Girona Spain: The Best Reasons To Visit This City

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I love Girona, Spain. Here are some of my favorite things about  Girona that make a visit here worth your while.

I love Girona, Spain so much so that I was there five times in 2 years. It’s one of those places that keeps drawing you back. Located just 100km from Barcelona, it’s an easy train ride and has a completely different feel than Barcelona. It’s definitely worth at least a day trip.

Although spend a couple of days there if you have the time or use it as a base for other activities in the area. Girona is also a perfect place to discover Catalonia, an adventurous place that holds many secrets.

You can easily spend hours getting lost in the cobblestone streets, wandering from one cafe to another, sampling some of its famous Jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) which is always one of my favorite things to do regardless of where I am in Catalonia.

My Favourite Thing To Do in Girona, Spain

My favorite thing to do in Girona is hands down, would be volunteering with chimps at MONA. A chimpanzee and macaque sanctuary located just outside of the city. Yep, chimps….in Girona. These are chimps with tragic pasts. Some have been rescued from circuses, and others were kept as pets, but as they grew larger and more aggressive, carelessly given away.

MONA is a sanctuary and not open to the general public, but if you’re interested in working with chimps, I highly recommend volunteering there. The staff is beyond inspirational, but I digress

Related Reading: Self-Guided Coastal Hike from Catalonia, Spain to France.

So my 1st favorite tourist thing to do in Girona?

(since I’m assuming that volunteering with chimps isn’t that high up on most people’s lists).

Related Reading: Gaudi Barcelona: Architectural Marvels You Must See For Yourself.

Walking the ancient city wall!

The city wall was built in Roman times and dates back to the 1st century BC. I love the city streets of Spain but unlike most city walls, you can actually walk the narrow streets of the entire length of this one. Ambitious visitors can even climb the towers for gorgeous views overlooking Girona and reaching the Pyrenees.

The city wall was of extreme importance to Girona which has undergone a whopping 25 sieges and been captured seven times. Yet it still looks so pretty. It has aged very well don’t you think?

Related Reading: Best Wine Tours in Europe

Walking along Girona's Roman wall
Walking along Girona’s Roman wall
Overlooking the wall with a view stretching all the way to the Pyrenees mountains.
Overlooking the wall with a view stretching all the way to the Pyrenees mountains.
A view of the Benedictine church of Sant Pere de Galligants
A view of the Benedictine church of Sant Pere de Galligants
Overlooking the Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu and the Pyrenees
Overlooking the Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu and the Pyrenees

Related Reading: Hiking the Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees

Girona Cathedral
Girona Cathedral

My Favourite Place to Eat in Girona, Spain

After all that walking, you’ll probably have worked up an appetite – at least I did. There are plenty of touristy restaurants but I recommend Restaurant Can Roca, not to be confused with El Cellar de Can Roca, the world’s best restaurant, which at the time of writing had a 9-month waitlist.

Both restaurants are run by the Roca family serving amazing food. Restaurant Can Roca is run by the mother of the men who run El Cellar de Can Roca. It’s MUCH more casual, but you know she can cook and her sons still eat lunch regularly at her restaurant!

Goat cheese salad at Restaurant Can Roca, not to be confused with El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, Spain
Goat cheese salad at Restaurant Can Roca, not to be confused with El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, Spain

Related Reading: Castell de Montsoriu: The Greatest Gothic Castle in Catalonia.

Have I convinced you?

So what else can you do in Girona, besides walking the ancient city wall?

Volunteer with chimps…OK I know I said that just had to slip it in again. But it also makes a great base for adventures. I’ve done a cycling trip through Catalonia that started in Girona and have used it as a base for hot air ballooning.

It’s also close enough for a day trip to the Pyrenees and a short drive to the famed Costa Brava Coast where you enjoy the beaches or go sailing. Or do my self-guided multi-day coastal hike from Catalonia to France, my personal recommendation.

For even more travel ideas about Girona and the region check out this post by Emma.

Where To Stay in Girona, Spain

Hotel Nord 1901 Superior is family-run and a 5 minute walk away from Girona Cathedral. There is a garden terrace where breakfast is served in warm weather. There is also a swimming pool. The rooms are elegantly decorated and comfortable and apartments with kitchenette are available. 

Hotel Gran Ultonia is a 4-Star hotel located in the historic Barri Vell district. The rooms are stylish and have hardwood floors. Free Wifi is available at the hotel as well as a fitness center. The hotel offers a great buffet breakfast and a bar where guests are offered snacks and drinks. 

Peninsular is a 3-Star hotel located in central Girona. The hotel offers simple yet comfortable rooms. There is a 24-hour reception with a daily breakfast buffet. The Cafe Savoy is located on the main floor and offers lunch. 

Hotel Costabella is located 15 minutes away from Girona Old Town. The hotel is surrounded by gardens with an outdoor swimming pool and poolside sun terrace. There is free wifi at the hotel as well as a bar and restaurant. Guests are free to use the onsite gym and sauna. 

Related Reading: Coastal Hike: Costa Brava, Spain to France

Tours to Girona, Spain

Take a tour to Girona and Costa Brava from Barcelona. The tour will take you through the medieval streets of Girona and the beautiful Costa Brava in small groups. You will have the opportunity to take a dip in the clear blue waters of the Costa Brava. 

Enjoy a walking tour of Girona where you can discover the old Jewish quarter as well as the historic cobblestone alleyways. The tour will guide you through the history of the city as well as over the famous bridge and some of the sites that were used for the filming of Game of Thrones.

Girona, Spain is worth a visit, even if it is just for a day. It has so much to offer in history, beauty, and of course monkeys!

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Hiking and Adventure Travel. She's been travelling and hiking for over 20 years and has a goal of #104mountaindays this year, which you can follow on Instagram. Hiking has changed her life and she believes it can do the same for you. That's why her goal is to help 500,000 people this year on their hiking journey. Originally from Canada, she now lives at the base of the Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria and loves to hike and travel. She holds degrees in B.Mgmt, B.Sc and M.Ed. Her travel writing has been featured in BBC Travel, BBC Earth, National Geographic, Forbes and many more. She's a sought out speaker at travel events and has spoken at ITB Berlin, World Travel Market, TBEX, Arival Travel and the Bansko Nomad Fest.

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