hot summers months.
Extremely difficult to find as it is right off the N-11 north of town, next to a well-known "puti club" in the area called, Moonight. You need a car to get there. The interior is drab and uninspired. The exterior seating is on plastic chairs literally next to the highway. But the sliced jamón the serve is undeniably the best around and they have a selection of local and inexpensive wines. Diners will most likely be surrounded by a mix of Southern French and Figuerans devouring large plates of jamón that are quite reasonably priced.
As an homage to their native son, the town of Figueres placed a surrealist tribute to him at the base of the Rambla. His face is stretched out and distorted when seen flat on the ground, but when viewed in the convex mirror next to it, it appears correct. Anyone who arrives from the train or bus station will pass this on the way to the museum and it makes for a free photo opportunity and introduction to the world of Dalí.
This is the regional museum for Empordà on the Rambla in the center of Figueres. The displays range from archaeological objects like ancient Greek vases found in the area to Baroque and 20th century paintings. The modern art collection naturally pales in comparison to the Dalí Theater Museum, but it contains a few works of interest among many more mediocre pieces for art fans making an unhurried visit to Figueres.
An overall general store with electrical, painting, kitchen, and other general household items. They also happen to stock a good supply of Catalan items such as steel paella pans along with the portable gas burners for them, porrós (the wine pitcher you pour in to your mouth), and setrills (an olive oil container) as well as others. A good alternative to more touristic stores.
A museum dedicated toys with more than 4,500 toys from many periods in history. It has toys from famous Spanish people, including Dalí. The entrance fee is 5€, but 4€ for students, those older than 65, and children. The robots section is specially interesting. While the Dalí Museum is the star of the city, you should not leave Figueres without visiting the toy museum.
Dali-inspired interiors: creative but simple; can be found by a painted old VW Beetle. Almost empty in the noon time as Catalans eat around 13:30-14:00. They have a sister restaurant in Girona which is admittedly a great deal cooler and definitely worth checking out if you like this one.
Definitely one of the nicest hotels in town, but also rather expensive. Convenient to those with cars as it is just off the main road through town, but is out of the immediate center. Excellent restaurant though.
A good distance from the center and better for those with cars, this is a very new hotel with very cheap rates on simple, but clean rooms. Part of the larger, Sidorme chain of hotels in Spain.
Nice pastisseria; wide selection of bakery and confectionery. Good coffee; several sorts of branded tea, variety of fresh juices. Quite popular in the noon time. Personnel don't speak English.
An excellent local restaurant with a daily prix fix menu with dishes from the area including good gaspatxo in the summer. A 2-3 minute walk from the Dalí Museum. Fills up fast after 14:00.
A bit out of the center, but still very easy to walk to, they offer a good selection of Spanish wines overall. They also have a selection of the higher-end Catalan wines from the area.
Ceramics that are quite typical of the Empordà region. The shop stocks most everything that there is. For those wishing for a larger selection, you would need to go to La Bisbal.
Just up the street from the Dalí Museum and quite central overall. Generally considered decent overall for the price with a lot of surrealist art decorating the place.
A very modern remnant of 70's construction that gets mixed reviews, but it generally thought to be clean overall. Very central all the local attractions though.
As the name implies, a primarily beer bar with over 100 different beers to choose from. As with many places, serves tapas as well. Opens till late in the night
A three star affair just outside the center on the road to Olot. Better suited to those with cars, but definitely one of the higher-end hotels in the area.
A very modern hotel a couple kilometers north of town. More targeted towards those with a car, but is a very calssy and upscale establishment.
A proper café with a wide selection of sweet items and breads, as well as comfortable seating, in a relaxed environment to eat them in.
A museum of various technology through the ages that has grown out of the personal collection of a couple started 30 years ago.
A chain sandwich shop with a good selection of affordable items for lunch, ranging from traditional Catalan types to others.
Cool place on the Plaça de les Patates with a great terrace area as well as a cool interior and relatively cheap drinks.
Right on the Rambla in the center of town. Modern and fine overall. Generally considered to be a more basic hotel.
Not actually directly in Figueres and located a ways south of town, it requires visitors to have their own car.
Very touristic, but for someone looking to buy items that are typical to Catalonia, they carry most everything.
Convenient to the center and just off the Rambla, rooms start in the mid 50€ range if booked in advance.
A basic but well-priced and clean hotel just off the main road, similar in comfort level to Los Ángeles
Very much in the center, but right on the main road through town, although it is rather quiet at night.
A good place to generally grab a drink, but also with good dishes, typical of the area during lunch.
An old shop with a large selection of local pastry specialties, especially during Christmas time.
Basic yet clean rooms and one of the more affordable options in Figueres with wifi available.
A traditional shop with sweets, chocolates, and pastries typical to Catalonia.
Surrealist souvenirs galore and many other touristic items related to Dalí.
A number of Dalí souvenirs as well as Surrealist-themed works of art.
The more well-known of the two Chinese restaurants in Figueres
A fun shop with a wide selection of both teas and chocolates.
The city's main attraction is the world famous museum of native son, Salvador Dalí . After the Prado in Madrid, it is the most visited museum in all of Spain. It is often seen as part of a day-trip from Barcelona or the packaged hotels of Costa Brava.
But beyond the museum, Figueres can be a pleasant place to spend a night or two. The town, much like Girona, is a relaxed alternative to Barcelona with relaxing cafés on side streets, and a compact Old Town core. The Empordà region in general will appeal to those interested in the history and/or burgeoning viticulture and gastronomy of Northern Catalonia. Figueres works well as a base for day trips to these destinations. It is also happens to be the case that Figueres is 15 minutes by car or 25 minutes by train from the beaches of the Costa Brava.
The name of the town means 'fig trees' as historically they grew with great abundance around the area. Local youth often colloquially refer to the town as 'Figui' for short.