Catalonia is the birthplace of great artists who have built the cultural heritage of their cities. Fortunately, today we can admire the work of the surrealist artist in the museum that bears his name, the Dalí Museum, in Figueras, just over an hour from Barcelona.
1. The best excursions to the Dalí Museum
Visiting the Dali Museum is one of the best day trips from Barcelona and an experience you definitely should not miss on your trip, so here's how to discover the work of the genius Dali.
- Day trip to the Costa Brava and visit to the Dalí Museum - From $ 95
- Private excursion to Dali Museum and Girona - From $ 754
2. Day trip to the Costa Brava and a visit to the Dali Museum
Although this day trip to the Costa Brava with a visit to the Dalí Museum is designed for people passionate about art and specifically Dalí's surrealist painting and sculpture, it is an experience you will love if you feel like leaving the hustle and bustle of Barcelona for a day and visiting the fishing villages of the Costa Brava and the medieval village of Pals, with its cobblestone streets and the tower which can still be climbed to enjoy the best views of the area.
The excursion will end in Figueras, where you can visit the Dalí Museum on your own and admire his paintings, sculptures, and installations in a space entirely dedicated to his art. You will also be able to enjoy the permanent collection "Dalí Jewels", where you can admire the gold and precious stone jewelry that the artist from Figueras designed throughout his career.
You'll have about an hour and a half in Figueras to walk around at your leisure and eat wherever you choose (I'll tell you later which restaurants are worth a visit and how to avoid tourist traps), and then you'll rejoin your group to head back to Barcelona. By the way, just so you know, this tour has a maximum group size of 50 people, and the total duration of the experience includes the 2 and a half hour round trip transportation from Barcelona.
Recommended: If you are going to be in Barcelona for more than four days or if you are passionate about Dalí's art.
Duration: 11 hours.
What you will see
- Calella de Palafrugell
- Dalí Museum
3. Private excursion to the Dalí Museum and Girona
The private excursion along the Costa Brava, with a visit to the Dali Museum and Girona has a somewhat different route than the group experience. Instead of visiting the fishing villages and the streets of Pals, you will go to Girona where you will discover in a 2-hour tour its medieval heritage and its historical buildings, such as the cathedral and the church of Sant Feliu.
In addition, you can visit the Museum of Jewish History, located in the space of the old synagogue of the city, and the rest of Girona's points of interest in the tour which are detailed below.
Also, if you are a fan of Game of Thrones, you will be interested to know that part of the sixth season was filmed in Girona, and the city was magically transformed into Braavos. Throughout the season you can see several real places used as filming locations, such as the Arab Baths and the Pujada de Sant Domènech. Here you will find the Café Le Bistrot, quite famous for its little terrace at the foot of a staircase and an arch. A romantic corner at night that, if you have the chance, I recommend you not to miss.
Of course, after the visit to Girona, you will go to the Dalí Museum to enjoy a 2-hour tour guided by an expert in Art History who will put you in context and explain each work of art you see. Unlike the group tour, which only offers a self-guided tour of the museum, on this tour you will have the added benefit of a more enriching journey through Dalí's artistic career.
Recommended: If you prefer to visit an emblematic city rather than several towns or if you are a fan of Game of Thrones.
Duration: 9 hours.
What you will see
- Girona Cathedral
- Church of Sant Feliu
- Museum of Jewish History
- Pont de les Peixateries Velles (Old Peixateries Bridge)
- Jewish Quarter
- El cul de la lleona
- Rambla de la Llibertat
- Girona City Hall
- Pujada de Sant Domenèch
Alex's Traveller Tip
If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, you'll love visiting Girona. If not, I recommend you to take the excursion to the Costa Brava villages.
4. What to expect from the Dalí Museum
The Dalí Museum is quite different from other museums dedicated to artists around the world. The artist was very actively involved in its design, its construction, the curation of the exhibits... so much so, that he lived in the museum for a few seasons to make sure that everything was going according to his vision of what the museum should be.
The museum, right in the center of Figueras, is housed in a former theater (which seems quite fitting considering Dalí's scenic grandeur) and as you walk through the entrance you come to the famous courtyard which houses a fantastic installation where you can make it rain inside a Cadillac that Dalí himself used as a vehicle during his time in the United States.
Although many of Dalí's works are in other museums, the Dalí Museum is still very interesting because it is a large art installation designed by the artist himself. In addition to showing his first works before establishing himself within the surrealist movement, we can see a part of the artist reserved only for curious people: there are some hidden artworks in the museum that you can only see if you explore corridors that seem not to belong to the exhibition.
Without a doubt, the best thing about the museum is its installations, including the famous 'Mae West Room', taking advantage of the optical effect when going up the stairs to the next floor. And while you're at the Dalí Museum, you can visit its jewelry collection and discover some really beautiful and imaginative designs, proving that the Catalan artist's creative restlessness was inexhaustible.
5. Plan your visit to the Dalí Museum
Keep in mind that more than a million people visit the museum each year, so there is really no way to avoid overlapping with other tourists inside the exhibition. When visiting the Dali Museum as part of an excursion, you won't be able to choose the time of day to explore it, but if you visit Figueras on your own you can go to the museum at its opening time, 9 am, to try to avoid the throng of tourists that visit at midday but you will still find a good number of people in line.
Opening hours and days
The Dalí Museum is open every day from 9 am to 8 pm from April to September, with last access at 7:15 pm. Between March and October, the opening hours are from 9:30 am to 6 pm and from November to February from 10:30 am to 6 pm.
Duration of the visit
By the way, you can visit the Dalí Museum completely in 2 hours or less. If museums end up overwhelming you, you can even skip the Dalí jewelry portion of the exhibition and you'll have a good experience as well, something shorter and more manageable that you'll also want to consider if you're making the trip to Figueras with kids.
The Dalí Museum with kids
Speaking of taking the excursion with kids, the Dalí Museum is sure to delight them as it's practically like entering a fantastical world to get lost in, interact with the facilities and explore. I would say that the best option is probably the private tour as you have a less rigid itinerary and the duration of the experience is somewhat shorter.
6. Best day of the week to visit the Dalí Museum
It is a bit difficult to choose a day to visit the Dali Museum, since during the week you can find school trips going to Figueras to spend the day and the weekends is when more tourists visit the museum. As a general rule, I always try to visit all the tourist attractions during the week as, with a bit of luck, you can avoid most of the crowds.
One tip I can give you is this: the best time to visit the Dalí Museum is around 2:00 in the afternoon, when most of the tourists will be having lunch. This applies to most of Barcelona's tourist attractions as well.
7. Best time of the year to visit the Dalí Museum
If you ask any local in Barcelona, they will tell you that the best time to travel to the city is spring or autumn, specifically in the months of May, June, September, or October. The reason is that prices will go down during these months compared to the summer season when there is a greater agglomeration of tourists.
It is well known that Barcelona is crowded with tourists in summer and this also applies to most excursions from the city, as is also the case for the visit to the Dali Museum. So, if you have a choice, avoid the peak seasons to enjoy a totally different and much more pleasant experience.
8. Where to eat in Figueras
Since you won't have all the time in the world in Figueras and it's quite a tourist hotspot for visitors to Barcelona, it's best to know where to eat so you don't waste a minute and avoid the tourist traps.
Another option is to take food in your backpack from Barcelona, but to be honest, I think you should not miss the outstanding restaurants in Figueras as they are definitely worth it and have nothing to do with the typical tourist restaurant in Barcelona. While you're at it, better to savor the authentic gastronomy of the region, and for that here are my recommendations:
El Pelegrí, a nice rustic restaurant where they serve traditional food with a spectacular presentation. For how elaborate the menu is, especially the menu of the day, the prices are among the best you'll find on your trip. If you can, choose this place over any other.
Bocam, is one of the most obvious recommendations to eat in Figueras, as it is a very popular restaurant and rightly so. The food is delicious, the price is not too high, the quantity is a little tight but sufficient, and the minimalist space is perfect to rest from a visit. Hard to be disappointed.
Cap i Pota, a typical eating house, at first glance nothing remarkable, but with dishes of Catalan home cooking that will not leave you hungry. The menu consists of meat stews, stew dishes, and seasonal products, with a friendly and humble service, unpretentious, but quality.
9. What to take on a trip to the Dalí Museum
For this excursion, your best friends are going to be some comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a cap or hat, as the sun can end up hitting hard and make you not enjoy the experience. You can take photos at the Dali Museum, but the reason I would recommend taking a camera is to capture the vibrant colors of the Costa Brava's fishing villages or the beauty of Girona.
10. Last tips
My main advice is to make the most of your visit to Figueras as much as you can, as there are more things to see besides the Dali Museum, such as the Toy Museum and the Saint Ferran Fortress.
Between the two possible excursions, it is difficult to choose which one to do since Calella de Palafrugell is one of the most beautiful villages of the Costa Brava (without taking into account Cadaqués, which is a world apart) but the visit to Girona is very interesting and even more if you like Game of Thrones. If this is the case, choose the excursion to Girona, and if not, visit the fishing villages along the coast.
11. Other excursions from Barcelona
If you are thinking of doing an excursion from Barcelona but the one to the Dalí Museum has not convinced you, or you want to do some more, here is a guide about Day Trips and Excursions from Barcelona in which you can spend a day out of the city and discover other places in Catalonia.
And if for you a mountain plan is a perfect plan, I'm sure you'll want to climb Montserrat. Here you have all the information you need about Montserrat Day Trips from Barcelona so you don't miss this iconic place.
Frequently asked questions
How far from Barcelona is Figueres?
Figueres is situated around 139 km (86 mi) north of Barcelona, taking about 1 hr 40 mins drive to arrive. You can also take a train to Figueres, but it's actually quicker to take a train to Girona and then take a bus to Figueres from Girona. With that said, it's easier booking a direct tour to Figueres.
Who is Salvador Dalí?
Salvador Dalí is a Spanish surrealist painter from Figueres, who became prominent in the 1940s and 50s. His most well-known works include "The Persistence of Memory" and the "Lobster Telephone". Interesting fact he was also the one who designed the logo for lollipop brand Chupa Chups.
What can I see in Figueres?
While Figueres main draw is the Salvador Dalí Museum, with its striking red and egg-topped exterior, the city itself has a number of sights worth seeing. This includes the city's ancient military fortification, the Toy Museum of Catalonia and the Museu De L’Empordà. It is also a great place for both shopping and gastronomy.