Girona is a beautiful Spanish city in the northern Costa Brava region. Being Barcelona’s little sister Girona is often unjustly overlooked. This city has an extraordinary cultural vibe. It is a lot smaller than Barcelona but it has the same charm and city feeling. The city is one of the most interesting cities of the Catalonia region. Its beautiful historical buildings survived the scores of time and give Girona its special atmosphere. Girona is a great place for romantic holidays and for people who appreciate the aesthetics of historic towns and a vibrant cultural life. Girona gets its unique appearance of the two fortified enclosures, the Força Vella and the Medieval Quarter. The Força Vella walls date back to Roman times, over 2000 years ago! In the late Middle Ages the city walls were extended. This newer part belongs to the city’s medieval Quarter.
During the roman age in Catalonia Girona was situated on the Vía Augusta, which was the highway between Rome and Cádiz in southern Spain. After the Romans the Franks inhabited the city, followed by the Moors. The city of Girona grew to its current beauty while passing through these cultural periods.
During the middle ages the city really started to flourish, and it was this period that left would most determine the city’s character. Nowadays the part of the city built in this period is referred to as the Medieval Quarter. The quarter was built between the 11th and 15th century. Here you can stroll around for hours through a labyrinth of narrow streets. This city is home to many mediaeval buildings worth visiting. Worth visiting are the Romanesque baths that were constructed in the 12th century and that were inspired by ancient Roman baths.
Part of the Medieval Quarter is also the Jewish quarter. This is one of the best preserved Jewish Quarter in the world. During the late Middle Ages the Jewish community of Girona thrived. It became the birthplace of the founding father of the Jewish cabbalist tradition, nowadays known for famous followers like Madonna. Visit the Jewish Museum; it is one of the best Jewish museums in Europe.
Things to do in Girona
Get inspired by architecture of Rafael Masó
Girona is also famous for the buildings of Rafael Masó. Rafael Masó was an architect born in Girona. During his life he designed many buildings for the city of Girona, some survived, others didn’t. Some of the most famous to visit are the Farinera Teixidor, Casa Cots, and the La Punxa. You can also visit his former house, Casa Masó, now turned into a museum.
Visit Girona’s beautiful cathedral
While you’re in the city also visit Girona’s beautiful cathedral. The cathedral is famous for its well-preserved and beautiful gothic and baroque art. You can also go on a trip outside the city to the medieval village of Besalú. Here you can visit authentic Jewish baths called Miqwe baths. These baths were used for ritual purifications. In this village pats of the film Perfume were shot.
Enjoy vibrant nightlife of Girona
Girona has a lively nightlife. One of the best bars is situated in the middle of the Medieval Quarter. It is the Lola Cafè. This is a Latin café with Rumba, Salsa and cocktails. Lapsus is popular café with young people and an excellent place for enjoying some local tapas with your drinks. If you like dancing there is a hip club in the southern part of town, called Blau Club. Here you can dance to electronic music, drum n base, and hip hop. While walking around town you will come across many more cosy restaurants, tapas bars, cafés, and terraces. Most nightlife is centred on the Plaça de la Independència square and the Plaça de Sant Feliu square, and their surrounding areas.
Best time to visit
Tourists visit Girona from May to October
Getting there and around
Girona is an easy city to get around. The city is not too big, which makes it easy to get around by foot. Also the local public transport is good. One of the best things about Girona is that it is located in between many more excellent places for visiting. To the north from the city you will find the Pyrenees, to the south Barcelona and to the east only half an hour away there are the famous beaches of the Costa Brava. All of these can be visited on daytrips. Girona is an excellent choice as a basecamp for getting to know the wider Catalan and Costa Brava region.
To get around in the city independently you can rent a bike. If you would like to explore the region rent a car. To get to Girona you can take a direct flight to Girona Costa Brava Airport. From here you can take a bus to the city. Ryan Air has cheap flights to this airport. Girona is also easy accessible by train, bus, or car.