Tilly Wood: Salvador Dalí’s Spanish hometown

The perfumer who is behind the Aja Botanicals range started her career as a successful model, before becoming a film producer. Her work means that she is always travelling, though these days this is likely to be in search of ingredients for her scents, rather than posing for a camera or scouting a location. One place she discovered years ago is the Spanish seaside town of Cadaqués, which she returns to whenever she can

Cadaqués is my favourite holiday escape. It’s very relaxed and unpretentious with a genuine bohemian vibe. With its windy road down to the town you really have to know about it to find it. There are no big tourist hotels or high street stores, it’s more boutique. It does cater for tourists, though, and the town is buzzing from June to September; but there are many residents living there and families coming back year after year, many of whom have had homes or have had a connection to it for many generations. The old whitewashed town houses and narrow twisting streets are home to Italians, French and Spanish. Cadaqués does attract an international crowd but mostly people are drawn to this special place for its warm and easy-going atmosphere. 

Port of Cadaqués

When you stay in Cadaqués it’s impossible not to slow down, with everything you need in walking distance; there aren’t many cars around and an afternoon is easily spent sunbathing and swimming off the rocks in secluded and peaceful bays. The water is clear and crisp. 

The first coffee of the day will be at Bar Casino, a local haunt where everyone goes to sit by the sea and slowly wake up. If we’re up early enough, we’ll go for a fresh juice at the cool bar Brown Sugar, where we sit out on the street. Many an early evening is spent there too, it’s a must for live music and delicious cocktails.

Lunch at Mut is a favourite, a restaurant loved by the locals – it has the best goat’s cheese salad in the world – with its seating outside under a tree looking out over the sea. Cadaqués doesn’t have a deep harbour, so you won’t find a super-yacht nearby. Instead, there are mostly fishing boats or small boats that you can take out for day trips around the coast. A day out on a boat tour is not to be missed, taking in the sites around to Cap de Creus, the nature reserve. The voyage will always be taken at a mellow pace.

We will have a few dinners or lunches at Celeste, another local hangout, which has the best pasta and bresaola. After dinner everyone gathers at the bar La Frontera. Cadaqués is a small town, so it is easy to bump into people that you know and equally easy to make new friends. 

A cultural highlight of Cadaqués is the photography exhibition in September and October, entitled InCadaqués, which is curated by our good friend, Valmont Achalme. Famously, Salvador Dalí had a home in Cadaqués, and his influence can be felt throughout the town. With photographers and artists living and working in Cadaqués, there are many galleries and studios to visit, and most of the residents have stories or memories of the wild times of the artist’s days there. His home is now a museum that you can visit and it’s extraordinary; it has been left exactly as it was when he passed away, with much of his art and sculptures in place.

Discover more about Tilly Wood’s scents at ajabotanicalsbytilly.com

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