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10 top things to do in Girona to discover the city like a local

From an incredible historical centre to a vibrant atmosphere, there are plenty of things to do in Girona, Spain.

This gorgeous city is worth at least some hours of your time to discover its rich history, delicious food, and beautiful architecture.

The city has a privileged location. It’s close to most of Catalonia’s tourist destinations, such as the Pyrenees and the Costa Brava beaches. Also, it’s a perfect day trip from Barcelona.

We’ve been there many times and have put together a guide showing our favourite things to do in Girona and the reasons why you should add this medieval city to your itinerary. Keep scrolling to know more!

* Post written for the first time in October 2017 and updated in April 2024.

Top things to do in Girona, Spain

Explore the Jewish Quarter (El Call)

Located in the heart of the old walled city, El Call is where the Jews established in Girona. This splendorous Jewish Quarter is one of the best preserved in the world. It’s also bustling with shops, restaurants, and cafeterias.

We recommend walking through the same narrow and cobbled lanes people used 500 years ago and discovering its courtyards and hidden patios.

🖼 Looking for a souvenir in Girona?

In the Jewish Quarter, you’ll find one of the nicest souvenir shops in the city: Recorda-te’n souvenirs. They have original and lovely souvenirs of the city made locally in Catalonia, such as figures, posters, and shirts. Also, the guy who runs the shop is super friendly!

Feel like you’re in a GoT scene at the Girona Cathedral

You can’t leave Girona without visiting one of the most impressive highlights of this city. Like a stairway to heaven, you have to climb all the Baroque staircases to get to the entrance of the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Girona.

This cathedral was built in a Gothic style except for its western facade, which is in a Baroque style. As a curious fact, the Gothic-style nave of this cathedral is the widest in the world.

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, we’re sure you’ll recognise the steps leading up to the Gothic cathedral. It’s where Circe begins her walk of shame from the Grand Sept of Baelor during the show’s sixth season. It’s also where Jaime Lannister confronts the High Sparrow.

Bear in mind that the opening times of the cathedral are the following:

  • 15th of June to 15th of September: 10 am to 7 pm (Mon-Fri), 10 am to 8 pm (Saturday) and 12 pm to 7 pm (Sunday)
  • 1st of November to 14th of March: 10 am to 5 pm (Mon-Sat) and 12 pm to 5 pm (Sunday)
  • Rest of the year: 10 am to 6 pm (Mon-Fri), 10 am to 7 pm (Saturday) and 12 pm to 6 pm (Sunday)
Scene of Game of Thrones filmed in Girona

Admire the views from the Onyar River

Girona is the so-called City of the Four Rivers because it is located at the junction of four rivers: Galligants, Onyar, Ter, and Güell.

The river Onyar crosses the city, leaving the historic centre on its right bank and the commercial district on its left bank.

The postcard from the various bridges that cross the river, such as Pont de Sant Agustí or Pont de les Peixateres Velles, is picture-perfect.

Colourful houses next to Girona's river

Visit the ancient Arab baths and the Sant Pere de Galligants monastery

Immerse yourself in a trip to the past by visiting the Arab Baths. It’s a magnificent construction that dates from the 12th century.

The entrance is 3 €, and the baths are open from 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday and from 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays and public holidays. However, check the schedule beforehand, as it can change depending on the season.

If you’re a GoT nerd, look carefully at the Arab Baths. Do they look familiar? That’s because Arya fights The Waif there!

Nearby the baths is another jewel of Girona: Sant Pere de Galligants. It’s a Romanesque monastery from the 12th century, and it is currently the headquarters of the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia.

If you’re a true GoT fan, you’ll also recognise parts of this building. The scenes corresponding to the Antigua library were recorded in this location.

Walk across the Eiffel bridge

Just before building the Eiffel Tower, Gustav Eiffel constructed the most famous bridge in Girona, also named El Pont de les Peixateries Velles (The old fish shop’s bridge).

The red bridge crosses the Onyar River and it’s for sure the most famous and picturesque bridge in Girona!

The Eiffel Bridge in Girona
Photo by Thierry Llansades / CC BY-NC-ND

Kiss El cul de la Lleona (Lioness’ ass)

If you see people kissing the ass of a stone lioness, don’t be scared! They’re not crazy; it’s just a popular tradition among visitors to Girona. 

The legend tells that many years ago, there was a hostel called The Lioness Hostel at this point. Its name refers to a column in one of the hostel’s walls, which had a lioness. People started touching its butt, and time after time, it became widely popular. 

Visitors to Girona city were told that if they touched the ass, they’d return to the town or never leave it. Nowadays, the action of touching the backside has evolved into kissing it. 

So, be sure you kiss it before leaving; we want you to return again!

Soak up the excellent views from the medieval city walls

Known as Passeig de la Muralla, the ancient walls extend into the eastern part of the old town of Girona. Walking on top of the walls is a must, as it offers spectacular views over the city and it’s completely free.

Check out Independence Square and enjoy a drink

Plaça de la Independència (Independence Square) is the most famous square in Girona. It’s busy all day due to the many restaurants there.

We recommend checking out its beautiful architecture, but we wouldn’t sit at any of the bars if you fancy a drink. This place is rather touristy, and there are much better options nearby.

La Malabarista Vermuteria or La Tòria are excellent choices instead. You can enjoy local vermouths and craft beers there and even eat delicious tapas. Also, both are located only 6 min walk from Plaça de la Independència, making it a nice option if you want to take a break from walking and don’t want to venture too far. 

Independencia square in Girona
Photo by Teresa Grau Ros / CC BY-SA

Explore Girona with a local

Whenever we visit a new city, we always like to join a guided day tour to learn more about its history, curiosities, and culture.

We recommend this guided walking tour if you’d like to discover Girona with a local. It lasts 3 hours, and you’ll visit Girona’s most important monuments, learn about its history and legends, and learn more about Girona’s Jewish heritage.

Join a GoT tour around the city

Are you a GoT nerd?

As you might know, Girona was a major filming location for Game of Thrones. Not only does the cathedral appear in the show, but many other spots around the city were also used as backdrops for Game of Thrones.

If you’re looking to explore the filming sites around the city, you can do some research, locate them on a map, and explore them on your own.

Or we have a better (and much more fun!) option.

You can go for this Game of Thrones tour, which you’ll enjoy no matter if you’re a Lannister or Stark fan! The walk lasts 2 hours and takes you to the sites where the 6th season of the show was filmed.

Extra reason to visit Girona: It’s an excellent day trip from Barcelona

The connections from Barcelona are excellent, and you can either reach Girona by car or public transport. 

The fastest way is to go by car, but finding parking near the city centre can be complicated.

That’s why we recommend taking the high-speed train. In just 38 minutes, you can be in Girona, and it drops you off close to the city centre. Check the train schedule here. If you want to secure a seat, you can purchase the tickets at the Estació de Sants in Barcelona or online.

The great connections between the two cities make Girona a great day trip from Barcelona. You can take the train in the morning, explore the city, have lunch there, and be back in Barcelona in time for dinner (remember that it’s around 9 p.m. for locals!).

People standing in front of the Girona cathedral at night

Girona is one of our favourite cities in Catalonia, and we hope you’ve loved visiting it with us! If you’ve tried a new restaurant, enjoyed the sights we’ve mentioned, or found this guide helpful, we’d love to hear from you!

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