Walking the city walls of Girona

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The Onyar River winds its way through Girona

Girona is a small medieval city about a 1.5-hour drive north of Barcelona. Located halfway between the majestic peaks of the Pyrenees and the rugged Costa Brava coast, the town sits on the confluence of four rivers and has a rich history that goes back to the Roman ages. Girona is quite often overlooked by tourists who pass the town on their way from Barcelona to Figueres, the home of the world-famous Dalí Theatre Museum. That’s a pity because the city’s varied attractions warrant a stay of at least a few days. In addition to being a gorgeous town for a leisurely stroll – along cobble-stoned streets and colourful buildings – Girona boasts many museums, shops, cafés and lovely hotels. Moreover, El Celler de Can Roca, one of the world’s best restaurants is located here!

Passeig de la Muralla

I love exploring the maze of old streets in the city, especially around the Jewish Quarter, one of Europe’s best preserved. On my recent trip to Girona, I decided to spend a morning walking along the city’s medieval walls, the Passeig de la Muralla. Parts of the 14th century walls and towers were destroyed during the late-19th century to allow the city to expand. The missing parts have since been reconstructed and these days, it’s possible to walk along the walls and enjoy the views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Armed with my iPhone (used to capture the images in this post), I started my walk at the Plaça Catalunya, on the banks of the River Onyar.

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Reflections in the Onyar River near Plaça Catalunya.

From the river, signs led me up a series of staircases to the wall. It’s a bit of a climb in certain places but the views from the wall and the towers certainly made the effort more than worthwhile. I could see almost the entire city, including the city’s iconic Cathedral, whilst the snowy peaks of the Pyrenees were clearly visible in the far distance.

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Views of Girona from the walls

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Girona spread out below me

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The view from the 14th century Sant Doménec Tower

The Cathedral of Girona

The path ends behind Girona’s imposing Cathedral. Construction of the Cathedral started in the 11th century on the foundations of an ancient Roman temple and continued for many centuries.

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The wall walk ends behind the Cathedral

The Cathedral’s original design was Romanesque but in the 13th century, the city’s architects implemented a Gothic design. These days, the Cathedral has the second widest Gothic nave in the world (behind St. Peter’s Basilica) and is home to a stunning collection of religious artifacts.

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The Cathedral’s impressive interior

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The huge nave

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The cloister

This beautiful walk is a great way to get acquainted with Girona before you explore the rest of the city. One thing’s for sure, a visit to Girona would not be complete without a stroll around the walls and a visit to the Cathedral!

Search for hotels in Girona. Read other Velvet Escape posts on Costa Brava.

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7 Responses to “Walking the city walls of Girona”

  1. ruth chirchir 31/01/2013 5:37 pm
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    It sure is very beautiful,love the pics.

  2. Keith Jenkins 30/01/2013 1:12 am
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    Thanks for your comment Eric. There are many medieval towns in Costa Brava that can take you back in time like Besalu and Peratallada. See: http://velvetescape.com/2012/04/medieval-towns-costa-brava/ for more info. Love it there! :-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  3. Eric White 29/01/2013 6:56 pm
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    Pictures look stunning. I’ve been to Barcelona, but never even heard of Girona. Looks like a spot that really takes you back to a certain era. Will keep this in mind next time I’m in Spain!

  4. Michael 28/01/2013 7:10 pm
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    I love the architecture of European cities and the it’s always nice to visit Spain, especially in the winter time.

    Thanks for sharing (yet another location that I hadn’t heard of).

  5. Terence 27/01/2013 9:37 pm
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    Thank you for sharing these very beautiful, spectacular and lovely photos.

  6. Sascha 27/01/2013 11:52 am
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    A very nice place! You read a lot about Barcelona, but nothing about Girona. Thanks!

  7. Oh wow it’s a stunning city!

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