The Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres is one of the most visited museums in Spain: Getting to the Museum from Barcelona is easy, and the experience is certainly worth the effort and time for a visit out of town to Figueres. Inaugurated in 1974, the Museum represents the last great work of Dalí, defined by the Catalan artist himself as the largest surrealist object in the world. Dalí took more than 10 years to conceive and design his museum, donating more than 1.500 works to the foundation that today manages it, including paintings, drawings and sculptures.
The history of the Dalí Museum
The idea for the Museum came to Dalí himself when the mayor of Figueres, Ramon Guardiola, asked Dalí to donate a canvas for the local Empordá museum. Dalí replied that he would not only give a painting, but a whole museum. The suitable place was chosen in old Municipal Theater of Figueres, partially destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and reduced to ruins.
During the 70s, Dalí participated fully in the museum project, designing every detail and composing numerous works expressly for the structure. Among the various statues that adorn the Theater-Museum there are some from the modernist era that come directly from Leon and Morera House, one of the buildings of the manzana de la discordia on Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona. It seems that Dalí bought them cheaply from the doorkeeper of the building, after the statues had been removed and ready to be thrown away.
The visit to the Museum
The Dalí Museum is made up of three distinct areas:
- 1. The actual Theater Museum, formed by the old Municipal Theater, converted into a Museum according to Dalí's own project. Each element is integrated with the rest to form a unitary artistic whole;
- 2. The group of rooms designed and built later at the inauguration of 1974, in which Dalí's contribution was only symbolic. All the material collected after Dalí's death is found in this area.
- 3. The halls ofDalí permanent exhibition - Jewels, inaugurated in 2001, which brings together the goldsmith collection designed and created by Dalí.
The theater houses the largest collection of works by the Catalan artist, able to offer a complete overview of Dalí's entire artistic career. Although Dalí went down in history as the best known representative of surrealism, his early works provide an overview of all the painting of the 900s, such as structuralism, futurism and cubism. Among the numerous works on display are the face of Mae West used as an apartment, the Venus de Milo with drawers and Galatea of the spheres.
The permanent exhibition: Dalí - Joyas
Dalí's work spans several fields of art: one of the least known is thegoldsmith's. The permanent Dalí - Joyas exhibition brings together the entire collection of jewelery produced by Dalí between 1941 and 1970 on behalf of the American millionaire Catherwood. After passing through various hands, they were bought in 1999 by the Dalí foundation for around 5,5 million euros. Each jewel in the collection is a unique piece, designed by Dalí down to the smallest detail, creating objects that are sometimes very complex: among these the emblematic real heart, with a beating heart in rubies. In addition to the jewels, the exhibition displays the various sketches designed by Dalí for their realization.
Crossroads of several roads, Figueres is the most important city in the historical region of Empordá. The center has its own charm, especially when the weather is good: walk along the Rambla, and stop on some outdoor terrace. If you have enough time it is worth visiting the Toy Museum (C / Sant Pere, 1; hours: Tue-Fri: 10: 00-18: 30, Sat: 10: 00-19: 30, Sun and holidays 10: 30-14: 30, closed on Mondays; cost € 6), the largest of its kind in Catalonia, with many toys from various places and eras.
Where sleeping in Figueres
If you want to stay and sleep in Figueres, my personal choice goes to Barceloneta Upartments, 200 meters from the Gaudí Museum: these are mini-apartments with full kitchens, 40 € per night for 2 people, or the loft for 4 people for 58 €. More information is available on this page. Alternatively, you can consult this page with all the accommodation in Figueres.
Where to eat in Figueres
If you want to walk 500 meters from Plaça del Sol and get away from the more touristy area, go to the 9 Suprem (Carrer Llobregat, 4): simple-looking but always full restaurant, with a 12 € menu del día, they talk a lot about it. Another highly rated restaurant is The Cafe Bistrot Place, in Carrer Pi i Margall, 11, always with a menu of the day at € 12 and a certain reputation for the quality of the desserts.
To visit the Museum, allow at least 2 hours of time, to see the rest of Figueres add at least another couple of hours. It is forbidden to enter the Museum with backpacks or strollers: they can be left for free in the cloakroom at the entrance to the Museum. Due to its particular history, the Dalí Museum is not fully accessible for the disabled.
How to get to the Dalí Museum from Barcelona
The Dalí Museum is located in Plaça Gala - Salvador Dalí, 5, a Figures. There are several ways to get to the Dalí Museum from Barcelona:
- By train: There are about 30 daily trips from Barcelona to Figueres, served by the MD (Media Distancia) and Regional trains. The former take 1:50 hours and cost 16 € for a single trip; the regional ones are cheaper, but take longer: the ticket costs 12 €, and the travel time varies from 2:10 to 2:50 hours. The departure stations are Sants, Passeig de Gràcia, Clot-Aragó. The slower regional also pass through the stations of Plaça de Catalunya and Arc de Triomf. The first bus from Barcelona is at approximately 5:56, the last from Figueres is at 20:50. More information with detailed timetables are available on the Renfe website.
- By bus: The Sagalés line offers trips from El Prat Airport, passing through the Estació del Norte to the Figueres bus station, lasting approximately 2:30 hours, at a cost of € 20. More information is available on the Sagalés website.
Connections with Girona airport
If you land at Girona airport you can go directly to Figueres, and vice versa: it is a good way to spend, for example, half a day available before taking the plane. Once you leave the airport, take the Sagalés bus: it costs € 2,75 and takes about 25 minutes, with frequencies every 30-60 minutes depending on the time. When you arrive at the Girona bus station, cross the street and enter the train station (they are facing each other) and take the train to Figueres: the ticket costs a maximum of € 5,45, the frequency is about one train every 30 minutes.
Allow around half an hour to get to Figueres from Girona. From Figueres station to the Dalí Museum it takes about 15 minutes on foot, passing through the center of Figueres. Any hand luggage can be left in the museum cloakroom. Check the bus timetables on the Sagalés website and the train timetables on the Renfe website and make sure you have a good margin: trains and buses in Spain are very punctual. In addition, there are two daily bus trips, also from Sagalés, which go directly from the airport to Figueres.
Organized tours from Barcelona
A very convenient alternative to get to the Dalí Museum is the Salvador Dali tour in small groups: it is a organized tour lasting one day which includes the following stages in one day:
- visit of the fishing village Cadaques;
- visit to Dali Museum in Figueres;
- visit of the bays and inlets of the Costa Brava;
- tour of Dali's private house in Port Lligat;
- visit to the Platja de Castel beach.
The tour costs € 95 per person and includes trasporto by bus round trip, la guide English speaking for the duration of the tour.
Meeting point: opposite the famous Palau de la Musica bar, behind Via Laietana in Calle Palau de la Musica 1, 08011
The Dalí Museum has a very elaborate calendar, with different opening and closing times: in the table below you can read all the detailed information. The museum is closed on Mondays from October to May, except on 10 and 17 April, and on 1 and 8 May. From June to September the museum opens every day, and only during the month of August is it also scheduled to open at night, from 22pm to 00am.
The last access is scheduled 45 minutes before closing time, while the rooms close 15 minutes earlier.
The normal ticket costs € 14 per person, and also includes access to the permanent Dalí - Joyas exhibition; there is a reduced admission to € 10 for students and pensioners. Admission in the evening costs € 15 for everyone. Children up to 8 years are entitled to free access both day and evening. Admission to the Dalí - Joyas exhibition only costs € 7 at full rate, or € 5 if reduced.