Girona, situated north of Barcelona, is a spectacular city with a rich historic past, an admirable monumental assembly that one cannot miss visiting. The city of Girona has been called the city of the three rivers as it is located in the valley of the Ter between the rivers Güell, Galligants, and Onyar. To the left of the Onyar river, you will find the modern Girona, with important buildings of the modernist and noucentista time periods, which had great influence during these times.
The city boasts the great urban park of the Dehesa, perfect for a Saturday stroll. It covers around 40 hectares of land and has more than 2,500 banana trees that are over 50 meters tall. They evoke the image of a gothic ship of an infinite cathedral. The core center of the old city is marked by the layout of the old neighborhood. In this zone, the old Benedictine monastery Sant Pere of Galligants can be found. Similarly, the Walk of the Wall, the church of Sant Feliu, and the Arabian Baths, which date back to the 12th century, are situated in this area.
Furthermore, Girona is a must for all fans of the famous HBO series The Game of Thrones. Many scenes from the season 6 were filmed in this picturesque city. Especially the ones taking place in the imaginary city of Braavos. If you want to follow steps of Arya Stark performed by Maisie Williams, enter a Citadel full of wisdom together with Samwell and Gilly, or witness the place where one of the most famous scenes taking place in the Kings Landing was filmed, you should definitely put Girona on your travel bucket list. In addition, there are many city guided tours with a major focus on famous filming spots of the series.
Anytime during the year is a good time for your visit, but especially in the month of May when Girona is continuously lit with festivals. The city offers, amongst other activities, the Festival of Religious Music, the Fair of Sant Narcís and the Procession of the Manaies the Good Friday.
Here is a list of other activities and things to do whilst on your visit:
- Walk along the ancient walls for excellent views of the city.
- Enjoy the numerous cafes which are especially atmospheric at night.
- The ancient narrow streets of the old Jewish quarter.
- Check out Girona’s lively club scene.
- Play golf on all the fantastic golf courses in the surroundings.
The Monastery of Sant Pere of Galligants and Chapel of Sant Nicolau are beautiful examples of Lombard-style Romanesque buildings dating from the 12th century AD. The monastery itself was occupied by the Benedictine order. This site will captivate you by its imposing scale, and its remarkable cloister that stores a collection of important Jewish ornaments dating from when the old Hebrew community lived in medieval Girona. Today, you will find Girona’s Museum of Archaeology inside the monastery, as well as a fine representation of Catalan Romanesque architecture.
Dating from the 12th century, the Colegiata of Sant Feliu is a traditional site in Girona. The building incorporates different architectural styles. The interior construction is built in Roman style, the ship in a Gothic style, and the east facade in Baroque. Inside, there are early Christian tombs from Italy and a masterpiece Catalan gothic sculpture called el Cristo Yacente. This historical site is just one of the many that the city holds.
The Arabian Bath in Girona used to be used for public bathing. Although the name may suggest otherwise, this building is, in fact, Romanesque in design and architecture, taking inspiration from the old Roman baths. There are however some influences of Muslim architecture inside. Inside you will find 3 rooms: the frigidarium (cold pool), caldarium (hot pool), and tepidarium (warm pool). Of these 3 rooms, the frigidarium stands out the most for its striking design and layout.
Casas de l’Onyar, houses that make Girona really stand out, were built in the Middle Ages. They feature brightly colored stone reflecting in the river on which banks they stand. These houses offer spectacular views of plazas with pillars and columns surrounded by steep alleys. Casas de l’Onyar really are one of the most spectacular sights in Girona and definitely a must-see on your visit here.
Girona has kept intact numerous modern and medieval spaces, with strong influences of its Roman, Arab and Jewish past obvious in the architecture and design around the plazas, uneven alleys, narrow winding streets, and buildings of extraordinary beauty. The town appears to remain untouched as if time has stood still.
How to get there?
Girona is a perfect destination for a one day trip from Barcelona. You can easily reach it by bus or train from Barcelona’s city center stations.
- Train: Take the AVE train from the Sans Estació in a direction to Figueres Vilafant.
- Bus: Travel by a bus number 602 departing from Estació d’Autobuses de Fabra i Puig.
- Car: Head up north along the coast from Barcelona and follow the route AP-7.