Nestled between Barcelona and Costa Brava lies Girona, a charming city known for its archaic walls, narrow winding city streets, medieval architecture, gothic churches, and Jewish quarter. If you have a day to spare in Girona, you can squeeze in most iconic landmarks, while enjoying the cultural heritage of this old-time city. Being a relatively small city, along with its added proximity to Barcelona it makes for the perfect day trip destination from Barcelona.
Here's our quick day trip guide that will help you plan you visit from Barcelona to Girona with much ease.
Girona - King's Landing & Braavos
Spain is peppered with exciting cities: from vibrant Barcelona to beachy Mallorca, there's something in store for everyone. But there is one city in particular that captures the love of the country quite remarkably, and that's Girona!
Girona is a quick 45-minute journey from Barcelona and is home to just over 100,000 people, promising a cosy and intimate touring experience. Housing a well-preserved Jewish quarter, walking medieval city walls, and ancient winding streets, there is much to see.
Girona is a city of rich cultural and historical heritage, evidenced by the beautiful buildings and profound architecture along the squares and streets of the old city center. 11 bridges connect the riverbanks, offering great riverside views.
This historic city is most famous for being the film grounds for Game of Thrones, making it a must-visit for all hardcore GOT fans. Trail along the same streets where a blind Arya Stark begged on the streets of Braavos in season 6 (right behind the city's cathedral)!
Admire rows of colorfully-painted buildings that line the riverbanks
Gasp at the architectural elements in the old square.
Gaze out at medieval churches and ancient fortresses from fortified walls and towers
Why You Must Take A Day Trip From Barcelona To Girona?
Girona promises a contrasting experience to Barcelona by being calmer and slow-paced. This allows you to experience the Catalonian culture like a local. Here are some of the reasons why Girona should be on everyone's list of places to visit in Spain:
Learn about Jewish history: Explore the world’s best-preserved Jewish Quarters dating back to over 500 years ago.
Walk along the city's walls: Take a walk through history by literally walking on the city’s medieval walls, where you can enjoy spectacular views.
Step on a famous bridge: Walk along Girona’s most famous bridge - Eiffel, spread across the beautiful Onyar River.
Visit a famous cultural landmark: Climb the steps of Girona Cathedral, a cultural landmark that dominates the skyline of Girona.
Game of Thrones sets: If you’re a Game of Thrones buff, you’ll be excited to know that many spots in the city were used in the filming of the hit TV series.
Picturesque views: Enjoy scenic views of the Catalonian countryside on your drive from Barcelona to Girona.
Best Day Trips from Barcelona to Girona
Guided Tours from Barcelona to Girona
If you're a nervous planner and prefer having an itinerary laid out for you (with all the nitty-gritties of the tour taken care of), then an organized guided tour might be the way to go. This way, you get to absorb the beauty of Girona without having to worry about transportation, attraction tickets, last-minute expenses, etc- all while being ushered with facts from your friendly tour guide!
Self-Guided Tours from Barcelona to Girona
Want to walk the ancient streets of Girona and reenact famous Game of Thrones scenes on your own? A self-guided tour may be the way to go. Doing some research beforehand to help you plan your itinerary can be a fun way to learn more about a new place and what it has to offer.
We understand how taxing it can be to create a new itinerary from scratch. Let's get the ball rolling with our top recommendations of must-visit locations in Girona!
8 places to visit in Girona
Day Trip Itinerary
On a day trip from Barcelona to Girona, there's plenty one can cover. Here are all the things you can do in Girona with less than 24 hours at your disposal. Plan your day to the T and cover all the must-visits:
2The Museum of Jewish History
Take a walk through Jewish History to learn more about the Jewish communities that lived in Catalonia years ago. At the museum, the main aim is to preserve and reflect the contributions of the Jews to the country’s scientific and cultural development throughout the medieval period.
3Banys Àrabs (Arab Baths)
Inspired by the Roman baths, comes a singular Romanesque structure, dating back to the 12th century. Here you can take a look at the stone entrance, which was used as a changing room, and the relaxation area, both covered by a barrier vault. And of course the central pool, supported by thin ornately decorated columns.
4Iconic City Walls
Enjoy panoramic views of the city by taking a walk through its old walls. Passeig de la Muralla is what’s left of the walls, dating back to possibly the 1st century BC. Spanning across almost 3 kilometers with magnificent well-preserved architecture, the city walls should most definitely be on your things-to-do list at Girona.
5The Eiffel Bridge
Of the 11 bridges in Girona, the Eiffel Bridge is perhaps the most renowned. Constructed by Gustave Eiffel (just before he built the Eiffel Tower in Paris), this bridge is located at a point where four rivers meet. A walk across the Eiffel Bridge will give you breathtaking views of the Onyar River.
6The Girona Cathedral
Also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the Girona Cathedral is a famous cultural landmark in the city. It was constructed between the 11th and 18th century with walls and spaces of different architectural styles. One of its outstanding features you should look out for is the large gothic nave with a width of 23 meters - the widest in the world.
7Game of Thrones Filming Spots
Girona was used in the filming of Season 6 of Game of Thrones, used as the setting for the place ‘Braavos.’ So for all you fans out there, this trip can be even more exciting than you expected! Many of the spots were used with very little computer imagery, making you feel like you’re really at Braavos.
Built on the site of the old convent of Sant Agusti, Plaça Independencia is Girona’s most popular square. With its neoclassical style, porticoed square, and a large number of restaurants, it is a popular spot for tourists to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Barcelona To Girona Day Trip Transport Options
The distance between both regions is roughly 104 kilometers. Since Girona is close to Barcelona, there are many ways to reach the town. You can reach Girona by train, bus, or a car, or you can even cycle there.
|Mode of Travel||Time||Cost||Best For|
|Bus||1 hour 40 minutes||from $16||Convenient journey|
|Train||Under 40 minutes||from $5||Fastest route|
|Car||1 hour 20 minutes||from $1.49 per litre of gas||Scenic route|
|Organised Tour||3-4 hours roundtrip||from $23 (all inclusive)||Seamless, hassle-free travel|
- By Bus - There’s only one bus company, Sagales, that organizes a few trips to Girona from Barcelona throughout the day. Be sure to check the schedule before traveling as there aren't too many buses per day.
- By Train - The new high-speed AVE train will take you to Girona from Barcelona in under 40 minutes. The trains are more frequent than buses, giving you more flexibility with the time you want to leave Barcelona.
- By Car - You can rent a car in Barcelona and drive to Girona. Just follow the AP-7 road from Barcelona to Girona (note that AP roads are toll roads) and you should take a little more than an hour to reach your destination.
- Organized Tour from Barcelona to Girona - There are many guided tours available allowing you to get the most out of your trip, as you, not only get to travel to Girona but also have a guide show you around the town and all of the town’s highlights. You also have the option of going on a bike tour if you’re feeling adventurous.
Best Time to Visit Girona
Weather-wise, summer (June to August) is the best time to visit Girona, which is also its busiest season. Temperatures at this time range from 65°F to 87°F. Girona is open to tourists throughout the year, but April to October are the ideal months for visitors with high temperatures and the least amount of rainfall.
If you’re on a budget, then the cooler off-season months between November to March might be ideal for you. During this time, temperatures range between 35°F to 56°F, with cheaper flight tickets, hotels, and the like.
Plan your day: It’s best to start your tour of Girona as early as possible during the day because temperatures tend to get high around noon. There’s also a chance of rainfall all year round. So, make sure you carry a raincoat with you.
Festivals to look out for: Although there are exciting events throughout the year, a few that you can club along with your visit are - Spring Festival (April), Girona Flower Time (May), St. Narcissus’ Fair and Festival (October), and St. George’s Day (April).
Where can I eat in Girona?
Here is a list of must-try eateries in Girona with our recommended must-try dishes:
Featured in magazines as one of the world’s best restaurants, comes the award-winning Michelin star restaurant. You might have to book a table way in advance because their waiting list is months long. If you do get a spot, you’re in for a Spanish dining experience like no other.
If you’re looking for a trendy hip-vibe, Nu is a gastro-bar that serves Asian-inspired dishes. Definitely order the king-sized prawn tempura with green shish mayonnaise and the red tuna sashimi with soy. You can also try out their delicious tapas sharing menu.
Hidden in the streets of the Old Town, comes a restaurant with creativity in its decor and food. Indulge in a fusion of Mediterranean and international dishes alike the tuna tataki with black olives and stuffed zucchini flowers and artichokes filled with foie gras and vegetables.
Located in the heart of the Old Quarter, Occi gives your contemporary Catalan dishes made with fresh seasonal produce. Must-try dishes include the local cheeses, Iberian ham, carpaccio of prawns, and grilled cod.
Despite its German name, this place serves Catalan food in a unique cave-like ambiance. The tasting menus are a must-try including delicacies such as pomegranate jelly and prawns with citrus. Top it off with a traditional crema catalana dessert!
Where can I stay in Girona?
Tired and weary after a day of spirited sightseeing? Check into a hotel for the night and rejuvenate! Here are some of our recommendations:
A brilliant choice of stay with a cafe, restaurant, piano bar, and tapas bar. Being centrally located, you can easily get to nearby shops and attractions.
Starts from €78/night
Spoil yourself in a contemporary, comfortable, and smart hotel, located in the heart of Girona. Added attractions include an indoor pool, fitness center, and spa treatment rooms.
Starts from €111/night
Enjoy a gorgeous rustic ambiance with architectural designs from different eras at Hotel Historic. Its high rooms and roof terrace make you feel like you can almost touch the cathedral.
Starts from €127/night
Shopping in Girona
Remember this amazing trip to Girona from Barcelona with a long-lasting souvenir!
Girona's must-buy souvenirs: handmade & colourful wooden toys, unique pieces from recycled wood and metals, cheeses, cured meats, little pots of saffron, local honey and sauces, multi-coloured glass sculptures, dishes and plates, and antique books.
For all you shopaholics, be sure to check out Santa Clara, an area just off Onyar River. Here you’ll find a plethora of high-street shops from shoes and clothes to jewelry and home decor.
To get your hands on some unique souvenirs, here’s where you can go. La Carpa is a fun spot where you can find souvenirs for kids, while Non Taller de Vidre has a distinct collection of home decor pieces. If you want to take some local food back home, La Noucentista is the place to visit.
For a taste of unique fashion, stop by Nausica Masó Orfebre for jewelry made from recycled metal and stone or Delicate Grata where you can find retro and indie style clothes and accessories, perfect for gifts.
Handy Tips for your Barcelona-Girona Day Trip
- Be wary of your belongings and keep them close to you at all times as you may be prone to pick-pocketing in the crowded areas.
- Avoid strolling through the less crowded areas alone. The crowded streets are safer for you stroll around alone at any time of day.
- The locals in Girona speak mostly in Catalan, although some understand Spanish. It’s advisable to learn a few Catalonian phrases to help you talk to the locals.
- Wear modest clothing, such as full-sleeved tees and pants or long skirts, if you’re visiting any religious site. Short clothing such as shorts and short skirts are prohibited in churches and temples.
- Wear comfortable shoes as your trip involves a lot of walking, and you don’t want your feet to hurt.
- Smoke only in the designated smoking areas, as smoking in public places is prohibited.
- Tipping your servers is customary. For waiters, it is recommended to tip them 10-15% of your bill.
Go the extra mile to Figueres
The small town of Figueres is located within Catalonia's Costa Brava region, about 100 km away from Girona. If you’re visiting Girona, go the extra few miles and visit Figueres as the town has many tourist attractions that are worth a visit.
Figueres is famous for being the birthplace of the renowned artist, Salvador Dali. It has a museum, the Dali Theater-Museum, dedicated to his work, which is the second most visited museum in Spain. The town has other museums, as well as the largest castle in Europe, the Castell de Sant Ferran, and a 'Rambla' lined with cafes and restaurants.