Girona is One of the Most Famous Towns in Northern Catalonia:
Girona is one of the two most famous towns in northern Catalonian province of Girona (same name as the town), the other being Figueres. This beautiful walled city is a popular destination for day-trippers from Barcelona and tourists as well.
Girona is a city which brims with history, having endured many sieges and been captured seven times by various invading nations. For the visitor to Girona, the first and brightest impression would probably be the colourful houses along the bank of the River Onyar, a river which divides the historic centre from the new.
Girona was originally built by the Romans as a fortress, and the best way to explore the medieval town is to lose yourself in the alluring labyrinth of narrow streets which still reflect its two centuries of Moorish occupation.
But beware that not all places with Arab names are of Moorish origin. The Banys Arabs (Arabian baths) for instance, are Roman buildings inspired by the Roman public baths with three pools, each with a different water temperature.
Alternatively, you could follow the Passeig Arqueologic (Archaeological Walk) which runs around the city. The walk starts from the north of the town centre near the Iglesia de Sant Pere de Galligants (St Peter of the Cock Crows). This church now houses Girona’s archaeological collection. From St Peter, take the narrow street into the old part of town where the huge Roman foundation stones mark the route of the Via Augusta, an important road which linked to Rome.
Some other attractions in Girona
- Iglesia de Sant Feliu – with its 4th century sarcophagi, is the most popular place of devotion. You can climb up to the belltower for an aerial view of Girona. On the outside is a column being climbed by a stone lioness. Locals believe that if you kiss its backside you are sure to return to Girona.
- Catedral Girona holds the magnificent and well-preserved 12th-century Creation Tapestry.
- Centre Bonastruc Ca Porta – Girona’s Jewish quarter is one of the best preserved in Europe and a major tourist attraction. The Jewish community flourished during the 12th century.
- Auditori de Girona – Girona also has its own symphonic hall for those who are spending a few days here, there is the possibility to enjoy some classical concerts in one of Spain’s most beautiful cities.
Cycling enthusiasts may be interested to know that Girona has been home to cycling professionals like George Hincapie and Lance Armstrong who have lived in this town whilst training in the vicinity.
Getting to Girona:
- The Girona-Costa Brava Airport is approximately twelve kilometres south-west of the city of Girona. Ryanair has a bus service that takes passengers into Girona town.
- Girona is served by the main train line from Barcelona to Portbou.
- You could also do day tours from Barcelona which cover both Girona and Figueres.
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Map of Girona: