An hour away from Barcelona lies the Catalan province of Girona, a medieval city that has endured Roman rule, Moorish takeover & seize by Charlemagne. Its picturesque streets are backdropped by centuries of history, making this municipality an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona to the south.
Originally founded in 79 BC, the city has endured the test of time, changing with each rule, wearing the mark of each takeover. Declared a Spanish City in the 11th century, Girona is the second largest in Catalonia rivaled only by the Capital, Barcelona.
Walk through centuries of history as you explore the city center on foot. Begin at the Plaça de Catalunya along the banks of the Onyar River, a waterway who’s influence gives the hamlet a Venetian flair. Stroll north along the picturesque Rambla de la Llibertat, a bustling boulevard dotted with humming cafes and brightly colored boutiques. Stop by the stunning Teatre Municipal along the Plaça Vi, beautifully adorned in red velvet from its general seating to the three tiered Opera boxes. Continue along the Carrer Ciutadans to the Call, one of the best preserved Jewish ghettos in all of Europe.
Before being expelled form Spain in 1492, the Jewish cultured flourished in Girona. Within these tight atmospheric streets, unlock bits of history in either the Museu dels Jueus or the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat, while taking in beautiful sights in the Centre Bonastruc Ça Porta.
At the city’s heart is the Cathedral de Girona; a stunning representation of Catalan Gothic Architecture finished with a Baroque façade. Marvel at the well preserved 11th-century Tapestry of Creation while enjoying the guided audio tour available at the welcome desk.
The city’s other treasures include the Arabic-style baths, Banys Àrabs, dating back to the 12th-century and the Jardins de la Francesca that have several access points to the Passeig Arqueològic, a panoramic walkway that takes you across atop the old city walls for picturesque views of the city.
Before traveling on, stop at one of the city’s fantastic restaurants like Vinil located on the Carrer de Cort-Reial. Serving up traditional Catalan Cuisine, menus are prepared daily, utilizing fresh local ingredients that are brought together for delectable dishes. Rich & creamy Asparagus Risotto, or hand-rolled Pear & Ricotta Ravioli topped with savory Basil Pesto are just a few examples of the delectable offereings.
Complete the experience with a carafe of Rosado wine and of course, a traditional local dessert of Crema Catalan drizzled with Anise Sauce. For a leisurely dining experience, choose one of the outdoor bistro tables, tucked in the shade of the large stone arches and watch the passers-by as you nibble away on one culinary surprise after another.
Only an hour and fifteen minutes by either car or train out of Barcelona, this destination, rich in history is well worth the visit.