While travelling to Catalonia, people are often so impressed by this region’s capital city, Barcelona, that they forget about other beautiful places which are worth visiting here. Girona, the medieval town with great history, is a perfect place for a day trip, and it is only one hour away from Barcelona! Girona is quite a small town, so it is possible to explore it in just half a day. I created the list of 5 things you should do, so you can be sure that you’ve really seen Girona, even if you are just passing through!
1) Take Photos Of Colorful Houses Along The River Onyar
Brightly painted, picturesque facades of houses along the River Onyar are the hallmark of Girona. They are beautiful from all angles, but I recommend taking photos from the bridges Pont de Pedra and Pont de Sant Agusti. You can also visit Pont de les Peixateries Velles. The architect of this red tracery bridge is Gustave Eiffel. I think you will notice some similarity of this lattice construction with his famous tower in Paris!
2) Count The Stairs To The Cathedral Of Girona
The Cathedral of Girona is very unusual, combining four architectural styles. You can notice characteristics of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, because the construction of the cathedral lasted for several centuries and the building reflects different historic periods. The Cathedral of Girona has the widest Gothic nave in the world. I recommend going inside this church and admiring the interior. Tickets to the cathedral cost €7.
To enter the cathedral you will climb high stairs leading to the entrance. While climbing the steps, count them. If you are a righteous person, you will count an even number of steps, and if you are a sinner, the number of steps will be odd. But even in this case you should not worry as there is another popular belief, according to which each step up the stairs removes one of your sins!
3) Kiss The Lioness Of Girona
The column with the lioness in the center of Girona is now one of the symbols of the town. Some legends say that in reality this lioness was a tamed wolf, which protected residents in the Middle Ages. Somehow the tradition of kissing the backside of the sculpture came about many years ago. The kiss symbolized the recognition of a person as a citizen of the town. Nowadays the original column is kept in the Girona Art Museum. But you can kiss a copy in the Square of San Felix. It is believed that this kiss will help you to return to Girona.
4) Walk The City Walls Of Girona
The construction of the city walls was started by the ancient Romans to defend the fortress from enemies. Girona is called “the immortal city” because its walls were besieged about 25 times! Today these walls are a tourist attraction. You can climb them yourself or take a sightseeing tour.
The city walls surround the historic center of Girona, so you can enjoy wonderful views of the town from above. A leisurely walk takes about one hour. There are several stairs that lead to the walls. I began my walk near Plaça de Catalunya, the central square of Girona, which is situated on the very wide bridge through the River Onyar.
5) Get Lost In The City Center
This item is optional, but if you have enough time, just walk in the old city-center of Girona. Explore the labyrinth of narrow streets and stone stairways. You can find many interesting spots, like the Jewish Quarter with its cozy patios or ancient Arab baths. This lovely town is really atmospheric – sometimes time seems to have stood still here, and this makes you feel the medieval spirit of Girona.
Finish your walk in one of family restaurants, enjoying traditional Catalan dishes or just drinking sangria! I chose the restaurant El Museu del Vi for my light supper, and I was completely satisfied!
Have you been to Girona? Please share your experience in the comments below!