Girona is a beautiful meeting point for many Spanish waterways. It boasts both the ancient treasure reflecting through its old town and the modern vibe where the local culture is thriving. Girona may not be the major destinations but it does not mean the area is lack of charm.
Whether it is a 3 days trip or simply a day tour, these Top Things to see in Girona is something you should not miss
Cutting through the centre of the city and once the major trade route of Girona, the Onyar River is a wonder in itself. It wasn’t just to watch the water that rushed below it, or to watch the hundreds of fish we saw passing along it.
There are many places to visit along Onyar`s bank including the old quarter.
The faded and repainted colour of the houses are striking and make for a perfect postcard picture or snap for Instagram. On the river you’ll also see the Palanques Vermelles bridge, built in 1827 by the same Eiffel company who constructed one of Paris’ better known landmarks.
It’s a simple construction offering only a footpath to cross the river, so feel free to take your time capturing more pictures for your album without the worry of any passing cars; but the architecture of the bridge itself isn’t simple in the slightest.
Rambla de la Llibertat
At one end of the Eiffel Bridge you’ll find one of the main pedestrian streets of Girona and all the way along it you’ll find a course of towering trees that provide shade for the numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars that line the route.
Whilst cafe culture and shops line the route today, the Rambla de la Llibertat was once the heart of the commerce sector and from the 13th Century was where most of the local and incoming travelling traders would sell their goods.
Apart from stopping for several photos, our company of camera-touting bloggers didn’t stop for a mid-morning espresso or early lunch here, however you could see many local Gironians enjoying the first of many meal stops that tend to make up the rhythm of many a Spanish person’s day.
Another area of the city in which people will seek shade from the hot summer sun is within the Plaça de la Independència, or Independence Place.
This large open square is surrounded on all sides by a number of Girona’s most beautiful buildings and collectively presents one of the nicest spots in which to sit in the shade and enjoy watching people pass by.
We too also decided to seek some shade here and as a group headed into one of the bars situated beneath the shaded arches of the arcades around the plaça’s edge.
If you’re looking for somewhere luxurious to pass some time whilst sipping on a caña, the tapas filled bars here are a primary choice.
Whilst empty tapas plates were being cleared from our table we all made our way back onto the path of our walking tour of Girona and the process of filling up every memory card we were carrying.
The streets away from Plaça de la Independència are highly interesting themselves and allow you to see not only the ageing city, but also the local people go about their day-to-day – and the next highlight of our day trip trumped it all.
La Catedral de Girona – or Girona Cathedral – sits high above you at the top of a large flight of stairs that surely serve as a purposely made “test” of pilgrims to the 1000 year old church. In my eyes they look like a final struggle for pilgrims to climb to see if they’re committed enough to the almighty to reach the top of the 91 worn stone steps.
After a number of group photos together at the bottom of the stairs the time came to test ourselves on those same steps and the urge to run up them in the style of the film “Rocky” was too great. Unfortunately the chance to reach the top and claim myself as “Champion of Girona” came short once I realised that I was both overtaken and beaten by the former-smoker, Gianni.
With a red face of shame and exhaustion I stopped for a little while to take in the magnificent 13th Century façade of the church that is soon to be used as a location in Game of Thrones.
The Jewish Quarter / The Call
Amongst the top things to see in Girona, the Jewish Quarter has something to charm any visitor. From the top of the steps we decided to take a more gentle way down along a sloped road that leads down further into an area called, “The Call, which is one of the oldest parts of the city and where the Jewish community of Girona once settled before being expelled from both Girona and the region of Aragon during the 1492 rise of Anti-Jewish sentiment.
The maze of small streets, stairways, tenements, and merchants houses today stands as one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters in Spain and example of the types of houses Jewish immigrants once lived in.
There are a number of paths that wind their way around the quarter which flow and cut across each other like tributaries in a stream that all eventually end at the same flowing river of people at the bottom of the hill, and it’s wonderful.
Not knowing where the next turn will take you makes it all the more interesting to walk through and discover.
The Jewish Quarter of Girona includes a number of routes filled with steps which have been worn away over time by the weather. Please do take care with your footing as you explore this wonderful place.
The City Walls / Passeig de la Muralla
What was once the outer city limit now stands within the heart of the Girona and it is surrounded on all sides by hundreds of newer houses and homes, and eventually where the city limit is today.
The wall is split into two walkable parts that have been painstakingly restored by the town council over a number of years and – thanks to the incredible panorama they offer – of that we’re incredibly grateful.
Built upon the original Roman foundations of the 1st century, most of what you see today was built during the Moorish occupation of Girona and the Medieval period that followed it.
Unfortunately not all of the original wall still stands as over time the wall was removed as it no longer surrounded the city it was once set to defend. Also, some stretches of the wall were either removed to make way for new roads, or were too dangerous to leave standing.
Of what there is to see in Girona, this was probably the most interesting as it lifts you high enough up from the buzz of the city so that you can really get an idea of just how far it now stretches and how beautiful the countryside is.
Street Art in Girona
One of the best parts of our group walking tour of Girona was the number of interesting street art examples we found along the way.
As it is typical with our shorter trips, we didn’t see nearly as much of the graffiti and murals that decorate Girona, but you’ll see them scattered around the bus station, and even down by the river.
If we didn’t have enough reason to return to Girona already for a longer stay, the street art left undiscovered is reason enough.