Girona, the small Catalan city is truly a gem of a place. It has so much to give to anyone visiting it. Strikingly beautiful Cathedrals, Museums for the culture buff, well maintained medieval towns, colourful flower festivals, charming Jewish quarters and so much more. In fact Girona is very popular to visit as a day trip from Barcelona. In today’s blog post we share some of the most popular things to do in Girona. This guide to things to do in Girona will help you plan your visit, be it for a few hours, or, ideally, for a few days.
13 Best Things to do in Girona Spain
There are so many things to see and do in Girona that you can plan to revisit the place if you can’t see it all during your first time there. In this post we share some of our recommendations on the best things to do in Girona and how to plan the perfect weekend.
Every city would have a symbol / landmark that it is known for and it holds true in the case of Girona too. The beautiful Girona Cathedral also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona, located on the highest point in the town is the heart and pulse of the city. Apparently it took around four centuries to complete the construction of this impressive Catholic Church. The building has an interesting mix of Renaissance and Romanesque styles making it unique and special in its own way. You would be obviously looking forward to visiting this Cathedral if you are a fan of Game of Thrones. Do visit the Cathedral first thing in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crazy crowds. We made it to the Cathedral at 12:00 Noon and totally regret our decision. It was crazy hot and full of people everywhere.
The Entrance fee to the Girona Cathedral is inclusive of the nave, Treasury and cloister, as well as the Basilica of Sant Feliu. The Normal Entrance is 7 € (includes audio guide) , Reduced entrance is 5 € (includes audio guide) for pensioners and students with ID and Free entrance for children under 7 years of age, members of religious orders and natives/residents in Girona. The Cathedral is closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, 6th January and Easter Sunday.
Cross the Bridges
Did you know that Girona has got eleven bridges? The most famous one of them all is the beautiful rust coloured iron bridge that was constructed by the same company that built the popular Eiffel Tower in Paris .Any guesses on what this bridge is called? Well it’s called the Eiffel Bridge. This is one of the most famous sights in Girona and not to be missed! The bridge is always crowded and bustling with people but we still urge you to go see it to enjoy the view it has to offer.
Walk along the beautiful City Walls (Muralla de Girona)
Strolling along the city walls is a must do while in Girona. The city’s medieval walls were built in order to protect itself from foreign invaders. Several years later, the walls still exist. One of the best ways to enjoy Girona is by walking along the walls. The walk rewards you with some of the best views the city has to offer. Do give yourself a couple of hours to bask in the views and vantage points.
Dig into some ice cream at Rocambolesc
Once you finish the walk along the city walls, how about treating yourself to some ice cream from one of Girona’s best ice cream shops? Rocambolesc is very much hyped for their gelatos and sweet treats. People say that Rocambolesc serves the best ice cream in the world! So if you fancy digging into some ice cream, do check out this cute little shop which is done up in really colourful and fairy tale like décor. We queued up for close to an hour to taste the ice cream and decide if it really deserves to be called the best ice cream in the world. Honestly speaking, we were disappointed. We felt the ice cream was pricey and nothing great taste wise. However the ice cream with coloured toppings does make it very Instagram worthy. A visit to Rocambolesc is definitely a touristy thing to do in Girona.
Admire the multicoloured houses and Enjoy a Photo Stop
These multicolored houses overlooking River Onyar is a treat to one’s eyes. And we are assuming it is one of the most photographed spots in Girona considering how beautiful it looks. The reflection of the colourful houses on the river is very beautiful and looks like it is straight from a postcard.
If you have some time in hand, you may want to add Casa Masó to your itinerary. It is one of the colourful houses that is actually open to the public. Casa Masó is open to the public on all days, except on local and national bank holidays. The house can only be visited on a guided tour in groups of no more than eight people at agreed times. In order to visit the house reservation is required, by telephone or email. There is a fee to enter Casa Masó .The Normal entrance is 5 € and the Reduced entrance is 2.5 € for students, pensioners and unemployed people.
Girona Flower Festival
Girona is known as ‘The City of Festivals’ and Temps de Flors (the Flower Festival) is the most famous of them all. At the festival, you get to see a wide variety of beautiful flowers decorating the whole City. Public buildings and home of the locals are equally ornamented and looks wonderful. This festival takes places every May and is one of the biggest and best events in Spain. Girona is for sure one of the best places to visit in Spain for its spring colours.
Esglesia de Sant Feliu
This is a stunning Basilica dedicated to St. Felix in Girona. This iconic gem of Girona carries a lot of important history and should be visited when you plan your trip to Girona. We recommend you buy the combined ticket so that you can enter the Girona Cathedral and this basilica. If you are looking for an open day, then consider visiting on the last Tuesday of the month where the entrance is free.
This is a beautiful gem hidden near Jardin de francais. The entry to the Arab Bath is only €2 and it takes only about 5-10 minutes of your time to explore it. This is a fascinating and rare opportunity to see an old bath. It is well preserved and Worth a visit especially if you are a history buff.
Kiss the lion’s bottom
This statue is called Cul de la Lleona, and it is a little female lion hanging from a column. It is believed that if you kiss its bottom then you will be back to Girona sooner or later. The statue is located very close to the Cathedral of Santa Coloma. It’s a fun tradition to watch and maybe try too?
Have breakfast or brunch at La Fabrica
A much talked about cafe in Girona. If your into cycling and would like to catch up with other cycling enthusiasts then La Fabrica is the place to be. This cafe has a really cool atmosphere and serves great looking and healthy food. It has been tagged as one of the best breakfast/ brunch places in Girona. Try one of their breakfast bowls and you will love it. What makes La Fabrica special is that their ingredients are top quality, and their food plating is aesthetically beautiful.
Plaça de la Independència
Girona’s most popular square. It’s the perfect place to unwind after walking through the city’s attractions. The open square is home to several reasonable priced restaurants and it’s a great place to enjoy a tapas or a drink. We suggest you visit the square in the evening to experience the true vibes of the place.
Go Museum Hopping
If visiting museums excite you, then you are surely going to love Girona. The city is home to several well-known and interesting museums such as Girona History Museum, Jewish History Museum, Film Museum, and Archaeology Museum. Visiting all these museums on one day would be a tiring task, hence it would be great to spend a couple of days in the city to enjoy the sights and museums in a slow pace.
Another must do in Girona! No matter how tight your itinerary looks, do try to squeeze in sometime to walk through “El Call” which is also known as the Jewish quarter. It is believed to be one of the most well preserved Jewish Quarters in the whole of Europe. El Call is a medley of narrow streets, arches, stairways etc. and what is most interesting is that, it all dates back to the 12th century. The Jewish quarter is a fantastic place to click some pictures. We like to walk and explore these parts of the city on our own. But if you feel the need of a guide, then you can look up on Google for tour operators who do private guided tours on Girona and Besalu Jewish History.
Practical Information To Organize Your Trip To Girona
How to Get To Girona ?
Girona has great transport connectivity making it easily accessible by car, train and flight.
- By Flight – Low cost airlines like Ryanair operate and fly into Girona Airport which is located about 20 minutes away from the city centre. If you are opting for a taxi to drive from the Airport to the city centre, then the ride would cost you around 25-30 Euros.
- By Train– If you are traveling from Barcelona city centre, then this is the best option. You can choose between the slow trains (takes about 90 minutes) or the fast train AVE (takes 35 minutes). We have travelled by both and personally loved the fast train. We recommend the AVE Train as it is super-fast, affordable and reliable. Its recommended that you book your ticket in advance to get the best rate. Girona city centre is only a 15 minute walk from the train station.
- By Car– If you enjoy road trips like us then hire a car and drive to Girona. If you plan to rent a car then check out Europcar .The driving distance between Barcelona to Girona is 100 km. and the journey takes approximately 1hour 20 minutes.
- By Bus-There are several tour operators like ALSA that run buses daily from Barcelona to Girona. Ticket prices are approximately 15 Euros one way.
What are the things to know before visiting Girona?
- Girona is an excellent home base for day trips to Figueres, Tossa de Mar, St. Pancras etc.
- Wear a pair of good walking shoes and travel light. Girona is full of stairs, cobblestones etc.
- If you are traveling with babies and can choose to take the stroller or baby wearing, we recommend you do the latter as it is so much more convenient in a medieval city like Girona. There are so many steps to climb and too many stoned pathways to walk on, hence Baby Wearing is the best option. In our opinion, Girona is definitely not a stroller friendly city.
- The busiest month for tourism is May due to the Temps de Flors festival
- Many scenes of Game of Thrones Season 6 was filmed in Girona. If you are a GOT Fan then consider taking a Game of Thrones tour with a local guide.
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide on things to do in Girona and it helps you plan your visit. Also do check out our post on Costa Brava if you are looking for the best beaches in Catalonia.