Getting to Cadaques is not easy, after leaving the Bay of Roses behind, you have to cross the mountain by a single curved path, with stunning views but quite exhausting, you have to drive very carefully and it may not be suitable for those who get dizzy easily. It never seems to end but it has its reward when we glimpse the village from the top of the road.
The history of Cadaqués comes from thousands of years ago, from the time when the Iberians were the owners and masters of this land and from when other more advanced civilizations arrived across the Mediterranean Sea such as the Sardinians, Etruscans, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all of them great navigation experts. At that time Cadaqués was a village of fishmongers, fishermen, vineyards, ports, coves and beaches. The construction of the wall of Cadaqués, which encloses the historic center, has its origins in the attacks of Genoese, Algerian or Turkish pirates . The village of Cadaqués was very vulnerable to these attacks, as it was geographically helpless in front of the sea and isolated from behind by the Peni Mountain. When the Moors arrived there was panic and large numbers of fishermen and sailors were caught, although abductions sometimes occurred on dry land. The bravest sailors were confronting the invaders, meanwhile the women and children ran to hide in the mountain. Over time the Mediterranean Sea became safer, allowing Cadaqués to grow by giving way to industry, trade and overseas routes.
By Anthiro 57 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 es, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40360416
Cadaqués also had his visitors long before the buses of local tourists, attracted by the fame it acquired as early as the 1970s, arrived. They were people who had been going to those coves and beaches for years, from Barcelona it took about four hours until they reached Mount El Paní and at least another hour or an hour and a half to go down the mountain. But the view was so impressive and surprising that time was forgotten, while little by little the beauty of the great cove of Cadaqués, the infinite sea and the crowded houses forming alleys that go up to the church arose. These people gradually had to leave their way of life when tourists began to arrive in search of sun and sea, with their pockets full of money and different behaviour. After them the speculators arrived to buy land by the sea.
Cadaqués has always been the paradise of the painters who settled there since the early years of the century. Dalí, whose family based in Figueres, spent their holidays in Cadaqués and settled in Port Lligat cove which has traditionally been the base of many of Cadaqués’ fishermen, on the shore of Portlligat still live some of the few left in the villa.
You can feel the magic in Cadaques. It’s a charming village that embraces you from the first moment you see it, attracts you and you want to hug it and go through it all. It is imperative to visit the old town and get lost in its labyrinthine streets by stepping on the old pavement of the village, the “rastell”. This type of pavement is handmade with stones extracted from the seashore. My advice is to spend three nights minimum in Cadaques to thoroughly enjoy the village, beaches and surroundings.
At the highest point of the old town is the church of St. Mary of Cadaqués. From here there is a beautiful view of the village and the bay of Cadaqués, the ancient church was destroyed by the famous Turkish pirate Barbaroja, who stormed the village in 1543. After these events it was decided that the new temple would be rebuilt with the money of the fishermen who went out to sea on forbidden days.
You should not miss the Santa Maria’s Church of Cadaques, the Casa-Museo Salvador Dali and the the Art Galleries in town. The Natural Reserve Cap de Creus is a must, so are the beaches and coves along the bay of Cadaqués, most of them are still genuine and wild with pure transparent waters.
Hotel Llane Petit Platja Llane Petit, s/n. Three star hotel very comfortable, clean, right on the beach. It is located a few blocks from the village that can be accessed on foot without problem, has parking and is easily accessible, which is an advantage in these small villages and with such narrow streets.
Boutique Hotel Villa Gala Carrer Solitari 5. This small and nice four star boutique hotel has 14 rooms, all of them with sea view and village view. Also has private parking and an outdoor swimming pool.
Hotel Llane Petit terrace
CASA ANITA, Miquel Roset, 16
ES BALCONET Calle St Antoni, 2
CAFÉ DE LA HABANA Carrer del Doctor Bartomeus, 2 and LA FRONTERA c/ Miquel Rosset, 22 Two very typical places for a drink after dinner
LA SIRENA Carrer des Call s/n
This image of the night in Cadaques shows the charm and peace that comes from this magical town
By Ruuy lestrade 79 at English Wikipedia – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22421313