The Best Things to Do in Girona, Spain

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Planning a trip to Girona, Spain? See the best things to do in Girona and the highlights this wonderful city has to offer.

When we extended our trip to stay another week in Barcelona after our Western Meditteranean cruise, I knew that I didn’t want to spend the entirety of it in Barcelona. I can say without a doubt that we were pleasantly surprised by Girona and it was the highlight of the week. Whether you visit for a day or stay for a few days, you can explore the best highlights of Girona, Spain.

Girona is a city in the Catalonia region of Spain and only hours away from the border of France. This charming city is full of history, culture, food, and shops. The locals are super friendly and warm, they made us feel right at home. We felt at home.

It’s a great point of interest in Spain, a day trip from Barcelona, a stop on the way to Costa Brava, or a home base as you explore the Northeast region of Catalonia.

Are you wondering how do you pronounce Girona? It all depends if you’re saying it in Catalan or in Spanish. If in Catalan, you would pronounce the G as in Gee-rona. In Spanish, the G sounds like an H and you would say, Hee-rona.

Please note: this trip and post was written pre-Covid.

Things to do in Girona Spain | blog post cover

Things to Do in Girona, Spain

Cathedral of Girona

view from the bottom steps all the way up to the Cathedral of Girona

We arrived in the city of Girona and had to park our car rental in the parking lot outside of the old city. I had no idea that when we entered the old city, we’d be rounding the corner of the cobblestone streets to face the Cathedral of Girona. 

“Wow, wow,” was all I said as I looked back at hubby dragging our suitcases. He then stopped and his eyes widened upon seeing it as well. 

Up close architectural details of the front of the Cathedral of Girona

The grandeur of this cathedral is unexpected in person and photos really don’t do it justice. If you’re craving coffee and a place to sit, there is a cafe across from it at the bottom of the stairs where you can join others, sip coffee and gawk at the cathedral for long periods of time. I’m not sure why I was surprised but every time we passed the cafe, it was always busy. 

Beautiful archways, circular stained glass windows, and ornate details inside the Cathedral of Girona.

Many tourists come to take pictures from outside and leave. I urge you to go inside and see the beauty of it. 

Cathedral of Girona facts: 

  • Is Officially known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona.
  • Featured in Season 6 of Games of Thrones, as well as other parts of the city.
  • There are 90 steps up.
  • Its features are a mix of different styles from Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic.
  • The Gothic Nave is the largest in the world; slightly smaller than St. Peter’s at the Vatican.

    Entrance fee: 7 €

If you are a Games of Thrones fan, consider one of these tours:

  • Game of Thrones Walking Tour of Girona [book here]
  • ‘Game of Thrones SMALL GROUP Tour in Girona from Barcelona [book here]

3 Days in Girona, Spain

Plan a city break from Barcelona and spend a few days in Girona exploring this beautiful Catalonian city and its surroundings.

City Wall of Girona

Top landing at the Cathedral of Girona looking down into the old European structures of the city.

One of the best activities and what I noticed people skip was walking the Wall of Girona. You can find one of the entrances around the corner from the cathedral. Yes, you will have to climb those cathedral steps and explore what’s behind the cathedral. 

Now, there are no signs or arrows pointing the way to the wall. So, you’ll have to go on a little exploration of sorts. Walk around the corner of the cathedral. You’ll keep going until you find some raw iron gates that will lead to a garden and then down some rocky steps. It’s quite a little adventure. If you’re not steady on your feet, be careful or maybe consider skipping it.

Watch your step!

Kathy on the narrow stone city wall of Girona, Spain

Soon you will come to the path of the city wall and enjoy the lovely views of Girona. It’s about a 30-40 min walk before you see an exit that will lead you down a set of stairs in another part of Girona. Totally worth the trek.

Jewish Quarter (El Call)

The Jewish Quarter known as El Call, this part of Girona in the old town is definitely the most idyllic part of the city as it is well-preserved. It is also where the cathedral resides and the Jewish History Museum.

Our Airbnb was located in the Jewish quarter and we were lucky to be able to enjoy the charming area at different times of the day. My favorite part, besides the cobblestone streets and narrow streets, were the homes off the main street that have now mostly turned into apartment buildings.

Inside a beautiful traditional courtyard in Girona, Spain

Sometimes the entrance to the apartment buildings was left open and you could peel inside into the beautiful courtyards.

Delicious Places to Eat in Barcelona

Are you visiting Barcelona sometime during your Catalonia travels? We had the pleasure of dining at some great places to eat in Barcelona and we share them with you in this post. As well as the one site that is not to be missed.

The Eiffel Bridge (Old Iron Bridge)

When I first booked our trip to Girona, I wondered why there were so many pictures of this bridge, I had no idea it was called Eiffel Bridge and that it was designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel

Eiffel That Gustabe Eiffel? Sound familiar? The creator of the Eiffel Tower.

I know! How didn’t I put two and two together? This is one of the best parts of traveling, learning cool facts like this and in person.

While Girona has many bridges, the iron bridge is one of the best highlights of Girona Spain. The iron bridge was constructed in 1877 right before the Eiffel Tower. It’s painted red and really stands out over the River Onar with pastel-colored structures on either side of it. The old town with the new city of Girona is connected through this bridge.

It’s lovely to see even as the sun sets and the night sets in.

Golden hour over the Onyard river in Girona
Onyar River in Girona | Did you know this river used to be the main road for transport during Roman times?

Girona Food Tour

WTF (Where's the Food) - tagline from Girona Food Tours
The best tagline ever belongs to Girona Food Tours.

What to do in Girona, Spain? You must book a food tour. It is one of the best highlights of our visit. You can’t beat the combination of food, history, and culture.

In my post Three Days in Girona, Spain then you know Girona Food Tours gave us a fantastic tour of the city and fed us well.

I always suggest booking food tours in advance and enjoy them during one of the first days of your trip in a new city.  

Artisan bakery symbol of Girona, Spaiin

The Girona food tour kicked off at their meet point but from there we were taken to a bakery cafe, where the guide pointed to a plaque on the storefront that let people know that it is an approved Artisan bakery. Cool, right? We looked for this plaque for the rest of our time there.

The local Girona pastry a Xuixo. It’s a fried pastry that is stuffed with Catalan cream and rolled around in cinnamon sugar.

At this said cafe, I met the local Girona pastry, Xuixo. It’s a fried pastry that is stuffed with Catalan cream and rolled around in cinnamon sugar. Probably one of the best pastries I’ve ever consumed.

Before this tour, I didn’t know that in the Catalan culture they had a total of 5 meals a day. It suddenly explained why the day before we were offered a 3-course meal at what would be our lunchtime. Their heaviest meal of the day is had at lunchtime, which explains one of the many reasons why siestas still exist and why tapas (small plates) are had during their late dinnertime. 

We visited the Girona farmers market and tasted for the first time in our lives candied meat sausage. Yes, you read that right!

Legend has it many many years ago (I’m paraphrasing) the woman that invented it prepared it as a revenge to embarrass the husband for inviting company over, in hopes he never invited anyone over again. Her plan failed as everyone loved it and it became a local specialty.

It’s an acquired taste. The first bite was good, the rest I was unable to finish. No worries, hubby helped, he really enjoyed it.

Cured pig legs hanging in shop | Paleta de jamón Joselito

At another renowned shop, we learned all about the jamón. The process of how they raise pigs and how they are fed to give us different quality jamón. You may be lucky and have the chance to try the Joselito, which is the gold standard of jamón. I didn’t know there was such a thing, and yet there is. It will also cost you a pretty penny.

Included with tour also was a sit-down lunch with a taste of everything from patatas bravas, homemade ravioli, wine and more.

There was so much more to the tour than food. They introduce you to delicious eats and sights of their beautiful town of Girona. 

Rocambolesc Gelateria

Rocambolesc Gelateria storefront

After all the walking you’ll be doing, I’m sure you will need a snack break. Girona Food tours introduced us to this gelato shop and I must say, it’s a must-visit. Three-Star Michelin pastry chef Jordi Roca I Fontané, the youngest of the three brothers of Celler de Can Roca created this sweet spot.

Why is this Rocambolesc Gelateria one of the best highlights of Girona, Spain? Not only is it delicious gelato, but the chef is one of Girona’s own. Locals are quite proud of this.

Fun fact: There are 16 Michelin restaurants in the Girona province. Amazing, right?

So if you can’t make it to any of the restaurants, you can try the gelato at Rocambolsec Gelateria.

When you enter the shop, you will instantly get Willy Wonka vibes.

Can you believe this all started with an old ice cream cart? You can read about how the history and how this shop was born on the front page of their site.

A toasted brioche toasted and stuffed with gelato from Rocambolesc Gelateria in Girona, Spain

We tried one of their famous ice cream sandwiches. You’re in luck, we have a video of our ice cream sandwich being prepared and it was a delicious as it looks in the video. I’d have one right now! Check out the video here.

Choose an ice cream flavor or combination. They will stuff a brioche bun with it and then toast it up in a special toaster. The sandwich will come out toasty and warm while the inside will be filled with yummy gelato. They offer a variety of interesting homemade flavors and combinations.


With any European city or town, my biggest advice is to walk as much of it as possible. The more you explore, the more you’ll discover. If you’re just there for a day or two, this list is a great guide to the best things to do in Girona, Spain. I hope this inspires you to make a visit to this wonderful city in Catalonia that should not be missed.

Are you inspired to visit Girona? What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m still dreaming of the Xiuxo, so please try it and send some pics.


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The Best things to do in Girona Spain

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12 thoughts on “The Best Things to Do in Girona, Spain”

  1. I’m dying at the gorgeous pictures again! Also, your ads are super targeted because U-pack is showing me an ad above this comment area for long-distance moves. GAHAHA! Settings, on point!

    I love that you did a food tour. We took a private one for Seville, and it’s amazing. I love getting the local flair for food. Seville had amazing tapas and tableside sangria. The plaques are the best–so you can easily find the best quality and local places. In Sicily, they had plaques to tell you who didn’t take sh*t from the mafia. Cough, cough…

    A Michelin pastry chef? OMG, sign me up! We ate at a 4-star Michelin restaurant in Positano. You can never go wrong… Never!

    I’m pretty obsessed with the city walls (love those pics), but you know me and Lucca… The walls are always one of my favorite parts of Europe.

    Loving the format and layout of this post too!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you love the pics. I thought these pics weren’t so sharp as others. Not sure what changed by this point of the vacation… we probably got a little lazy. LOL

      I love food tours and I love it when the guide is just as enthusiastic about the food. Patricia running the tours at this location was really so authentic. I could feel her excitement as she introduced us to new things. We did one in Barcelona. The food was good but I will say the one in Girona kicked ass.

      Omg, about the mafia thing. I had no idea! I’ll be looking for that now when in Sicily.

      I have never eaten at a Michelin restaurant. I need to add that to my bucket list. I’m just more into the homey type of restaurants, hole in the walls and street food lol

      Oh, the Lucca walls were so different. You can’t really bike the walls in Girona.

      Thanks so much! Trying out new formats and seeing what works best.

      Reply
      • I feel like only in Lucca can you bike on the walls–that is probably what makes them so special.

        We usually avoid fancy restaurants mostly because we are never dressed appropriately or didn’t plan ahead for reservations. We got super lucky in Positano and just happened to walk by. It was mad early too so they had tables. lol

        We did go to a CIA chef restaurant in Daytona specifically because of the chef’s schooling–we were totally Anthony Bourdaining it there–the food was ok, but sometimes honored places are fun to seek out. I’ve always wanted to do the French Laundry since Bourdain used to talk about it.

        Your pictures are always WAY superior to mine. Usually, by the end of a trip, I am fried from taking them too.

        Reply
  2. I remember seeing some of these pictures on Instagram. It’s awesome to read all of the information now! I would 100% visit the Jewish History Museum. Plus the city walls are gorgeous! I would want to walk across those daily.

    I love how much the food tour taught you about how they eat in Spain. I wonder if lunch is the heaviest meal in Italy for the same reason. Did they eat their dinners super late in Girona?

    I am now craving a pastry I never knew existed before.

    Reply
    • When in Italy, I feel like every meal is a heavy meal. They are always trying to feed you! ?

      In Giron, dinner is late and it’s a smaller meal. Their lunch consisted of a few courses, including dessert. We were told several times too that tapas is something they adapted from the Spanish culture. Not part of the Catalonian tradition.

      The city walls were fun and quiet too. I was shocked that were the only ones exploring it at the time. Maybe because it was later in the day?

      We, unfortunately, didn’t get to make it. Every time we tried it was closed and I just hadn’t known the museum was there, so it was a miss. We regret it. Next time.

      Reply
  3. Yes! I definitely would love to visit. Your posts on Girona have definitely sold me. I’m dying over that ice cream sandwich video! I can’t believe something like that exists! It sounds amazing. I’ve never wanted something more. I think I would go to Girona just for that. No joke.
    But that cathedral is also incredible. I can’t believe people didn’t do the Wall of Girona. That looks like a cool, hidden spot to explore. Also people who don’t go inside the cathedral are clearly missing out. What a beauty it is!
    Your post really makes me want to go here! Those pastries?! GOT stuff?! And the Eiffel Bridge is so cool.
    I think I’d want to explore all the spots and also just sit and relax. I like your idea of sitting in the cafe by the cathedral.
    You’ve painted a pretty perfect trip! I have to go!?

    Reply
    • I’m so happy you love it so much and that I have convinced you to go. I really do hope you make it and have gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a Xiuxo in between.

      This city is really one of those that you can explore but sit and relax in between. There is no need to rush around, unless if you’re just coming in for a day. I loved this city and I think you would love it too.

      Reply
  4. Your photos are so beautiful!! I really need a trip here to eat those amazing pastries and the gelato! I love that you really take the time to explore the cathedral and the wall. So much fun! I need to visit this part of Europe soon!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I try to do as much as possible when I visit places. I also like to take moments to relax, but I’m so curious about it all that it’s not long before I’m up and off to see what else there. I loved the countryside of Catalonia. I would love to explore more of it. I hope you get to visit soon!

      Reply
  5. Hi There,

    what a great blog regarding Girona. It is one of our favorites city day trips we love taking friends and family to Girona, it is always a big hit with everyone. Thanks for the tips I read a few things that I didn’t know. We own a food tour company in Barcelona and next time we in the Girona plan on taking that food tour in your blog. it is always nice to get tips from the locals

    all the best,

    -A

    Reply
    • Hi Adrian – The Girona Food Tour was fantastic and definitely a highlight of our time Girona. If I lived in Barcelona, I can see myself taking city breaks to the lovely city of Girona often. You will love the food tour. Next time I’m in Barcelona, I will have to check out your food tour.

      Reply
  6. Thanks again for this!! We loved Girona so much – and I wouldn’t have known of it, but for your post! I linked to this in my recent post in the section about food & drink (I wish I’d allowed more time for grazing! :)) The city walls were closed when we visited because of the holidays – so sad!! xx

    Reply

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