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. Impressive walls, dating back to the medieval ages, surround the historic city centre.
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. A stroll around Girona leads visitors past cobble-stoned streets and colourful buildings as well as many museums, shops, cafés and restaurants. Moreover, El Celler de Can Roca, one of the world’s best restaurants is located here! One of the best things to do in Girona is a walk along its impressive city walls. Girona was also the filming location of many scenes in the Game of Thrones series. If you’re a fan, don’t miss the Game of Thrones walking tour!
Passeig de la Muralla – walking on the Girona walls
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. I started my walk at the Plaça Catalunya, on the banks of the River Onyar.
Read about my favourite medieval towns in Costa Brava.
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.
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 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.
I highly recommend climbing the Cathedral’s bell-tower. It’s a bit of a climb but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Girona and the surrounding areas.
Read about my stay at Castell d’Emporda, a castle hotel near Girona.
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!
Read other Velvet Escape posts on Costa Brava.