The towers of Sant Feliu and the Cathedral above the Sant Feliu Bridge across the Onyar River
Girona is an ancient town several thousand years old in Catalonia, Spain. The city has approximately 100,000 people and serves as the capital of the Girona Province in Catalonia which includes the counties (or comarques) of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà, Garrotxa, Gironès, Pla de l'Estany, Ripollès.
The town has an attractive Jewish quarter and is often overlooked by budget fliers arriving at Girona-Barcelona airport. Girona makes an excellent stop-off as part of a tour of Catalonia or escape from the noise and speed of Barcelona or as a long weekend getaway with one of those budget airlines.
Girona is said to consistently win a country-wide poll of citizens on preferred city to live in. Geographically set at the confluence of the Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell rivers, it has been a focal point of this region in Catalonia since prior to being part of the Roman Empire.
The Old Town is on the east bank of the river, with pedestrianized narrow streets surrounded by the old city walls. The "Rambla", running parallel to the river, contains many street cafés and touristic restaurants. Tourist information is at the south end of the Rambla, beside the river.
The newer town center on the west bank has wider streets contains more shops and hotels, plus slightly cheaper restaurants.
In August, the city becomes very quiet on Sat and Sun, as most citizens escape to the sea.
Girona is located north of Barcelona and can be reached from there by bus, train, or one's own car. There is an airport close to the town with a wide range of connections on Ryanair. It is also 98km (61 miles) away from Barcelona.
Girona Airport is 1hr bus ride from Barcelona center. Ryanair mentions "Barcelona" in their description of Girona airport. You can make connection between the airport and Barcelona. There is also an hourly bus into Girona from the airport.
Bus: If you want to travel to Girona from Barcelona city you can take a bus. That bus stops in the center of Barcelona, in Estació d'Autobusos Barcelona Nord (Barcelona's main bus terminal).
Trains from Barcelona to Girona leaves approximately every hour from Barcelona Estació de Sants (with other stops at Passeig de Gràcia/Aragó and Clot). The journey takes 1h20m from Girona to Barcelona Sants and the ticket costs about 8 €, depending on the train type (Media Distancia is faster, Regional is cheaper). You can check it at Renfe's Train Time Tables page:
bus service from Girona airport to PerpignanExpress
Both the Old Town and the New Town across the river are highly pedestrianized. A car is not only unnecessary in Girona, but also quite cumbersome. Rentals are available for those wishing to make day trips to the outlying villages and castles in the area.
It should be noted that most of the streets in the Old Town have large cobblestones and steep stairs going up the hill upon which Girona is built. Walking in high heels or with rolling luggage is quite difficult at some points, so plan accordingly.
Narrow Streets in Girona
The town's architecture is varied and atmospheric resulting from the myriad of occupations and invasions with many narrow streets, a castle, and impressive walled section.
Església de Sant Feliu, second church in the city. Closed for renovation as of Sept 2007.
Banys Arabs (Arab baths), c/de Ferran Catolic. Apr-Sept: Mon-Fri 10AM-7PM, Sun and holidays: 10AM-2PM. Oct-March: 10AM-2PM daily (?). €1.5.
The river, although it dries up in the summer (and gets a bit stinky!), and the houses along it are very pretty.
Walk along the ancient walls (yes, you can get on there) for excellent views of the city
Enjoy the numerous cafes which are especially atmospheric at night
The ancient narrow streets of the old Jewish section.
Check out Girona's lively "discoteca" club scene.
Play Golf on all the fantastic courses in the surroundings
The old town contains mostly touristy shops.
There is also a good selection of modern shops selling the latest clothes.
Market on Saturday. Cheap goods market along river bank in the park north-west of town centre. Craft stalls in the old town.
In the old town, many touristy cafes offer menu del dia for €10-13, even on Sun. Areas with dense coverage of faceless touristy cafes are: Plaça Independencia; Rambla de la Lliberitat (near cathedrals). However, try to avoid the restaurants at and near Rambla de la Llibertat, they are very touristy, waiters do not speak English and even if you do find menus in English they are usually poorly translated and the dish you get can vary substantially from its description in the menu. Especially avoid tapas at these restaurants, aside that it is not an authentic Catalunian dish, you will get just a poorly styled mish-mash at one small plate.
Like any other Catalan city, cafes are closed from 4PM until dinner time (about 8-8:30PM). Exceptions are only touristy cafes at Rambla de la Lliberitat.
Le Bistrot, Pujada de Sant Domenec, 4 (halfway on going down from Catedral by either side of Pujada de Sant Domenec), ☎ +34(972)21-8803. Very prominent location, with outdoor tables on arguably most spectacular staircase in the town. Alternatively, consider indoor seats near backyard windows. Frequented by students of the local university.Menu del dia: €17 / €20, available on Sun also; no traditional menu.
Gran Muralla, Francesc Eiximenis. The best selection of Japanese and Chinese food, featuring sushi, beijing duck, thai salad.
el Pou del Call, C/ Força, 14, ☎ 972 22 37 74. Excellent and good value local Catalonian dishes.
Frankfurter König 1, Avinguda Jaume I, 1, ☎ 972 212 621. Cheap food such us pizzas, steak, french fries; and also a place to have a drink.
Frankfurter König 2, Pl. Independència, 2, ☎ 972 202 099.
Braseria-Pizzeria König, Av. Jaume I, 8, ☎ 972 416 122.
Koenig Sandwiches, c/Calderers 16 (right under Esglesia de Sant Feliu), ☎ 972 225 782. Modern minimalistic design interior; two floors; well-airconditioned; some WiFi coverage for outdoor tables.Combined dishes (salad+main+side dish): €5.8-6.5; salads €5-7; focaccia sandwiches €3.8-4.5; hamburgers €2.5-3.5; toast sandwiches: €3.6-4.
König Bar-Restaurant, C.C. Espai Gironès, Salt, ☎ 972 439 123.
La Dolce Vitta, Plaça Independencia. Italian food for everyone at reasonable prices.
1900, C/ Obra, 2 (in a small square, near the Ponta de Pedra). Coffees, teas, and hot chocolates. Simple selection of pastries and waffle. Reasonably priced and delicious with the bonus of free wi-fi. Beautiful place with gorgeous, clean bathrooms.Drinks €1-4.
Txalaka, Carrer Bonastruc de Porta 4. Very good Basque restaurant serving pintxos (similar to tapas). Can be crowded with locals in the evening after 22:00 (which is a good sign for a restaurant!)
Zanpanzar, C/ Cort-Reial, 10, 17004, ☎ 972 21 28 43. Fantastic atmosphere, good for a quick tapa and beer
Lizarran, Plaça de la Independència, 14, 17001, . One of the 200 Lizarran restaurants across 8 different countries
Good quality Restaurants (20€ - 30€)
Divinum, C/ del General Fournàs, 2, 17004, ☎ 872 080 218, . Great wine and cheese tasting, tapas, sometimes live Jazz music. Reasonable price. It's a small place, so you might need to book.
La Poma, C/ Cort-Reial, 16, 17004, ☎ 972 21 29 09, . Cosy and modern place with exquisite dishes and a wide and varied wine list.
Nu, C/d'Abeuradors, 4, 17004, ☎ 972 22 52 30, . Excel·lent and creative menu. The owner also owns La Massana which has a michelin star.
Rocambolesc, C/ Santa Clara, 50, 17001, . From 2€ - 3€. Ice cream parlor by one of the brothers of "El Celler de Can Roca (3 Michelin star)".
City Arms, Güell. English pub.
Siddharta, Pedret. A suitable place to try the drink named "tisana" (in Catalan).
Mckiernan's Rambla de la Llibertat. An Irish pub, crowded on weekends. Suitable place to have a drink.
Babel, Carrer de Cort-Reial 3. Nice bar, nice food and cosy place to have a few. English friendly.
Sunset Jazz Club, C/ de Jaume Pons Martí, 12, 17004 . Live music shows, some of the top musicians of the national and international scenes, in addition to the great live jazz shows. It offers a wide selection of international classics and self created cocktails, and a superb choice of the best irish and scotch whiskys.
Hostels. Good prices.
Equity Point Girona, Plaça Catalunya 23, ☎ +34 93 231 2045 (email@example.com), . Hostel that has clean and cheap rooms. The staff also plan activities for the evening for visitors.From €15 including breakfast, internet access and bottom linen.
Xanascat. Alberg Cerverí, C/ Dels Ciutadans, 9, 17004, ☎ 972 21 80 03 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . It is located in the centre of the city, only a 100 meters away from the Town hall and from the AvenueFrom €15 including breakfast, internet access.
Hotel Ultonia, Gran Via de Jaume I, 22, ☎ +034 972 203 850, .
Gran Hotel Ultonia, Gran Via de Jaume I, 22, ☎ +034 972 203 850, . a modern four star hotel open to the public recently
Hotel Carlemany, Joan Maragall.
Hotel Ciutat de Girona, Hortes. Another 4 star hotel located near the downtown.
Hotel Bellavista. The only 5 star hotel in Girona.
As is typical with these region of Catalonia, it can get quite hot in the summer. Take care and drink plenty of water throughout the day. There are a number of public water fountains which anyone can make use of and they are clearly marked on the city maps you get from the tourists office.
As for crime, Girona is generally a very safe town with a vigilant local population. It experiences crime that is typical of any city its size, but visitors have little to worry about from the town itself beyond possibly pickpocketing in large crowds. However, it is not uncommon to see local drunks and other vagabonds at the entrances to the footbridges across the Onyar River, especially on the Old Town side. While they generally keep to themselves, they will often beg for change.
While not the destination that Barcelona is for "stag" parties from Northern Europe, Girona does see its fair share of them given that many of them fly in to the Girona Airport on their way to Barcelona.
It should go without saying as it would seem obvious, but don't attempt to jump in to the Onyar River from any of the bridges across it. In addition to being difficult to get back out of, the water simply isn't deep enough for the height and you will sustain any number of grievous injuries upon landing.
Barcelona - An hour to the south by train and the capital of Catalonia with an endless list of things to see and do.
Figueres - A town approximately 30 minutes to the north by train with the famous Dalí museum and an active Old Town core.