Europe’s best beach holidays: Cadaqués, Spain

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Forget what you think about the Costa Brava: this whitewashed town on a horseshoe bay was ‘the best place in the world’ for Dalí – and is still pretty much perfect today

I have travelled all over Spain for both work and fun in the past two decades, but the Catalan seaside town of Cadaqués had somehow failed to register on my radar. Last year, my husband was working in Catalonia and when he had a few days off between jobs, I proposed an impromptu tryst. The brief: somewhere by the sea.

I’m a map optimist, which can result in disappointment. I’ll spend hours tracing tantalising coastal roads, imagining wild cliffs or pristine sands dotted with charming fishing villages and chiringuitos. But the reality often fails to match my fantasies, and my dream road trip ends up leading me through Spain’s more familiar coastal milieu of endless high-rise concrete and phoney Irish bars. Cadaqués, however, looked promising – a tiny dot on a Mediterranean cove at the end of a tortuous 10-mile mountain road, where the Pyrenees give way to the sea – and surrounded by pretty much nothing. So far, so good.

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