Cadaques is a small compact town with a handful of small supermarkets and grocery stores. Access for cars within the town is restricted which means grocery shopping in the town can be quite tricky. This is especially an issue if you are staying in a vacation villa away from the center of town.
We normally recommend to our clients to stop off at Roses, on the way to Cadaques, to buy your “big first shop”. Here in these supermarkets you have a bigger selection, easy parking and slightly better prices.
Supermarkets in Roses
Probably the two best options are “Carrefour Market” 75C2+F6 La Garriga and Esclat supermarket before Roses at; Carrer La Closa dels Frares. These two stores are recommended for two reasons: They have a wide selection of good, fresh products and the stores are located on the road to Cadaques meaning no long detours in to the center of Roses.
Supermarkets in Cadaques
Once in Cadaques you have a selection of smaller supermarkets to choose from including;
This blog post is designed for those who are planning on visiting Catalonia and the Costa Brava for the first time. This is also for people who are seeking information about where to stay and what to do in the region. Below is a basic map highlighting the Costa Brava and the Maresme coastlines.
The Maresme coastline starts from Barcelona and finishes at Blanes. From Blanes the Costa Brava ends over 200 kilometers later at the French border. The Costa Brava can be split into three rough sections; Northern, central and Southern sections. Blanes to Palamos is the southern section. The middle section from Palafrugell to L’Estartit and the northern section from L’Escala to Portbou.
The middle and Northern sections
Middle and Northern sections of the Costa Brava are somewhat less developed (with one or two exceptions). These are also more family orientated and this is where the vast majority of our properties are located.
Popular locations are Begur (and it’s beaches of Sa Riera, Sa Tuna, Aiguablava). The beaches of Palafrugell – Tamariu, Llafranc and Calella de Palafrugell. Cadaques is the jewel of the Northern section of the Costa Brava.
For first time visitors to the Costa Brava i normally recommend the area around Begur/Tamariu. There’s a lot to see and do in a compact area and day-trips to explore the north or south of the Costa Brava are doable. Here is a map showing the main coves and beaches of the Begur/Palafrugell area;
Cadaques, the pearl of the Costa Brava
Cadaques in the north is probably our favorite coastal town on the whole of the Costa Brava. There’s only one road in and out of town and it is a windy mountain road which can take up to 30 minutes’ from the neighboring town of Roses. Once you finally descend into Cadaques the mountain road adventure is quickly forgotten. The town has a unique charm and ambiance which has been preserved down the centuries. This is in part thanks to it’s relative isolation from the rest of the Costa Brava located on the end of the Cap de Creus peninsula.
Cadaques has seen many artists staying over the years including Picasso, Man Ray, Duchamp, Joan Miro. Most famously of all Salvador Dali who lived a large part of his life in the neighboring Port Lligat. This link to the rich history of Cadaques is tangible today in the many local artists galleries you will find among the narrow cobbled streets of the town. The town has a somewhat Bohemian atmosphere and a wonderful selection of good quality restaurants.
However i am always cautious on recommending Cadaques to first time visitors to the region because of it’s isolated location. If travelling around visiting other towns/beaches is an important factor this can be quite a tiresome experience driving over the mountain road every day. For people who like to explore other areas i recommend finding a base in the Begur/Tamariu area and then taking a day trip to Cadaques during your holiday.
This post is just a rough guide and with our clients we go into much more detail not only with location and villa selection but also, if needed, advice and help planning activities and day trip itineraries. Please contact Sara or Richard at email@example.com for more information.
One of the questions we are asked by people who are coming to the region for the first time is which is the best place to stay on the Costa Brava? There’s lots of great places to choose from and this blog post is to help people get a better idea of what area might be best for them.
Begur and Palafrugell
Probably the most popular coastal area on the Costa Brava is the Begur and Palafrugell region and their beaches. Their beaches include Sa Riera, Sa Tuna, Aigua Blava, Aigua Xelida, Tamariu and Llafranc.
Like most of the Costa Brava this area is very family orientated and laid back. It is popular with local Catalans and Spanish as well as with other Europeans and increasingly North Americans who are discovering the region.
The beaches can get pretty busy during July and August. Unless you are within walking distance to a beach you may have to leave your villa quite early in the morning to find a good parking place.
Cadaques in the north
Cadaques is another popular destination and quite possibly the best place to stay on the Costa Brava. A beautiful old fishing town, Cadaques is where Salvador Dali lived for a large part of his life. His old house in the little bay of Port Lligat is now a museum and open to the public.
There is only one road in and out of Cadaques which is quite narrow and windy through the Cap de Creus headland. This inaccessibility is the main reason why Cadaques has retained its charm and avoided the developers. Because of this relative isolation of the town I always suggest to people that Cadaques makes a great base if you plan of parking up the car and sitting back and relaxing. The town is quite compact and all of our vacation villas in Cadaques are within walking distance of the center with its restaurants, bars, shops and beaches. There is a quite special and unique ambiance to the place. However beautiful Cadaques is, I would not recommend it for people who plan to spend time driving around and exploring.
Sant Marti and the ruins of Empuries
Sant Marti d’Empuries is a little off the beaten track and a favorite of ours. This tiny coastal village has a few restaurants and shops and is right on the beach. With nice sandy and un-crowded beaches this is the place we normally go to ourselves if we are having a day at the beach. For those of you interested in history there’s the ancient Greek and Roman ruins and neighboring Empuries. L’Escala which has a larger selection of bars and restaurants is only a 20 minutes walk along the seafront.
If it is bars, disco’s and partying you are after then Lloret de Mar is where you should go. Otherwise avoid it.
Other areas of the Costa Brava worth considering include Port de la Selva, Roses, and Palamos.
Which is the best Costa in Spain is a question we are asked from time to time. Spain has no less than 13 Costas to choose from. Nine of which are on the Mediterranean coastline from the Catalan Costa Brava in the north on the border with France down to the Costa del Sol on the southern tip of Spain.
The Costa Brava, the best Costa in Spain
We have visited most of the Costas and for us the hands down winner is the Costa Brava. In fact we liked it so much we decided to come and live here!
There’s a number of reasons why we love the Costa Brava so much. From its intimate hidden coves, the climate, the people, its culture, the food, its medieval villages. For us the all round general ambiance make the Costa Brava the best coastal region in Spain.
Early tourism on the Costa Brava
The Costa Brava was the very first Costa in Spain to welcome holiday makers back in the 1950’s and 60’s. For many people the Costa Brava conjures up images of tacky package holidays, fish and chips and sangria. It well may have been like that in the 1960’s but not any longer. Because of the rugged nature of the Costa Brava coastline the developers quickly moved further south in search of flatter, more accessible land to build their high rise apartment blocks and for the most part left the Costa Brava behind. So today the Costa Brava is perhaps one of the better preserved Mediterranean coastal areas. What we have are fishing villages, unspoiled coves and a distinct lack of large hotels, apartment blocks and package holidays.
With the exception of Lloret de Mar you will find very little package tourism, loud all night bars or drunken teenagers on the Costa Brava. There’s a more laid back family orientated culture here with holiday makers from a wide selection of countries from all around the world. A lot of Catalan and Spanish people who have second residences in the area.
The temperatures on the Costa Brava do not reach the heights of those on the Costa del Sol although an average of the mid 30’s in July and August is hot enough for most people.
What to do on the Costa Brava?
The province of Girona has a lot more to offer the traveler than just a fantastic coastline. There’s loads of things to see and do in the region. Choose from visiting unspoiled medieval villages, the Dali triangle, visiting the beech forests of the extinct volcanic region of La Garrotxa. Take a nice walk around the lake of Banyoles and visit the weekly farmers market.
Then of course there’s the food! With a great selection of fresh local products at their disposal Catalan chefs are recognized worldwide as innovators from the record five time No1 restaurant in the world El Bulli to the current No1, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. But it is not just all about Michelin star restaurant food as the general standard in the region is very good.
The best bits of the Costa Brava? The area around Begur and Palafrugell with its small bays and coves is very popular as is the Dali famed Cadaques. We also like the coastal village of Sant Marti d’Empuries which does not get as crowded as Begur or Cadaques and has nice beaches and a few decent restaurants to choose from.
So for us the question “which is the best Costa in Spain?” is a resounding Costa Brava!
Cadaques where i left my worries behind the mountains. This is a guest post by Ash Clark, one of our bloggers on our recent “blog trip” to Cadaques and the Costa Brava.
Seeing as I arrived at night, it wasn’t until the next day that I really got to appreciate the unique location that Cadaqués is set in. Invited on a four day blog trip by Charming Villas Catalonia Cadaques was where we were spending our first two nights.
When I woke the next morning, I got to see what it is that has made this sleepy fishing village grow into a popular summer holiday spot.
Walking from my villa through the cobbled lanes that wind around the town’s whitewashed buildings and villas, I had no doubt in my mind that I was on the Mediterranean.
Sailing on the Sant Isidre, Cadaques
I was lucky enough to spend my first day sailing on a ‘laüt’, a traditional Catalan fishing vessel. While I generally find most sailing experiences rather memorable, this particular one especially stood out as we sailed along the coastline of the Cap de Creus National Park. The unique perspective offered from the decks of our boat really allowed me to appreciate how spectacular the natural landscape is in this part of Spain.
While the coastline that Cadaqués sits on is without a doubt its main draw card, it was the mountains around the town that drew a lot of my attention.
The vast majority of the hillsides around Cadaqués have terrace levels, made from stack-stone retaining walls.
It doesn’t take one long to realize that most of these impressive walls are rather aged and that the incredible amounts of manual labor it would of taken to construct them was originally completed to serve a specific purpose.
The blank terraced hillsides that dominate the area today haven’t always been that way. I soon learned that Cadaqués was once a major producer of wine and olive oil. Unfortunately the wineries and olive farms that once thrived here were completely wiped out after an outbreak of a plant virus that destroyed the plants.
Today, wineries in the region are making a come back, offering some high quality drops of both red and white. Which, like almost every aspect of Catalan, have their own unique flare to them. Celler Martin Faixo grow their wines in the hills of Cadaques
Cadaques where i left my worries behind the mountains
As the local saying goes, “When you come to Cadaqués, you leave your worries behind the mountains.” The natural scenery, food, art and culture on display in this fascinating town really do play true to those words for those who visit.
About the Author: Ash Clark is a travel writer and photographer from Sydney, Australia. With a strong curiosity, he never manages to stay in one place for too long. To keep up to date with his current travels you can follow his personal travel blog at themostalive.com and on twitter @themostalive.
If hidden little coves and bays are your thing then look no further than Cala Guillola, roughly half way between Cadaques and Cap de Creus.
It can be a little difficult to find (you won’t see any signs pointing you where to go) and a little difficult actually getting there but your efforts will well be worth it.
We chanced upon the cove on a bright and fresh January morning with no other people in sight. Talk about idyllic, the temptation to try out the crystal clear water was very strong but the fact that we were in the middle of winter ensured sanity prevailed.
The area around Cadaques and the Cap de Creus peninsula is dotted with little coves like this. Check out another blog post which lists all of the many coves and bays in the area; The beaches and coves of Cadaques. Or check out the local Visit Cadaques website which has plenty of local information.
Cadaques vacation homes
At Charming Villas Catalonia we offer our clients a selection of the best properties on the rental market in Cadaques. Browse our portfolio of Cadaques vacation rentals and holiday villas for rent in Cadaques.
A comprehensive list of the beaches and coves of Cadaques
Situated within the Cap de Creus headland, the beaches of Cadaques and its surrounding area tend to be smaller, more intimate coves and bays. If it is long sandy beaches you are looking for then Cadaques is not for you.
Where is Cadaques?
Cadaques is located at the end of the Cap de Creus peninsula. Windswept, wild and unpopulated, Cadaques really is stuck out on it’s own. The feeling of detachment from the rest of the Costa Brava is one of the reasons which make Cadaques so unique.
A great place for swimming, the water quality in this region is probably the best of the whole Costa Brava.
Although not official nudist beaches, don’t be surprised to see nudists in some of the more secluded bays further from Cadaques especially in the Cap de Creus.
The best beaches of Cadaques?
We have a few favorite beaches such as Platja del Ros, of of the few sandy beaches close to the town of Cadaques. We also love Cala Sa Sabolla which is a fair old walk in the direction of the Far de Cala Nans. The walk itself is a pleasant 5Km stroll through nice countryside with lovely sea views. The beach itself is pebbles rather than sand but nonetheless a great place to spend a few hours.
Another hidden favorite of ours is Cala Guillola. This is located to the north of Cadaques in the direction of the other lighthouse of Cap de Creus. Small and intimate this cove is sheltered from the local Tramuntana wind.
One of the most sought after holiday destinations on the whole Catalan coastline, Cadaques has an undeniable charm and mystique which draws you back time after time.
Cadaques for the most part evaded the developers of the 1960’s and 70’s mainly because of it’s isolated location within the Cap de Creus national park right at the top of the Costa Brava. The developers were more interested in flat, easily accessible beachfront real estate to exploit so thankfully left the town alone. Cadaques has been around for centuries but the only road in and out of the town was built around 1908, meaning that up until then the only real access to the town was by boat. By all accounts some Cadaques residents had sailed to Cuba and North America but had never traveled inland to the nearby town of Figueres!
The beautiful coastal town of Cadaques
The Cap de Creus peninsula is the most eastern point of Spain. This means that it is also the first part of Spain to witness the sunrise. People from the region gather at the Cap de Creus lighthouse in the early morning of the 1st of January every year to welcome in the New Year with dancing and merriment!
The area has inspired many artists, most notably Salvador Dali who lived in the area. He venerated the elements of light and texture which inspired him throughout his lifetime.
Dali bought a bunch of fisherman’s shacks on the harbour of PortLligat which I guess you could call a suburb of Cadaques. He converted them into one abode and spent a great part of his life here. The house is now a museum which is open to the public.
Things to do in Cadaques
Staying in one of our Barcelona vacation rentals or one of our luxury Costa Brava villas in Begur or Tamariu? Charming Villas Catalonia can help put together a bespoke Cadaques day trip itinerary for you. We can arrange a driver to pick you up from your villa and take take you back in the evening. Set up a local guide to walk you through the ancient heart of the town exploring the cobbled streets, artists galleries and hidden corners.
Have a unique fisherman’s lunch on the pier at Portlligat or in one of the many good standard restaurants in the town. Try the famous Cadaques Taps – a sweet dessert cake made for generations from a secret recipe by the local bakery Pastisseria La Mallorquina. Take a refreshing smoothie or organic juice at Brown Sugar, one of the most authentic bars in Cadaques.
Visit the Dali museum, take a boat trip or a pleasant walk to the the lighthouse at Cala Nans or the hidden beach of Cala Guillola. Let us know your interests and we can help you plan a bespoke and memorable day out in Cadaques, our favourite coastal town on the Costa Brava.
A great way to spend a day or half a day is to take a boat trip around the Cap de Creus. The Sant Isidre is a classic Catalan fishing boat built in 1925 and which has a capacity for up to 35 people. You will visit isolated bays which are only accessible by boat and have the option of lunch onboard.
Where to eat in Cadaques?
Cadaques also has some great restaurants and too many to list here but here is a small sample:
Martin Faixo is a producer of some great local wines grown in the Cap de Creus and they also run the two very good restaurants Can Rafa and the Enoteca MF.
Compartir Cadaques . Opened in 2012 by three local chefs who worked at the world famous El Bulli, Compartir has quickly became one of Cadaques’s most popular restaurants.
MOS Cadaques is another new restaurant which opened its doors in 2012. Contemporary food from a Michelin starred chef.