Historical museums and cultural venues aren't restricted to the city of Girona. There's plenty to visit in surrounding towns: museums, ruins, Dalí's former house and so much more Catalan culture to experience. You'll believe us when you see it!
The Dalí Museum needs no introduction. Inaugurated in 1974 and built on the site of the former Teatre Municipal of Figueres, it's considered to be the final great work of Salvador Dalí. In fact, it was conceived and designed by the artist himself with the aim of offering visitors an authentic experience, and letting them explore his own particular and fantastic universe. Inside, the collection enables visitors to appreciate the artistic trajectory of Dalí, from his first artistic experiences focused on Impressionism and Cubism, Surrealism, nuclear mysticism and his passion for science up to the final works that he painted.
Since 1982, the former Hotel París in Figueres has been the site of the Catalan Toy Museum, where you can take a trip through the history and scientific and technological advances of toys, starting with the ones that our grandparents played with up to the present day. At the Museu del Joguet de Catalunya there are over 4,000 items on show. One interesting feature is that some of the pieces on display once belonged to such illustrious personalities as Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca, Joan Brossa and Joan Miró. In 1999, the museum was awarded the Catalan National Prize for Popular Culture and in 2007, with the Sant Jordi Cross.
If you're passionate about history, you'll love this museum. The Exile Memorial Museum (Museu Memorial de l'Exili, or MUME), inaugurated in 2007, is a space for remembrance, history and critical reflection, and a study centre that remembers the extensive number of exiles caused by the Spanish Civil War. Located in La Jonquera, the frontier town through which the majority of exiles from the war passed, the MUME brings together the functions of a museum (via temporary and permanent exhibitions) with historical research and educational dissemination.
The historical remains at Empúries include one of only two known Greek settlements on the Iberian Peninsula. It's a site that brings together two different cultures: the Greek one (6th century BC) and the Roman (218 BC), even though the majority of the remains that are currently visible come from the period in which the Greek and Roman cities were joined in a single municipality. In the Roman part, highlights include the mosaics from the large houses ('domus'), the forum and the main gate in the city wall. And in the Greek section, it's the temple of Asclepius and the Hellenic breakwater.
Catalan writer Josep Pla was very sure of something: 'I don't believe that there is anything, in this country or in most other countries, like it.' The Dalí House-Museum was originally a small fisherman's cottage, loacted in Portlligat, where the painter regularly lived and worked from 1930 until the death of his partner Gala in 1982. Inside it has a labyrinthine structure with numerous small rooms as well as decoration made up of an eclectic selection of objects that Dalí collected down the years. Incidentally, while the artist was still alive, visitors to the house included the likes of Walt Disney and the Duchess of Windsor.
'Le château de Gala, la Gala du château', ('The chateau of Gala, the Gala of the chateau') is how Salvador Dalí described Púbol Castle. A Gothic-Renaissance fortification from the 11th century, it became the centre of the barony of Púbol, and, in the '70s, the residence and refuge of Gala Éluard Dalí, the artist's lifelong partner. The castle was closed, mysterious, private, austere and restrained. In fact, Dalí wasn't allowed to enter if he hadn't written in advance for permission to do so. Despite this, he was in charge of its interior design: when he bought the castle, it was in a state of serious disrepair. The artist decided not to hide its dilapidated state, and used the semi-destroyed roofs and walls to create unexpected spaces and contrasting dimensions.