The town of Figueres in Catalonia is the birthplace of the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, and home to the landmark Teatro-Museu Salvador Dalí.
There is really only one reason to visit Figueres (Figueras in Castillian Spanish): to learn more about Salvador Dalí (1904-89), the town’s most famous son, and his legacy the very impressive and iconic, Teatro-Museu.
The structure of this former theatre is as bizarre and eccentric as the artist himself, and is now crowned with golden eggs and a latticed glass dome. Flanked by a tower of televisions and with a façade adorned with statues brandishing baguettes, the building is now considered the largest Surrealist object in the world. The interior is just as unconventional. On show is a whole spectrum of Dalí creations, from his earliest pieces to his later works, forming an artistic statement of his Cubist, Impressionist, Futurist and Surrealist ideals. One of the most spectacular images is entitled Gala Nude Looking at the Sea, which, at a Distance of Twenty Metres, is transformed into a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. It makes use of double images to re-create the distinctive face of the American president.
Dalí also produced a number of pieces expressly for the museum, including the Mae West Room, which portrays the face of the famous actress using paintings and furniture, including a sofa in the shape of lips. And in the upstairs Palau del Vent (Palace of the Wind), Dalí and his wife Gala are portrayed in a ceiling mural.
A trip around Figueres town itself is very worthwhile. La Rambla is an attractive central avenue around which cafés and bars spill out onto the street. Just off it is the Museu del Joguet, Catalonia’s Toy Museum, with 4,000 items.
Castell de Sant Ferran, on a hill at the end of Pujada del Castell 1km is a huge military fortification built in the 18th century.
If you are camping in the Costa Brava or Costa Dorado, it is worth taking the trip north to Figueres either by car or by train from Barcelona.