Perfect for a post-Barcelona side-trip, the city of Girona has all the centuries-old charm of the big Spanish cities but without the frenzied overpopulation, overpriced amusement parks and even more overpriced drinks. From the colourful houses sitting along Onyar River to the medieval Romanesque and Gothic architecture, this wealthy town is sure to make an impression on more than your credit card statement.
There’s no better place to start your Girona journey than in the Old Town (Barri Vell). Riddled with secret paths, old theatres and fantastic museums, this area will keep your inner culture connoisseur well satisfied. Soak up the buzz of The Rambla with an alfresco coffee and hit up the Jewish Museum to learn about the city’s kosher roots – especially if you thought Kaballah was something invented by Madonna last decade.
Girona’s Top 10
10. Saturday Market Pick up antiques, food and jewellery at this bargain bin of cool trinkets.
5. History of Girona City Museum Explore Girona’s unique past through historical remnants and modern exhibitions.
9. Devesa Park Plenty of shady places to explore, and even a swimming pool if you need to cool off.
4. City Walls Dating back to the ninth century – and you can still walk on them!
8. St Nicholas This crumbling, Romanesque church can be traced back to the 1100s.
3. Jewish Quarter A web of alleyways and beautiful open courtyards make this area a total treasure.
7. Girona Museum of Art Release your inner art critic at this amazing collection of medieval and Renaissance artwork.
2. Sant Pere de Galligants Once a Benedictine monastery, now a fascinating archaeological museum.
6. Arab baths Modern art only slightly detracts from the ancient wonder of these Arab-style baths.
1. Girona Cathedral A mishmash of styles make up this architectural marvel.
- Girona Cathedral – This well-preserved cathedral is one of the main attractions in the city.
- Monastery Sant Pere de Rodes – The partially ruined remains of this ancient monastery are worth the trek.
- Esglesia de Sant Feliu – Parts of this ancient church were made in the 13th century.
- Arab Baths – These medieval Muslim baths were built in the 12th century and are popular attractions.
- Jewish Quarter – This small section was once the home to the Jewish population in the area.
Girona Art & Culture
- The Call – This Jewish neighbourhood is said to be the home of the Kaballah.
- Eiffel Bridge – This historic bridge offers great views of the river.
- La Rambla – This old riverside street is a great place to people watch or grab a unique local snack.
- Girona Art Museum – Many exhibitions of local art are displayed at this popular museum.
- Film Museum – Those who love Spanish film should visit this Girona museum.
- Nou Taller de Vidre – A great place to buy local handmade items.
- Ambrosia – This shop is located in a castle and sells many gifts with a medieval theme.
- Colmado Moriscot – This unique store specializes in local food, wine and sweets.
- Galeria Polakos – This Girona store sells all types of clothing, jewellery and souvenirs.
- Massimo Dutti – A trendy store for shoppers who look for new and hip designs.
Gay & Lesbian Girona
- Hostal Residencia Catalina – Located just outside of Girona, this gay-friendly hotel features amazing views and cosy rooms.
- La Lutine – A gay-friendly chalet near Girona that is known for its great views of the coast.
- Hotel Llegendes de Girona – This fabulous hotel caters to a more discerning gay and lesbian crowd.
- Blanes Beach – This gay beach is a great place to meet new people and sunbathe.
- Hotel AC – This ultra-modern hotel is gay-friendly.
- Parc de la Devesa – This lovely park is one of the best places in the city to enjoy the outdoors.
- Cala Estreta – This beautiful stretch of beach near Girona is a favourite place for locals.
- Lake Banyoles – This lake is one of the best spots for swimming or other outdoor sports.
- Aiguablava Beach – The fine sand at this beach makes it a great place to relax in the sun.
- Migdia Park – Features a wonderful play area for children and a great location for hiking.
- Take a ride around Girona with Bike Breaks Day Tours.
- Ride a horse at the Panorama Trails.
- Ski and snowboard at Masella.
- Play a round and relax at the Golf Peralada Wine Spa.
- Learn to dive with the experts at Sant Feliu.
January’s Three Kings Festival pays tribute to the Three Wise Men with a mother of a parade featuring a guest appearance from the Kings themselves.
March and April are the best months for foodies, with Girona hosting the annual Gastronomy Festival. Local restaurants assist in keeping your stomach full for an entire week.
Girona cherishes its culture and religion with folk concerts and flamenco at the Festival of Culture and Sacred Music, held every year in June and July.
Girona’s biggest fiesta is the St Narcis Fair, held in October and November. Honouring the city’s patron saint, this nine-day funfest has a stack of colourful and tasty things on the program.
December’s Festival of Cinema is your chance to watch some (un-subtitled) Spanish films, docos and even cartoons.
When To Go
- Girona enjoys a mild climate, with summer averages around 28°C (82°F) and winter daytime averages around 8°C (46ºF).
- Prepare for sudden downpours if you’re travelling in spring or autumn. May and October see the most rain.
- For the longest, sunniest days, the height of summer (July and August) is obviously your best bet.
- If your hotel is centrally located, you can easily explore Girona on foot.
- Buses are a reliable way of getting around. They come about every 15 minutes, and only cost about €1.
- Hiring a car is fine, but be aware that parking can be hard to find on the streets. There are underground parking areas, but they don’t come cheap.
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