Girona (officially, in Catalan, or Gerona, in Spanish) is a city on the Costa Brava, very near to Barcelona and has a lot of exciting things to visit, a rich cultural heritage and an attractive old town, with activities every month.
It’s ideal for weekend visits and, of course, for fans of Game of Thrones. There are several guided tours, including a free walking tour, through the scenes of the series.
Want to know what to visit in Girona? Keep Reading!
What to See in Girona in 2 days?
When traveling to Girona, spend at least two days there. Although you can see the main sights in one, I’m sure you’ll want to stay for at least a weekend because the city is full of must-see places to visit.
Brief History of Girona
Girona is a city of Roman origin, and that is very noticeable when you are touring it. In fact, it is almost 2000 years old!
In the years 75 and 76 A.D., a square with a walled enclosure was founded on the Via Augusta and called Gerunda.
Girona has experienced invasions of all kinds, sieges, wars, and famines. All this leaves its mark on the city, and you feel like you are walking through a place with its history.
Girona is a walled city, which has rehabilitated its wall to be able to walk through it.
And it is an excellent way to start the visit to the city to have a panoramic view and a different perspective.
You will see the narrow streets of the historic center and the church steeples much closer.
Here are some of the views you have from the wall. In addition, you can tour it for free.
When you go to Girona, get up early and go around the Cathedral area; on the last visit, we did, and it seemed like we had gone back in time.
Around 8 or 9 a.m. on a Saturday, the city is still asleep (especially if it’s a holiday!), and you can wander its medieval cobblestone streets.
And if you let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere that reigns at that time, it will be straightforward to imagine how people lived in another era.
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, you will be able to see some of the scenery where the famous TV series was filmed. The cathedral and its staircases ring a bell, don’t they?
What to Visit in Girona?
Barri Vell or Old Quarter
In the historic center, you can stroll along the Ramblas, visit the Arab Baths, the Cathedral, Sant Pere de Galligants or walk through the Jewish Quarter.
It is a charming area, full of history, with narrow streets and steep stairs.
If you come to Girona for the first time, you can not miss visiting the houses of Oñar from one of the bridges that cross the river.
The Arab or Muslim Baths
Although they are called Arab baths, they are of Romanesque construction from the 12th century and were built imitating the Muslim baths and were declared a National Heritage Cultural Asset.
They can be visited all year round, although the winter opening hours are until 2 p.m., so it can be the first visit to make in Girona.
They are very well preserved. I love the octagonal pool area, with its long columns!
It is called the Cathedral of Santa Maria (St Mary); its construction began in the eleventh century and has a mixture of styles, ranging from Romanesque through the Gothic of the thirteenth century, and was completed in the eighteenth century.
The façade, for example, is baroque, and the nave is gothic in style and is the widest in the world!
It is in the highest area of the city, next to the Art Museum. Both the cathedral and the cathedral square and its surroundings are charming areas; it is worth it.
If you are a fan of the TV series, you will be familiar with the stairs of the Cathedral (above) or the “Door of Mercy”, which you will see in the photo below.
Girona Museum of Art
It is located right next to the cathedral, in the old Episcopal Palace. The first mentions of this building date back to the 10th century.
It gathers the most essential pieces of the history of the Bishopric and the province of Girona dating from Roman times to the twentieth century.
Along with this building, in the market area is the former hospital of Santa Catalina, which complements the collection with, among others, the largest painting of Catalan painting, The Great Day of Girona, 496 x 1082 cm.
Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery
The Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants was a Benedictine abbey that, since the mid-nineteenth century, has been the seat of the Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia.
The museum is fascinating, but the architectural ensemble is what I like most about the monastery. The exact date of its construction is unknown, but we know it already existed in the first half of the 10th century.
Also, if you want to visit it inside, the regular entrance is 4.50 €, and you can stay until 18 or 19 hours, depending on the season; it is very affordable.
Be sure to visit their gorgeous gardens, and you can take a break from the stairs of Girona!
Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia
As I have already mentioned, it is in the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants.
Its exhibitions present the materials found in excavations in various regions, from prehistoric to medieval times.
Basilica of San Feliu
It is the oldest church in Girona; in fact, it was the city’s first cathedral. The original building dated from the 12th century and was remodeled in the following centuries.
The most curious thing about the church of St. Felix is eight pagan Roman and early Christian sarcophagi dating back to the 2nd-4th centuries A.D., probably from a cemetery on this site.
It also houses the remains of St. Felix and St. Narcissus, the city’s patron saint.
When you go down the stairs of the church of San Feliu, notice a sculpture in limestone called the Lioness of Girona, or more colloquially, the Lioness’s Ass. It is a column with a lioness climbing it, dating from the 12th century.
Jewish Quarter of Girona: the Call
Girona has a Jewish quarter, as in other important cities of Roman and medieval Spain. Avila, Segovia, Toledo, Barcelona, and Castellón also have their Jewish quarters.
The Jews began to settle in the ninth century, and there are already records of about 25 Jewish families settled in Girona, next to the Cathedral.
The Jewish population grew, and for 600 years, they lived and prospered in Girona.
Although they had been living in the Jewish quarter for 600 years, they had to leave their homes at the end of the 15th century, as we all know.
The Jewish quarter of Girona is a charming neighborhood, one of those that you can enjoy strolling in peace. With its narrow, cobblestone streets that crisscross and stairs that go up and down everywhere, you get lost even if you don’t want to.
It runs along the Carrer de la Força, where the Museum is located, and at the end of the route, the Cathedral.
You can also find such corners, with some artists exhibiting their works.
In addition to Game of Thrones, the movie Perfume was filmed in the Jewish quarter, as well as some others that do not come to mind now.
You can also visit the Museum of the History of the Jews in the former synagogue of the 15th century. It houses information and objects about medieval Jewish communities and the most critical Hebrew lapidary collection in Spain.
When we were there, there was an exhibition of photographs of Jews in World War II, which was captivating.
Municipal Theater of Gerona
The Municipal Theater is located right next to the Town Hall in a part of the church of Sant Domenec, in the old part of the city.
It has about 150 performances yearly; you can check the program on this page.
Temps de Flors
Every year in Girona, a wonderful exhibition occurs at Flower Time. The Barri Vell is filled with flowers and decorations for a few days. Every corner becomes a small colorful garden with a special charm, and the city smells wonderful.
Check this page for the dates of the next exhibition and all the details. Visiting Girona during the Temps de Flors is a good option to get to know a few local traditions.
La Rambla de la Libertat
Along the river is located the Rambla de la Libertat, a street where you can have a coffee or vermouth overlooking the river and the famous Casas de Oñar.
The buildings on this street are old and very well-preserved, with medieval porches and arcades. From here, you can access the old part of Gerona.
Houses of the Onyar River
The houses of Onyar are colorful hanging houses located on the banks of the river of the same name, which runs through the city of Girona; in the picture, you can see the Cathedral behind the buildings.
We visited them after touring the historic center at sunset. In addition, the river is crossed by several bridges, so you can choose from which bridge to visit, the Onyar Houses.
Did you know that one of the bridges was built by Eiffel, the same as the Eiffel Tower in Paris? I’ll tell you about it below!
Eiffel Bridge or Pont de les Peixateries Velles
The Eiffel Bridge and the rest of the bridges that cross the river Onyar serve to unite the city travels with the market area. None of the medieval bridges remain.
But this bridge is one of the busiest; I do not know if it is because it takes you to the shopping area or because it has beautiful views of the Onyar Houses.
It was built in 1876 and designed by Gustave Eiffel ten years before the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
Its name in English is Old Fishmongers, which comes from the area that joined the other shore, where the city’s fishmongers were.
It is also called the Red Lever Bridge since the iron is painted red.
As a curiosity, Girona has seven more bridges built by Eiffel’s company, five of which are for railroads.
Stone Bridge and the Ramblas
This city has beautiful Ramblas, with many stores and a lot of life, you can walk around quietly as well as the stalls that are on the stone bridge, one of the most characteristics of the city.
Its construction began in 1850, and it was inaugurated in 1856.
You can also take advantage of your visit to the Ramblas and stop by the tourist office.
The house where the architect Rafael Masó i Valentí was born is located on Ballesteries street. It is a symbol of the development of Noucentisme in Girona.
Masó was in charge of renovating his family home, which can now be seen from the bridges over the Onyar River. Inside the house, you can see objects and furniture designed by him and works of art that the family collected over the years.
Since 2006 the house has been the headquarters of the Rafael Masó Foundation and is open to the public.
It is next to the San Agustín Bridge, passing through Platería Street. Previously the convent of San Agustín was located here, hence its unofficial second name: Plaza de San Agustín.
It is surrounded by 19th-century neoclassical buildings and is almost symmetrical. In the center is the sculpture by Antoni Parera representing the city’s defenders during the Napoleonic invasion in 1809.
Museum of Cinema
Located on Carrer Sèquia, near the Pont de Pedra, it is a museum that houses objects and information on more than 400 years of the history of the moving image.
A must-see for film lovers and for those who want to learn more about the importance of this art form in our lives.
Buy your tickets in advance, especially if you are traveling in high season!
If you feel like a quiet walk in the open air without the noise of the city, there is an urban park that I really like, and that is Devesa Park. I could not tell you if it is more beautiful in spring full of flowers or in autumn with those ocher colors so characteristic.
In the vicinity of this park is where you usually park, as it is very close to the old part of Girona, which is very easy to walk around!
It is one of the best places to start your tour of the historic center of Girona.
You may also be interested in taking a tour of Girona with a guide and then visiting the Dalí museum in Figueras. It’s very cool!
Or, if you prefer, you can visit Cadaqués on a day trip. It’s one of the most beautiful villages of the Costa Brava.
Game of Thrones in Gerona
The famous TV series was filmed in many parts of the old town of Girona. Here you have the complete list; you can visit them on your own or hire a free guided tour to see them with a guide.
- Great Sept of Baelor – Gerona Cathedral
- Streets of Braavos – Bishop Josep Cartañà St.
- The market of the Port of Braavos – Fernando el Católico St. and the Archaeological Promenade
- The Braavos Baths – Arab Baths
- Bridge of Braavos – Bridge of Galligants
- The Theater of Braavos – The Square of the Jurors
- Braavos Market – Sant Domènec
- Streets of Braavos during Arya’s escape – Old Quarter Gerona
- The Library of Antigua and the Cloister of the King’s Landing – Sant Pere de Galligants
- Extra: Jaime Lannister’s hand, an exclusive Game of Thrones ice cream created by Jordi Roca.
Where to Eat in Gerona?
There are some very cool places to eat in Girona that are excellent value for money; I leave these three that a reader of this blog from Girona recommended to me.
In addition, you have gastronomic tours around the city. You will be accompanied by an expert guide in gastronomy.
Le Bistrot Restaurant
It is a very cool place to eat or have a drink, especially when the weather is nice, the terrace is not very big, but it is in a privileged location.
You may also recognize the area from Game of Thrones; many people come to this place looking for the scenery of the series.
Address: Pujada St. Domenec 4.
The Creperie Bretone
The creperie has a rather eclectic décor with its van inside welcoming us. Address Cort Reial, 14.
Café La Terra
We ate at this restaurant. We had some delicious hamburgers and sat at one of the tables next to the Onyar River.
Yes! We were eating in one of the houses on the Onyar River! It is the best way to see one of them from the inside 🙂
Rocambolesc Ice Cream Parlor
This ice cream parlor is owned by the Roca brothers, duels of Celler de Can Roca, which has three Michelin stars and has been among the top three restaurants in the world for more than ten consecutive years, according to Restaurant magazine.
In the ice cream parlor, there was an article saying it had been awarded the best ice cream parlor in the world.
I don’t know if they are the best in the world, but the ice creams are delicious and original too!
What to See around Girona?
Girona is located on the Costa Brava. Many interesting sites can be visited in the surrounding area. If you can stay there for more days, these are the ones I recommend:
In the province of Girona, we can find many medieval villages that take us on a journey into the past. We have visited a few of them, and these are the ones I liked the most:
- Castellfollit de la Roca,
I recommend that you go on an organized tour. It is much easier, as it includes transfers and a guide.
Sant Llorenç de la Muga
This village is another example of a medieval town, walled and lost in the mountains. It offers rural getaways with outdoor activities, trails, waterfalls, and hidden swimming holes.
In autumn, mushroom hunting is organized in the area to take advantage of the mushroom-picking season.
Apart from its medieval charm, what impresses me is the nature that surrounds this village. You can visit the volcanic area of the Garrotxa, the Croscat volcano, or the Jordá beech forest (Fageda d’en Jordá).
Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar
These two cities are on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and, in summer, are full of tourists. Both Lloret and Tossa de Mar have picturesque medieval castles and old parts right by the sea that are worth a visit, preferably at sunset 🙂
If you are traveling in high season, take the opportunity to have lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurants near the beach to taste the regional dishes and the famous crema Catalana, it’s like a “Crème brûlée” but don’t say that to Catalans.
Cap de Creus
Cap de Creus (Cape Crosses) is the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. It has a Natural Park, but be sure to visit Cadaqués, the lighthouse, the coves, and the Dalí house museum.
Guided tours from Girona take you to all these sites, with the entrance to the Dalí museum in Figueras included.
How to Get to Girona?
Girona is located north of Barcelona and has an airport.
- By car: Girona is about 100 km from Barcelona and connected by the AP-7 freeway or national roads. You can make the tour along the coast, passing through the beach towns. Need a car? See here to rent one.
- By train or bus: Girona is very well connected with Barcelona, there are trains almost every hour. It also has an AVE (High-Speed Train), and the trip takes only 40 minutes. Find your ticket here.
- By plane: Girona has an airport very close, called Girona-Costa brava, and is about 15 minutes away from the city by car. Search for flights here.
Remember to take travel insurance; I assure you that it takes away a lot of headaches…Visit the website of Heymondo to get one tailored to your needs and at a good price. In addition, by buying through this link, you have a 5% discount.
Girona is a city that I really liked, with a lot of history, interesting places and a lot of movement in its streets.
Either because you are looking for movie sets, touring and learning about its history, or simply to get to know a new place. Girona is a beautiful city you must visit, and I am sure you will love it.
Do you know Girona? What places do you recommend for my next visit?
Plan Your Trip to Girona
- Where to Sleep in Girona
- Excursions in Girona
- What to see in Barcelona
- The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona
- Villages in the South of France
- Perpignan and Castelnou
- Camping on the Costa Brava
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Last Updated on 31 October, 2022 by Veronica