Figueres is in the province of Girona in the Catalonia region of Spain.
Figueres is a pleasant town with an attractive centre, a large castle and a café-lined 'rambla'. However it is for the Salvador Dali museum that large numbers of visitors come each year. Indeed, the Salvador Dali Museum (Teatre-Museu Dali) is the most visited museum in Spain after the Prado in Madrid and the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
Spain This Way Comment: We are not particularly Salvador Daili fans but non the less were blown away by the Salvadore Dali Museum at Figueres. Make sure you go to see it.
There is a large 18th century castle, the Castell de Sant Ferran, in the town. It is, in fact, the largest castle in Europe! This is a popular place as you can walk (or jog) around its 3km perimeter. It offers excellent views over the sea. It is possible to look around the interior as well and there is a café inside.
Figueres Rambla is the main street in Figueres and like the Rambla in Barcelona it is a popular spot for meeting and sitting at one of the many pavement cafes to drink a coffee or eat lunch. At the bottom of the Rambla is a painting on the floor, 'the Face of Dali' which is a popular homage to Salvador Dali.
The old streets around the Rambla are very pleasant to walk around and home to some great shopping.
Visit the Salvador Dali Museum
The Salvador Dali Theatre Museum, the Teatre-Museu Dali, is the largest surrealist object in the world. It was built by Dali on the ruins of a 19th century Theatre. The building has a large glass dome and its edges are decorated by large egg shapes. It is, in its entirety, Dali's greatest work, and was created by Dali specifically to offer its visitors a unique visual experience.
On entering the museum the first area to visit is the courtyard and immediately you are struck by Salvador Dali's incredible imagination and surreal view on the world (if you hadn't already from the amazing exterior!). In the courtyard a statue of a well-endowed female figure stands on a black Cadillac whilst the walls of this inner courtyard are decorated by golden mannequins.
The next room from here is known as the stage and is a huge room lit by the large glass sphere that you can see from the outside of the building. One wall is a huge window onto the courtyard and the other has a huge painting - from the very high ceiling to the floor. Another incredible space.
The rest of the museum contains many rooms with different collections of works and is a zany mix of exhibits. These cover a great range of his works from some of his earliest to some he created in the last years of his life. These include: Port Alguer (1924), The Spectre of Sex-Appeal (1932), The Cosmic Athletes (1943) and Dawn, Noon, Afternoon and Evening (1979).
The museum also contains exhibits made specifically for the museum such as the Mae West Room and the Palace of the Wind.
Salvador Dali was born in Figueres and moved back here late in life. He is buried in a crypt in the museum. The museum is housed in the old theatre but Figueres suffered heavy bombing in the Spanish Civil war as it was the last Republican outpost to stand against Franco. The theatre was badly damaged and remained a ruin for several decades before Dali bought it and converted it into the museum that we see today.
The museum is open from 10.30 to 18.00 hours from Oct to March and from 9.00 to 20.00 hours from April to September. It is closed on Mondays except in July, August and September.
Museums in Figueres
The Teatre-Museu Dali museum displays the great breadth of Salvador Dali's art (see above).
The Dali-Joies (Dali-Jewels) museum is a seperate museum in the Teatre Museu at Figueres and is home to a fascintating collection of jewels created by Dali.
The Museu de l'Emorrda contains some excellent art works.
The Museu de Joguets is a toy museum.
Where to visit near Figueres?
Salvador Dali fans should also visit the Casa-Museu Castell Gala Dali, in the village of Pubol NE of Girona. This is the house of Dali's wife with whom he had a colourful relationship. It is also where Dali lived when Gala died.
The Casa-Museu Salvador Dali, the House-museum Salvador Dali, at Portlligat near Cadaques is where Dali and Gala lived and is well worth a visit to see how this unusual couple lived. Also be sure to visit Cadaques itself which is where Dali once lived and which inspired some of his paintings.