Sant Feliu de Guíxols is a town rich in culture. It has not only an important long-standing architectural heritage, museums and exhibition rooms, but also a wide range of renowned worldwide events and festivals.
Our town is an ideal place to enjoy culture in your free-time or your holidays because of all these resources.
We have the following cultural offer:
Architecture and heritage
The Benedictine Monastery is the most important heritage site in town. It preserves important features such as its 10th century Romanesque Porta Ferrada, which has become a symbol. Mare de Déu dels Àngels church and Fum and Corn towers are also part of the building, which houses the Town History Museum, the exhibition on Health; and the temporary exhibition of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Collection.
The Monastery is a Cultural Feature of National Interest. The fortified Benedictine monastery dates back to the 10th century (Porta Ferrada) and was originally built over previous Roman structures, documented by archaeologists.
This monastery has different project stages until the 18th century, with the large baroque building.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols grew up around the monastery and was developed later at the other bank of the Monastery stream. The town struggled to break free from the abbots’ feudal ambitions.
The hermitage was rebuilt in 1923 because of the city-garden urbanisation on Sant Elm Hill (health resort, fountains, gardens and Modernist houses) promoted by industrialist Pere Rius i Taulet. Since the 15th century, the building had been a strategic fortification used to defend Sant Feliu coast, but was knock down by the French troops during the wars of the late 18th century. The interior of the hermitage houses beautiful allegorical paintings dating from 1923. From its viewpoint (we can see from Palamós to Tossa de Mar), Ferran Agulló named the coast Costa Brava.
The shelter was built in 1897 by the Shipwreck Rescue Association as an accommodation centre for sailors and fishermen who were shipwrecked on Sant Feliu shore, and as a warehouse for storing tools. The building is now a part of the Town History Museum, where you can see sea rescue items of the 19th century (lifeboat, boxes of ropes, life jackets, etc), as well as audiovisual resources.
In 1889, the architect General Guitart i Lostaló designed this building with its Arabesque motifs. The Casino dels Nois (young men casino) was frequented by artisans, workers, seafarers and liberal rich men, in contrast to the other Casino Guixolense, which was popularly known as the conservative Casino dels Senyors (Gentlemen’s Casino).
The present-day building has still the same structure: gambling room, ballroom, staircase and library.
Casa Estada must be pointed out. It is known as “xalet de les punxes” (villa of spikes). It was built between 1890 and 1912 and its main features are the eight towers on its façade and the central tower. Nearby, there are the Casa Girbau Estrada and the Casa Domènech-Girbau, both built in 1910 by the architect Josep Goday. These two villas are proof of the transition between Modernism and Noucentism (Catalan architectural style).
The local indoor market was built in 1929 in order to improve hygiene conditions in selling fish and meat. There were room for stalls and cold storages in the basement. Fish could no longer be sold in the streets (mostly in the sea promenade and the Rambla). As it is inscribed in one of the side walls, the market was designed by the architect Joan Bordàs i Salellas and built by Narcís Franquesa.
The present cemetery was built in 1833 by the town council on the outskirts of the city centre as the new regulations established so. It is composed of a lay and a Catholic areas. We must pointed out some Modernist and ‘Noucentista’ (Catalan cultural movement) mausoleums, the graves of some Gesòria Lodge’s members and the grave of Josep Irla Bosch, once the president-in-exile of the ‘Generalitat’ (Catalan Government).
The Town Council cooperates with Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza to provide the town with a cultural centre to exhibit the baroness’ personal collection. Through the Carmen Thyssen Space, the baroness’ commitment with the town makes accessible to the general public national and international works of art that cannot be found in any other Catalan museum.
From 2012, the Carmen Thyssen Space opened its doors with Light landscapes, dreamy landscaped. From Gauguin to Delvaux. The following exhibitions have been carried out: Sisley- Kandinsky – Hopper (2013), The Ideal of the landscape. Among Meifrén, Matisse and Goncharova (2014), Barcelona – Paris – New York. From Urgell to O’Keeffe and The Illusion of the Far West (2016). An ideal world. From Van Gogh to Gauguin and Vasarely (2017). Natura en evolució. De Van Goyen a Pissarro i Sacharoff is the present exhibition.
Some complementary activities to the exhibitions are organised: family, normal and night guided tours, music at the Space and educational activities based on the works of art on display. The children that come to the Space can have fun in our Kids Room, where they have the chance to show their artistic skills.
The Porta Ferrada is a Catalan, Mediterranean and European Festival. It was born in Sant Feliu de Guíxols in 1958 and it’s the oldest summer festival in Catalonia. It is unique in the Costa Brava because of its proposals, open to all artistic disciplines. National and international well-known and featured artists take part in its events. Settled down in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, the festival offers the best cultural proposal in outstanding places to fully enjoy each performance: in the street, in squares and on stages. Music, theatre, workshops and other extra events take the lead during the summer in the town.
The Porta Ferrada Festival celebrates its 56th edition with music and performing arts events for the general public. Jack Johnson, Txarango, Serrat, Pablo Alborán or Ara Malikian are some of the featured artists of the festival that is going to take place from 13th July to the 18th August.
The Monastery is a Cultural Feature of National Interest. It houses the Town History Museum, where we can find the city development, related to the Monastery in the exhibition El Monestir i la vila (the Monastery and the village). You can also visit other exhibitions: El Suro (about the cork industry), Josep Albertí (a local painter).
You can also go up to the medieval towers, passing through the Corn tower, walking over the Porta Ferrada and gaining access to the basis of the Fum tower, where there is a Roman mausoleum, as well as to the top, where you can enjoy a large view over the city.
The museum has an exhibition about the sea rescue in the Salvament (1890), a little red house, located in the Fortim. We can find a Dawson canon (1890), a Miquel Boera’s rescue boat and its launching trolley (blessed in 1898) and many other things. All this stuff can be seen in its original place, even an audiovisual on this interesting subject.
We find the Toy History Museum in a Catalan Noucentisme building. It has more than 3500 pieces, dated between 1870-1980, most of them made in Spain. We’ll know the history from the tin to the plastic through its rooms. There are monographic rooms: train mock-ups, Terror Street and dolls.
The Shipwreck Rescue Shelter in Sant Feliu de Guíxols is an important element of the heritage with original pieces. The boat and other marine rescue tools are exhibited in its original emplacement in Punta dels Guíxols. The exhibition has an audiovisual to help understand the historic and social context.
Sea Rescue Museum
Pujada dels Guíxols, s/n (Turó del Fortim)
17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols
Tel. 972 82 15 75 · Fax. 972 82 15 74