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11 of the Best Things to do in Girona in a Day

Experience one day in Girona Spain. Find out about things to do in Girona in a day. Read about 11 things to do, experience and eat on a short trip to Girona.
We had the opportunity to spend one day in Girona on a trip that started in Languedoc, France and ended in Barcelona.

We definitely made the most of Girona in a day before our bus departed for Lloret de Mar. Is Girona worth visiting? Find out how to make the most of a short visit to this charming city of 100,000 people in the Costa Brava region of Spain.

One day in Girona Spain

Getting to Girona

What's the best way to get to Girona? Girona is a popular Ryanair destination.  Girona's small airport is served not only by Ryanair, but also by Transavia airlines. 

If you are visiting from further afield, Barcelona Airport (BCN) offers a wider range of connections. Girona is about 90 minutes by car from Barcelona Airport. 

It takes between 3-5 hours to get to Girona from Madrid by train. 

If you start in the Languedoc region of France like we did, you can get to Girona by bus in between 3.5 - 5.5 hours from Montpellier on Flixbus.

Things to do in Girona

Now that you know how to get here, let's take a look at some of the fun things to do in Girona in one day.

1. Learn the abc's of Girona 

With any new place, it's important to learn the abc's and lay a strong foundation.  We took that literally in Girona and admired the brightly colored letters that popped against the stone walls of the old town.  Keep an eye out for art installations throughout the town.
ABC sculptures in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

2. Walk the Girona city walls 

Girona is a particularly well preserved town in Costa Brava and the reconstructed town wall adds to the charm.  Girona has been subject to 25 sieges during its history so it's no wonder it has such an imposing wall.  

The walls were demolished in the 19th century so the city could expand but some parts have been reconstructed.  A walk along the wall was definitely the highlight of our visit and offered sweeping views of the town below.
Views from the town wall in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

3. Admire the churches 

Girona has a number of spectacular churches dotting the 'skyline' including the Girona Cathedral and Basilica of Sant Feliu which can both be entered on a single combination ticket.  The cathedral also features a quiet courtyard and cloister...very zen.
Girona Cathedral and Basilica of Sant Feliu in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

4. Stroll along the river 

Girona sits at a confluence of the River Ter and River Onyar and features a series of boxy and colorful residences tumbling out along the water.  

A number of bridges span the river (including the iconic Eiffel Bridge that runs across the Onyar River) and offer a great vantage point for photos.  I loved the colors and textures of the buildings here.   
Buildings on the River Ter in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

5. Explore the atmospheric lanes and alleys 

It's easy to let yourself get lost exploring in Girona.  The town sits on a hill with narrow staircases dotted about.  I liked looking at how the locals had dressed up their balconies with riotous flowers.
Atmospheric lanes, staircases, and balconies in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

6. Experience Catalan pride 

Girona is in the heart of Catalunya.  You won't see the Spanish flag flying here.  Instead, the yellow and red Catalan flag flaps in the breeze or is draped off balconies to show off their owners' Catalan pride and independent streak.  

An informal vote suggests that 80% of residents are in favor of leaving Spain in favor of an independent Catalunya.
Catalan flags and decorations in Girona, Costa Brava

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Barcelona is the nearest big city to Girona and chances are you'll pass through Barcelona on your way to and from Costa Brava. Barcelona is one of the most heavily touristed cities in Europe. Check out Barcelona off the beaten path with a visit to El Poblenou and Poble-sec neighborhoods.

7. Nosh on a Menu del Dia

We love a good value-for-money menu of the day (menu del dia) when we visit Spain and Girona was no exception.  We passed an unassuming restaurant in Girona's Jewish Quarter, El Pati de La Veïna, and something drew us in.  

It could have been the zen atmosphere as typified by a mindfulness bell perched on our table or the fact that we'd get two delicious courses with coffee and a glass of wine for less than 10 EUR.  Either way, we enjoyed this quirky and quiet restaurant nestled among the cobbled streets of Girona.
Menu del dia at El Pati de La Veïna in Girona in Costa Brava

8. Sample fresh bunyols 

Eating seems to be a theme when we travel and food memories always linger the longest.  We'd been in Girona less than 10 minutes when the smell of fresh baked goods wafted over to us from a bakery across the street from the train station.  

We sampled a small bag of bunyols; fried doughnuts covered in sugar and flavored with just a hint of anise.  Yum.
Fresh bunyols in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

9. Shop for sweets 

I most definitely have a sweet tooth so we were pleased to find Torrons Vicens Girona, a shop offering all sorts of regional specialties including torrones, mantecados, chocolate and more.  We could have shopped for hours.
Sweets at Torrons Vincens Girona in Costa Brava

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other destination ideas in Spain? Why not:

10. Cool off with Ice Cream

It was a warm and sunny afternoon in Girona when we visited and we were beginning to wilt a bit. Living in Ireland means we have a much lower tolerance for hot weather.  

Nothing revives faster than a bit of ice cream.  Rocambolesc featured a variety of imaginative flavors and toppings.  We opted for a more traditional chocolate ice cream base but topped it with lavendar marshmallows.  Yum.
Gelato at Rocambolesc in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain

11. 'Frieze' everyday life  

On our way back to the train station, we spotted a series of plaques adorning the walls of some local businesses.  They seemed to capture a slice of life in this vibrant city from a bygone era.

We took some time to admire the artwork before making our way to the bus that would take us to Lloret de Mar and TBEX.
Plaques depicting everyday life in Girona, Costa Brava, Spain
Even though we only spent a few hours in Girona, we felt like we got a strong feel for the place and hope to visit again sometime soon for a more in depth visit.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 11 of the Best Things to do in Girona in a Day
11 of the Best Things to do in Girona in a Day
Experience one day in Girona Spain. Find out about things to do in Girona in a day. Read about 11 things to do, experience and eat on a short trip to Girona.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog