Girona is a famous city on a privileged location within Catalonia in Costa Brava, located on the north eastern part of Spain, about 114 km. from Barcelona Airport. Girona also has its own airport located about 11 km. to the town centre.
What to Expect?
Girona is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. A trip to Girona offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience the city’s unique atmosphere.
Girona has been called as the city of four rivers due to its location in the Ter valley at the point where this river joins the Güell, Galligants and Onyar rivers. The Onyar river marks the boundaries of the city.
Girona has great monumental sights of excellent beauty and historic value in its Old Quarter that include the medieval walls, examples of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe.
Things to Do & See in Girona…
Things to do and see in Girona are endless. Many of the best things to do and see in Costa Brava are also listed in Girona. One of the main attractions of Girona is its well-preserved historic center, known as the Barri Vell. This area is filled with winding, narrow streets, colorful buildings, and historic landmarks such as the Girona Cathedral and the Jewish Quarter. Visitors can explore the Barri Vell on foot and take in the sights and sounds of this charming district.
Another must-visit attraction in Girona is the Arab Baths, a well-preserved complex dating back to the 12th century. This historic site features a series of rooms and pools that were used for bathing and relaxation during the time of the Moors in Spain.
Girona is also home to several museums and galleries, including the Museum of Art, the Museum of History, and the Cinema Museum. These institutions offer visitors a chance to learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage and explore its diverse artistic traditions.
Popular attractions and sights in Girona include;
- The Mercadal quarter, the main financial center,
- the 17th century Hospital of Santa Caterina,
- the Moderniststyle buildings of Farinera Teixidor and the Casa de la Punxa Banyoles,
- the old quarter,
- the Sant Feliu Bridge,
- the Gothic basilica of Sant Feliu,
- the Cathedral,
- the Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants,
- the Chapter Museum,
- the Art Museum and the Gothic building the Pia Almoina,
- the Jewish Quarter,
- the City Museum,
- the Arab Baths,
- the Provincial Archeological Museum,
- the nearby towns of Banyoles with the famous Banyoles Lake (8 km.) and Besalu (14 km.).
Top Attractions & Sights in Girona for you…
The Old Quarter of Girona
The Old Quarter of Girona is a charming area that should not be missed on a trip to the city. Its narrow streets, historic buildings, and medieval walls create a unique atmosphere that transports visitors back in time. The Old Quarter is located in the heart of the city and is easily accessible by foot.
One of the main attractions in the Old Quarter is the Cathedral of Girona, which dominates the skyline with its impressive gothic architecture. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century and is home to a museum that showcases religious artifacts and art.
Another must-see in the Old Quarter is the Jewish Quarter, which is one of the best-preserved medieval Jewish neighborhoods in Europe. Visitors can wander the narrow streets and admire the architecture, including the famous Call houses, which are narrow and tall, with balconies overlooking the street.
The Old Quarter is also home to several museums, including the Museum of Art, which houses a large collection of Catalan art from the Romanesque to the contemporary period. There is also the Museum of History, which offers an insight into the city’s rich past.
The city walls are another attraction that should not be missed. The walls date back to the Roman period and were later expanded by the Moors and the Christians. Visitors can walk along the walls and enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Girona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona, is a stunning Roman Catholic cathedral located in the heart of Girona, Spain. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks of the city, and a must-visit for anyone traveling to the region.
The cathedral was built over the course of several centuries, with construction beginning in the 11th century and continuing through the 18th century. As a result, the cathedral features a blend of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance.
You can marvel at the intricate details of the facade, which features ornate carvings, sculptures, and reliefs. Inside, the cathedral boasts a spacious nave, beautiful stained-glass windows, and several chapels and altars. One of the most notable features of the cathedral is the Tapestry Museum, which showcases a collection of exquisite tapestries from the 11th to the 15th centuries.
Girona Cathedral is also famous for its bell tower, which offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower to take in the stunning panoramic views and snap some amazing photos.
The Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants
The Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants is a must-visit attraction in Girona, located in the Sant Pere neighborhood. It was built in the 12th century and served as a Benedictine monastery until the 19th century. Today, it houses the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia, which displays a fascinating collection of artifacts from the region’s ancient history.
Visitors can explore the monastery’s beautiful cloister and admire the intricate sculptures and architectural details that have survived through the centuries. The museum’s exhibits showcase the history of the surrounding region, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages and beyond. The highlight of the collection is the famous “Girona Treasure,” a hoard of Roman coins and other valuable objects discovered in the 1920s.
The monastery is also known for its beautiful gardens, which feature a mix of Mediterranean and tropical plants. Visitors can relax in the peaceful surroundings and take in the stunning views of the city.
The Gothic basilica of Sant Feliu
The Gothic basilica of Sant Feliu is a religious site located in the heart of Girona. Its construction started in the 14th century, and it took over two centuries to complete. The church is named after Saint Felix, the patron saint of Girona, who is said to have been martyred in the 3rd century.
The basilica boasts a stunning Gothic style architecture, with a mix of Baroque and Renaissance elements. The exterior is made of stone and brick, while the interior is richly decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. The highlight of the basilica is the impressive bell tower, which stands at a height of 70 meters, making it the tallest tower in Girona.
The interior of the basilica is equally impressive, featuring a collection of beautiful stained glass windows, religious artworks, and a striking main altarpiece. Visitors can also admire the crypt, which houses the remains of Saint Felix.
The basilica is open to the public daily, and visitors are welcome to attend mass and other religious services. It is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike, and a must-visit for anyone exploring the historic city of Girona.
The Archaeological Museum of Girona is a must-visit for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. Located in the heart of the city’s old quarter, the museum is housed in a building that was once a convent dating back to the 14th century.
The museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts that tell the story of the city’s rich history, including prehistoric objects, Roman artifacts, and medieval art. Some of the highlights of the museum include the impressive Romanesque portal from the church of Sant Pere de Galligants, the 2nd-century BC Iberian sculpture known as the Lady of Banyoles, and the 12th-century bronze bell of the church of Sant Feliu.
Visitors can also explore the medieval crypt located beneath the museum, which dates back to the 11th century and is one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. The crypt contains a collection of tombs, including the sarcophagus of Ramon Berenguer III, the count of Barcelona, and his wife Douce I.
The Archaeological Museum of Girona is open to visitors throughout the year, with varying hours depending on the season. Admission is affordable, and visitors can opt for a guided tour to learn more about the museum’s exhibits and history.
Art Museum of Girona
The Art Museum of Girona is a cultural institution and dedicated to exhibiting and preserving artwork from various periods and genres, ranging from medieval and Renaissance art to contemporary art.
The museum is housed in a restored building that was once a convent, known as the Palau Episcopal. The museum’s collection includes a wide variety of art, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and installations. Some of the notable works on display include pieces by local artists such as Lluís Rigalt and Ramon Martí Alsina, as well as works by international artists like Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Art Museum of Girona also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions showcase a range of artists and themes, providing visitors with the opportunity to see new and exciting works.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and admission is free. Guided tours are available upon request, and there are also educational programs and workshops for children and adults.
Girona City History Museum
The Girona City History Museum, also known as the Museu d’Història de Girona in Catalan, is a museum that showcases the history of the city of Girona. The museum is housed in the former Episcopal Palace, which is located in the historic center of the city.
The museum features a wide range of exhibits that explore the history of Girona from its Roman origins to the present day. Visitors can explore the many different facets of the city’s past, including its Roman and medieval periods, its Jewish heritage, and its modern history.
One of the highlights of the museum is the section dedicated to the Roman period, which features a number of important artifacts that were discovered during excavations in the city. Other sections of the museum focus on the medieval period, the Jewish heritage of Girona, and the city’s modern history.
Banyoles Lake is a beautiful natural attraction located in the province of Girona. The lake is surrounded by stunning mountain views and provides visitors with the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind.
The lake is one of the largest in Catalonia and has a depth of up to 46 meters. It is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lake or rent a boat to explore its tranquil waters.
In addition to its natural beauty, Banyoles Lake is also an important site for water sports such as kayaking, rowing, and swimming. The lake hosted the rowing events of the 1992 Summer Olympics and has since been a popular spot for training and competitions.
The town of Banyoles is situated just a short distance from the lake and offers a variety of restaurants and cafes serving up traditional Catalan cuisine. Visitors can also find a number of shops selling local products and souvenirs.
Besalú is a small medieval town located in the province of Girona. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque scenery make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the region.
The Pont Vell is a beautiful 12th-century stone bridge that connects the old and new parts of the town. It is one of the most iconic sights in Besalú and offers stunning views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
Besalú’s Jewish Quarter is a fascinating place to explore, with its narrow streets and well-preserved medieval buildings. Highlights include the Jewish Baths and the Miqvé, a ritual Jewish bath that dates back to the 12th century.
The town’s castle was built in the 10th century and served as an important defensive structure during the medieval period. Today, visitors can explore the castle’s ruins and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Daily Tours & Excursions
Food & Drink
Girona has a thriving culinary scene, and is known for its traditional Catalan cuisine. Some of the must-try dishes include the famous seafood dish, “suquet de peix”, “escalivada”, a roasted vegetable dish, and “crema catalana”, a dessert similar to crème brûlée. Girona is also home to several Michelin-starred restaurants, including El Celler de Can Roca, which has been named the best restaurant in the world several times.
For those looking for a more casual dining experience, there are plenty of charming cafes and restaurants throughout the city, offering everything from tapas to pizza. The city is also famous for its wine, with several wineries located in the surrounding countryside.
Girona is a shopper’s paradise, with a mix of local boutiques and international brands. The city’s old town is home to many independent shops selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing. For high-end fashion, head to the Passeig de la Muralla, where you will find designer stores such as Chanel and Gucci. Girona also has several markets throughout the week, including a weekly flower market, a food market, and a vintage market.
Girona has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs located in the old town. The Plaça de la Independència is the main hub for nightlife, with a mix of bars, clubs, and restaurants. During the summer months, there are also many outdoor events and concerts, with the Girona Summer Festival being one of the most popular.
Girona has a wide variety of lodging options, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Many of the hotels are located in historic buildings, giving visitors a unique and authentic experience. Some of the most popular hotels include the Hotel Carlemany, the Hotel Historic, and the Hotel Gran Ultonia. For those looking for more affordable lodging, there are several hostels and guesthouses throughout the city.
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Girona is by air. Girona-Costa Brava Airport is located just a few miles outside of the city and is served by several major airlines. From the airport, you can take a taxi, bus, or train to reach your final destination in Girona.
If you’re traveling from other parts of Spain, taking the train to Girona is a great option. The city is well-connected by train to many major cities in Spain, including Barcelona and Madrid. Renfe, the national train operator, offers regular services to Girona from these cities.
Another option for traveling to Girona is by bus. The city is connected to many major cities in Spain and Europe by a network of bus companies, including Alsa and Eurolines. The bus station is located just a short walk from the city center, making it an easy and convenient option for travelers.
If you’re driving to Girona, you’ll find that the city is well-connected to major highways and roads in the region. From Barcelona, take the AP-7 highway, and from France, take the A9 highway.
Once you arrive in Girona, getting around the city is easy. The city has an excellent public transportation system, with buses and trains connecting all major points of interest. Taxis and car rentals are also readily available for those who prefer to travel by car.