Few small cities charm with as much success as Girona. Discover the best things to do, restaurants, hotels and secret spots with this guide.
With near-perfect medieval architectural masterpieces, ancient Arab Baths, and cobbled streets fit for an epic television series (more on that later), Girona is a must-add to any visit to Catalonia.
Let’s take a look at why you need to visit the fabled Braavos in this comprehensive guide to Girona, Spain.
Looking for a place to bed down in Girona? Stay at Hotel Nord 1901 for gorgeous accommodation near the city.
Top 5 Things to Do in Girona
Drop by Some Game of Thrones Filming Locations
If the cobbled streets, ancient buildings, and narrow alleyways all look a bit familiar, it’s because many of the best episodes of Game of Thrones season 6 took place around the mediaval city of Girona.
Famous filming locations include the steps of the Girona Cathedral (remember Jamie Lannister climbing the stairs during The Great Sept of Baelor? THAT) and the Arab Baths. But you may also pick up on recognizable scenes just by walking the alleys and steps around Old Town.
Remember when Arya was navigating her way through the streets of Braavos? That was near the famous Cathedral on Bishop José Cartañà Street.
Walking the same winding alleys and climbing the ancient steps is one of the best things to do in Girona. Trust me.
Top Tip: Hotels Utonia got in on the excitement and created a convenient GoT route to explore the filming locations in Old Town. It’s worth a look.
Walk the Old City Walls
You can sense the city’s history when you look from across the Onyar at the towering walls that protecting Old Town since the 9th century.
But walking the city walls puts it in an entirely different perspective, with long stretches of the 3 km barrier open for you to take an afternoon stroll.
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to see why the creators of Game of Thrones considered Ginora the perfect location to film when you observe the city from the ancient walls.
Explore the Jewish Quarter
The historic architecture and ancient alleys draw tourists to the Jewish Quarter (El Call) in Girona, Spain time and again. No surprise.
The rich history of Jewish residents in Girona dates back to the 9th Century until the end of the 15th Century and the Jewish Quarter showcases the architecture and history flawlessly.
So what is there to do besides getting lost in the magnificent streets lined with vine-covered stone walls and soaking up the history of this famous neighbourhood in Old Town? Lots.
First, you can learn a lot more about the area and culture at the Museum of Jewish History. Look at mediaeval artefacts from Jewish residents of Girona, Spain, before walking around the former synagogue and courtyard.
You can visit the museum alone or as part of a guided tour. Either option is a good one, but I enjoy getting lost in the meandering cobbled streets at my leisure.
Top Tip: Stop by the Tienda de Sefarad / Sepharad Shop to browse through books and learn more about Jewish history in Girona while chatting with the owner.
Feast on Xuixo Pastries
When people ask me if Ginora is worth visiting, I look at them with a playfully solemn stare and slowly nod yesss.
Apart from the beautifully preserved Jewish Quarter and idyllic bridges crossing the Onyar river, there’s a lot of excellent food. Looking for a dish that’s unique to this region? Of course, you are.
Try the devilishly scrumptious Xuixo pastry, a fried treat stuffed with cream with a unique back story. Local legend has it that a young acrobat courting a baker’s daughter hid behind some large bags of flour but sneezed (hence the name).
He offered a secret recipe to the baker, and the rest is history (or fable). Either way, they’re delicious.
Tour the Arab Baths
Take a short walk from the Jewish Quarter, Girona, and you’ll find one of the most important historical sites in town.
The Arab Baths have stood the test of time since as far back as the 12th century. Over the years, the baths were partially demolished, then rebuilt, and have been open to walk through (now with a small fee) for over 90 years.
Top Tip: If you recognize the gorgeous stone interior with towering columns, they were the Baths of Braavos.
Brilliant Things to See & Do in Girona
Visit the Archeology Museum of Catalonia – Girona
Located in the Romanesque Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery (you may recognize the interior from more than one GoT episode) is the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya-Girona (Archeology Museum).
It’s worth a visit to browse the ancient artefacts and Romanesque architecture, dating back to prehistoric times. Stroll through the cloister to the museum inside, and pay attention to the ornate details on the columns.
Top Tip: Take your time exploring the artefacts. You’ll see sculptures, pottery, and inscriptions dating back thousands of years.
Look for Live Entertainment in Plaça dels Jurats
Remember when Arya Stark stumbled on a performance depicting the Lannisters during her time in Braavos? You may recognize the setting by strolling through Plaça dels Jurats in Old Town Girona.
Make it a point to walk through the mediaeval courtyard and marvel at the architecture while reminiscing on scenes from GoT season six when looking for things to do in Girona for free.
You may even stumble on an outdoor concert or festival in the plaza if you’re lucky.
Take a Tour of Casa Masó
Catalonian architect Rafael Masó i Valentí made a lasting impression with his contributions during the Noucentista period, which worked in opposition to the progressive Modernisme in Catalonia.
Rafael Masó was one of the most famous architects during this period, and Casa Masó is an example of varying architectural styles and inspirations emphasising Noucentisme.
Look for small but impressive details like lamps and furniture designed by Rafael Masó himself.
Top Tip: The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays so plan accordingly.
Visit the Girona Cathedral
One of the most iconic filming locations for GoT in Girona are the steps outside the Girona Cathedral.
Girona Cathedral towers over the city – poking up above the skyline pretty much wherever you are. Seeing the grandiose architecture IRL is an absolute must – but you shouldn’t just leave it there.
Head inside, and you’ll discover the 15th Century Gothic nave (reportedly wider than any of its kind).
Also, pay attention to the white marble altar (from the 11th Century) and the incredible Tapestry of Creation, which is an ornate tapestry designed as far back as the 11th Century depicting Genesis, the cosmos, and the Holy Cross.
Free Things to Do in Girona
Walk Along the River
Taking a slow stroll around the Onyar is easily one of the most fun things to do in Girona. Marvelling at the architecture, crossing over one of several bridges, and taking in the city scenery is a treat, day or night.
Top Tip: You can go inside one of the iconic riverside buildings, the Masó House, where famous architect Rafael Masó i Valentí was born and raised.
Cross the Eiffel Bridge
Trying to remember where that Spanish city Eiffel Bridge is located? You’ll find it in Girona.
The same engineer as the iconic Eiffel Tower (Gustave Eiffel) designed this arched metal bridge crossing the Onyar River.
Top Tip: While one of the more unusual things to do in Girona, thanks to its ties to the world-famous Paris landmark, it only takes a few minutes to get the picture. So pair it with an afternoon of activities in Girona.
Must-Try Bars & Restaurants in Girona
El Celler de Can Roca
Looking for one of the best things to do in Girona at night? Head to the impeccable dining room at the family-run El Celler de Can Roca, where the Roca brothers surprise guests with inventive cuisine, excellent wine, and an inviting atmosphere.
The three-Michelin-starred restaurant pays attention to every important detail and offers sustainable dining of the highest calibre with limited seating for lunch and dinner.
La Fabrica Girona
Who doesn’t like brunch? La Fabrica Girona is the perfect choice if you want a leisurely meal as the sun starts rising high in the sky.
The cafe is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and serves an eclectic mix of bagel sandwiches, fancy toasts, and Belgian waffles.
L’Estrella Del Mar
Seafood is the focus at this hidden gem, with L’Estrella Del Mar in Old Town Ginora allowing you to choose your seafood from the counter before trying excellent renditions of Fideuà (think Paella with noodles) and Paella.
Best Hotels in Girona
Hotel Ultonia is a popular choice if you want a prime location near the heart of Old Town around the best things to do in Girona, Spain.
There’s a charming cafe, breakfast buffet, and guided GoT walking tours available from the hotel. If you book the Game of Thrones Pack, you can enjoy a Targaryen Cocktail on the rooftop of Old Town Girona. Yes, please.
Hotel Nord 1901
The impossibly charming Hotel Nord 1901 offers a luxurious experience for hotel guests at perfectly reasonable rates.
Rooms are comfortable, climate-controlled, and some come with spacious outdoor patios.
Be sure to chat with the expert staff, who have helpful recommendations for exploring the area around Girona.
Hotel Costabella provides guests with a laid-back atmosphere outside Girona city centre in an idyllic setting with a garden and outdoor pool.
You’ll find everything you need on the property, including a restaurant, bar, gym, and spa.
Girona, Spain: Practical Tips for Your Trip
Recommended Tours in Girona
- From Barcelona: Girona and Costa Brava Full-Day Tour
- Girona: Game of Thrones Small Group Tour
- Girona: Small Group Walking Tour
- Girona: Jewish Heritage Guided City Tour and Museum Visit
Things to do in Girona, Spain: Map
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