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Seven Things To Know Before You Visit Girona


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Luce Shuck



Located in the northeastern part of Spain, Girona is a charming city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its rich heritage, medieval architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, Girona has become an increasingly popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and authentic Spanish experience.


Stepping foot in Girona feels like stepping back in time. The city’s history dates back to Roman times, and its well-preserved streets and buildings reflect its storied past. From the ancient fortress walls that encircle the city to the centuries-old Gothic cathedral, Girona’s architectural treasures are a testament to its historical significance.


But Girona is not just a city frozen in time. It offers modern amenities, a thriving food scene, and a lively cultural calendar that attracts visitors year-round. Whether you’re a history buff, a food enthusiast, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the charm of a picturesque Spanish town, Girona has something to offer.


In this article, we will explore seven essential things you should know before you plan your visit to Girona. From how to get there and what to expect when you arrive, to the top attractions and culinary delights Girona has to offer, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of Girona!


Location and History of Girona

Girona is situated in the Catalonia region of northeastern Spain, approximately 100 kilometers north of Barcelona. It is nestled in the scenic Ter River valley, surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Pyrenees mountains.


The city has a rich and fascinating history that stretches back more than 2,000 years. Girona was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC and was originally known as Gerunda. It thrived under Roman rule and later became an important hub during the medieval period, when it was ruled by various kingdoms and governments.


One of the city’s most significant historical periods was during the Middle Ages when Girona was a stronghold of the Kingdom of Aragon. It withstood several sieges and attacks, most notably from the Moors and the French during the Napoleonic Wars. The city’s well-preserved medieval walls and fortifications serve as a reminder of its turbulent past.


Girona has also played a prominent role in Jewish history. In the Middle Ages, it was home to one of the most important Jewish communities in Spain. The Call, the Jewish quarter of Girona, is a testament to this heritage and features narrow cobbled streets, ancient synagogues, and a Jewish History Museum.


Today, Girona is a vibrant city that celebrates its historical legacy while embracing modernity. Its unique blend of Roman, medieval, and modern influences can be seen in its architecture, cultural festivals, and gastronomy.


Exploring Girona’s history is like stepping into a living museum. The city’s well-preserved old town, known as Barri Vell, is a maze of narrow streets and picturesque squares that are best explored on foot. As you wander through its labyrinthine alleys, you’ll encounter stunning examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, including the impressive Girona Cathedral and the Basilica of Sant Feliu.


With its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque setting, Girona is a city that truly captivates visitors and transports them back in time.


Getting to Girona

Girona is well-connected and easily accessible from various parts of Spain and Europe. Here are some of the most convenient ways to reach this enchanting city:


By Air: The Girona-Costa Brava Airport (GRO) is located just 12 kilometers south of the city center. It is a popular hub for low-cost airlines and offers direct flights to many European destinations. From the airport, you can easily reach the city center by taxi, bus, or pre-booked shuttle service.


By Train: Girona has a well-connected train station that is served by RENFE, Spain’s national railway company. It is on the high-speed rail network, making it easily accessible from major cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia. The train station is located just outside the city center, and you can reach the old town by walking or taking a short taxi ride.


By Bus: Girona has an extensive bus network that connects it to various cities and towns in the region. The main bus station is located near the train station, making it convenient for travelers arriving by train. There are also direct bus services from Barcelona and other major cities in Spain. Buses provide a cost-effective and efficient way to reach Girona, with regular schedules and comfortable amenities.


By Car: If you prefer the flexibility and freedom of driving, Girona is easily accessible by car. The city is well-connected to the rest of Spain via major highways, making it a convenient option for those traveling from Barcelona, Madrid, or other nearby cities. Girona has several parking options, including public parking lots and street parking, although it may be advisable to park outside the old town and explore on foot.


Once you arrive in Girona, getting around the city is a breeze. The compact size of the old town makes it perfect for exploring on foot. The city also has an efficient bus system that connects different neighborhoods and attractions. Taxis are readily available, and there are also options for renting bicycles and scooters for a fun and eco-friendly way to get around.


Whether you choose to arrive by air, train, bus, or car, getting to Girona is a seamless experience, allowing you to quickly immerse yourself in the city’s captivating charm and attractions.


Climate and Best Time to Visit

Girona enjoys a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The city experiences pleasant weather throughout the year, making it a desirable destination for visitors in all seasons. However, the best time to visit Girona largely depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your trip.


Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to visit Girona, as the weather starts to warm up and the city comes to life with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are mild, ranging from 14°C to 20°C (57°F to 68°F), making it ideal for outdoor exploration and strolling through the charming streets of the old town. Spring is also the season for festivals and events, including the popular Temps de Flors flower festival, which transforms the city into a floral wonderland.


Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Girona, as visitors flock to the city to enjoy the warm Mediterranean sunshine. The temperatures can reach highs of 30°C to 35°C (86°F to 95°F), so be prepared for hot and sunny days. Summer is perfect for relaxing by the beach, exploring the nearby Costa Brava coastline, and enjoying outdoor activities like hiking and water sports. It’s also a great time to indulge in the city’s vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars and restaurants buzzing with energy.


Fall (September to November): Fall is another pleasant season to visit Girona, as the temperatures start to cool down and the crowds thin out. The weather is still warm, ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), allowing for comfortable sightseeing and outdoor activities. Fall is also harvest season, and you can experience the flavors of the region, including wine tastings and gastronomic events. It’s a great time to explore the countryside surrounding Girona and witness the changing colors of the leaves.


Winter (December to February): Winter in Girona is relatively mild, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 14°C (41°F to 57°F). While it may not be the best time for beach activities, Girona still has plenty to offer during the winter months. The city takes on a charming festive atmosphere, with Christmas markets, music concerts, and holiday decorations adorning the streets. It’s a great time to explore the historical sites of Girona without the crowds and enjoy cozy evenings in the city’s traditional cafés and restaurants.


To conclude, the best time to visit Girona depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you seek. Whether you prefer warm weather and lively summer vibes or a quieter, more relaxed visit during the shoulder seasons, Girona has something to offer all year round.


Top Attractions in Girona

Girona is a city filled with captivating attractions that showcase its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. From ancient landmarks to cultural museums, here are some of the top attractions you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Girona:


Girona Cathedral: The Girona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona, is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture. Its construction began in the 11th century and continued over several centuries, resulting in a stunning blend of architectural styles. Climb the 90 steps of the cathedral’s bell tower, known as El Forn del Bisbe, for breathtaking panoramic views of the city.


The Arab Baths: Dating back to the 12th century, the Arab Baths of Girona are a well-preserved example of the city’s Moorish heritage. Explore the elegant columns, arched ceilings, and tranquil gardens as you step into the history of this ancient bathing house.


Girona’s City Walls: Take a walk back in time as you stroll along the well-preserved city walls of Girona. These medieval fortifications were built to protect the city, and you can traverse a large portion of the walls, enjoying panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.


The Jewish Quarter (El Call): Step into the past as you wander through the enchanting streets of El Call, the historic Jewish quarter of Girona. Explore the narrow cobblestone lanes, visit the Jewish History Museum, and discover the rich Jewish heritage of the city.


Houses on the Onyar River: One of the most iconic images of Girona is the row of colorful houses perched on the banks of the Onyar River. Cross the picturesque bridges and capture beautiful photographs of the vibrant facades that reflect on the river’s surface.


The Cinema Museum: Located in the old town’s former Caixa de Pensions building, the Cinema Museum of Girona boasts a collection of cinematic artifacts, including posters, cameras, and props. It’s a unique attraction for film enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the world of cinema.


The Cathedral Square (Plaça de la Catedral): This picturesque square is located in the heart of the old town and is surrounded by charming cafés and restaurants. Enjoy a leisurely meal or a cup of coffee as you admire the stunning facade of the cathedral and soak in the lively atmosphere.


The Museum of Jewish History: Dive deeper into the fascinating Jewish history of Girona at the Museum of Jewish History. Learn about the culture, traditions, and contributions of the Jewish community through interactive exhibits and informative displays.


The Eiffel Bridge: Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the architect famous for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, this iron bridge is an impressive engineering feat. Cross the bridge and marvel at the intricate ironwork while enjoying panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.


These are just a few of the top attractions that make Girona a must-visit destination. Each of these sites offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history, distinctive architecture, and cultural heritage, ensuring a memorable experience for every visitor.


Exploring the Old Town

The old town of Girona, known as Barri Vell, is the heart and soul of the city. This beautifully preserved medieval quarter is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets, enchanting squares, and centuries-old buildings. Exploring the old town is like stepping into a time capsule, where history comes to life at every turn.


Start your adventure by walking along the Passeig de la Muralla, the well-preserved city walls that encircle the old town. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Girona and get a sense of the city’s layout. As you make your way through the labyrinthine streets, keep an eye out for the colorful houses perched on the banks of the Onyar River, a sight that has become an iconic symbol of Girona.


One of the highlights of the old town is the imposing Girona Cathedral. Marvel at its intricate Gothic architecture and explore its richly decorated interior. Don’t miss the stunning 12th-century Tapestry of Creation, a masterpiece of Romanesque art that depicts biblical scenes.


While wandering through the old town, take the time to explore the Plaça de la Independència, a bustling square lined with charming cafes and shops. This is a great spot to take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee, and soak in the lively atmosphere. From here, you can also stroll along the popular shopping street, Carrer de la Força, and discover unique boutiques and artisanal shops.


Another must-visit site in the old town is the Banys Àrabs, or Arab Baths, a remarkable relic from the Moorish period of Girona’s history. Step into this tranquil oasis and admire the beautiful arches, columns, and gardens that make up the baths.


As you explore the old town, you’ll come across hidden squares, charming plazas, and quaint alleyways. Take the time to wander without a specific destination, allowing yourself to be captivated by the beauty and charm that Girona’s old town has to offer.


Make sure to visit the Carrer de la Força, a street lined with quaint shops and eateries. Indulge in the local cuisine, sample traditional delicacies, and sip on a glass of refreshing Catalan wine. The old town is also home to many vibrant restaurants offering a range of gastronomic delights, including tapas, local seafood, and traditional Catalan dishes.


Exploring the old town of Girona is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in its rich history and architectural splendor. It’s a truly magical experience that highlights the city’s unique charm and invites you to create memories that will last a lifetime.


Girona’s Culinary Delights

Girona is not only a feast for the eyes, but it also offers a delectable culinary experience that will tantalize your taste buds. With its Mediterranean climate and proximity to fertile farmland and coastal waters, the city is blessed with an abundance of fresh, high-quality ingredients that form the foundation of its gastronomic heritage.


One of the hallmarks of Girona’s cuisine is its focus on traditional Catalan flavors and dishes. From hearty stews and seafood delicacies to artisanal cheeses and fine wines, here are some of the culinary delights you must try during your visit:


Butifarra: This traditional Catalan sausage is made from ground pork and seasoned with herbs and spices. It is often grilled and served with roasted vegetables or in a hearty stew.


Seafood: Girona’s proximity to the coast means that you can enjoy an array of fresh seafood dishes. Try the suquet de peix, a fish stew with potatoes and aromatic spices, or indulge in a plate of grilled prawns or calamari.


Xató: A specialty of the region, xató is a salad made with a variety of ingredients including endive, codfish, salted anchovies, and a tangy romesco sauce. It’s a refreshing and flavorful dish that showcases the vibrant flavors of Girona.


Canelons: This Catalan version of cannelloni is a classic comfort dish made with pasta tubes stuffed with ground meat and smothered in a rich béchamel sauce. It’s commonly enjoyed during festive occasions and family gatherings.


Cheeses: Girona is renowned for its artisanal cheeses. From creamy goat cheese to aged sheep’s milk varieties, you’ll find a wide range of flavors and textures to delight your palate.


Wine: Girona is home to several notable wine regions, including the Empordà and the Costa Brava. Take the opportunity to sample the region’s fine wines, including full-bodied reds, crisp whites, and sparkling cavas.


When it comes to dining in Girona, the options are endless. The city boasts a vibrant food scene with a mix of traditional Catalan establishments and innovative Michelin-starred restaurants. For a truly unforgettable experience, consider dining at El Celler de Can Roca, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant that has been named one of the best in the world.


Additionally, Girona’s central market, Mercat del Lleó, is a food lover’s paradise. Explore the stalls filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood, and interact with the friendly vendors who are happy to share their culinary expertise.


Overall, Girona’s culinary delights are a reflection of its rich cultural heritage and commitment to quality ingredients. Indulging in the flavors of Girona is an essential part of your visit and will undoubtedly leave you craving for more.


Practical Tips for Visiting Girona

Visiting Girona can be an incredible experience, and to ensure that your trip is smooth and enjoyable, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:


1. Comfortable Walking Shoes: Girona’s old town is best explored on foot, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you navigate the cobblestone streets and hilly terrain.


2. Carry a Map or Use a Navigation App: The old town can be a maze of narrow streets, so having a map handy or using a navigation app on your smartphone can help you find your way around.


3. Respect Local Customs: Girona is a city with rich cultural traditions, so it’s important to respect local customs and etiquette. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and be mindful of noise levels, especially in residential areas.


4. Beware of Pickpockets: Like in any popular tourist destination, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and watch out for pickpockets, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation.


5. Stay Hydrated: The Mediterranean climate of Girona can get quite hot, especially during the summer months. It’s important to stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.


6. Try the Local Cuisine: Girona is known for its delicious food, so be sure to indulge in the local cuisine. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and explore the city’s culinary delights.


7. Learn Some Basic Catalan Phrases: While many people in Girona speak Spanish and English, locals appreciate it when visitors make an effort to speak a few phrases in Catalan. Learn some basic greetings and common phrases to enhance your interactions with the locals.


8. Explore Beyond the Old Town: While the old town is the main attraction, don’t be afraid to venture beyond its boundaries. Girona offers beautiful parks, museums, and scenic spots that are worth exploring.


9. Take Advantage of Public Transportation: Girona has a reliable public transportation system, including buses and trains, which can be a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the surrounding areas and nearby cities.


10. Plan Your Visit to Avoid Crowds: Girona can get quite crowded, especially during the summer months and peak tourist seasons. Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons or weekdays to avoid large crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience.


By keeping these practical tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your visit to Girona and create lasting memories in this beautiful Spanish city.



Girona is a city that captivates with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. From its ancient landmarks and well-preserved old town to its culinary delights and warm Mediterranean climate, Girona offers an unforgettable travel experience.


During your visit, be sure to explore the city’s top attractions, including the awe-inspiring Girona Cathedral, the charming streets of the old town, and the fascinating Jewish Quarter. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culinary scene, savoring traditional Catalan dishes and enjoying the local wines.


As you navigate the streets of Girona, take the time to appreciate the city’s unique blend of ancient and modern influences. From the Romanesque and Gothic architecture to the contemporary art installations, Girona offers a visual feast at every corner.


Whether you’re wandering through the narrow alleys of the old town, taking in panoramic views from the city walls, or simply enjoying a leisurely meal in one of the cozy cafés, Girona’s charm and beauty will leave a lasting impression.


Remember to plan your visit according to the climate and your personal preferences. Whether you prefer sun-soaked summers, vibrant spring festivals, or cozy winter evenings, Girona has something to offer year-round.


Finally, embrace the local customs and traditions, interact with the friendly locals, and savor every moment of your Girona adventure. This city has a magical allure that will transport you to a different era, making your trip truly memorable.


So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Girona and get ready to embark on an enchanting journey through history, culture, and gastronomy. Girona is waiting to welcome you with open arms!