Have you been following the BBC's TV show Great Continental
Railway Journeys? It takes you on fascinating excursions across the
continent by rail. The show has expanded our horizons and inspired
many others to take to the tracks.
If you watched the Spanish railway adventure episode and were
tempted to follow in their footsteps, then you should consider our
Spanish rail tours. They include our holiday to the rugged Catalan
Coast where you will be based in the relaxing resort of Rosas.
Located within a mountainous stretch of the Costa Brava, Rosas
includes an authentic Spanish fishing port and a stretch of
sweeping bays set against the backdrop of the wild Cap de Creus
Rosas is bursting with history
Just take a 10-minute stroll from the town centre to Avingdue du
Rhode and you can time travel to the historical theme park of Espai
Cultural la Ciutadella de Roses.
The 16th century military fortification contains the remains of
the Greek town of Rhode (the first Greek colony within Catalonia)
as well as a Roman villa and a collection of Visigothic buildings,
including a Christian church that dates back to the 4th century.
You can choose to explore the ancient fortified town with a free
guided tour or view the complex (including exhibition and the
Citadel museum) by yourself.
Rosas's Cortalet Nature Reserve
If you love nature, then Rosas's Cortalet Nature Reserve is a
must-see during your tour. The park has recorded 327 different
species of bird, including the Nightingale, Spoonbill, Great
Spotted Cuckoo and nests of White Storks. Even if you are not a
bird enthusiast, the nature park makes for a memorable tranquil
walk that includes scenic picnic areas and a sea-watch tower. An
information centre is also on site that provides maps and useful
information on the birds and wildlife you can see.
From Rosas, you are not far from an abundance of Catalonian
treasures. Take a short stroll to Rosas's harbour and you can enjoy
one of several coastal cruises to Cadaqués, a fishing village on a
bay in the middle of the Cap de Creus peninsula. It has distinctive
whitewashed houses that were the inspiration for much of Salvador
Dalí's work. The prominent Spanish surrealist painter spent family
holidays in Cadaqués during his youth and lived much of his life at
nearby Portlligat. There you can find the Portlligat Museum-House,
Salvador Dalí's only fixed residence.
Discover Dalí's home
Portlligat Museum-House was a small fisherman's hut that Dalí
built up little by little over 40 years to create an impressive
labyrinth design that he regarded as home. The final result is an
insight into the brilliant mind of Dalí. Every window has its own
shape, capturing the landscape they look out onto in their own
unique way. It's these views that inspired Dalí to create one of
his masterpieces, The Portlligat Bay.
More of Dalí's great work can be found at the Dalí-Theatre
Museum in Figueres, somewhere you get to visit on the sixth day of
our Catalan Coast rail journey. This museum contains the broadest
range of works in his artistic career. These include: the Port
Alguer (1924), The Spectre of Sex Appeal (1932) and Galatea of the
However, there is more to Figueres than just a number of
world-class museums. As the last major town before the
Spanish/French border, Figueres serves as an excellent base to
explore the upper Empordà region, an area that provides the best of
Catalan culture through its impressive food, wine and beaches.
Things to do and see in Figueres
Placa de les Patates is a historic square that gets its name
('square of potatoes') from having a farmers market there until the
1950s. Today it is a tranquil square decorated by 17th century
buildings and large trees, which protect visitors from the hot sun
as they relax at the welcoming bistros in the area.