13 compelling reasons to visit Girona

Girona is a small city full of attractive tourist options that make it worth a getaway. Strolling through its historic streets is an absolute delight, as well as exploring its monuments and tasting its excellent gastronomy. As a plus, how about a visit to Besalú medieval village to complete your adventure? Check it out because I have prepared a list of the 13 best places to visit in Girona and useful recommendations to make the most of your stay. 

Girona is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and with the best quality of life, but its rich history dates back over 2000 years. Among its heritage are its cobbled streets and authentic gems, such as the Jewish quarter and its magnificent cathedral. In addition, if you are a lover of gastronomy, the town has incredible restaurants such as the Celler de Can Roca, distinguished by 3 Michelin stars. But that’s not all. As a fan of the series Game of Thrones, you should know that many of its legendary scenes were filmed on its streets.

And as a bonus, among the best places to visit around Girona, you can visit the charming Besalú medieval village (below you will learn how to get there by public transport).

13 best places to visit in Girona

Before you start exploring the must-see places of the city, this information will provide you with some context: the medieval walls delimit the old town of Girona, which is where the main monuments and attractions of the city are located. The Onyar River runs alongside this historic center and divides the city into two parts: the right bank (Barrio Viejo) and the left bank (Barrio de Mercadal). Both are connected by 4 bridges: the bridge of the old fishmongers or Eiffel bridge, the stone bridge or Isabel II bridge (1849), the Gómez bridge (1916) and the railroad viaduct (1876). The first two are the most popular.

Now, without further ado, here I share with you the must-see places on your trip to Girona:

1 – The houses on the river Onyar

One of the 13 best places to see and to shoot in Girona are the colorful houses on the river Onyar. In the historic center of Girona, the banks of the river will call your attention for its houses full of vibrant colors, in shades of ocher, red, pink and yellow. Personally, this panorama reminds me of the Triana quarter in Seville and also of the houses of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.


The truth is that these striking colors we can admire today in front of the river, originally come from medieval times, and its purpose was not only decorative! In fact, it was built to protect the houses from floods, since there were no balconies or windows, only walls that prevented the water from overflowing.

You can enjoy this range of colors and all its perspectives from the bridges of the Peixateries Velles and the Stone Bridge.

In addition, if you are interested in architecture, Casa Masó is the only one of Girona’s river houses open to the public. Birthplace of the architect Rafael Masó, the hanging house is preserved with its Noucentist furniture and decoration.

  • Address: C/ de les Ballesteries, 29
  • Opening Hours: from Tuesday to Saturday guide visits with previous booking. Closed on Sundays and bank holidays.
  • Entrance fee: 7 euros (general)

2 – The Bridges

Peixateries Velles Brigde 

As a curiosity, Gustave Eiffel designed this colorful bridge in 1876, a decade before designing the famous tower of Paris. It is undoubtedly the most picturesque bridge in the city. It draws attention to its red-painted iron structure that, just for its beauty alone, makes you want to cross it.
In addition, you get the postcard photo (icon of the city) of the houses hanging over the river Onyar. The bridge is also known as Puente de las Pescaderías (originally there was a fish market), Eiffel Bridge or the iron bridge.

Puente de Piedra

Compared to the ornate Eiffel Bridge, the Puente de Piedra (Stone Bridge) is much more sober, but holds its relevance. Built of stone, as its name shows, it dates from 1856 and bears the inscription “Reigning Doña Isabel Segunda. Year 1856”.

Despite its simplicity, it has been on the list of the Historical Heritage of Catalonia since 1956. As a replacement for the medieval bridge of San Francisco, the current bridge was built with blocks of typical Girona stone to become the town’ s main bridge. In fact, it improved the road connection with the city by helping the transit of all types of vehicles at the time.

Sant Feliu Bridge

This bridge connects the old town with the city’ s new neighborhood. Through it you can access the Sant Feliu square, where the Sant Feliu Basilica is located (thus its name). Among the three bridges, this is the most modern one. Below, I will inform you about the church.

3 – The roman Walls

Other must-see places in your visit to Girona are the Roman walls that run throughout the old town and are also in excellent condition. 


The fortified city of Girona was surrounded by walls and watchtowers to prevent enemy sieges during the Middle Ages. Although its origins date back to Roman times, some parts were improved and reinforced in the time of Charlemagne and in the 14th century.

It is possible to walk along the town walls, which extend for about 2 kilometers. The walk to the heights will allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of the city, especially at sunset or at dawn.

If you feel like walking the entire route, you can start at the Plaza del General Marva, or if you are only interested in a section, you can access by the Paseo de Reina Joana, following the signs “Passeig Arqueològic”, taking as a reference the Arab Baths. Your reward: a wonderful panoramic view of the Gironella Tower and the Gallingants Monastery.

4 – The Cathedral

Get in the picture: not only does it stand on the highest hill in the city, but you also have to climb 90 baroque-style steps to enter it. So you can imagine the breathtaking views of these heights. The cathedral is interesting because it combines a mixture of various architectural styles, so the facade is baroque, the cloister and the tower of Charlemagne, while inside highlights the widest Gothic nave of the cathedral world, with its 23 meters wide.

13- best-places-Girona-Cathedral

When entering inside, you will discover its immense artistic wealth through its chapels, the magnificent high altar, the cloister of the cathedral decorated with sculptures and considered one of the most beautiful in Catalonia. And finally the museum, where you will find an impressive Romanesque tapestry of the eleventh century.

  • Address: Plaça de la Catedral, s/n
  • Openning hours: From Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 1 pm. Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12 am to 6 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 7 €, includes audio guide and the Basilica de Sant Feliu.

5 – The Jewish Quarter

In my opinion, one of the best places to visit on your getaway, and definitely with more charm of the historic center of Girona, is the Jewish Quarter, a network of winding streets and hidden courtyards with a special atmosphere that make you travel back in time and take you back to the Middle Ages. 

The Jewish quarter is one of the best preserved in Europe, thanks to the Israeli embassy that helped restore it.

At the time, 800 families lived in this neighborhood, which left their footprint in the city and contributed to a great extent to its development, until 1492, when the Catholic Monarchs expelled them.

The layout of the Jewish quarter makes a kind of rectangle that stretches from the Cathedral square, along Força street to Pujada de Sant Domènec and then up Bellmirall street to the Cathedral.

And if, after strolling through its evocative cobblestone streets, you are interested in learning more about the history of this community, you can visit the Museum of Jewish History, now housed in the old synagogue.

6 – Basilica of Sant Feliu

In the Jewish quarter is the Basilica of Sant Feliu, right next to the bridge of Sant Feliu, as I mentioned before. 

You have to know that this was the first cathedral in the city until the current cathedral of Girona replaced it. However, until the 10th century, it was the most important church for the worshipers. After its construction in 882, it was renovated in the 14th century and is now one of the most outstanding Gothic buildings in the city.

On the outside, what stands out is its slender bell tower in Gothic style (14th-16th century) and inside, its artworks, especially 8 sarcophagi from the 4th century A.D. from the Paleo-Christian period. 

  • Address: Pujada de Sant Feliu, 29
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm; Sunday and Bank Holiday: 1 pm to 6 pm
  • Entrance fee: 7 euros, includes audio guide

7 – The Arab Baths

Among the 13 best places in Girona, you can find the Arab baths. Their construction dates back to 1194, and is listed as a cultural asset of national interest. They are located in front of the City Hall of Girona, in a Romanesque building of the XII century; however, Arabs were not the ones who built them. In fact, they come from the Middle Ages, but they are based on the Arab bath style with its heat systems through steam. 

Over their history, they have had multiple uses. For example, until the 15th century, they were used as public baths. And later as a pantry and kitchen of a convent. It was in 1929 when they returned to their original structure with cold and hot water rooms, oven and boiler. Even a beautiful pool surrounded by carved capitals and a changing room with a dome through which sunlight enters. 

  • Address: Carrer Fernan el Catòlic, s/n
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 3 euros

8 – Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery

The Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery, which is located in the center of the city, is another monument declared a cultural asset of national interest and a must-see. 


This is an abbey founded by Benedictine monks in the 12th century with a beautiful cloister surrounded by columns and capitals that maintain the medieval proportions, which makes it stand out as one of the best examples of the Catalan Romanesque.

Archaeology of Catalonia since 1857. This was the first time that archaeological materials from excavations in the Girona area were gathered here, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

Moreover, the monastery has housed the Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia since 1857. This was the first time that archaeological materials from excavations in the Girona area were gathered here, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

  • Address: Carrer de Santa Llúcia, 8
  • Opening hours: 
    June to September: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
    October to May: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 4,50 euros (general)

9 – The Rambla de la Llibertat

An essential thing to do in Girona is to stroll along the Rambla de la Llibertat and have a drink in one of its many terraces. 

As a meeting point for locals it is one of the best places to have an appetizer, socialize with locals and enjoy the city’s gastronomy. 
It runs parallel to the Onyar river, and you notice it is a very busy shopping street, with beautiful arcades and several modernist buildings, for example, the Norat house.

Starting your walk at the tourist office you’ll pass by several emblematic buildings of the city such as the Town Hall, Fontana D’or and the Church of Carmen, then you will reach the Pont de San Agustín and the Plaza de la Independencia, another vivacious spot with neoclassical arcades. 

10 – Plaza de la Independencia

For its lively atmosphere and excellent gastronomic offer, this square is one of Girona’s most popular. 

Until 1835, San Agustín convent stood in the place where the square is now located, hence its name. 
In fact, it is the design of the architect Martí Sureda, who required all the structures to have the same yellow neoclassical facade, responsible for the appearance that shows the square today.

11 – Parques les Ribes del Ter y la Devesa

Not far from the Girona city center is the Dehesa Park, the green lung of Girona. It has an area of more than 40 hectares, making it the largest urban park in Catalonia. 
Just the perfect spot for disconnecting, relaxing in its gardens, playing sports or simply strolling in the shade of its centenary trees, most of them banana trees (there are more than 2000). 

Also, the park is the venue for events organized by the city council, concerts and children’s activities. 

12 – Girona’s Museums

Although you may not have time to visit them all, you have several options depending on your interests.  


The Museum of Jewish History occupies the location of Girona’s last synagogue.
Its exhibition rooms focus on the history of the Jewish communities of Girona and Catalonia in the Middle Ages, providing in-depth information on what their lives were like.
It also houses a unique set of medieval Hebrew tombstones from the Jewish cemetery of Montjuïc.  

  • Address: Carrer de la Força, 8
  • Openning hours:
    September to June: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
    July to August: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 4 euros (general). Free entrance on the first Sunday of every month.


If you love film history, the permanent collection of Tomàs Mallol shown in this museum will interest you. Here you will discover the evolution of the moving image from early camera and film technology to today’s digital cameras.

  • Address: Carrer de la Sèquia, 1
  • Openning hours: 
    September to June: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
    July and August: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sunday from de 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Entrada: 6 euros (general). Free entrance on the first Sunday of every month.


As I mentioned before, the archaeology museum has been located in the monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants since 1857 and is one of the oldest in Catalonia.

Here you can find the archaeological materials discovered in the excavations of the Girona region -especially in Empúries and Girona- from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

  • Address: Carrer Santa Llúcia, 8
  • Openning hours: 
    October to April: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
    May to September: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 6 euros (general). Free entrance on the first Sunday of every month.


If you feel like knowing in depth the art of Girona, the Art Museum offers the most important collection of Catalan art of the diocese in the province of Girona, from the Romanesque period to the twentieth century. 
Located in the magnificent Episcopal Palace, its rooms show in chronological order a rich collection in Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Realism, Modernism and Noucentist styles.
It also include rooms dedicated to ceramics, glass and liturgical art.

  • Address: Pda. de la Catedral, 12
  • Openning hours: 
    October to April: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday and Bank Holiday from 10 am to 2 pm.
    May to September: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.
  • Entrance fee: 6 euros (general). Free entrance on the first Sunday of every month.
  • Combine ticket: Girona Episcopal (Art Museum + Cathedral + Sant Feliu): 10 euros


Located in the historic center stands this Museum of History of Girona, more precisely in a former 18th century convent of the Capuchin friars of San Antonio. Today it preserves remarkable spaces such as the cloister, cistern, and cemetery.

Its rooms tell in chronological order the history of Girona, from Roman times to the present, as well as its traditions such as the sardana and the copla.

  • Address: Carrer de la Força, 27
  • Opening hours: 
    October to April: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.
    May to September: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm
  • Entrance fee: 4,20 euros (general). Free entrance on the first Sunday of every month.

To make the most of your stay, here are a few other recommendations

Free Tours

For your first contact with the city you can take this free tour or if you are an avid fan of Game of Thrones, check out this other free tour that takes you to the monuments where the series was filmed.

Where to eat

Mediterranean Food:

  • L’Alqueria
  • Brots de Vi
  • El Cul del món

With Michelin Starts:

  • El Celler de Can Roca
  • Nu Restaurant
  • Massana

Enjoy Coffee and Sweets

  • La Fàbrica
  • El Pessic
  • Xocolateria l’Antiga


While you can find a wide selection of quality accommodations in Girona, for your reference, I recommend the Hotel Carlemany because of its location and good value for money.

Experience in Aqva Gerunda, Roman baths

You will love the Aqva Gerunda spa in the city center, as you explore these ancient thermal baths and pamper yourself, definitely a perfect way to round off the day!.

  • Address: Carrer del Riu Galligants, 5. 

13 – A Getaway to Besalú


Among the 13 best places to visit in Girona, in my opinion stands out Besalú. When I planned the trip, I found that Besalú ranked as one of the most beautiful places in Girona province. The town is a medieval village full of culture and history, making it an ideal getaway from Girona (and from Barcelona).

Its streets have been the setting for many films and series, for example, some scenes of the movie “The Perfume“, inspired by the novel by Patrick Süskind.  Likewise, the third season of the science fiction series “Westworld” (HBO) was also filmed here.

Since 1996, the town has been listed as one of the best preserved historic-artistic sites in Catalonia.

How to get to Besalú

The distance between Girona and Besalú is 40 km. If you go by public transport, the intercity bus company Teisa has departures every hour. You can buy the tickets from the driver.

The meaning of Besalú

In Celtic, Bisuldunum means “fortress between two rivers” (the Fluvià to the south and the Capellades to the north). As soon as you set foot in Besalú, the first welcoming sight is the iconic Romanesque bridge, one of its artistic jewels. 

Get ready to take a tour of Besalú back to medieval times and get to know its must-see places.

The Romanesque Brigde

The Romanesque bridge greets you on your arrival in Besalú with its solemn presence. At the time, medieval travelers who made the route of the Garrotxa saved the rivers Fluvia and Capellades thanks to this bridge; it is true, they paid the required fee. Moreover, for centuries, it was the only means to get Olot.

Its construction dates back to the 11th century, when the city was at its peak.

Besalú Jewish Quarter

After crossing the bridge, we enter fully into the Jewish quarter of Besalú, a place where the medieval streets stands out.


During your tour make sure not to miss the church of the Monastery of Sant Pere, the old pilgrims’ hospital of Sant Juliá, the Jewish baths, used by the Jewish inhabitants to purify their bodies, the Synagogue, the Cornellá house and the church of Sant Vicenç


While the layout of the town has changed over the time, the key buildings mentioned above still capture the medieval essence of Besalú, as they give a fairly accurate reflection of its historical past. 

Street Sculptures

Thanks to the support of the province of Frosinone, an international meeting of contemporary artists was held in Besalù in 1994.

Some of the artworks created during this visit have been integrated into the landscape of Besalú, so that as you walk around, you might be surprised to find these sculptures: Some chairs hanging on the wall, in the Casa de la Moneda, on Rocafort street. Another chair, this one high and nailed to the ground, just a close distance from the first ones.

Other sculptures you can find are some huge round steel planters next to the church of Sant Julià, and even in the city wall, there are some pieces of metal nailed to the wall.

It surprised me how much they stood out and yet were blend into the background in such a subtle way. I found it to be an effective combination.

13 bests places to visit in Girona, my thoughts

In short, Girona is a great city to visit, it combines many attractions, and both for its historical relevance and its delicious cuisine, make it a must-see city to discover.

If you are seeking inspiration on other places to explore, you might be interested to check out this link for other amazing getaways.

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