10 Great Things to Do in Girona, Spain

Planning a trip to Girona, Spain? What are the best things to do in Girona? We cover the highlights of this wonderful city and a few delicious eats.

Girona is a beautiful city located in the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain. It’s the capital of the province of the same name. Only hours away from the border of France.

The city is home to many historical landmarks, including the Girona Cathedral and the Eiffel Bridge. This charming city contains history, culture, Michelin guide restaurants, and shopping.

The locals are super friendly and warm; they made us feel right at home. We felt at home.

We spent 3 days in Girona after disembarking our Western Mediterranean cruise with Norwegian Epic. We had extended our time in Spain another week, but we didn’t want to spend the entirety of it in Barcelona. We wanted to get away from the city and explore Costa Brava a bit.

We were pleasantly surprised by Girona; it was the week’s highlight. Whether you visit for a day or stay for a few days, you can explore the best things to do in Girona, Spain, in one or two days.

Girona is also centrally located and a great point of interest in Catalonia. You can make Girona a home base while you set out to explore the Northwest Region of Catalonia. You can also make it a stop along the way to Costa Brava’s coast or even plan a day trip to Girona from Barcelona.

featured blog image | things to do in girona spainPin
This post was originally written in 2019.

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Girona is also famous for the Game of Thrones series, as episodes of Season 6 were filmed here. But there is so much more to do in Girona. This article shares all the best things to do in Girona, Spain.

Things to Do in Girona, Spain

How do you pronounce Girona? It all depends if you’re saying it in Catalan or 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.

Is Girona worth visiting?

Yes! If you enjoy charming European medieval cities with lots of history, great foodie spots, and things to do, then Girona is perfect for you. The city is also very walkable and easy to get around.

What is there to do in Girona, Spain?

Plenty! Enough to warrant a visit there at least once. In Roman times, it was the gateway to Spain. The city’s long and varied history makes it so interesting to visit.

Here is a list of things to do in Girona, whether you visit on a city break for a few days or take a day trip to Girona from Barcelona.

1. Cathedral of Girona

steps leading to cathedral of girona | Escales de la Catedral de Girona
The steps (Escales de la Catedral de Girona) leading up to the Cathedral of Girona are just as much of an attraction as the cathedral itself.

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

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

close up of the intricate architectural details of the cathedral of gironaPin

The grandeur of this cathedral is unexpected in person, and photos don’t do it justice. The Cathedral of Girona is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and is worth a visit in Girona.

Many tourists come to take pictures from outside and leave. We urge you to go inside and see the beauty of it. It’s just as amazing.

Just as well walk around the Cathedral. You will find a lovely garden area behind the church called Jardins de La Francesa.

A few facts about the Cathedral of Girona:

  • Is Officially known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona.
  • Featured in Season 6 of Games of Thrones and other parts of the city.
  • There are 90 steps up.
  • Its features are a mix of Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic styles.
  • The Gothic Nave is the largest in the world, slightly smaller than St. Peter’s at the Vatican.
  • Entrance fee: 7 €

Note: Cafè l’Arc is right across from the Cathedral of Girona. If you can snag a seat, you can order coffee and join others admiring the cathedral for long periods. Every time we passed the cafe, it was always busy. 

Cathedral of Girona | Pl. de la Catedral, s/n, 17004 | Google Map It

Games of Thrones Fans: Tour Ideas
Game of Thrones Walking Tour of Girona [book here]
Game of Thrones SMALL GROUP Tour in Girona from Barcelona [book here]

2. City Wall of Girona

girona old city wallPin

The city wall is one of the best things to do in Girona, Spain. With its amazing views of the city, it should not be missed. Unfortunately, it’s usually skipped or goes unnoticed. Make sure to add it to your list. It’s open to the public, and it’s FREE.

Girona’s Old City Wall (Muralles de Girona) is one of Europe’s longest and best-preserved medieval walls. It’s approximately 3 kilometers long. The wall was built between the 9th and 17 centuries to protect the citizens of Girona from invaders.

There are several staircases and viewpoints where you can enter and exit the city wall. We recommend starting your walk from behind Girona Cathedral. You can find one of the entrances around the corner from it.

Yes, you will have to climb those cathedral steps and explore what’s behind the cathedral. No signs or arrows are pointing the way to the wall.

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 leading 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.

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. Worth the trek.

3. Jewish Quarter (El Call)

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

Our Airbnb was located in this part of the city, making it easy to explore. The streets are narrow, winding, and full of character. It’s hard not to want to take photos at every turn.

beautiful courtyards behind the entrances of resident buildings in gironaPin

Besides the cobblestone and narrow streets, my favorite part was the homes off the main street that have now mostly turned into apartment buildings. Sometimes the entrance to the apartment buildings was left open, and you could peel inside into the beautiful courtyards.

4. The Eiffel Bridge (Old Iron Bridge)

One of the best things to do in Girona, which you won’t miss while exploring the city, is to admire the Eiffel Bridge.

The Eiffel Bridge, also known as the old iron bridge, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Girona. At first, we had no idea it was called Eiffel Bridge and that it was designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel? Sound familiar? The creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

I know! We didn’t put two and two together, either. One of the best parts of traveling is learning cool facts like this in person.

It’s no wonder why tourists often photograph the Eiffel Bridge.

While Girona has many bridges, the iron bridge is one of the top attractions of Girona, Spain. The iron bridge was constructed in 1877, right before the Eiffel Tower.

The iron bridge in Girona is a stunning sight. The high, narrow structure sits brightly pained in red and connects the old town with the new city. Its beautiful design stands out amongst the pastel-colored buildings on either side of the river.

Fun Fact: The Onyar River was the main road for transport during Roman times.

5. Girona Food Tour

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

Add a food tour to your things to do in Girona! It was one of the most delicious, fun, and educational things to do in Girona, Spain. You can’t beat the combination of food, history, and culture.

Girona Food Tours gave a fantastic tour of the city and its local cuisine. We were fed well. The guide was fabulous. The cost was worth every penny. You get a walking tour of the city while making tasty stops.

You’ll start the tour at a bakery cafe, stopping along places like the local farmers market, jamón tasting, a fantastic lunch that includes wine, tapas, and entree, and ending it with dessert.

Cured pig legs hanging in shop | Paleta de jamón JoselitoPin
Learn all about jamón and why it’s such an integral part of their culture. How pigs are raised and fed provides a 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 such a thing, yet there is. It will also cost you a pretty penny.

The Catalan culture has 5 meals a day, which explains why you’ll find 3-course meals offered at restaurants at what would be an American lunchtime. Their heaviest meal of the day is had at lunchtime. This explains one of the many reasons why siestas still exist and why tapas (small plates) are had during their late dinnertime. 

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

Tour Ideas:
Walking Tour in Girona History and Gastronomy with Tasting [book here]

The Original Girona Food & Market Tour [book here]

6. Try the Local Girona Pastry: Xuixo

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

One of the first stops on our Girona food tour was a local bakery and cafe, where we were introduced to one of the best pastries: Xuixo.

The Xuixo is a local Girona pastry. This flakey, buttery pastry is fried, stuffed with Catalan cream, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Probably one of the best pastries we’ve ever consumed.

You want to add this pastry to your tasty itinerary.

Artisan bakery symbol of Girona, SpaiinPin
An approved artisan bakery in Girona will have this plaque at the entrance. Make sure to look for this plaque during your time in Girona.

7. Visit Mercat del Lleó

el petit productor stand at marcat del lleoPin
This is one of the shops at the market we stopped for a tasting of local cheeses, jams, and olive oils. We took a few things home from here.

Even if you do not take a food tour, check out Girona’s farmers market, Mercat del Lleó.

If you love food, then you’ll love Mercat del Lleó. This farmers market is the place to find some of the best produce and local goodies in Girona. From fresh fruits and vegetables to meat and seafood. This is where locals will go to buy everything they need to cook a delicious meal.

You may want to pick up some foodie treats you can put away in your luggage to bring back home. We sure did!

When we visited the Girona farmers market, we stopped by a butcher to sample different local meats. For the first time in our lives, we tasted candied meat sausage. Yes, you read that right!

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

It’s an acquired taste. The first bite was good. The rest I was unable to finish. Hubby enjoyed it.

This is the kind of inside treat you’ll experience by booking a food tour.

Mercat del Lleó | Plaça Calvet i Rubalcaba, s/n, 17002 | Google Map It

8. Visit the Arab Baths

arabs baths in girona spainPin

The Arab Baths are some of the most impressive and well-preserved baths in all of Europe that date back to the 12th century. It was a well-engineered spa of that time.

The baths were also featured in Season 6 of Games of Thrones, Episode 8.

Banys Arabs | Carrer del Rei Ferran el Catòlic, s/n, 17004 | Google Map It

9. Rocambolesc Gelateria

Rocambolesc Gelateria storefrontPin

After all the walking you’ll be doing, you will need a snack break. Girona Food tours introduced us to this gelato shop; 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 things to do in Girona? Not only is it delicious gelato, but the chef is one of Girona’s own. Locals are quite proud of this. So if you can’t make it to any of the restaurants, try the gelato at Rocambolsec Gelateria.

The shop is also fun. You will instantly get Willy Wonka vibes.

It first all started with an old ice trust. You can read about 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, SpainPin
Not the best picture as we were too busy enjoying it.

We tried one of their famous ice cream sandwiches. You’re in luck; we have a video of our ice cream sandwich being prepared, which was as 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 the ice cream of choice and then toast it in a special toaster. The sandwich will come out toasty and warm, while the inside will be filled with yummy gelato. 

They also offer a variety of interesting homemade flavors and combinations. Some flavors may be seasonal.

Rocambolesc Gelateria | Carrer de Santa Clara, 50, 17001 | Google Map It

10. Stroll Along Rambla de la Llibertat

During your Girona walks, you’ll come across Rambla de la Libertad.

Rambla de la Llibertat is one of the most famous streets in Girona for a stroll…. sometimes a protest or two. The tree-lined street is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon wandering around. Don’t forget to look up as some of the architecture here is quite beautiful.

Rambla de la Llibertat | Google Map It

Day Trip to Girona from Barcelona

Thinking of planning a day trip to Girona from Barcelona. It is doable!

  • Start your day early by taking the train from Barcelona-Sants station to Girona.
  • Make sure to book a round-trip fare. This way, you have a set time to leave Girona, and tickets aren’t sold out.
  • Don’t get too caught up in having to do everything in Girona. The old town of Girona is compact enough that you can leisurely walk and see most of everything in a day.
  • And if you want to eat at one of their many Michelin restaurants, make sure to book a reservation in advance.

Is one day enough in Girona?

If you’re short on time, then one day is enough to explore the highlights of Girona: Girona Cathedral, the Eiffel Bridge, and the city wall. However, we recommend staying at least two days to explore the city at a leisurely pace without feeling rushed.

Is there a train from Barcelona to Girona?

Yes. A high-speed train from Barcelona to Girona will take you there in 40 minutes. Click here to check the times and book tickets from the Barcelona-Sants station.

With any European city, our biggest advice is to walk as much of it as possible. The more you explore, the more you’ll discover.

Planning a longer stay in Girona?
See what hotels and B&Bs are available in the area.

This list of the best things to do in Girona should cover the highlights of this beautiful city. So you can make this an easy day trip or extended stay. Don’t miss our 3 Days in Girona itinerary.

Here are some other related articles you may enjoy:

Where to Eat in Barcelona & What Site Not to Miss

An Adventurous Day in Palma de Mallorca

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Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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  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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  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.

    1. 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.

  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!?

    1. 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.

  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!

    1. 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!

  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,


    1. 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.

  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

  7. Perhaps it wasn’t open to the public when you visited, but one of the highlights of Girona for us was Casa Maso, designed by Rafael Maso in a style that I can best describe as Charles Rennie Macintosh with softened edges. Maso designed many buildings in Girona, they’re beautiful and crazy!