The Costa Brava region of Catalonia extends from just north of Barcelona to the French border. It is ironic that the name means “Wild Coast,” since much of the coastline has been disfigured by large-scale tourist developments. However, small towns such as Cadaqués are still relatively traditional. Once, the region attracted artists such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Marcel Duchamp. (The Dalí Theatre-Museum is in Figueres.) Immediately inland, the landscape is pretty, tranquil and unspoiled. “ Like all great cities, Barcelona provides an intense experience, and I often feel the need to unwind for a day or so at one of the stylish hotels in the surrounding countryside.