Catalonia: what to do and see in Girona?

by Destination(s) Europe

When we were on a trip to Barcelona (and also Cadaqués), we found ourselves pondering what Girona had to offer. Little did we know, for travel enthusiasts, Girona is a must-visit destination. This medieval town in the Catalan region of northeastern Spain, steeped in rich history and culture, will surely captivate you, tempting you to stay a little longer. Girona is situated 62 kilometres from the French border and 102 kilometres from Barcelona, making it an easily reachable destination. Here are 10 compelling reasons to visit, showcasing magnificent sites that encompass its famed monuments and cultural attractions. Let’s explore them together.

💸 At the restaurant. Should you leave a tip after a meal in a Spanish restaurant? And if so, how much? We answer these crucial questions in this article.

Before we dive into our list of must-do’s in Girona, here are some tips on transport and accommodation.

How to get from Barcelona to Girona by train?

In Barcelona without a car but still want to visit Girona? No worries, it’s fairly simple. The train ride takes only 40 minutes, with hourly departures. Prices start at 7 euros.

Where to park in Girona?

If arriving by car, you’ll need to park to explore Girona’s historic centre. Several large Saba car parks are available around the area, costing about 2.40 euros per hour. Alternatively, park for free in residential areas and take public transport from areas like Montilivi and Fontajau.

Which hotel to choose in Girona?

Girona offers a range of accommodations. Want the charm of the city combined with proximity to attractions? Try the Hotel Museu Llegendes de Girona. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this restored 18th-century building beautifully blends modernity with tradition.

If you prefer some fresh air, we recommend the Hotel Costabella. It boasts a lovely garden, outdoor pool, and sauna, and is less than a 15-minute walk from the city centre. What more could you ask for?

🔝 If you’re passing through Barcelona… The capital of Catalonia is renowned for its gastronomy. Find out where to eat the best tapas.

Having covered these tips, let’s dive into what you absolutely must see during a trip to Girona.

Passeig de la Muralla

You can’t visit Girona without exploring the famous walls that are the remnants of the old city built by the Romans. Carefully restored and rehabilitated, these walls surrounding the Old Quarter offer a stunning panoramic view. It’s a fantastic way to get a feel for the city before diving in deeper.

Passeig de la Muralla is a must in Girona.

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona

This cathedral, built between the 10th and 13th centuries, is a true architectural marvel. It’s influenced by Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architectures and boasts the world’s largest nave at 23 metres wide. And if you do visit, which you should, you’ll also get a chance to see its two art museums, housing a replica of the renowned “Creation Tapestry”, an embroidery piece from the late 11th or early 12th century.

This cathedral, like many other beautiful places in the city, was also a filming location for a scene from the hit TV series Game of Thrones.

🎬 A Catalan Game of Thrones. Speaking of which, if you’re a fan of the medieval-fantasy series, Girona is a must-visit. The city is home to several filming locations: the cathedral’s steps are those of the Great Sept of Baelor, Bisbe Cartana Street portrayed an alley in Braavos, and Plaça dels Jurats was the spot for a travelling theatre attended by Arya Stark. For more details, there’s a comprehensive webpage on the subject (in French).

Visiting St. Mary's Cathedral is one of the must-do things to do in Girona.

Saint Felix Church

Built on the tomb of Saint Felix the African, this church alone tells the captivating story of the city. It’s a collegiate basilica dating back to the early Christian period. The first documents proving its existence are from 882 AD, though the structure you’ll see today is a Gothic build from the 14th century, authorised by the chapter in 1313. Nearby, you’ll find the iconic lioness statue, one of the symbols of the city, perched on a column.

The Church of Saint Felix is ​​a must in Girona.

The Jewish Quarter

Immersing yourself in the intertwined medieval streets is a unique experience. As the name suggests, this was the neighbourhood where Jews lived before their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Locally known as the “call jueu”, it houses the former synagogue, which is now part of the University of Girona. To the north, you’ll find the Jewish mount (Montjuic).

The Jewish quarter is one of the places to visit in Girona.

Arab baths

This famous Roman structure, influenced by public baths and ancient thermal baths, probably gets its name from the Oriental elements decorating it, such as the dome allowing celestial light to filter through. Dating back to the 12th century, this site was also a Game of Thrones filming location. You can visit for a small fee, but bathing is no longer allowed.

The Arab baths are a must in Girona.

Rembla de la Llibertat

This was the main artery of medieval Girona. This beautiful avenue along the Onyar River draws visitors with its shops, bars, restaurants, and distinct architectural structures like the Norat House (built in 1912). It’s the most frequented public space in the city, with lime trees and benches adding to its allure. Its name pays tribute to the freedom tree planted in 1869 during the six democratic years.

The Rembla de la Llibertat in Girona.

Onyar River

This river is a standout feature in the province and the Catalonian city of Girona. The picturesque houses with vibrant facades lining the banks make it famous. One of the most notable houses is that of architect Rafael Maso I Valenti, commonly known as “Maso House”, a true gem by the river.

The Onyar river, in the center of Girona.

Girona’s Art Museum

Art enthusiasts are in for a treat at this splendid museum. Housed in the former bishop’s palace, it showcases the most significant art collection in the entire province from the Romanesque era.

Independence Square

Located in Barri del Mercadal downtown, this square is one of the most famous and frequented places in the city. Its name references Spain’s War of Independence.

Independence Square, a must in Girona.

Girona’s Cinema Museum

If you have a soft spot for cinema, Girona is the place to be. The city boasts one of the few museums in Europe entirely dedicated to film. Here, you’ll find over 30,000 items tracing the industry’s evolution, including cameras, filters, and notably the projector the Lumière brothers used for their first public screening.

These are the ten places you must absolutely visit during your stay in the historic city of Girona. But if you have other suggestions, we’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments.

Vous aimerez aussi

Leave a Reply

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin