What you will cover in 1 day in Girona
You will spend your time in just one area of this typical Catalan city but will cover much of its history. From the Jews to the Romans and the Catholics so much of history still stands and a day is the perfect amount of time to take it in. You will also be able to walk past colorful houses by the Onyar riverside.
First priority to visit in 1 day:
The Girona Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church with the widest Gothic nave in the world. However, other parts of the cathedral were designed in different styles including Romanesque and baroque. The cathedral sits at the center of The Força Vella, a triangular Roman fortress, and dominates much of today’s old town. It is a mighty and grand sight to behold.
It’s best to arrive on the early side to get in before the crowds. It is also possible to enter for free during morning mass, but of course you’ll be limited in what you can do so as to remain respectful. If you do pay for entrance you’ll receive an audio guide to explain the history of the remarkable structure.
The Girona Jewish Quarter is amazingly considered one of the most well preserved of its kind in Europe. However, as the Jews were expelled from the city much of their history and lives were erased leaving only traces of what was.
The streets still keep their old age feel, narrow and windy. And the history of the Jews in Girona has been brought back to life in the well exhibited Museum of Jewish History, a must visit within the Jewish Quarter. Many locations of the city are featured in Game of Thrones.
Next priority to visit:
Muralles de Girona
The well preserved medieval walls of Girona stretch from the Cathedral to the river. Start at the cathedral end for a downhill walk.
Signage is limited so ask for help if you can’t find them, once you’re on the wall however it’s a simple straight walk which should take you about an hour depending on how long you stop to admire the incredible vistas across Girona and into the Pyrenees.
Museum of Cinema
Girona has a surprising number of museums. Perhaps a bit of a surprise this is actually one of the world’s best collections of film paraphernalia. Some of the nostalgic items on display include the lamp on the table at Rick’s Café in the film Casablanca and James Deans’ wrinkled boots from Rebel Without A Cause.
How to spend your 1 evening in Girona
If you’d like to indulge, and you plan far enough in advance, Girona proudly boasts one of the 2015 best 50 restaurants in the world, a Michelin starred, avant-garde, Catalonian masterpiece, El Cellar de Can Roca. You’ll have to be very on your game to get a table as they book 11 months in advance and the tables seem to fill almost as soon as they open. You can also try your luck on the waiting list.
If you don’t make it off the waiting list head for a simpler evening on Rambla de la Llibertat, created for the market, which is still held (flowers mainly) on Saturdays. It is now the center of Girona’s social life with plentiful cafes and restaurants.
What you cannot do in a day in Girona
Lake of Banyoles
About 30 minutes by car north from Girona this is a day trip in and of itself. This spectacularly blue natural lake is a great spot for kayaking, hiking, walking or biking if you’re looking for a spot of nature amongst your city days.
Sant Pere de Galligants
You’ll now find an archaeological museum of Catalonia here in what used to be a Benedictine abbey.
Girona is very doable in a single day. It’s compact and you won’t feel rushed. But if you have more time I suggest a trip up to Lake of Banyoles.
Tips to visit Girona in a day
Do I need advance booking of Attractions?
Not really. Girona has popular attractions but you will rarely have to line up for tickets.
How to travel within Girona?
Walk around. There are bus routes around Girona, however for what you’ll want to see in a day there is really no need to do anything but walk as the spots are all located very close together. If you come in and out of the city by public transport you’ll find taxi ranks outside of both the bus and rail stations.
Should I buy a City card?
There is no city card option in Girona.
Should I take the Girona sightseeing bus (train)?
Good idea if you like this sort of thing. In Girona, with its narrow streets and short distances the bus is actually a small train. It costs just €6.50 for an adult ticket and is a 45-minute route. This can be a great way to get off your feet while still taking in the beautiful scenery.
Recommendation on Girona walking tours
Walking tours are a great idea if you’re interested in a deeper understanding of Girona’s history. In a small city like this the walking won’t be difficult and should last just about 2 hours. You could also choose a more focused tour on the Jewish quarter or on the spots where the famous Game of Thrones was filmed throughout the city.
Great idea! Make sure you spend a full day in Girona, and focus on the main attractions as I have listed here:
The 1000 year old Girona cathedral is reached by climbing 91 rococo stone steps. Apart from having the widest Gothic nave in the world, the Girona Cathedral’s recent claim to fame is that scenes of the Game of Thrones have being shot here.
The Girona cathedral has a museum with the star attraction being the Tapestry of The Creation, and a medieval collection of gold and silverwork. At sunset you can get great views from the Girona city walls behind the cathedral. Entrance is 7 euros, and free on Sundays.
Whether you have 1 day in Girona or just 1 hour to spare, The Girona Cathedral is the one attraction you cannot miss.
Girona Art Museum
The Girona Art Museum houses one of Cataolnia’s greatest medieval art collections. It isolated in the Episcopal Palace near the Girona Cathedral. You should combine your Cathedral visit with the tour of the Art Museum. Entrance is 4.5 euros.
Museum of Jewish History in Girona
Visit The Museum of Jewish history in Girona which is downhill to the Cathedral. Located in El Call, the cobblestoned Jewish quarter of Girona, the museum provides an overview of the Jewish community until 1492, when they were expelled from Girona.
The exhibits are in documentary, archaeological or pictorial form. Entry fee to the Museum of Jewish History is 4 euros for adults and free for kids under 14 years.
Arab Baths of Girona
Outside the Girona walls and around the corner from the Cathedral, are the Arab Baths. These surprisingly well preserved baths are patterned on Roman, Greek and Arabic designs,
The Onyar Riverside of Girona
It is impossible to miss the river Onyar in Girona. The Onyar is spanned by the pedestrian Eiffel-designed Pont de les Peixateries bridge, and lined by the houses in the red and yellow colors of the Catalonia flag.
The houses along the Onyar date back to medieval times and were part of the walls of the Mercadal borough.
The Museums of Girona
If you are interested in Museums, you should buy the Ticket M6 to visit all 6 museums of Girona at a reduced price - you will pay full price at the first museum and then 50% discount at the other Girona Museums.
The atmosphere and weather in Girona
Girona is a young University City so you will be always surrounded by a vibrant buzz. The Jewish quarter is good for antique shopping, quaint bars and restaurants. The weather in Girona is mild across the year, so you can visit anytime.
Getting around Girona in 1 day
Girona is a small city and walking around the main parts of Girona is easy. The attractions are easily identifiable and naturally placed along a route.
You will most likely arrive in Girona by train from Barcelona. The AVE to Girona takes only 35 minutes from Barcelona.
Tips and logistics for Girona
Instead of walking to the attractions, pick up a map of Girona and take a taxi instead, to Plaza Independencia. Walking will take 20 minutes; and on a 1 day trip to Girona, you would rather spend the time seeing the place instead.
Start from Plaza Independencia
Stay on the new side of Girona and walk through the shopping areas of Santa Clara before you cross the Eiffel bridge to Rambla and the Old town.
Resist the temptation to shop
Head straight to Barri Vell, the main attractions are all in the old Girona town Barri Vell.
Reach the Cathedral via Plaza del Vi and San Feliu - this is a nice place to stop for a drink. Wander around the lanes of the Girona Cathedral and other attractions nearby.
Don't forget to walk along the old Girona City Walls before you head back to Barcelona.