Cap de Creus
Cap de Creus is a peninsula located on the northeastern tip of Catalonia known for its stunning natural beauty and unique geological features. The rocky and arid landscape of Cap de Creus, sculpted over millions of years by the forces of wind and water, is its defining feature. The combination of pegmatite and schist rock formations, cliffs, and the sea create a dramatic setting. Indeed, this magical landscape was a constant source of inspiration for the artist Salvador Dalí.
This whole cape is currently a protected area called Parc Natural del Cap de Creus. The park includes the area on both land and sea, encompassing approximately 13,886 hectares of protected space. The park’s diverse ecosystems include marine areas with seagrass meadows, underwater caves, and rich marine life. On land, you’ll find Mediterranean vegetation, including shrubs, pines, and aromatic herbs, as well as a variety of bird species.
Cadaqués stands out among the villages and small towns in Cap de Creus. Another highlight is the stunning remains of the Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes.
Cadaqués is a charming coastal town located in the Costa Brava region. The town is nestled in a natural bay with crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The unspoiled beaches, hidden coves, and rugged coastlines create a picturesque backdrop.
Cadaqués is perhaps best known for its rich artistic heritage, as it has attracted notable artists over the years. Salvador Dalí, one of the most famous surrealist artists, had a strong connection to Cadaqués. Dalí spent a lot of time in Cadaqués and even had a house in the nearby bay of Portlligat, where the Dalí House-Museum is located. Other great artists, such as Duchamp, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso, also spent many summers here.
The town itself boasts traditional architecture, consisting of typical Mediterranean whitewashed buildings with blue doors and windows, creating a visually striking and harmonious appearance. The town faces a small bay and beach where recreational and fishing boats are moored. Perched at the top of the village is the austere 16th-century Church of Santa María, its whitewashed walls blending in perfectly with the rest of the village. Inside there is a notable Baroque altarpiece dedicated to Our Lady.
Sant Pere de Rodes
Sant Pere de Rodes is a historic Benedictine monastery located on the slopes of Verdera Mountain in Cap de Creus Natural Park. The origins of Sant Pere de Rodes date back to the 9th century. It was founded by Count Guifré el Pelós (Wilfred the Hairy) as a Benedictine monastery, and over the centuries, it has grown in size and importance.
The architectural style of Sant Pere de Rodes is predominantly Romanesque. The complex includes the church, cloister, bell tower, defensive walls, and other structures. The monastery is situated on a hill overlooking the surrounding landscape, offering panoramic views of the sea, mountains, and the surrounding countryside. Its strategic location served both religious and defensive purposes.
Sant Pere de Rodes played a significant role as a religious and cultural center during the medieval period. It housed a community of Benedictine monks and served as a place of worship, education, and manuscript production. Still visible today are the hillside terraces that were once harvested. For several centuries, wine was the monastery’s major source of revenue.
The monastery, however, faced periods of decline and abandonment over the centuries, particularly during times of political and social upheaval. The monastic life there ended in 1793, and the monastery was abandoned. In the 20th century, efforts were made to restore and preserve the site, recognizing its historical and architectural importance. Today, Sant Pere de Rodes is open to visitors, offering a glimpse into its rich history.