For what feels like an eternity now, I’ve wanted to write about this picturesque city: Girona, Spain. Not only for fans of the series Game of Thrones, which Girona served several times as a filming location, a visit is worthwhile. So finally, I came around writing a comprehensive One day in Girona Itinerary.
Whether as the main destination, part of a round trip, or as a Girona day trip from Barcelona – let’s find out the best things to do in Girona. Plus, you’ll find a bunch of helpful Girona Day trip travel tips on getting there, transportation, accommodations, and more – in other words, everything you need for a day in Girona (or more).
In addition to Girona’s Old Town, there are plenty of interesting places to explore in the surrounding area. So whether you want to explore Girona in one day or have more time, you’re guaranteed to find all the sights you need on your itinerary here.
- The capital of the surrounding province of Girona
- Filming location of various scenes from Game of Thrones
- Spanish name: Gerona
- The present name derives from the Roman fort Gerunda
GIRONA INFO BOX
The most popular activities & Tours in Girona
Getting there: Make sure to check for the best flight deals on Flight comparison-Sites like Skyscanner
Transport: Best walking or by car
Want to rent a car? You can find great deals on RentalCars.
Where is Girona, Spain
The city of Girona is located in the northeastern part of Catalonia, not far from the coast. Girona is also the capital of the province of Girona, which includes important stretches of coastline on the Costa Brava, as well as some historical places in Catalonia.
The city is located about 50 km from the French border and just under 100 km from the Catalan capital Barcelona.
How to get to Girona
Getting to Girona by airplane
What many do not know is that Girona has its own international airport, Girona – Costa Brava or also called Barcelona Girona. Almost daily there are direct flights from other European destinations, for example from Frankfurt am Main, to Girona. The airport is mainly used by the budget airline giant Ryanair.
The airport is located about 13 km from the city center of Girona. You can travel between the city center and the airport by public bus or taxi.
If you can’t find a suitable direct flight connection to Girona, you also have the option to fly to Barcelona El Prat Airport, which is about 115 km away and well connected by public transport.
To find a good price for your flight, I recommend you start your flight search in time and use flight comparison sites like Skyscanner.
Getting to Girona by train
If you are already in Spain or in another European country, you also have the option to use the train to get there. Most people choose the train option to travel from Barcelona to Girona.
Trains between Barcelona and Girona run once an hour from various stations in Barcelona. While the regional train from Rodalies Renfe takes about 1 hour 20 minutes depending on the hour, the AVE express train will get you to your destination in about 40 minutes.
The AVE prices differ, similar to airline tickets, depending on when and through which platform you book. A one-way trip on the regional train costs €8.25. The easiest way to buy tickets for the regional train is at the ticket machine directly at the train station.
Getting to Girona by bus
If you don’t like to travel by train, you also have the option to travel by bus. There are various long-distance buses that travel to Girona from different locations, e.g., Barcelona.
Since the bus prices can differ depending on the provider and sales platform, I would suggest you compare the prices beforehand via a comparison platform like Busbud.
Getting to Girona by car
Another way to reach Girona is by car. One option is to use your private car. Maybe you even make a round trip through Spain. Or perhaps you would like to rent a car locally. You can find great deals at Rentalcars.
The route between Barcelona and Girona is especially worthwhile if you have planned stops along the coast to enjoy the beautiful sights of the Costa Brava.
A Day trip from Barcelona to Girona
Another option is to visit Girona as a day trip from Barcelona. Book your trip through a travel agency and do not have to worry about anything.
The day trip with a group of travelers is a great option for all travelers who like to travel in a group.
You can find great deals on Girona day trips here on GetYourGuide. There are various tours to choose from, such as a medieval Girona Tour or a day trip to Girona including a Stopover at Costa Brava.
How to get around Girona
Girona is a very pedestrian city, so you can easily explore the sights in Girona on foot. In fact, since a large part of Girona’s old town is pedestrianized, it is advisable to explore the city on foot. So put on some comfortable shoes and let’s go.
Those who want to reach places a bit outside the city center can use Girona’s regional transport. The bus connects destinations throughout the city districts.
If you want to go a little further away, for example, if you want to visit the wonderful beaches of the region, it can be worthwhile to go by car. You can either use your private car or rent a car on-site.
One Day in Girona itinerary – 23 great things to do in Girona in one day
Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça Catalunya is one of the city’s plazas. While the square is not really impressive on regular weekdays (let’s face it), it often hosts a flea market on Sunday mornings. So if you’re still looking for a vintage souvenir or are generally a fan of weekend markets, it’s worth a visit.
However, we came to this Plaza for a reason, as right next to it, we can find the entrance to the first important sight of our day trip to Girona.
The Wall of Girona – Passeig de la Muralla
Opening Hours Wall: 24 hrs
Entrance Fee Wall: free of charge
For many, Girona’s imposing, well-preserved city wall, the Muralla de Girona, is one of the main reasons for a visit. The massive wall, up to 60 meters high, runs along most of the old town and offers a unique view of the Catalan city in the north.
There are various access points scattered throughout the city, so you can either walk the entire two-kilometer stretch of the old city wall or explore individual parts.
If you want to experience the whole route, I recommend taking the access point next to Plaça de Catalunya. In addition to incredible viewpoints and towers along the wall, it’s also worth stopping at one of the neighboring parks.
Construction of the remarkable wall began as early as the first century BC. However, it was greatly expanded again in the Middle Ages (from the 9th century), so it is still well-preserved and walkable today.
La Catedral de Girona – Die Kathedrale Gironas
Opening Hours Cathedral: Mon – Sat: 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday & Holiday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Entrance Fee Cathedral: 7 €
Girona’s Cathedral is one of the most important landmarks of Gerona. Hardly surprising because, built on the highest point of the city, Santa María Cathedral is one of the most magnificent buildings in the city.
During your visit, it is worth looking at the cathedral from different angles. Because not only the main entrance but also the west wing of the cathedral is imposing.
The cathedral was built and expanded over a very long period of time, starting in the 11th century. As a result, the most diverse architectural styles can be recognized today. The cathedral was officially completed in the 18th century.
Basílica de Sant Feliu
Opening Hours Basilica Sant Feliu: Mon – Sat: 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday & Holiday: 1 pm – 6 pm
Entrance Fee Basilica Sant Feliu: 7 €
Those who visit the Girona Cathedral should not miss a visit to the Basilica of Sant Feliu. A visit to this church is already included in the ticket to the cathedral.
The striking basilica, also called San Felix Church in Spanish, was once the city’s first cathedral. Inside are still the remains of Saint Felix, who fell victim to the persecution of Christians. There are also sarcophagi from Romanesque and early Christian times.
Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery
Opening Hours Monastery: Tue – Sat: 10 am – 6 pm (until 6 pm from Oct – May), Sun: 10 am – 2 pm, Mon: closed.
Entrance Fee Monastery: 6 €
The monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants is also located in the city center of Girona. Besides the actual monastery and cloister, inside the building, you will find the Museu d’Arqueologia, the archaeological museum of the city.
The cloister of the monastery is genuinely beautiful and a great example of the Romanesque style, which was very popular in Catalonia at that time. However, if you have seen other monasteries in Catalonia, such as the Monasterio in Sant Cugat del Vallès, you will probably be a bit disappointed by its small size.
Despite everything, if you decide to visit, you should observe the creative designs of the different columns.
In the lower part of the museum, no information is given in English. However, on the upper floor of the museum, you will also find information panels in English. If you are very interested in archaeology, this museum is quite interesting. However, my honest personal opinion is that a visit for the price is rather less worth it.
Baños Árabes – The ancient Arab baths
Opening Hours Baños Árabes: Mon – Sat: 10 am – 6 pm, Sun: 10 am – 2 pm
Entrance Fee Baños Árabes: 3 €
In addition to Roman and medieval traditions, there is a completely different style to discover in Girona: and that is in the ancient Arab baths.
The baths date back to the late 12th century and have been considered a Spanish monument since the 1930s. Surprisingly, however, the baths were not built by Arabs but by Christians. They only got their name from the fact that the Arabs had once brought the bathing tradition to the Iberian Peninsula.
A visit to the baths is especially recommended for those interested in architecture and history. On information panels in each room, you will find more information about their respective uses (information in English, Spanish, Catalan, and French).
Do you want to be sure that one day you will return to Girona? Then you should definitely pay a visit to the lioness.
Because according to an old legend, you have to kiss the butt of the statue, El Cull de la Lleona – “Qui besa el cul de la lleona retorna a Girona“. In this way, you will eventually return to Girona, maybe even for a longer period of time.
While there used to be a small staircase next to the statue that helped visitors reach the statue’s butt, today, it is almost impossible for even the taller of us to get to the statue. It was probably questionable for those responsible whether kissing random statues during a pandemic was the best idea.
Option: Casa Masó
Opening Hours Casa Masó: Tue – Sun, only possible with prior reservation
Entrance Fee Casa Masó: 6 €
Reservation contact: Tel: +34 972 413 989 or per Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As you gaze upon the picturesque Onyar houses, you may wonder what it would be like to live in one of these idyllic houses, or at least what such a house might look like from the inside. Well, you’re in luck, because one of these houses is open to the public and can be visited.
We are talking about Casa Masó, the former home of architect Rafael Masó. The building is not only the artist’s birthplace but also one of his important works, which he lived in with his family between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The furnishings and decorative items also date from this period.
But also, the view from the house to the Onyar is a great opportunity to perceive the famous Onyar houses from a completely different point of view.
If you want to visit the house, be sure to make a reservation in advance. Due to the size of the house, groups of a maximum of eight people are accepted.
Casas de Onyar
One of the main sights in Girona is definitely the Cosas de Onyar (Onyar Houses). The colorful houses, also known as Cases d’Onyar in Catalan, are located along the banks of the Onyar River, which flows through the Catalan city.
The best vantage points can be found on one of the various bridges that connect the parts of Girona’s old town separated by the river.
Pont de Sant Augustí
While another bridge, the Pont de Peixateries Velles, is definitely the most impressive bridge in the city, there is one thing missing there: the view of this very bridge. To get an idea of the overall picture of Girona’s red Eiffel bridge, you can easily walk a few meters to the neighboring bridge, the Pont de Sant Augustí.
The next sight on our list is not directly an attraction, but rather a whole neighborhood. The old Jewish quarter, El Call, or Call de Girona, should not be missed on any visit.
The historic quarter was once built and inhabited by the Jewish population between the 12th and 15th centuries. Today, this area of the old town is considered one of the most beautiful.
Walk through the ancient labyrinthine alleys of this neighborhood and take in the classical architecture. If you want to learn more about the history of El Call, a visit to the Jewish History Museum is a great place to start.
Pujada de Sant Domènec
Let’s move on to another scenic place of Girona, the Pujada de Sant Domènec. We are talking about the ancient staircase that leads to the baroque-classicist church of Sant Martí Sacosta.
As a cinephile, you may have seen the ancient staircase in the Perfume or Game of Thrones.
A visit to this place is especially rewarding during the Temps de Flors city festival when the steps are decorated with colorful flowers.
Pont de Peixateries Velles
One of the best places to view the Casas de Onyar is the Pont de Peixateries Velles (Eng: the bridge of the old fishmongers). The striking red iron bridge, about seven meters high, was created by none other than the famous architect Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Pont de Peixateries Velles was inaugurated back in 1889 and has since become one of Girona’s most visited landmarks and photo spots.
But not only the bridge itself, but also the view from here is worth a visit. With views of the river, the Onyar houses, and the cathedral in the distance, you’ll have a fantastic view from here.
Rambla de la Llibertat
Rambla de la Llibertat is the counterpart to the famous boulevard Las Ramblas in the Catalan capital Barcelona. The street runs parallel to the Onyar River and offers plenty of restaurants and cafes.
The Rambla is especially popular with architecture lovers, as you can find some of the best examples of Catalan modernism, such as Casa Norat. In addition, the street is popular for its stone round arches.
If you decide to eat here, be aware that some of the restaurants specialize in tourists and therefore do not always offer the best value for money.
More things to do on a Girona City Break
Xuixos de Girona
For those of you with a sweet tooth, there is a very special delicacy in Girona that you should not miss.
The Xuixos from El Xuixo de Can Castelló can be found right in the old town. These delicious fried pastries filled with cream have a long tradition in the city.
You can choose from a variety of flavors. The original Xuixo is filled with Crema Catalana. However, I can also dearly recommend the one with turró filling. Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Museo del Cine
Opening Hours Cinema Museum: Tue – Sat: 10 am – 6 pm (7 pm in Jul + Aug), Sat: 10 am – 2 pm Mon: closed (except holidays).
Entrance Fee Cinema Museum: 6 €
Girona is simply a great destination for all film and TV fans. Not only because there are plenty of filming locations from famous scenes like Game of Thrones or the Perfume to discover here, but also for its interesting film museum.
The museum focuses especially on the aspect of how the filmmakers’ technology has developed over the years. So you get an informative insight into the film industry over generations.
Girona is full of wonderful museums. In addition to the previously mentioned Archaeological Museum, Film Museum, and Jewish History Museum, the following options are also waiting for you, among others:
- Museu d’Art de Girona (Girona Art Museum)
- Museu d’Història de Girona (Girona History Museum)
- CaixaForum Girona (museum with changing exhibitions)
- Espai Santa Catterina (changing exhibitions)
- Museu Tresor de la Catedral (Cathedral Museum)
- Bòlit (Center for Contemporary Art)
Parks in Girona
Girona has some wonderful green spaces where you can walk, relax or just enjoy a little time out. Perhaps you have already discovered one of the parks during a walk along the city walls. The following parks are waiting for your visit to Girona:
- Parc Central de Rafael Masó i Valentí
- Parc de la Devesa
- Jardins de la Devesa
- Vista Alegre Parc
- Parcs de les Ribes de Ter
- Parc de la Gironella
Plaça de la Independència
Another small plaza in the heart of Girona. This is where many locals go for lunch or to enjoy a Spanish coffee or drink in the sun. Accordingly, a wide selection of restaurants and bars awaits you.
Vicki’s Tip: We love the Patatas Bravas in the restaurant König.
Palau de Bellavista
If you are looking for a real Girona insider tip, you should not miss the Palau de Bellavista. Especially for couples who want to spend a romantic day in Girona, a cool drink on the roof terrace of this luxurious hotel is a great idea.
Granted, it is definitely a bit more expensive. But in return, you’ll have a simply magnificent view of the city.
Temps de Flors
The Temps de Flors (engl. flower time) is probably the most beautiful time of the year to visit Girona. The popular festival takes place every year in spring, usually in March, and typically lasts 1½ weeks.
During this time, the entire old town of Girona is transformed into a sea of colorful flowers and green plants. Because landmarks and tourist attractions in Girona are decorated with flowers.
This floral spectacle has been the custom in Girona since 1955. So if you are around at this time, a visit is definitely worthwhile.
Day trips from Girona
A Day Trip from Girona to Barcelona
If you don’t know my adopted home, the Catalan capital Barcelona, yet, I definitely recommend taking a day trip to Barcelona. The more time you can spend in Barcelona, the better. However, you can discover a lot of wonderful sights in just one day in Barcelona.
A Day trip from Girona to Costa Brava
The Costa Brava is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. So if you have time for a day trip from Girona, don’t miss the beautiful beaches of the Costa Brava.
A Day Trip from Girona to Cap de Creus
Another exceptional destination from Girona is Cap de Creus. The nature park is one of the most stunning places in Spain and definitely worth a visit. In addition to breathtaking calas, great nature, the beautiful small town of Cadaqués awaits you here.
A Day Trip from Girona to Besalú
If you are more in the mood to discover the small medieval towns of Catalonia, Besalú is probably the right destination for you from Girona. The small town enchants its visitors with an impressive city wall, which you can enter via the bridge.
Where to stay in Girona
The best budget accommodation in Girona
This accommodation puts special emphasis on sustainability. A few minutes’ walk from the city center, you’ll find this little oasis with a nicely furnished terrace. The hostel has a shared kitchen, comes with breakfast included, and is also great for families.
The best Hotel in Girona
This 3-star hotel awaits your visit a few minutes’ walk outside the city center. With cozy rooms, great service, outdoor pool, gym, sauna, bar, restaurant, and hot tub, Costabella has everything you need for a fantastic stay in Girona.
The best luxury hotel in Girona
This 4-star hotel makes any stay in Girona extra special. A rooftop pool complements cozy rooms overlooking the garden or courtyard. But its location just five minutes from Girona Cathedral also makes this luxurious hotel a visitor favorite.
Couldn’t find the right place for you?
Both names for the Catalan city are correct, both Girona and Gerona. Girona is the Catalan spelling, while Gerona is the Spanish spelling. Within Catalonia, therefore, Girona is the common spelling, while Spaniards outside Catalonia tend to use Gerona.
You can see the main sights in just 1 day in Girona. If you also want to explore the surrounding area, you should spend at least 3-5 days in the city.
Both Catalan cities are definitely worth a visit. So it all depends on your preferences. Girona is smaller and quieter, while Barcelona is larger and has more variety. In addition, Barcelona is located on the coast.
Girona is located in Catalonia. Therefore, Catalan and Spanish are spoken. Due to its proximity to France, much information in tourist areas is also translated into French.
Girona-Costa Brava Airport is a very small airport, which is mainly served by the budget airline Ryanair.
Girona is pronounced very similar to how an English speaker would pronounce it. Something along the lines of “Gee-ronna“.