Visit Girona, Catalonia, Spain

What to do beyond the airport

Les cases de l'Onyar

Jorge Franganillo/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 

To many, Girona is an airport and not a city—a cheap way of getting to Spain with Ryanair and nothing more. But Girona is actually a city worth visiting for its own merits.

A popular day trip from Barcelona takes in Figueres and Girona, giving you the chance to see both Girona and the excellent Salvador Dali Museum in one trip. 

Best Time to Visit Girona

Whenever Ryanair have their flights to Girona at rock bottom prices (which is quite often).

Things to Do in Girona

  • Wander through The Call, Girona's Jewish quarter.
  • Walk Along the River Onyar and see the colorful houses stacked up on the riverfront, Florence-style. They're called cases penjades, or 'hanging houses'.
  • A stroll across the 9th Century Carolingian and 15th Century walls gives breathtaking views of Girona's old town and the surrounding mountains.
  • Take a look at the cathedral. The chief highlight of Girona's 11th Century cathedral is its stupendous Gothic nave, the widest of its kind in Christendom. The cathedral itself is poised in grandiose fashion over a precipitous cascade of steps
  • On the other side of the cathedral is the Passeig Archeologic, a beautiful set of gardens.
  • Watch the world go by in Plaça de la Independencia, Plaça del Vi and Plaça de la Catedral.
  • Check out Girona's museums—there's one on art, one on cinema and one on archeology.
  • Visit the Arabic Baths. They actually date to the 12th Century, when the Moors had long been banished from the city. Still, they're pretty impressive.

    How Long to Stay in Girona

    If you're coming to Girona on one of those early-morning Ryanair flights, then you should at least spend your first day and night here. You could fill the second day with the city's museums.

    Day Trips from Girona

    One of the best things about Girona is that it makes many places in northern Catalonia much more accessible than if you were trying to get to them from Barcelona, particularly the Dali Museum in Figueres.

      Distance to Girona

      From Barcelona: 100km—1hr by car, 1h30 by train. No convenient bus.

      From Madrid: 700km—7hrs by car. No train or bus.

      From Seville: 1124km—12h by car. No train or bus.

      First Impressions

      Girona is a perfect first stop on your Spanish vacation.

      Take the short walk from the bus/train station across c/Barcelona and Gran Via de Jaume I. Cross the river and you'll find the tourist information center on Rambla de la Libertat, where you can get a good map of the area.

      The streets and squares around the information center, such as c/ dels Ciutadans, Plaça del Vi and the aforementioned Rambla de la Libertat, have a number of pleasant cafes and bars. They vary greatly in price and quality—avoid the really cheap stuff aimed at tourists and go for something two or three euros more—it'll be a lot better.

      Beyond these streets is where things get really interesting, with a number of squares, narrow streets and churches, before you come across the cathedral. But don't stop there, continue on past the cathedral to find some beautiful gardens.

      Once the interesting sights dry up, double back, cross over the river and visit Plaça de la Independencia, a vibrant square that is perfect for finishing off your walk.