Ultimate Guide to Visiting Girona From Barcelona (2024)

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Taking a day trip from Barcelona to Girona is like stepping into another world. Less than an hour away by train, Girona is rich in history and oozing with charm with its medieval streets, colorful houses along the Onyar River, and ancient walls..

I’ve been living in Spain for a while now, and during my time in Barcelona, I’ve made several trips to Girona. Each visit genuinely uncovers something new in this incredibly interesting city.

Whether it’s the intricate details of its historic architecture or the vibrant life in its narrow lanes, Girona never ceases to amaze (especially for any Game of Thrones fans out there!). Let me show you just what makes Girona a must-see for anyone in Barcelona.

Planning a trip to Barcelona last minute?


If you’re booking your trip to Barcelona last minute, I’ve got you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

⭐ Most popular sights in Barcelona

  1. Sagrada Familia – tickets often sell out weeks in advance so get your entry ticket here (or entry tickets AND a guided tour here)
  2. Park Güell – grab your skip-the-line entry
  3. Casa Batlló – click here for tickets and audio guide

🌍 Top tours in Barcelona

  1. Montserrat Tour, Monastery and Winery (great day trip!)
  2. Flamenco Show at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (incredible night out)
  3. Tapas Walking Tour with Food, Wine, and History (all the highlights at once)

🛏️ Top hotels in Barcelona

  1. Ohla Barcelona (5-star luxury with an amazing rooftop pool)
  2. Seventy Barcelona (boutique hotel with beautiful décor)
  3. Àmfores Boutique Guest House (great budget option with superb location)

🚌 Want free public transport while you’re in Barcelona? Check out the Hola Barcelona travel card!

Why is Girona Famous?

Girona, a charming city that’s easily one of the best day trips by train from Barcelona, is famous for its rich history, stunning architecture, and well-preserved Jewish Quarter. But just what exactly makes it well known?

By the way, while you can see most of the highlights in Girona yourself if you get yourself organized, if you’d like to get there with the least stress possible, there are some great organized day trips to Girona from Barcelona.

My favorite one is this Girona and Costa Brava Full-Day Tour from Barcelona, as you’ll get the chance to see both the winding medieval streets of Girona and the dramatic landscapes of the Costa Brava.

With a small-group setting and hotel pickup and drop-off included in Barcelona, it’s a very convenient (and fun!) way to spend your day.

On the other hand, if you’d rather just see Girona and would prefer getting there yourself (which is definitely the more budget-friendly option), you should still consider taking this small group walking tour of Girona once you get there. It’s especially good for any history buffs, as it’s a great way to learn more about the past 2,000+ years that have taken place here.

1. Girona Cathedral

Ah, where to start but the Girona Cathedral? This magnificent beast of a cathedral will make your jaw drop with its sheer size and stunning beauty. 

Also known as “The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona”, this architectural marvel boasts the widest Gothic nave in the world (yup, you read it right, the WORLD!). Climb up the grand staircase of 90 steps and feel like a Game of Thrones character (it’s one of the famous filming locations!). 

Make sure to check out the Tapestry of Creation inside – a unique piece of Romanesque textile art. If you’re a sucker for history, architecture, or just love epic views, the Girona Cathedral will give you all of that in spades.

Girona Cathedral

2. Arab Baths (Els Banys Àrabs)

Next, let’s take a serene stroll back in time to the Arab Baths. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Arab Baths in Spain? It sounds out of place, but trust me, these baths are a testament to Girona’s diverse cultural history. 

Step inside and you’ll feel transported to the 12th century, when Girona was influenced by Roman and Arabic traditions. The beautifully preserved baths consist of various rooms, each for a different purpose – from the hot bath (Caldarium) to the cold one (Frigidarium). 

Don’t miss out on the cupola supported by slender columns – it’s the baths’ masterpiece! It’s pure tranquility that whispers tales of a bygone era.

3. The Jewish Quarter (Call)

Girona’s Jewish Quarter is a labyrinth of narrow streets and charming alleys that will make you feel like you’re lost in a good way. Known as one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in the world, the Call is a captivating blend of history, culture, and intrigue. 

The Museum of Jewish History is a must-visit here, offering deep insights into the lives of Jewish communities from the Middle Ages. Tiptoe down these timeless alleys, take a gazillion photos, and imagine the stories these old stones could tell if they could talk.

4. Sant Pere de Galligants

You’ve seen the cathedral, now it’s time for another awe-inspiring religious site: Sant Pere de Galligants. This Romanesque abbey will woo you with its simplicity and elegance. 

With its striking bell tower and serene cloister, this former Benedictine monastery is now home to the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia in Girona. So, while you admire the beautiful architectural details, you can also get your fix of ancient artifacts. The best of both worlds, right?

The front view of the wonderful Sant Pere de Galligants is one of the best reason why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

5. Girona City Walls

Picture this: you’re standing on ancient fortifications, the city sprawled beneath you, the Pyrenees in the distance. That’s what you get when you walk along the city walls or the “Passeig de la Muralla”. 

Dating back to Roman times and later expanded by the Carolingians, the walls offer some of the best panoramic views of Girona. You can take in the whole city, from the multicolored houses along the River Onyar to the distant mountains. 

It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and say ‘adios’ to an unforgettable day in Girona.

6. Museum of Art (Museu d’Art)

Art aficionados, it’s your turn to shine! The Museu d’Art in Girona is an art lover’s paradise. 

Housed in the old Episcopal Palace, this museum takes you on a visual journey through the ages, with exhibits ranging from Romanesque and Gothic art to modern and contemporary pieces. Don’t miss the amazing collection of medieval tombstones and the stunning views from the top floor! 

With a rich, diverse array of Catalan art and sculpture, you’ll leave with a deeper understanding of Girona’s vibrant art scene.

7. Sant Feliu Church

Just a stone’s throw away from the Girona Cathedral is the enchanting Sant Feliu Church. This fascinating structure is an eclectic mix of architectural styles, from its early Christian beginnings to its Gothic nave and Baroque façade. 

But what makes it truly unique is that it was Girona’s main cathedral until the 10th century. Peek inside to see the eight pagan and Christian sarcophagi and the famed “Martyrdom of Saint Felix” by the Baroque painter Francesc Zurbarán. 

The majestic design of Sant Feliu Church will make you think to visit Girona from Barcelona.

8. Onyar River

The Onyar River has long been the lifeline of Girona and the source of some of its most iconic views! This picturesque river divides the city into its old and new halves, and oh boy, the views from its bridges are nothing short of postcard-perfect. 

Take a stroll along the river banks or cross the famous Eiffel Bridge (yes, by the same guy who designed that tower in Paris). Don’t forget to snap some photos of the brightly colored houses reflecting off the water – they’re Girona’s very own version of Venice’s Grand Canal!

9. Girona City History Museum

Last but not least, let’s take a dive into the past at the Girona City History Museum. Located in the heart of the Old Town, this museum is a treasure trove of information about Girona’s past. 

From its ancient origins to the medieval period, from the Napoleonic wars to the Spanish Civil War, this place covers it all. The museum’s interactive displays and extensive collections are designed to bring the city’s rich and often turbulent history to life. 

So whether you’re a history buff or just curious about the past, this museum is a must-see!

Is it Worth Going to Girona from Barcelona?

Absolutely! I can wholeheartedly say that Girona is a stunning destination that offers a different experience from the bustling city life of Barcelona, with its well-preserved medieval architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and enchanting atmosphere.

When you take a day trip to Girona, you’ll quickly discover why this town near Barcelona is so loved by locals and visitors alike. The city is a history lover’s paradise, boasting landmarks such as the Girona Cathedral and the Jewish Quarter, not to mention the famed Eiffel Bridge. 

The Bridge of Girona where you can see the Jewish quarters. will make you think of reasons why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

And for the Game of Thrones fans, Girona has served as a filming location for the popular series, making it even more exciting to explore this picturesque city.

The best part? Reaching Girona as an easy day trip from Barcelona is super convenient, with a direct high-speed train that takes just 40 minutes. 

So, if you have more than three days to spend in Barcelona, I highly recommend making time for a day trip to Girona. After all, it’s not every day that you get to witness the magic of a still very much functioning medieval city.

Is Girona a Day Trip from Barcelona?

Girona is a fantastic day trip from Barcelona. Just a short train ride away (about 40 minutes to an hour depending on the type of train), this charming medieval city offers a perfect escape from the bustling streets of Barcelona. You’ll find history, culture, and delicious food all waiting for you in Girona.

As you wander through the narrow winding streets, you’ll be enchanted by the well-preserved medieval architecture, gothic churches, and the iconic Jewish Quarter. Don’t forget to walk along the city’s ancient walls, where you can take in stunning views of the surrounding landscape. 

When you’re ready for a break, satisfy your taste buds with some great Catalan cuisine at one of Girona’s fantastic restaurants.

In just one day, you can explore the many historic sites and hidden gems that make Girona so special. 

Best Girona tours from Barcelona

1. Girona and Costa Brava Full-Day Tour

Old Town as one of the main things to see when doing a tour to visit Girona from Barcelona

RATING: 4.7 out of 5 based on 560+ reviews 

TOUR LENGTH: 10 hours 

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Immerse yourself in the rich history of the region with the Girona and Costa Brava Full-Day Tour. On this tour, you’ll be stepping into the past, exploring the narrow, medieval streets of Girona and the quaint fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell.

This isn’t just a sightseeing tour – it’s an experience! You’ll get lost in Girona’s labyrinthine Jewish Quarter, marvel at the cathedral’s wide Gothic nave, and feel a sense of awe as you gaze upon the vibrant houses along the Onyar River. 

And that’s just Girona! The Costa Brava is a different world entirely, filled with white-washed houses, sheer cliffs, and a stunning coastline.

If you’re a beach lover, you’re in for a treat. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters at Calella de Palafrugell, discover the hidden coves and cliffs along the Caminos de Ronda, and let the beauty of the Costa Brava take your breath away. 

With hotel pickup and drop-off included, all you have to worry about is soaking up the beauty and history of the region!

2. Small Group Walking Tour of Girona

The simple yet magnificent bridge at Girona is one of the best reason why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

RATING: 4.8 out of 5 based on 260+ reviews 

TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours 

Check latest price and availability

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to explore Girona with the Small Group Walking Tour. This 3-hour journey will transport you back in time, as you stroll along Girona’s old walls and discover 2,000 years of its history.

(It’s also the perfect tour if you’d rather do your own day trip to Girona from Barcelona while making sure you see and learn everything there is to know once you’re in Girona!)

In the company of a knowledgeable local guide, you’ll see Girona from a new perspective. Climb the city’s ancient walls for a panoramic view, visit the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Girona, and discover the iconic bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel.

This is a city that blends the ancient and the modern, and you’ll have the chance to see it all.

For the Game of Thrones fans out there (me included), this tour has a special treat for you – you’ll get to visit the filming locations from the 6th season! Combine that with the city’s medieval architecture and vibrant Jewish Quarter, and you have a tour that’s a feast for the senses!

3. Game of Thrones Small Group Tour

The beautiful and stunning Cathedral of Girona is one of the reason why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

RATING: 4.9 out of 5 based on 260+ reviews 

TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 hours 

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Calling all Game of Thrones fans! The Game of Thrones Small Group Tour is your chance to walk in the footsteps of your favorite characters. 

In this 2.5-hour tour, you’ll stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets of Girona, visiting filming locations from the iconic show’s 6th season.

With an expert guide by your side, you’ll explore the medieval and Jewish quarters of Girona, feel the intrigue and excitement of Braavos and King’s Landing, and discover every hidden corner of the city. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in the world of Game of Thrones and experience the history and beauty of Girona.

And the fun doesn’t stop there! The tour also includes a visit to the famous Church of Sant Feliu, the Arab baths, and the Plaza dels Jurats, among others. 

Your guide will show you the exact spots where scenes from the show were filmed, allowing you to compare and experience the magic of television and reality colliding!

How Do You Get from Barcelona to Girona?

Getting from Barcelona to Girona is easy as you have three main options: by train, by bus, or by car. Trains are the most popular option, offering speed and comfort, while buses are cheaper and cars offer the ultimate flexibility.

Let’s start with the trains. Trains from Barcelona to Girona depart from Barcelona Sants Station, the city’s main railway station. 

The high-speed AVE and Avant trains can whisk you to Girona in less than 40 minutes, while the regional trains take a bit longer, around 1.5 hours. But hey, more time to enjoy the Spanish countryside, right? 

Trains run frequently throughout the day, so you won’t have any trouble finding a time that suits your schedule.

Picturesque city of Girona surrounded by mountains is one of the best reasons why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

If you’re traveling on a budget, the bus might be a better choice. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic, and buses depart from Barcelona’s Nord Bus Station. 

It might be slower, but it’s a great way to see some of the smaller towns along the route.

Lastly, if you’re a fan of road trips, renting a car could be the way to go. The drive is about 1.5 hours via the AP-7 and A-2 highways. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to explore the surrounding region at your own pace.

One important tip, though – whether you choose train, bus, or car, be sure to reserve your tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist season. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

How Long Does it Take to Get from Barcelona to Girona by Train?

You’ll be amazed at how quick the journey is! When you hop on the train at Barcelona-Sants station, it takes just about 38-39 minutes to reach Girona. This gives you plenty of time to soak in the beautiful landscape of Catalonia as it whizzes by outside your window. 

Make sure to grab a window seat so you don’t miss out on the views!

How Much Does it Cost to Take the Train from Barcelona to Girona?

The train journey from Barcelona to Girona is not only quick, but it’s also easy on your wallet. Ticket prices range from €9 to €35, depending on the class and type of train you choose. 

With such affordable prices, you’ll have more money to spend on exploring the incredible sights and flavors that Girona has to offer.

Where to Stay in Girona?

Girona is only around an hour by train from Barcelona and so most people choose to simply stay in Barcelona and travel to Girona for the day. If, however, you prefer to stay in Girona, there are some good options:

  • Best luxury choice – Hotel Palau de Bellavista Girona: Spectacular views from the rooftop terrace (that has a bar and pool) and the height of stylish comfort in your room.
  • Best mid-range choice – Hotel Gran Ultonia: As the terrace looks over the Old Town, you’ll start to wonder if you’re somewhere like Dubrovnik rather than Girona. Combined with the great location and price, you can’t go wrong here.
  • Best budget choice – Bed&Breakfast 10: These rooms are clean, comfortable and well-located. What more could you ask for?

What to See in Girona in One Day

I included a list of things above that Girona is known for and you can easily see all of these in a day trip. But if you really are tight on time, these are the things I’d suggest you focus on:

1. The Girona Cathedral

Make it a point to visit the Girona Cathedral, an imposing structure that towers over the city. This stunning cathedral boasts a blend of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque elements. 

The Cathedral’s Treasury Museum contains a remarkable collection of religious artifacts, including the famous Tapestry of Creation. Trust me, the grandeur and intricate details of this religious monument are not to be missed.

Interior view of Girona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona. One of the best reason on why to visit Girona from Barcelona.

2. The Jewish Quarter (El Call)

Stroll down the narrow, cobblestone streets of Girona’s Jewish Quarter, known as El Call. This well-preserved medieval neighborhood is a labyrinth of alleys, arches, and hidden courtyards that will transport you back to the city’s rich past. 

Don’t forget to visit the Museum of Jewish History, which offers an insightful look into the lives of the Jewish community in Girona over the centuries.

3. The Eiffel Bridge (Pont de les Peixateries Velles)

Yes, it’s true! The Eiffel Bridge was designed by the same architect responsible for the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel. 

This eye-catching red bridge spans the picturesque Onyar River and offers spectacular views of the colorful riverside houses. 

For an unbeatable photo opportunity, position yourself on the bridge at sunset. The vibrant hues reflecting off the water will undoubtedly leave you breathless.

Can You Walk Around Girona?

Absolutely! Girona is a picturesque and compact city, making it perfect for you to explore on foot. In fact, walking around Girona is one of the best ways to experience its charm and history. The narrow, cobblestone streets and the colorful old buildings create an enchanting atmosphere that you’ll fall in love with.

Once you’re in Girona, you’ll find that most of the sites are located quite close to one another and are easily accessible by foot. The historic city center, for example, is just a 10-minute walk from the Girona train station. 

As you stroll through the winding streets, be sure to stop and admire the stunning architectural gems, including the magnificent Girona Cathedral and the picturesque Eiffel Bridge.

Panoramic view from Girona. One of the best reason why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

Was Game of Thrones Filmed in Girona?

Yes, Game of Thrones was filmed in Girona! The city’s medieval streets and historic architecture provided the perfect backdrop for the series. Notably the Cathedral served as the Sept of Baelor while other parts of the city stood in for Braavos.

Look, let’s just say that if you want to pretend you’re Margaery Tyrell as you walk up the grand staircase at the front of the Cathedral, then I can say from personal experience that you wouldn’t be the first one to do that…

Is The Walk of Shame in Dubrovnik or Girona?

Though Girona was used for many Game of Thrones scenes, the infamous Walk of Shame took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, not Girona. That being said, there’s still plenty for you to explore and discover in Girona! The city served as the setting for scenes in both King’s Landing and Braavos.

Is Girona a Party Town?

No, Girona isn’t a party town. Instead, it offers a different atmosphere compared to the bustling party scene in Barcelona by providing a perfect retreat for those who are looking for a more relaxed and authentic Spanish experience.

In Girona, you’ll find a variety of charming bars and restaurants where you can enjoy local Catalan cuisine, experience the region’s wine culture, and maybe even catch some live music. While you won’t find mega clubs or wild nightlife, the laid-back vibe and friendly locals create a unique atmosphere that can be just as enjoyable and memorable.

Colorful buildings in Girona is one of the reason why you must visit Girona from Barcelona.

What Food is Girona Known for?

Girona, a charming city just an hour away from Barcelona, is a culinary gem you won’t want to miss. As you explore this picturesque city, be prepared to indulge in some delectable dishes that reflect the region’s rich history and culture.

One of the must-try dishes in Girona is the popular Catalan dish, “Suquet,” a flavorful seafood and potato stew that’s unique to the Costa Brava. Another delicious local stew is “Cim i Tomba,” which you are unlikely to find outside of the region. 

Both dishes offer a taste of the Costa Brava’s charm and are worth seeking out during your visit.

As you wander through Girona’s vibrant streets and markets, make sure to grab a “xuixo,” a legendary local pastry with an intriguing history. Xuixo, a sweet, deep-fried pastry filled with crema catalana, is an absolute delight to savor while exploring the city. 

And don’t forget to sample some innovative dishes like venison cooked in squid ink, sea bass with wild mushrooms, or squid stuffed with chestnuts. These modern twists on traditional cuisine demonstrate Girona’s world-renowned gastronomic prowess and guarantee a memorable dining experience.

When is the Best Time to Travel to Girona?

Peak tourism season in Girona is from March to May. The weather is absolutely delightful during this time, with temperatures hovering around a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). It’s the perfect time to wander the charming streets, visit the iconic Girona Cathedral, or walk along the ancient Passeig de la Muralla. 

Just be aware that May tends to be the busiest month, so you’ll encounter more tourists. If you plan to book a tour, you’ll also want to keep this in mind so as to reserve your spot well in advance.

street in Girona Barcelona

Is Girona worth visiting?

Absolutely! Girona is a true gem in the Catalonia region and offers a nice contrast to the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. In particular, Girona’s medieval charm, winding city streets, and well-preserved Jewish Quarter make it a must-see destination.

You’ll find that Girona has a rich cultural scene and its remarkable historical sites will surely keep you entertained during your visit. Furthermore, its compact size allows you to see the best of Girona in just one day, making it an ideal side trip from Barcelona.

Another reason to visit Girona is its less tourist-heavy atmosphere compared to Barcelona. This allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy a more authentic, relaxed Spanish experience.

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