Girona City Guide

Though just an hour from the coast, up until recently most tourism to this elegant city has been that of day trippers dragging themselves off the beach. Yet the airport has been used since the first package holidays to whisk the hoards straight past the city to the resorts of Tossa and Lloret de Mar. Things are changing and Girona is becoming a destination in its own right whilst also being a gateway to rest of this beautiful province.

Girona's History

Countless invasions have shaped Girona into what it is today which is a small yet beautifully formed, proud and prosperous city. The Romans were the first to put their cultural and architectural stamp on the city from the 1st century BC, creating the fortress town they called Gerunda, with many excellently preserved examples of their reign still to be found throughout the city. Other major influences included The Moors from the 8th century and the Jewish from the 9th century who, prior to their expulsion in 1492, inhabited the maze of streets around C/ Força for over 600 years.

Orientation

Girona's River Onyar (Riu Onyar) separates the old city, known as the Barri Vell, from the new and if you've seen any image of Girona it's probably of the cases de l'Onyar (pastel coloured medieval houses) with the river in the foreground marking the divide. Running parallel to the river within the old city is the Rambla Llibertat lined with shops, cafés and bars, taking you towards the magnificent cathedral.

West of the River Onyar is the new town which, though lacking the charm of the old part, is nevertheless not unattractive with wide streets, some beautiful squares and el Parc de la Devesa, Girona's biggest park.

Girona Cathedral

This imposing building which is reached via a wonderful flight of steps and the result of many different architectural influences from the 11th to 18th centuries. The original Romanesque building dates from 1083 and it is said to have Europe's widest gothic nave.

Girona Jewish quarter

This evocative area with its labyrinth of narrow streets off c/ de la força known as the 'call' is the best preserved area of its kind in Europe.

Jewish Museum

Located within the Jewish quarter and telling the story of the history of this community.

'la muralla' (Girona city walls)

Walk around the ramparts which have watchtowers and spiral staircases leading off them with fantastic views across the city and to the Pyrenees on clear days.

Banys Arabs (Arab baths)

Unfortunately no longer in use but well worth a look especially the Frigidarium or cold water room.

Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery

This 12th Century Benedictine monastery is one of best examples of Catalan Romanesque architecture and also houses the Archaeological museum of Catalunya.