Girona

Girona, in the Valley of the Ter

Located in the valley of the Ter, at the confluence of four rivers, Girona has a medieval past in its centre, the Barri Vell, Roman, Jewish and Arab vestiges.

Girona is divided into two districts by the river Onyar which crosses it from south to north in its length.

On the west bank, perched on a hill, the old town and El Call, the old Jewish quarter with its narrow, steep alleys. Numerous museums, art galleries and historical buildings dot the historic quarter of the city.

Further up, the Força Vella fortified enclosure is also home to the cathedral of St. Mary of Girona, which looks like a fortress.

East of the Onyar River, new neighbourhoods with wide avenues and large squares. It is also the district of La Estación de Renfe, the railway station, large car parks and the central post office.

Stretching from the confluence of the Ter er de l’ Onyar river, the Devesa Park, the city’s green lung, stretches over 40 hectares. With its sports area, a picnic area and city gardens dominated by more than 2500 plane trees, it is with the Rambla Llibertat, a place of walk and relaxation appreciated by city dwellers.

For the short story, Girona was for two years, 1812 to 1814, prefecture of the French department of Ter while Catalonia was annexed to the French Empire. Its ramparts were partially destroyed at that time to allow Napoleonic expansion in Spain.

Visit Girona

Girona’s historic centre can be seen by walking down the stairs of the narrow streets of Barri Vell. One will notice the presence of mezouza, a scroll of parchment on which are written the verses of the Shema and fixed on some houses. Highlighting the Jewish community’s involvement in the city before its exile.

Nearby, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, a jewel of Catalan Baroque architecture, watches over the city from the promontory of Força Vella.

Culinary discovery walk. With a cuisine combining Mediterranean, Catalan and Pyrenean flavours, in which local products and olive oil play an essential role. Local and regional specialities to be tasted on the Do Empordà Wine Route, a wine tradition dating back to Roman times.

Call Jueu, the Old Jewish Quarter

El Call, el barrio judio, is the old quarter of the medieval Jewish community that lived in Girona until 1492, when they were expelled from the Catholic Kingdoms of Spain.

This veritable labyrinth, composed of small narrow alleys, sometimes with staircases, is located in the historical centre of Girona, Barri Vell, the old quarter. It included the synagogue, ritual baths, butcher’s shop and other communal services specific to the community.

The city’s main tourist attraction, major renovations were carried out in 1982.

Museu d’ Història dels Jueus

This Jewish History Museum is naturally located in the heart of the Call Jueu in the Bonatruc Ca Porta Centre, a site occupied by a synagogue in the 15th century.

The museum is dedicated to the preservation and history of the Jewish communities of Catalonia which contributed to its historical, cultural and scientific evolution. Excavations in the centre of Bonastruc uncovered the remains of a Jewish house dating from the 13th century.

In the reconstructed area of the synagogue, objects for Hebrew worship and rituals as well as various documents related to the Jewish community can be observed. Among these objects and documents: watermarked silver earrings, varnished ceramics, ketoubas (marriage contracts), the vestiges of a mikve (ritual bath), an atlas of Cresque, steles…

Access: Carrer de la Força, 8.

From September to June: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, until 2 pm on Mondays, Sundays and public holidays. July – August: from 10 am to 8 pm until 2 pm on Sundays and holidays.

Prices: 4 € – reduced: 2 € – audio guide: 2 €.

Saint Mary’s Cathedral of Girona

Cathedral built between the 11th and 18th centuries and considered to be the most beautiful building of Catalan Baroque architecture. It is accessed via the 90 steps of the Pera Stairs.

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Girona has several styles. Romanesque in the 11th and 12th century cloister and the Tower of Charlemagne, baroque with its facade and its great staircase or Gothic by the vaulted nave, which, with its 23 m circumference, is after that of the Basilica of St. Peter of Rome the widest in the world.

The Cathedral houses the Treasure Museum of the Cathedral, where many religious works of art are preserved, including the famous 12th century Carpet of Creation and the 10th century Beatus codex. Sculptures, paintings and pieces of silversmiths complete this remarkable collection.

The museum has the same opening hours as the cathedral.

Open daily to visitors: July – August: from 10 am to 7:30 pm. November – March: 10 am to 6:30 pm. The rest of the year from 10:00 to 18:30. General rate: 7 €, reduced: 5 €.

Banys Àrabs

Located near the medieval walls in the heart of Girona’s historic centre, the Arab Baths, Banys Àrabs, are one of the city’s most notable civil buildings and in good condition.

Dating from the late twelfth century, these baths of Arabic inspiration are Romanesque in style. Even though they were conceived during the Muslim period, Girona was occupied only for a short time compared to other Catalan cities.

Like them, it has several rooms with varied temperatures: the refrigerator in the cold bath, the sudotarium and its vapours, the warm tepidarium and the warm room called caldarium. The apodyterium, with an octagonal-shaped basin surrounded by eight columns, is both a cloakroom and a lounge.

Access: Ferran el Catòlic.

Open from April to September from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, from 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays and the rest of the year. Admission: 2 €.

THE VILLAGES OF PALAFRUGELL

Palafrugell, the most important municipality in the county of Baix Empordà, includes several small towns such as the village of Llofriu, with its typical stone houses, and the hamlets of Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc and Tamariu at the foot of the Gavarres massif.

These hamlets, former fishing villages on the Costa Brava, are hidden behind small bays between the capes of San Sebastían in the north and Roig in the south. Their picturesque charm, between sea and mountains, the coves and beaches that characterize them have made them the most important tourist places of the Costa Brava.

As for Palafrugell, a city once turned towards cork production, it turned to tourism, which affected its coastline from the 1930s onwards.

Some of its monuments are classified as part of the Spanish national heritage, such as the Can Mario Tower, an iron structure designed by the architect General Guitart i Lostaló between 1904 and 1905, located in the central courtyard of a former Palafrugell cork factory.

Other notable elements of the city: the historical ensemble of Bon Port and the Tower of San Sebastían.

Access: by the road C-66 from Girona, 30 km away.

By bus: several daily departures to Palafrugell from the Estación de Autobuses de Gerona, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

From Barcelona – Estacio del Nord with Sarfa Company. About two and a half hours drive.

Palafrugell Tourist Office: Avenue C. Carrilet, 2.

Open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, 10 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 am to 1 pm.

Calella de Palafrugell

Cradle of the writer Joseph Pla, Calella, with its 12 km of beaches interspersed with coves, sees its population triple during the summer months, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province of Girona.

Calella is a former fishermen’s village famous for the preservation of its beaches. Calella has preserved an ancient architecture. Narrow alleys bordered by picturesque houses with sloping tile roofs converge towards the beach where some of them, adorned with porches and arches, have their feet in the water.

The village, which is crossed by a pathway that connects it to the neighbouring hamlets and gardens of Cape Roig, sees the Cantada d’ Habaneras, old songs nostalgic to fishermen of the last century, begin every Saturday in July.

Calella de Palafrugell Tourist Office: Calle las Voltes.

Open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, 10 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 am to 1 pm.

Cape Roig Botanical Gardens

It is to Dorothy Webster, an English aristocrat and architecture lover married to Colonel Woevodsky and who bought the land of Cap Roig in 1927 to build a castle, that we owe these magnificent gardens.

Considered as the most important in the Mediterranean area, the gardens have 500 varieties of plants arranged in terraces descending towards the sea. Every summer, the incomparable setting of Roig’s gardens is open to exhibitions by Spanish and foreign artists and hosts a musical festival.

Access: Camí Jardí Botànic. Calella de Palafrugell.

Open every day from 10 am to 8 pm, until 6 pm from October to March, only weekends in January and February from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission: 6€.

Llafranc

A popular destination for several decades, Llafranc combines tradition and modernity around its marina and fine sandy bay.

Although the second homes have partly replaced those of the fishermen, the atmosphere and activities offered by the small seaside resort are concentrated around the harbour and the beach.

On the promenade along the beach, you will notice a Roman wine press and the church of Santa Rosa de Lima. Along the coast, the lighthouse of Sant Sebastià, the hermitage, an ancient watchtower and a reconstituted Iberian village complete this monumental heritage.

Tourist Office: Passeig Cipsela. The Llafranc Tourist Office is open from Holy Week to October.

Tamariu

Tamaríu is the smallest of the hamlets that make up the commune of Palafrugell. Surrounded by a coarse and golden sandy beach that hosts the Cantaba d’ Habaneras in September, the old fishermen’s hamlet is the wildest, perhaps the most beautiful, with its coves of the Liris to the south or Aigua Douce to the north.

From there, you can follow the coastline by sea, by kayak or boat, to the cove of Aigua Xelida. Tourist Office: Calle de la Riera.



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Hotels
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B&B 10 Girona

Girona – From 35 €

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Pensió Bellmirall

Girona – From 44 €

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Hotel Costabella

Girona – From 52 €

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Hotel Condal

Girona – From 41 €

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Casa Cundaro

Girona – From 79 €

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Hotel Ultonia Girona

Girona – From 80 €

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