• Home
  • /
  • Europe
  • /
  • Spain on my mind – dreaming of Girona
Girona Catalonia

Spain on my mind – dreaming of Girona

I’ve always had a special fondness for the Catalonia region a place with an unrestrained love for the arts, festivals, and where the locals are seemingly very interested in living their best life. Most head to the region for the buzzing beauty Barcelona, but it was the smaller and much more laid back Girona that captured my heart when I explored this region. Relaxed, tranquil but filled with history, style, beautiful architecture, and a with a healthy appreciation of art and good food, the refined but under-the-radar city Girona in Spain is the place I long to return for a break when travel restrictions have been lifted. It’s a place that forces you to slow down and appreciate life and after the rhythms of life have been dramatically altered through an endless chain of lockdowns, to me, it offers the perfect place to be eased back into the wonders of travel. 

Game of Thrones associations

Girona Cathedral

Since my last visit, the city has gained a new-found fame among Game of Thrones fans. The beautiful and immaculately preserved historic streets were used to film parts of both Braavos and Kings Landing scenes. The striking cathedral where I sat at the foot of its long steps one hot July evening was used as the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing in Season 3. At the top of the stairs is where sinners were judged by the gods as baying crowds gathered below.

Sadly I didn’t get to visit to The Arab Baths on my first visit but now it’s at the top of my list for when I return, not only for its intriguing beauty and because its the best-preserved Moorish bath complex in Catalonia, but also because it was where the feisty Arya (one of my favorite characters) attempted to escape The Waif in Season 6. 

Love for Salvador Dalí

Salvidor Dali Girona

The world’s most famous surrealist artist was born in the Girona province and lived in the region for many years. I’ve always a soft spot for the legendary artist and I love that Sr Dali has led his mark in many corners of the Spanish city from museums and castles to houses and street walls and adds a special uniqueness to the already charming travel destination. 

On my return, I will take the train from the centre of Girona to Figueres, the actual birth town of Dali. Here I’ll visit the weird and wonderful museum dedicated to the artist that I missed on my first visit, and will spend a few hours absorbing the interactive exhibits, sketches, and films on display here.

The atmosphere and architecture

Beautiful Girona Square

Girona Bridge

Girona is a place that forces you to slow down so on my return visit I plan just to wander the streets just soaking up the unique atmosphere and gazing at the beautiful buildings.

Known for its modernist and noucentist architecture, there is plenty of intriguing and understated beauty to uncover in the city from its wide open squares gently buzzing with the sights and sounds of everyday life to the perfectly preserved narrow streets of El Call, the old Jewish ghetto – a place where you can get a feel for Girona’s medieval heritage.

Girona Coloured houses

Although some of the places I long to see again is firstly the very impressive mile-long length of intact Roman city walls which encapsulate the town and is also surrounded by a beautiful tiered garden. Walking along the wall offers beautiful views of both the nearby gardens, the surrounding mountains, and coastline, and on a clear day, you can see France.

The second is Masó House one of the famous colourful houses located on the Onyar River which is both the birthplace of Rafael Masó i Valentí and one of the most important works of architecture in Girona. 

The restaurants

Apartments overlooking Girona Square

Girona’s restaurants and love of food also deserve a special mention, and even in this small city, there are many stand out places. The city is even home to the ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ (50 Best Restaurant Guide). Just outside the city walls lies El Celler de Can Roca which is run by brothers Joan, Jordi and Josep Roca, and the proud owner of three Michelin stars.

In their striking glass atrium restaurant, have a metaphysical and spiritual approach to the food and wine they serve and remains the place to taste the finest in modern Spanish cooking. Their restaurant is designed to allow 45° angle of light to come through the windows which, Gaudi believed was the best angle of light when looking at a masterpiece. 

The nearby beaches

Costa Brava Beach

While the tourist masses head to Costa Del Sol, nearby Costa Brava offers a quieter and more discerning beach getaway. It glistens and sparkles for more than 100 miles stretching all the way to the French border and is much more of my idea of a European beach holiday. There are many gorgeous gems to discover here – the easy-on-the-eye ports of Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Palamós (where legendary American novelist, Truman Capote once escaped to write and bask under the sun), the pretty coves near Cap de Begur and the beautiful town of Cadaqués which is home to whitewashed houses.

One of the coastal towns located in the Girona province is Llfranc, a quaint, quiet, and relaxed beach town flanked by a strip of golden sand and colourful façades which line the town dock. I plan to take a walk the rocky path which follows the coastline, stopping at one of the many cool little coffee shops or independent shops selling locally crafted souvenirs along the way.

This post was brought to you as a result of the #SpainOnMyMind campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with the Spain Tourist Office. GlobalGrasshopper maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.

Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

4 Comments

  • NP

    28 May, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Hi, Becky Lovely post I would like to share this post to my friends and other traveller group. Because it is very helpful for me and helpful. Spain is very beautiful country,with different landscapse, city, culture,food etc. I would like to come to spain for a backpack trip. In spain there is festival called La Tomatina festival in Valencia (Bunol).I have read about this festival many times. Girona has medieval walls, narrow winding city streets, and one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe. All you need is one day to see the best of Girona, making it a great destination on even the quickest itineraries through Spain. Please don’t stop sharing posting.
    Thanks for sharing such kind of information with us.
    Me too, i love you

    Reply
  • Mosan Travel

    8 May, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    I have always had a special fondness for the region of Catalonia. I am very happy to know about Mr. Dali.The natural scenery of the mountains always fascinates us.

    Reply
  • SB

    15 April, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Hi, Becky Lovely post I would like to share this post to my friends and other traveller group. Because it is very helpful for me and helpful. Spain is very beautiful country,with different landscapse, city, culture,food etc. I would like to come to spain for a backpack trip. In spain there is festival called La Tomatina festival in Valencia (Bunol).I have read about this festival many times. Girona has medieval walls, narrow winding city streets, and one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe. All you need is one day to see the best of Girona, making it a great destination on even the quickest itineraries through Spain. Please don’t stop sharing posting.
    Thanks for sharing such kind of information with us.

    Reply

Leave a Reply