If you're tempted by a culture-rich Spanish escape, head to the
rugged Catalan Coast and the relaxing resort of Roses, the perfect
base for your explorations of this enticing corner of Europe.
Located within a mountainous stretch of the Costa Brava, Roses
includes an authentic Spanish fishing port and a stretch of
sweeping bays set against the backdrop of the wild Cap de Creus
Roses is bursting with history
Just take a 10-minute stroll from the town centre to Avingdue du
Rhode and you can time travel to the historical theme park of Espai
Cultural la Ciutadella de Roses.
The 16th century military fortification contains the remains of
the Greek town of Rhode (the first Greek colony within Catalonia)
as well as a Roman villa and a collection of Visigothic buildings,
including a Christian church that dates back to the 4th century.
You can choose to explore the ancient fortified town with a free
guided tour or view the complex (including exhibition and the
Citadel museum) by yourself.
Roses' Cortalet Nature Reserve
If you love nature, then Roses' Cortalet Nature Reserve is a
must-see during your tour. The park has recorded 327 different
species of bird, including the Nightingale, Spoonbill, Great
Spotted Cuckoo and nests of White Storks. Even if you are not a
bird enthusiast, the nature park makes for a memorable tranquil
walk that includes scenic picnic areas and a sea-watch tower. An
information centre is also on site that provides maps and useful
information on the birds and wildlife you can see.
From Roses, you are not far from an abundance of Catalonian
treasures. Take a short stroll to the town's harbour and you can
enjoy one of several coastal cruises to Cadaqués, a fishing village
on a bay in the middle of the Cap de Creus peninsula. It has
distinctive whitewashed houses that were the inspiration for much
of Salvador Dalí's work. The prominent Spanish surrealist painter
spent family holidays in Cadaqués during his youth and lived much
of his life at nearby Portlligat. There you can find the Portlligat
Museum-House, Salvador Dalí's only fixed residence.
Discover Dalí's home
Portlligat Museum-House was a small fisherman's hut that Dalí
built up little by little over 40 years to create an impressive
labyrinth design that he regarded as home. The final result is an
insight into the brilliant mind of Dalí. Every window has its own
shape, capturing the landscape they look out onto in their own
unique way. It's these views that inspired Dalí to create one of
his masterpieces, The Portlligat Bay.
More of Dalí's great work can be found at the Dalí-Theatre
Museum in Figueres, somewhere you get to visit on the sixth day of
our Catalan Coast rail journey. This museum contains the broadest
range of works in his artistic career. These include: the Port
Alguer (1924), The Spectre of Sex Appeal (1932) and Galatea of the
However, there is more to Figueres than just a number of
world-class museums. As the last major town before the
Spanish/French border, Figueres serves as an excellent base to
explore the upper Empordà region, an area that provides the best of
Catalan culture through its impressive food, wine and beaches.
Things to do and see in Figueres
Placa de les Patates is a historic square that gets its name
('square of potatoes') from having a farmers market there until the
1950s. Today it is a tranquil square decorated by 17th century
buildings and large trees, which protect visitors from the hot sun
as they relax at the welcoming bistros in the area.