Girona is a small city, situated around 104km (65miles) north of Barcelona. It’s the capital of the Girona province and the Costa Brava, and even has its own airport. Filled with ancient history, colourful architecture and world class cuisine, it makes for an excellent destination for a weekend break. Here are 10 things to know before visiting Girona.
It’s not much longer to reach Girona from Barcelona than it is from Girona Airport
You can reach Girona in 38 minutes on a high speed train from Barcelona, whereas it’s a 20 minute bus journey from Girona Airport to Girona city, so it doesn’t really matter where you fly into. You could even combine a trip to Barcelona and Girona in one.
A weekend is enough to see it all
It has a lot of museums for such as small place
Girona may be small, but it’s packed with museums. There’s everything from a city history museum, a cinema museum and a Jewish history museum. You could even spend your whole time in Girona just visiting museums if you wanted to.
Museu d’Historia de Girona: Carrer de la Força, 27, Girona, Spain +34 972 22 22 29
Museu del Cinema: Carrer de la Sèquia, 1, Girona, Spain +34 972 41 27 77
Museu d’Historia dels Jueus: Carrer de la Força, 8, Girona, Spain +34 972 21 67 61
It’s perfect for history buffs
It’s not just its museums which make the city great for history buffs, but its historical buildings and sites too. There are the old city walls to walk around, the old Roman Arabic-style baths to visit, the vast Girona Cathedral to discover and the tiny alleyways of the Jewish Quarter to meander.
Girona Cathedral: Plaça de la Catedral, s/n, Girona, Spain +34 972 42 71 89
Banys Arabs: Carrer Ferran el Catòlic, s/n, 17004 Girona, Spain +34 972 19 09 69
Parts of Game of Thrones were filmed here
You may recognise parts of Girona, even though you’ve never been here before. That’s because parts of season six of Game of Thrones were filmed here. Girona doubled up as Braavos, Old Town and even some parts of King’s Landing. You will probably be able to identify the steps in the Jewish Quarter where the blind Ayra Stark sits begging, and the steps to the Cathedral where Jamie Lannister rides up on horseback. To learn more read our Sights to See on a Game of Thrones Tour of Girona article.
The locals speak Catalan
You are in Catalonia, so the locals here speak mostly Catalan instead of Spanish. Everyone will understand Spanish though, so if you do know some words of Spanish and you want to practice, you’ll still be able to use them. Better still though, learn some phrases of Catalan, and you’ll gain extra brownie points with the locals.
You’ll want to get out to visit the beaches
Girona is the main city on the Costa Brava, one of Spain’s best regions for beaches, so you’ll want to leave the city at some point and head for the coast. The Costa Brava stretches from just north of Barcelona, all the way to the French border, and is characterised by small fishing villages, rocky coves, cute inlets and stunningly clear waters. Read our article on the Best Secret Beaches in the Costa Brava to learn where they all are.
It’s best visited in May for the Temps de Flors Festival
Girona hosts a wide array of festivals throughout the year, but the highlight is the Temps de Flors flower festival held every year in May. The event sees hundreds of floral artists come together to decorate various sites around the city. At this time of year you’ll find flower installations inside the churches and the Cathedral, in the museums and even in the Banys Arabs (Arabic Baths).
It’s a popular cycling hub
Girona is Catalonia’s top cycling hub, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world due to its excellent bike routes. If you want to cycle while you’re here, you can join a tour with Bikecat or just rent a bike and gain some tips at the Girona Bike Breaks Cycle Centre.
Bikecat, Pujada de Sant Feliu, 23, Girona, Spain +34 639 82 92 72
Girona Breaks Cycle Centre,Carrer Mercaders, 14, Girona, Spain +34 972 20 54 65
It has a surprisingly excellent array of restaurants for a small city
Girona has a great array of restaurants, from international ones serving authentic Mexican and French crepes, to those where you can try traditional Catalan cuisine, modern fusion or even vegetarian. Of course its most famous restaurant sits just outside the city – the three Michelin-starred El Cellar de Can Roca, which has been named World’s Best Restaurant on a number of occasions. If you can’t afford the celebrity prices here however, try some of the other places on our list of Girona’s Best Restaurants.
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