Catalonia, Spain travel tips, including Girona, Cadaques, Figures, Port Ligat, and Ripoll

Where we ate:

  • Vinil, Girona – We’d been told that the food in Catalonia is some of the best in Spain, because of the proximity to France. They weren’t kidding, this place was innovative and affordable: YEH!!
  • Trattoria Algianni, Cadaques – Yes, we admit it, we ate Italian food in Spain. The pasta was homemade and a nice change of pace. The patio seating is cliché perfect, we even had musicians come by who convinced the waitress to sing a couple of songs, just like a scene from Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver: YEH
  • Creperie Bretonne, Girona – Very hip place, check out the bus inside the restaurant. The crepes were tasty, if a little dry: YEH
  • Condis Supermercats, Ripoll – You can do some supermarket shopping just across from the bus station. Though it is a soul-less store, we managed to make a nice simple sandwhich from goat cheese, fresh bread, a giant bag of of pre-washed arugula, and some olives: YEH
  • Costa Pastiss, Ripoll – Across the square from the main church/monastery, they had nosh-worthy sandwiches (like smoked salmon at breakfast!) and some food-porn worthy desserts, which we sadly didn’t have room or time for: YEH

Where we stayed:

  • Hostal Vehi, Cadaques – Our room faced a small plaza at the back of the church next-door, where each afternoon a singer with an accordion would provide the perfect background music: YEH
  • Pension Viladomat, Girona – Ugh. They forgot we had a reservation and that they agreed to early check in, plus while we waited we had to pressure them to let us use their bathroom. The woman running the place is crazy: MEH
  • Hostal La Paula, Ripoll – Nice enough place, clean, smells a bit like your grandmother’s house. The wardrobes in our room, as is so often the case in these smaller hostals, were used for storage. Except the wife of the guy running the place was storing her extra prosthetic inside with the extra blankets: YEH

What we did:

  • Museu Casa Dali, Port Ligat – Not sure anyone that isn’t fully into Dali will appreciate this, since there are none of his famous paintings. The guided tour, which is the only way to enter, is pricey and short. Booking ahead required. It is a truly surreal home: YEH
  • Teatre-Museu Dali, Figures – The town asked Dali to donate a painting and instead he built them a museum to himself. Now that’s what I call self-love. Go at lunchtime when the tour groups vanish, if only briefly: YEH
  • Free WiFi spots – We picked up free public WiFi outside the Catedral de Girona. Nice view and plenty of (concrete) seating: YEH
  • Walking the city walls, Girona – A nice enough stroll, climb up the towers for a panoramic view of the countryside: YEH
  • Catalan bus system – Not as well-run as buses elsewhere in Span. The posted schedules were often inaccurate, there was almost never anyone working at the station, and if there was a ticket person, they had truly lost their lust for life: MEH
  • Hiking in Ripoll – Visit the tourist office for the trail map first. The trail we took will take up to twice as long as the map says if you’re hiking for pleasure, not a workout. Trails are not well marked along the whole route, so there’s some guessing involved, so bring a compass: YEH