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The towers of Sant Feliu and the Cathedral above the Sant Feliu Bridge across the Onyar River

Girona [4] 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.

Get in

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 Perpignan Express
  • Time Tables Renfe's

Get around

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).

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.

Fish dishes are better avoided in August--see the shallow river to understand the reasons.

  • 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.[5] [6]
  • el Pou del Call, C/ Força, 14, 972 22 37 74. Excellent and good value local Catalonian dishes.
  • König, Four locations, [1].
  • 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.


  • City Arms, Güell. English pub.
  • Excalibur, Cort Reial. typical Irish pub with a good selection of beers.
  • 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.


  • Hotel Bellavista. The only 5 star hotel in Girona.
  • Hotel Carlemany, Joan Maragall.
  • Hotel Ciutat de Girona, Hortes. Another 4 star hotel located near the downtown.
  • Equity Point Girona, Plaça Catalunya 23, +34 93 231 2045 (), [2]. 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.
  • Gran Hotel Ultonia, Gran Via de Jaume I, 22, +034 972 203 850, [3]. a modern four star hotel open to the public recently

Stay safe

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. That being said one of the larger worries, are other travellers. 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. They are usually extremely drunk, disrespectful, and also feeling free of all societal restrictions that they would otherwise obey in their home country. Any members of these groups should be generally avoided. Female travelers should be especially wary as these men easily get out of hand and have been known to assault women.

Other than these unfortunate individuals, for some reason, it is common 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. Obviously, it is unwise and heavily encouraged not to give them any money and just ignore them.

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.

Get out

  • 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.
  • Hostalric - An old walled town south of Girona.
  • Madremanya - Old, compact Medieval village boasting a Michelin rated restaurant. About 15 minutes from Girona by car.
  • Torroella de Montgrí - A pleasant old town that was once the capital of the Empúries kingdom. Now it sits at the base of a mountain that goes up to a castle. A good day hike for those inclined.
  • Tossa de Mar - While unfortunately deeply slathered in beach tourists, the original old town of the city is quite lovely to walk.

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