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05·DEC·2017

Top things to do on a weekend in Girona

GironaGirona is one of the main Catalan cities and is nestled in the heart of Catalonia approximately 1.5 hours’ drive from Barcelona. With a population of just under 100,000, Girona is one of the largest Catalan cities and sits on the confluence of several important rivers – Ter, Galligants, Guell, and Onyar.

With an extensive history spanning back to the Roman era, and a major influence from its Jewish population, Girona benefits from a plethora of gorgeous historical buildings and public spaces. If you happen to spend the weekend in this beautiful city, the following should provide an entertaining and interesting list of things to do:   

1. Walk along the city walls

During the peak of its power, Girona was encircled by a series of impressive city wall s and defensive fortifications. In the 14th century, the city walls were a marvel of architectural engineering and much of these structures stand today in fantastic condition. If you head over to Carrer de la Muralla you can walk onto the city walls and continue along a vast stretch of walkway that continues around a large portion of the old city. At regular intervals, the wall is cut through by immense guard towers and the views from these vantage points are superb.

2. Admire the Baroque façade of Girona Cathedral

Located in the Placa de la Catedral, this huge cathedral is one of the most recognizable  buildings in the city and a must-see site. Be sure to first view the cathedral from the steps at the bottom of the plaza – from here you can see the magnificent front façade and bell tower in all their glory. The façade contains 8 detailed marble statues of important Spanish and religious figures and is crowned with a large rose window. Inside the cathedral, the stone walls are topped with ornate stained glass windows and reach up to the heavens.

3. Explore El Call (The Jewish Ghetto)

As mentioned above, Girona has always had a large Jewish population since the 12th century. During its Zenith, Girona also had one of the most important Kabbalistic schools that served as a hive of education where many important Jewish thinkers resided. Today it is possible to explore the Jewish ghetto and it stands in a remarkably good condition. You can wander through the various streets and alleys and discover hidden courtyards, beautiful gardens, and historical architecture.

4. Visit the Arab Bath complex
 
Aside from its extensive Jewish history, Girona has also seen an influence from various Arab cultures. You can see some excellent Moorish architecture for example at the Arab bath complex. Although it is not possible to bathe in the bathhouse, you can explore the different rooms and admire the wonderful Arabic architecture and designs. Start in the frigidarium, continue into the Tepidarium and finish in the Caldarium (cold room, warm bath, and steam room). Don't forget to view the beautiful octagonal pool in the changing rooms supported by 8 ornate columns.

5. Enjoy a coffee on Rambla de la Llibertat
 
This wide paved street runs alongside the river and is one of the main public streets in the center of Girona.
Lined with beautiful trees and packed full of shops, stalls, cafes, and restaurants, Rambla de la Llibertat is undoubtedly the place to go if you enjoy shopping and eating out. You can stroll down this pleasant and charming street, stop for a coffee and undertake a little retail therapy.

Hopefully, this top 5 list will have given you food for thought for your weekend break in Girona. This city certainly has a great deal to offer and is a true gem in the northern parts of Catalonia.