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Located in northern Catalonia, Girona is a charming medieval city with plenty to do and see, but if you’ve done all the typical tourist attractions and want to spend a day in the city like a local, here’s how…
Begin your day with coffee and a dash of milk, known as a cafè amb llet in Girona and Catalonia. The city is filled with so many cafés that chances are you’ll find one on most street corners. Some of the best places to head to are the cafés surrounding the elegant Plaça de la Independència. If you’re after a bite to eat too, then check out our guide to the best brunch and breakfast spots in Girona.
Spend your morning ambling around the picturesque city and go for a walk in the Parc de la Devesa, filled with leafy pathways, ponds, flower gardens and fountains. It’s also the ideal spot for jogging, cycling, or – like many locals do – walking the dog.
After your walk, it’s time for a spot of shopping. The city has many shops, from elegant boutiques and international chains to quirky craft and jewellery stores. Of course if you want to be like a local, you’ll spend some time in Spain’s most beloved department store – El Corte Inglés. Most of the shops are concentrated around Rambla de la Llibertat and Plaça de Catalunya, although there are also many shopping opportunites around streets such as Calvet i Rubalcaba, Argenteria, Ultònia and Cort Reial. Throughout April, May and June, you’ll also find many outdoor street markets. Most of the shops shut at around 2pm, so time your spending spree right and grab a bite to eat afterwards.
Lunch will be your main meal of the day, so opt to try a local menú del día – a set meal typically including a starter, main course, dessert and a drink. Menu options could consist of soup or salad followed by a grilled fish or meat main and a flan or crema Catalana for dessert. Some of the best restaurants in Girona restaurants with a menú del día are Occi, Cafe Le Bistrot and El Cabrit.
Girona has a packed calendar with many events and festivals occurring throughout the year, so locals always have a source of free entertainment. In May it could be wandering around the floral art installations at the Temps de Flors Festival, while in September it could be listening to a concert at the Jazz Festival. The city also hosts many outdoor theatre productions as well as temporary exhibitions at local museums.
You ate your main meal during the middle of the day, so dinner may include some light tapas bites with friends. Don’t even think of going out until at least 8:30 or 9pm – as is customary in all other Spanish regions, people in Girona like to eat late. The city is filled with bars, many with tables spilling out onto picturesque plazas. Pair your cerveza (beer) or vino (wine) with tapas dishes such as patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a tangy sauce), fried pimientos de padrón (small green peppers sprinkled with salt) or buñuelos de bacalao (cod fritters). Some of the best tapas bars in the city include Bubbles Gastrobar, El Doll, Llevatapas and the Tasca Galega Esconxuro.