When thinking about beautiful beaches in Barcelona, the Barceloneta and Nova Icaria Beach come first to our mind. But if you have more time in Barcelona and you would like to get away a bit from the crowdedness of the city, you definitely need to go to Costa Brava, one of the most beautiful coastal regions in the world. Although, Costa Brava is much more than its wonderful beaches. There are several places which bring within the history and the culture of the area. Gerona (or in Catalan, Girona) is a city in the agglomeration of the famous Costa Brava. This Spanish municipality is the capital of the homonymous province and the region of Gironés, in the autonomous community of Catalonia. The city is situated just 100km north of Barcelona, 40 minutes away by train. It is one of the largest Catalan cities with almost 100,000 inhabitants that live in an area of 39,14 km2.
A little history of Girona
Girona was originally called Gerunda by its first inhabitants, the Iberians, and later by the Romans as well. It is located in the confluence of three main rivers (the Onyar, Guell and Ter Galligants) the region is at 70 meters above sea level and close to both the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees Mountains. This strategic positioning attracted many people in the old days. In the 1900s the city experienced a boom of an artistic movement that earned it the reputation of being the second capital of culture in Catalonia (after Barcelona). In the 1950s, after the traumatic period of the Spanish Civil War, also aggravated by flooding, the city started its slow economic recovery and large numbers of immigrants from the south of Spain arrived.
What to see in Girona
Girona is easily accessible by train, therefore it makes the city a popular spot for a day trip for visitors staying in accommodation in Barcelona. As a city rich in history and culture, it´s a great place to explore.
The Cathedral, once used by the Moors as a mosque, was entirely rebuilt after their expulsion. The current building is a stunning example of Catalan Gothic architecture. Another famous sight is the Old Fortifications, whose walls were built by the Romans in the 1st century BC and have protected Girona throughout the years from invaders. On the margin of the Onyar river, you will find the Church of Sant Feliu. Its 18th-century façade and 14th-century Gothic style make it one of the most emblematic buildings of the city. Another beautiful church to visit is the Sant Pere de Galligants, a very popular attraction.
Independency Square, named after the War of Spanish Independence against Napoleon, is one of the most famous squares of Girona. Just a few minutes away you will find the Cases de l’Onyar, or Houses of the Onyar. This group of houses on the two banks of the Onyar River was built many years ago and is a splendid example of Mediterranean architecture. The most famous museum of the city is the Jewish Heritage Museum, which highlights the history of the Jewish community, especially in Catalonia.
Besides its history and outstanding architecture, Girona also favors for the Game of Thrones‘ fans since many scenes were shot there from the popular series. It is among the top 10 reasons why you need to visit Girona. To get to know the other 9, check it out the video below.
Where to eat
Following the walking and sightseeing through this beautiful city full of culture and history, you can stop for a moment and enjoy the environment and the surroundings. While you doing it, you can taste delicious dishes in the best restaurants that Girona has and you shouldn’t spend much more money than the affordable level is.
Fenix Restaurant and Tapas Bar is famous for its Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines. Let’s go to tapar together in this place, where you will have excellent service experience.
If you are looking for some sweet, La Bombonera is a good choice. By the way, you can enjoy the view of the beautiful cottages on the riverbank of the river Onyar while you are eating good ice cream. They also provide vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, so everyone can enjoy the unique-tasted desserts.
The La Vedette restaurant has a high-quality standard and that’s why it attracts people who would like to get a gourmet experience but at an affordable price. They serve French meals from crépes to fondues as the basic ones both in a sweet and salty way.
Restaurant Occi is also an affordable and highly recommended option. For having a nice dinner with your beloves ones, this restaurant is a good choice.
How to get there
Train: Girona has a good connection from the Barcelona-Sants railway station.
Where to stay in Girona
Just a short drive or train ride away from Barcelona, Girona city is a wonderful place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Catalan capital. Relax in a plaza with a cup of coffee and a good book or take a walk around the famous cathedral and fortifications nearby. For the perfect accommodation, book one of our fabulous Apartments in Girona.