What is there to see in Girona? Holidays in Catalonia, Spain
Published on May 25, 2019 by Catalan Holidays
Girona is one of the most charming cities in Catalonia. All the secrets that it hides make it worth dedicating at least one day of your holidays to it. It is a town which oozes history from its streets. A truly welcoming medieval town that has managed to grow and adapt to modern times without leaving its past behind.
Some 100 kilometres is all that separates Girona from Barcelona. A journey that can be made in an hour and a half by car, and a few minutes more by train. The distance is shortened by all you have to visit in this city and everything you have to discover. Come with us on this journey to get to know the must-see highlights in Girona.
- Historical Centre
- Girona’s Bridges
- Arab Baths
- Girona’s Jewish Quarter
- Onyar River Houses
- La Rambla
- Devesa Park
- Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery
- Game of Thrones
- Festivals (Sant Narcís, Flower Festival, etc.)
- Where to sleep in Girona
The best advice for discovering historic Girona is to walk around its streets aimlessly. Roam around the most welcoming neighbourhood in the city and just get lost.
Gradually you will come to see how its atmosphere wraps you up and guides you into the next steps that you have to take. Walk and walk with no fixed destination and, at any moment, you will reach the most impressive building in the town, the Cathedral.
They started building Girona Cathedral in the 11th century in Romanesque style. It was after the year 1312 when the Gothic Cathedral began to take shape. Everyone is impressed by the staircase that provides access to the main façade and the Gothic nave, the widest one in the world.
The cloister is also one of the most charming elements of the Cathedral’s architectural complex. The new bell tower is another one of the city’s greatest attractions, which is visible, particularly, from Girona’s bridges.
The historic and modern parts of the city are separated by the Onyar River. To cross from one part to the other, the inhabitants use three bridges, each one more enchanting.
This bridge was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel in the year 1876, the same creator that erected the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the 1889 World’s Fair. It is popularly known as “Iron Bridge”. Officially it is the “Old Fish Market Bridge”. The beautiful aesthetics of this bridge, with red-coloured iron bars woven together, is a pleasure for the eyes to behold.
Isabel II Bridge or Stone Bridge
It was built in 1849 in Girona during the reign of Isabel II and it was opened in the year 1856. As the only stone bridge that there is in the area, the citizens refer to it as the Stone Bridge.
It is the biggest one that we can find in the historical centre of the town and perhaps the most romantic.
When this bridge was built they had to knock down part of a particular building belonging to a man named Gomez. In recognition of the sacrifice that this Gironan made for the good of the city, they chose to baptise this bridge with his surname.
It also stands out for the singular shape of its streetlights and its characteristic curvature.
In Girona’s historical centre there are many tourist attractions, but few have as much loveliness as the Arab Baths. They are baths that were built in the 12th century with Roman inspiration.
The entrance, used in the Medieval period as a changing room and rest area, is already worth a visit. A room covered with a ringed vault and a dome that is held up by columns and spires adorn the central swimming pool. A true treasure to be discovered.
Girona’s Jewish Quarter
The city’s Jewish Quarter is a fascinating and welcoming place. Its narrow streets and disorganised grid make this corner of Girona one of the most recommended places to visit.
Walking peacefully through the historical centre you are going to come across it, but if you want to focus strictly on this particular area that, in its day, embraced the Jewish community of Girona, you can take a map from the Tourist Information Office and delve into this most picturesque neighbourhood of the city.
Onyar River Houses
These are the houses set next to the river that runs through Girona’s city centre. It is a picturesque sight as the façades of the houses look out over the main river of the city. Of all the houses in this architectural complex, the Masó House is a particular highlight, the birthplace of the architect Rafael Masó I Valentí and built according to the “Noucentista” style. Its façade is white and stands out from the rest.
These houses next to the Onyar River were included in the Catalonian Architectural Heritage inventory. They are located in the stretch of the river that runs from Argenteria street to La Rambla.
This is one of the social hubs of the city of Girona. Specifically, it was developed in the 13th century so that the market could be held. The colonnades, with low ceilings and uneven arches, shape the singularity of this place.
The main delight of this enclave to see on a tourist visit. Since it was built, it has been the main shopping centre of Girona. Along La Rambla are buildings worth seeing. One of the most emblematic is the Norat House, built in the year 1912, with a modernist-style façade.
This is the largest urban park in Catalonia. It is located between the Ter, Onyar and Guell rivers to the east of the historical centre of the city of Girona.
It is well known as a cultural asset of national interest. It expands over 40 hectares and has 2,500 plane trees that are more than 150 years old. The name Devesa comes from its ancient origins, an expanse of land covered with natural vegetation for pasture.
Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery
It is an outstanding example of the Catalan Romanesque style, although from the collection of buildings only the church and the cloister remain. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile coming to Girona to visit just those two elements.
The rose window over the door is also a must-see, it is three and a half metres in diameter, framed by three structural circles.
Game of Thrones
Girona was put on the international map when they shot scenes from the sixth season there. It was a boon to the local economy and increased interest in the city from foreign visitors.
It had such an impact that, generated by shooting the series in the city, different Game of Thrones tours in Girona, have already been launched. Bisbe Josep Cartañà Street, near to the Cathedral, appears in the first episode; Plaça dels Jurats Square, in the fifth episode; the Cathedral and Cathedral Square, in the sixth episode; the archaeological walk, in the seventh episode; the Arab Baths and the Sant Domenec Steps, in the eighth episode; and, in the tenth and final episode, the interior of the Sant Pere de Galligats Monastery appears. Different locations from a cult series to see in Girona.
Festivals (Sant Narcís, Flower Festival, etc.)
Girona is rich in popular festivals. Out of the first six months of the year, a particular highlight is the “Girona Flower Festival” in May. Ten days where the streets of Girona are filled with colourful flowers to welcome the spring.
Shortly before this festival, they celebrate the Strenes Music Festival, which entails the presentation of music albums in Catalan that have been put on sale in the previous months. Out of the second sixth months of the year, the most outstanding festival is that of the Sant Narcís Fair, with concerts, family activities, etc. Three events to see the city of Girona in all its splendour.
Where to sleep in Girona
Girona’s accommodation options are extensive. At Catalan Holidays we choose quality accommodation near to Girona, designed for couples, families and groups of friends who want a degree of privacy and to be near the most interesting places in Girona, Catalonia.
Our proposed accommodations on the Catalan Coast are apartments and mainly holiday homes to rent:
- Holiday homes on the Barcelona Coast
- Holiday homes on the Costa Dorada
- Holiday homes on the Costa Brava
On the other hand, have you thought of holiday rentals of houses with private pools and holiday rentals of houses that accept dogs or other pets. Through this link you have all our holiday homes in Catalonia.