July 20, 2024

Discover Girona: A Journey Through History and Culture

The origins of the city of Girona date back to Roman times. The Goths settled here around the 6th century. Around 900, there was a larger Jewish community here, which still characterizes some parts of the city today. In 1939, Franco’s troops conquered Girona.

You will often see two spellings of Girona: “Gerona” is the name of the city in Spanish, “Girona” is the Catalan name.

Girona is the capital of the province of the same name. With around 75,000 inhabitants, things are a little more tranquil there than in Barcelona.
In any case, Girona is worth a visit.

The Girona excursions from Barcelona

The tours presented and recommended here all start from Barcelona.

Girona, Figueres and Dalí Museum Day Tour

Girona and Costa Brava Full-Day Tour (private or small group)

Girona & Costa Brava Trip with Swimming Stop

Girona and Figueres Full-Day Tour with Hotel Pick Up
(private or small group)

Costa Brava and Girona Small-Group Tour (small group)

Private Full-Day Girona & Figueres (private group)

Private Medieval Girona Half-Day Tour (private group)

Private Girona and Costa Brava Guided Tour (private group)

 

Girona has a lot to offer, from big attractions to little secret spots. A guide can show you these. Especially if you only want to spend a day in Girona, it makes sense to join a tour group with local guides or take a private tour where the tour guide is there exclusively for you. So you don’t miss anything and have used a nice day optimally.

It is around 50 kilometers to Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí with an impressive Dalí Museum. Both places, Girona and Figueres, are worth a visit, which is why they are often offered together in one tour.

Sights of Girona

Força Vella, the oldest part of the old town

East of the Riu Onyar are the oldest parts of the old town: Força Vella, built by the Romans in the first century BC as a fortress. This part of the old town until about 1000. In terms of area, the Jewish quarter takes up about half of it. With its narrow and winding streets, the Jewish quarter, which occupies about half of the Força Vella, is one of the oldest and largest historical Jewish quarters in Europe.

  • City walls
    You can visit the parts of the Roman city wall, which was built in the 1st century BC and expanded and strengthened in the 3rd century. The Roman city wall was extended by the Carolingians from the 9th century. Their defensive walls are still preserved today and are absolutely worth seeing.
  • Cathedral
    Built between the 11th and 18th centuries, the cathedral with the long, wide staircase in front of the main portal is one of Girona’s symbols. Many architectural styles overlapped in it, from Romanesque to classicistic. Unique is the 23 meter wide Gothic nave (15th-16th century), which is the widest ribbed vault in the world.
    The Romanesque tower and cloister are from the 11th-12th centuries. Century emerged, the baroque facade and staircase in the 17th-18th.
  • Pia Almoina
    The facade of the 14th-century poorhouse is an impressive example of civic Gothic. It frames the monumental space of the cathedral staircase.
  • Jewish quarter
    The Jewish quarter of Girona is mentioned for the first time, it is one of the best preserved in Europe. Between the 13th and 14th centuries, synagogues, ritual baths, schools and hospitals were built for the Jewish community, which at its peak numbered over 800 members. The Museum of Jewish History evokes the history of the Jewish communities in Catalonia in the Middle Ages, with a particular focus on Girona. It shows a collection of medieval Hebrew tombstones from the former Montjuïc Jewish Cemetery. The Nahmanides Institute for Jewish Studies is a research center on Jewish culture and history with a library of over six thousand publications.

Medieval Quarter

South and north of the Força Vella is the medieval quarter, which was built between the 11th and 15th centuries. These parts of the city were also surrounded by a fortress wall, the battlements of which are largely preserved today and can be visited. Girona had its heyday in the 14th century, with 12,000 inhabitants it was the second largest city in Catalonia.

  • Medieval city walls
    The path on the city wall offers a unique view over the city. Those in the 14th-15th The walls built in the 13th century protected the parishes of Sant Feliu, Sant Pere, Vilanova, Areny and Mercadal.
  • Basilica of Sant Feliu
    Girona’s first cathedral (until the 10th century) is one of the most representative Gothic buildings in the city, thanks to its slender bell tower (14th-16th centuries). The originally Romanesque chancel was later supplemented with Gothic naves and a Baroque facade.
  • Sant Pere de Galligants
    Founded in the 12th century, the Benedictine monastery, with its grandiose basilica and iconographic capitals in the nave and cloister, together with the nearby chapel of Sant Nicolau, is one of the most important Romanesque sites in Lombardy, Catalonia.
  • Sant Nicolau chapel
    This small burial chapel originally had a Lombard floor plan, a no-frills and massive construction, with four apses. The octagonal dome is remarkable. When the nave was added, an apse was lost. Today you can visit exhibitions there.
  • Moorish bath
    A unique Romanesque building (12th century) modeled on ancient Roman baths. Among the most outstanding features are the vaulted entrance used as a changing and resting area and the dome over the central basin, supported by slender columns with elaborately decorated capitals.
  • Colorful houses at the Riu Onyar
    A striking contrast to the narrow streets of the old town are the brightly painted houses along the Onyar River with a view of the cathedral in the background. Three distinctive bridges cross the Onyar: the slender Gómez Bridge (1916), the red Peixateries-Velles Bridge (built in 1977 by the Eiffel company) and the Stone Bridge or Isabel II Bridge (1856)
  • Sant Marti Sacos
    The church of the former monastery from the 17th century with its baroque facade and staircase and the steep stairs are certainly among the most beautiful places in the city.

Modern and contemporary city center

The modern and contemporary part of the historic city center is on the west side of the Riu Onyar and was built between the 16th and 20th centuries. Here you will find great resemblance to the Eixamble district of Barcelona with its checkerboard layout. In the modern city center you can eat well, for example at Plaça de la Independència.

  • Former Santa Caterina Hospital
    Today the baroque building is the seat of the Catalan government in Girona. The hospital was founded in the 17th century, the building was renovated in 1928 and remodeled in the 2010s. In the old pharmacy, restored in 2011, you can see over 350 exhibits of ceramics, glasses, mortars and historical surgical instruments.
  • Plaça de la Independencia
    The porticoed neoclassical square is now a lively place with many popular restaurants.

Travel tips Girona

You should allow 4-6 hours for Girona, of course depending on how fast you walk, which sights you want to see for how long and whether you also want to enjoy the gastronomy, for example.
Download the tourist map, there you will find a lot of information and the map is quite sufficient to find your way around Girona. You can also get this free of charge at the Tourist Info.

The easiest way to get there is by train, the journey time from Barcelona is around 50 minutes. The train station is about 700 meters walk from the old town.

With an organized tour you have the choice between private tours where the guide is exclusively for you and open excursions where you are together with other guests. For private excursions, you can also book a German-speaking tour guide and you can be picked up directly at the hotel. So you don’t have to worry about anything.

  • Address of the Tourist Info
    Rambla de la Libertat 1
    Telephone: +34 972 226 575
    Opening hours: Mon – Fri 09.00- 19.00, Sat 09.00 – 14.00, 15.00-19.00, Sun and public holidays 09.00 – 14.00

Game of Thrones in Girona – the filming locations

This medieval city has one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in all of Europe. It is not for nothing that the city served as a filming location for some scenes from the 6th season of the HBO hit series Game of Thrones.

Several locations in Girona served as the backdrop for Season 6, which takes place in the coastal town of Braavos. A film tourism industry has now established itself around the filming locations. Here you can book special tours to the locations of well-known films.

Arrival and airport

Directions
Girona can be reached by car via the A7, which leads directly to the French border. If you are driving straight to Barcelona, ​​you can make a detour here or on the way back. It is about 70 kilometers to Barcelona.
Trains run regularly from Barcelona directly to Girona from Sants train station.

How to get to Girona Airport
From Girona you can take the bus to Girona Airport. This departs from the central train station. If you want to go to Girona Airport from Barcelona, ​​you should not drive to Girona, you can take the shuttle bus directly. You can find here how to get to Girona Airport from Barcelona.

Why visit Girona

Girona is a beautiful city with a really exciting city center. You will see Roman, Carolingian, Moorish, Gothic, Baroque and Modernist buildings. You can walk on the city walls and visit the largest medieval Jewish quarter. Some Modernisme buildings can also be seen.

Almost all of the tourist attractions are located within the Força Vella and the medieval quarter. So everything is quite compact without having to go far. The surrounding area of ​​the Costa Brava with its beautiful landscape and rugged coast is also absolutely worth seeing. You can also dine excellently in a number of excellent restaurants.
Girona is also ideal to visit together with Figueres, the birthplace of Dalí.

Interesting facts

Information and background about Barcelona

Here you will find interesting and useful facts and background information about Barcelona. What typical celebrations, festivals and events are celebrated in Barcelona, which languages are spoken by the locals? We tell the story of the city of Barcelona, of Barcelona FC and why modernism is so widespread in Barcelona.
Barcelona has produced many famous personalities. Here you can get to know some of them.

Districts of Barcelona

Districts of Barcelona

Each neighbourhood in Barcelona has its own identity and characteristics. All have their very peculiar road layout, appearance of houses and life on the streets.

Travel season and climate

Climate and travel periods

The Barcelona climate is fairly temperate due to its location on the Mediterranean. Winter and summer in Barcelona each have their own appeal.

Current events in Barcelona

Barcelona currently

In our section “Barcelona currently” we describe traditional and modern events that are important in Barcelona, their backgrounds and their charm. Each year thousands of visitors come to Barcelona to experience these events.

Useful information for your Barcelona trip

Useful holiday information A-Z

Here you will find the information you need for your trip to Barcelona, for example how to find a doctor,the use of public transport, parking in Barcelona, emergency numbers and questions of costumes/duty requirements.

Some advice for disabled people

Some advice for disabled people

Barcelona is well prepared for the special needs of people with disabilities. Public transportation is generally accessible for both mobility-impaired and visually impaired people. Furthermore there are many places of interest that are equipped for wheelchair users. Also the majority of hotels have rooms that are established for people with special needs.

Catalan recipes and tapas recipes

Catalonian recipes

Enjoy a taste of Barcelona and the Mediterranean with our typical Catalan and Spanish delicacies, which you can make at home. With our delicious tapas recipes, you can also experience the Spanish-Catalan lifestyle at home.

Barcelona's history from the Roman period to date

Barcelona`s history

The settlement history of Barcelona began in the second Century BC with Barcino, the largest known Roman settlement outside of Rome. But the Gothic and modernist eras have also left visible traces. Fortunately the legacies of the dismal period of Franco’s dictatorship have been eliminated.
The history of Barcelona has also been shaped by the quest for independence and preservation of its own cultural identity.

Modernism - Catalan art nouveau

Modernisme – Barcelona formative period of art

There is almost no other architectural style – apart from Gothic – that has influenced the face of Barcelona as much as the Modernisme – the Catalan art nouveau. The epoch of Modernisme left the city with a unique cultural heritage. This is proven by the fact that no other city has as many buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List as Barcelona. The list for Barcelona contains nine entries, and all of them are works from the Modernisme.

Famous personalities in the history of Barcelona

Famous personalities

Barcelona has produced many world famous personalities. In particular, artists and architects such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Antoni Tàpies, Lluis Domènech i Montaner and the towering Anoni Gaudí.

Barcelona's languages

Barcelona’s languages

In Catalonia, two official languages are spoken: Spanish and Catalan. Both are Roman languages. Catalan predominates in official areas such as universities and public authorities. In museums comments are always provided in two languages – in addition, of course, translations are also given in the languages of the guests. You can also download our phrasebook.

Tourist information in Barcelona
 

Tourist information centres

In the tourist information you can buy books, postcards, souvenirs, information on events and museums. Even here, you receive free maps. These are usually quite sufficient to navigate in Barcelona.

Luggage Storage in Barcelona

Luggage Storage / Lockers in Barcelona

In Barcelona you can safely store your luggage at several places. This is ideal if you arrive by boat, for example, and have some time before flying back. So you can relax and enjoy your time.

History of Barcelona since Roman times

Matching offers in our shop

Barcelona Card

Save a lot of money: enjoy reduced and free admission and use the public transport for free.

Hop on hop off bus

Discorver Barcelona with the double decker bus and get on and off wherever you want.

Casa Batlló without standing in line

Book tickets for the Casa Batlló, one of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona. No standing in line.

Flamenco and dinner

Experience authentic and first class flamenco in Barcelona, as well as a delicate dinner with andalusian specialities.

GoCars tours with GPS

A lot of fun – the audio guide with GPS will lead you through the city.

Coastal tour

Book a special view over the city: a coastal tour with the Golondrinas.

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