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Girona is a city in the northeast of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia in Spain, at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants, and Güell and has an official population of 96,722 as of January 2011.
It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès. It is located 99 km (62 mi) northeast of Barcelona. Girona is one of the major Catalan cities.
|FOUNDED :||79 BC|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|AREA :||39.1 km2 (15.1 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||76 m (249 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||41°59′04″N 02°49′16″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.5|
• Female: 50.5
|AREA CODE :||972|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+34 972|
Girona is an ancient town several thousand years old in Catalonia, Spain. The city has approximately 100,000 people and serves as the capital of the Girona Province in Catalonia which includes the counties (or comarques) of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà, Garrotxa, Gironès, Pla de l'Estany, Ripollès.
The town has an attractive Jewish quarter and is often overlooked by budget fliers arriving at Girona-Barcelona airport. Girona makes an excellent stop-off as part of a tour of Catalonia or escape from the noise and speed of Barcelona or as a long weekend getaway with one of those budget airlines.
Girona is said to consistently win a country-wide poll of citizens on preferred city to live in. Geographically set at the confluence of the Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell rivers, it has been a focal point of this region in Catalonia since prior to being part of the Roman Empire.
The Old Town is on the east bank of the river, with pedestrianized narrow streets surrounded by the old city walls. The "Rambla", running parallel to the river, contains many street cafés and touristy restaurants. Tourist information is at the south end of the Rambla, beside the river. The newer town center on the west bank has wider streets contains more shops and hotels, plus slightly cheaper restaurants.
In August, the city becomes very quiet on Sat and Sun, as most citizens escape to the sea.
The first historical inhabitants in the region were Iberians; Girona is the ancient Gerunda, a city of the Ausetani. Later, the Romans built a citadel there, which was given the name of Gerunda. The Visigoths ruled in Girona until it was conquered by the Moors in 715. Finally, Charlemagne reconquered it in 785 and made it one of the fourteen original counties of Catalonia. It was wrested temporarily from the Moors, who recaptured it in 793. From this time until the moors were finally driven out, 1015, the city repeatedly changed hands and was sacked several times by the moors (in 827, 842, 845, 935, 982). Wilfred the Hairy incorporated Girona into the County of Barcelona in 878. Alfonso I of Aragón declared Girona a city in the 11th century. The ancient county later became a duchy (1351) when King Pero III of Aragon gave the title of Duke to his first-born son, John. In 1414, King Ferrando I in turn gave the title of prince of Girona to his first-born son, Alfonso. The title is currently carried by Princess Leonor ofAsturias, the second since the 16th century to do so.
The 12th century saw the Jewish community of Girona flourish, having one of the most important Kabbalistic schools in Europe. The Rabbi of Girona, Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi (better known as Nahmanides or Ramban) was appointed Great Rabbi of Catalonia. The presence of the Jewish community of Girona came to an end in 1492, when the Catholic Monarchs expelled all the Jews from Catalonia. Today, the Jewish ghetto or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe and is a major touristattraction. On the north side of the old city is the Montjuic (or hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan), where an important religious cemetery was located.
Girona has undergone twenty-five sieges and been captured seven times. It was besieged by the French royal armies under Charles de Monchy d'Hocquincourt in 1653, under Bernardin Gigault de Bellefonds in 1684, and twice in 1694 under Anne Jules de Noailles. In May 1809, it was besieged by 35,000 French Napoleonic troops under Vergier, Augereau and St. Cyr, and held out obstinately under the leadership of Alvarez until disease and famine compelled it to capitulate on the 12th of December. Finally, the French conquered the city in 1809, after 7 months of siege. Girona was center of the Ter department during the French rule, which lasted from 1809 to 1813. The defensive city walls were demolished at the end of the 19th century to allow for the expansion of the city. In recent years, the missing parts of the city walls on the eastern side of the city have been reconstructed. Called the Passeig de la Muralla it now forms a tourist route around the old city.
Girona has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa) bordering on ahot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa), with hot summers and cool winters. In winter temperatures can drop to below −5 °C (23 °F). In summer temperatures often soar to 30–40 °C (86–104 °F). Although rainfall is evenly spread throughout the year, it is more common in late spring and mid-autumn (May and October). The driest month is July.Thunderstorms often occur.
Climate data for Girona
|Average high °C (°F)||13.1|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.1|
|Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
Prices in Girona
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.90|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€21.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€35.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€2.20|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.00|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.16|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€5.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1 pair||€|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M….)||1 pair||€|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas…)||1 pair||€|
|Leather shoes||1 pair||€|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€1.60|
Transportation - Get In
Girona is located north of Barcelona and can be reached from there by bus, train, or one's own car. There is an airport close to the town with a wide range of connections on Ryanair. It is also 98 km (61 miles) away from Barcelona.
Girona Airport is 1hr bus ride from Barcelona center. Ryanair mentions "Barcelona" in their description of Girona airport to suggest it being closer than it actually is. You can make connection between the airport and Barcelona. There is also an hourly bus into Girona from the airport, which is a 25min ride and connects the airport with Girona's railway station.
There are commuter trains to Girona leaving from Barcelona every 30 minutes in peak hours, hourly otherwise. All trains start at Barcelona Sants station with other stops at Passeig de Gràcia and Clot Aragó. Trains run 6am-10pm on weekdays, 7am-10pm Saturdays, 8am-10pm Sundays. The journey takes between 1h20m and 1h35m from/to Barcelona Sants and the ticket costs between 8,5€ and 12€: MD trains are faster, more comfortable but quite expensive; R trains call at almost all stations and its seats are not designed for long trips but are 30% cheaper. There are no round trip discounts but 10 trip travelcards are available, 60€ for R trains only, 70€ for R and MD trains, valid for 90 days after purchase and allowing multiple passengers on the same trip, so it's convenient for small groups from 4 people onwards or repeating trips. On weekdays there are also some direct trains from the Maresme coastal zone to Girona (Mataró, Arenys, Calella, Santa Susanna...), on weekends changing trains in Maçanet is required and due to poor schedule coordination you may find yourself waiting for 50 minutes in a station far away from everywhere. Timetables (line R11 from Barcelona, RG1 from Maresme region). As almost all trains continue to Figueres, there's also one train every 30 minutes on peak hours. From Portbou and the French border, however, trains run only once every two hours.
On the other hand, you can use high speed trains coming from either Madrid and Barcelona (AVE) or Paris, Perpignan and several other southern France cities (TGV). The schedule is quite irregular and changes frequently, check with Renfe and SNCF respectively. Both AVE and TGV trains have all compulsory reservation. AVE trains on Barcelona only stop at Sants station and take 40 minutes to reach Girona. Fares are 16€ single with a 20% discount for round trips. Note that a round trip is only slightly more expensive on AVE than MD but the travel time is sharply shorter, however there are no convenient travelcards usable for small groups. From places farther than Barcelona and from France tickets are cheaper if bought well in advance. Also note that if boarding an AVE train in Spain you'll need to pass through a security scan and all luggage will be X-rayed: take this into account to get to the station with enough time.
Other than Madrid, Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona, there are no direct trains from other Spanish cities.
If you want to travel to Girona from Barcelona city you can take a bus. That bus stops in the center of Barcelona, in Estació d'Autobusos Barcelona Nord (Barcelona's main bus terminal). However, service is scarce (at most 5 buses a day, 2 on weekends) and more expensive than train. Reaching Girona from other sites than Barcelona or Figueres like Costa Brava, Banyoles or Olot will require a bus trip. The main bus operators are Teisa and Sarfa. There is also a bus service from Perpignan to Girona and its airport (Frogbus)
Transportation - Get Around
Both the Old Town and the New Town across the river are highly pedestrianized.
It should be noted that most of the streets in the Old Town have large cobblestones and steep stairs going up the hill upon which Girona is built. Walking in high heels or with rolling luggage is quite difficult at some points, so plan accordingly.
There are local buses, but their routes can be quite confusing for non-locals. Furthermore, all touristic areas are near one from another. Single ticket is 1,30€
A car is not only unnecessary in Girona, but also quite cumbersome. Rentals are available for those wishing to make day trips to the outlying villages and castles in the area.
Girona have the same problems that plague other major European cities, but in a minor scale; traffic jams and narrow streets in some areas, coupled with a very complicated road system.
Having a driving map is essential as few bridges over the river makes it difficult to get from one riverside to the other.
Navigating with an average tourist map is frequently misleading: many streets are one-way; left turns are more rare than rights (and are unpredictable).
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The old town contains mostly touristy shops. There is also a good selection of modern shops selling the latest clothes.
Market on Saturday. Cheap goods market along river bank in the park north-west of town centre. Craft stalls in the old town.
In the old town, many touristy cafes offer menu del dia for €10-13, even on Sun. Areas with dense coverage of faceless touristy cafes are: Plaça Independencia; Rambla de la Lliberitat (near cathedrals). However, try to avoid the restaurants at and near Rambla de la Llibertat, they are very touristy, waiters do not speak English and even if you do find menus in English they are usually poorly translated and the dish you get can vary substantially from its description in the menu. Especially avoid tapas at these restaurants, aside that it is not an authentic Catalunian dish, you will get just a poorly styled mish-mash at one small plate.
Like any other Catalan city, cafes are closed from 4PM until dinner time (about 8-8:30PM). Exceptions are only touristy cafes at Rambla de la Lliberitat.
- Le Bistrot, Pujada de Sant Domenec, 4 (halfway on going down from Catedral by either side of Pujada de Sant Domenec), .Very prominent location, with outdoor tables on arguably most spectacular staircase in the town. Alternatively, consider indoor seats near backyard windows. Frequented by students of the local university.Menu del dia: €17 / €20, available on Sun also; no traditional menu.
- Gran Muralla, Francesc Eiximenis. The best selection of Japanese and Chinese food, featuring sushi, Beijing duck, thai salad.[www] [www]
- El Pou del Call, C/ Força, 14, . Excellent and good value local Catalonian dishes.
- König. Sandwiches and hamburgers
- Frankfurter König Girona Nord, . Cheap food such us pizzas, steak, french fries; and also a place to have a drink.
- Frankfurter König 2, Pl. Independència, 2, .
- Koenig Sandwiches, c/Calderers 16 (right under Esglesia de Sant Feliu), . Modern minimalistic design interior; two floors; well-airconditioned; some WiFi coverage for outdoor tables.Combined dishes (salad+main+side dish): €5.8-6.5; salads €5-7; focaccia sandwiches €3.8-4.5; hamburgers €2.5-3.5; toast sandwiches: €3.6-4.
- König Bar-Restaurant, C.C. Espai Gironès, Salt, .
- La Dolce Vitta, Plaça Independencia. Italian food for everyone at reasonable prices.
- 1900, C/ Obra, 2 (in a small square, between Pont de Pedra and Pont de Ferro). Coffees, teas, and hot chocolates. Simple selection of pastries and waffle. Reasonably priced and delicious with the bonus of free wi-fi. Beautiful place with gorgeous, clean bathrooms. Drinks €1-4.
- DO taverna catalana, Plaça Independencia, 16, .Toasts and tipical "tapas", salads and cold cuts
- Basque Restaurants:. Basque typical tapas called pintxos
- Txalaka, Carrer Bonastruc de Porta 4. Very good Basque restaurant serving pintxos (similar to tapas). Can be crowded with locals in the evening after 22:00 (which is a good sign for a restaurant!)
- Zanpanzar, Carrer Cort-Reial, 10, 17004, .Fantastic atmosphere, good for a quick tapa and beer
- Lizarran, Plaça de la Independència, 14, 17001. One of the 200 Lizarran restaurants across 8 different countries
- Rocambolesc, Carrer Santa Clara, 50, 17001. Ice cream parlor by one of the brothers of "El Celler de Can Roca (3 Michelin star)". 2-3€.
- Llagurt, Carrer Argenteria, 3. Wide variety of artisan and organic iogurts.
- La Recuiteria, Rambla de la Llibertat, 41, .Curd ("recuit"), iogurt or ice cream from the milk of their own cattle. 2-3€.
- Xocolateria l'Antiga, Placa del vi 8. Charming and classical place in the old town where you can enjoy a typical cup of "xocolata calenta" (hot chocolate).
- Crepdequè, C/Ballesteries 49 Girona. Grab a crêpe in this tiny and classic place of Girona.
Good quality Restaurants (20€ - 30€)
- Divinum, C/Albereda, 7, . Great wine and cheese tasting, tapas, sometimes live Jazz music. Reasonable price. It's a small place, so you might need to book.
- La Poma, Carrer Cort-Reial, 16, 17004, . Cosy and modern place with exquisite dishes and a wide and varied wine list.
- Vintages, Carrer Cort-Reial, 15, 17004, .Seasonal products and dishes. Wide wine list.
- Draps, Carrer Cort-reial, 2, 17004. Good dishes. Most of them are made to share in 2 people, so the prices have to be divided in 2.
- Vinil, Carrer Cort-Reial, 17, 17004. Small and friendly place with excellent and tasty food.
- La Penyora, Carrer del Teatre, 3, 17004. Great food and atmosphere, with a particular decoration. Located in a preety little street in the old town.
- Els Jardins de la Mercè. Peaceful and charming place with a fantastic garden in which to eat and drink. Excellent food and staff.
- Mimolet, Carrer Pou Rodó, 12, 17004, .Amazing food with a delicious set menu and wines. Great location.
- LlevaTaps, Plaça de l'Oli, 1, 17004, . Creative, fresh and seasonal products, along with wines from Empordà.
- Vinomi, Passeig Sant Joan Bosco, 59-61, 17007. Wide range of wines and pretty good food. A bit far from the center.
- El Cau del Llop, Carrer de Sacsimort, 5, .Traditional and simple cuisine with an extremely accurate selection of the products.
- L'Alqueria, Ginesta núm. 8. 17001, .Traditional Valencian food, with an extensive range of rice dishes.
- Arròs i Peix, C/ Ciutadans 20 . Fish and seafood: Pick out your fresh fish and have it cooked while you enjoy a glass of cava
- El Didal, C/Lluís Batlle i Prat, 4, . Decorated with old irons as wall lights, ironing boards and sewing patterns. "El Didal" means "The Thimble".
- Cal Ros, . With more than a century of history, this restaurant serves traditional Catalan food but with twists to a new modern and creative cuisine.
High quality Restaurants (over 40€)
- El Celler de Can Roca, Can Sunyer, 48 17007, . closed Christmas, Easter, 1 week end Aug/beginning Sept, Sun and Mon. 3 Michelin stars. Considered nowadays "the best restaurant in the world". It won the 1st position in "The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2013". Reservation required menu € 130-180 (2013).
- La Massana, Carrer Bonastruc de Porta, 10, 17001, . 1 Michelin star menu € 80, a-la-carte € 52-67.
- Nu, Carrer d'Abeuradors, 4, 17004, . menu € 36-45, A-la-carte € 31-35. Excellent and creative menu. The owner also owns La Massana which has a michelin star. closed 1 week in Jun and Nov, Sun.
Sights & Landmarks
The town's architecture is varied and atmospheric resulting from the myriad of occupations and invasions with many narrow streets, a castle, and impressive walled section.
- Banys Arabs (Arab baths), c/de Ferran Catolic. Apr-Sept: Mon-Fri 10AM-7PM, Sun and holidays: 10AM-2PM. Oct-March: 10AM-2PM daily (?).€1.5.
- Catedral de Girona (Girona Cathedral), Plaça de la Catedral(there are a stairs to the main door of the cathedral on the la Força street).
- Església de Sant Feliu (Sant Feliu Church). second church in the city. Closed for renovation as of Sept 2007.
- El riu Onyar (The Onyar river) (from a metallic pedestrian only bridge on the old town.). although it dries up in the summer (and gets a bit stinky!), and the houses along it are very pretty.
Things to do
- Walk along the ancient walls (yes, you can get on there) for excellent views of the city
- Enjoy the numerous cafes which are especially atmospheric at night
- The ancient narrow streets of the old Jewish section.
- Check out Girona's lively "discoteca" club scene.
- Play Golf on all the fantastic courses in the surroundings
- Il piccolo cafe, Passeig Canalejas. to 9am to 12pm ( to 3am on thursday, friday and saturday). Very good atmosphere. Next to the river, Plaza Independencia and the car park area, Gayfriendly bar and good ambient.
- La Bodega, Carrer Bonaventura Carreras i Peralta, 2. Very good atmosphere. Small winery situated in the heart of the Old Town, where people stand outside drinking wine or beer. Each cup costs around 2€, with some snacks included.
- The River Cafè, Carrer de les Ballesteries, 23, 17004. Live music, drinks and food. Opened all day.
- Context Cafè-Bar, Carrer Pou Rodó, 21. Cafè and Book shop: Drinks, good food, books, live music and many other activities.
- La Placeta, Carrer Bonaventura Carreras Peralta, 7, 17004, . Pretty small but friendly place with drinks and food.
- Babel, Carrer de Cort-Reial 3. Nice bar, nice food and cosy place to have a few. English friendly.
- Mckiernan's, Rambla de la Llibertat, 32, 17004. An Irish pub, crowded on weekends. Suitable place to have a drink. English friendly.
- Sunset Jazz Club, Carrer de Jaume Pons Martí, 12, 17004. Live music shows, some of the top musicians of the national and international scenes, in addition to the great live jazz shows. Wide selection of the international classics and self created cocktails. Very cosy place.
- Siddharta, Pedret, 116, 17007. A suitable place to try the drink named "tisana" (in Catalan).
- Cu-Cut!, Plaça independència, 10, 17001. Nice place for the first drink(s), and maybe the last too.
- Lola cafe, Carrer Bonaventura Carreras Peralta, 7. Spanish rumba pub, every day there is a guest rumba band playing live . The maids are the nicest neighborhood.
Safety in Girona
As is typical with these region of Catalonia, it can get quite hot in the summer. Take care and drink plenty of water throughout the day. There are a number of public water fountains which anyone can make use of and they are clearly marked on the city maps you get from the tourists office.
As for crime, Girona is generally a very safe town with a vigilant local population. It experiences crime that is typical of any city its size, but visitors have little to worry about from the town itself beyond possibly pickpocketing in large crowds. However, it is not uncommon to see local drunks and other vagabonds at the entrances to the footbridges across the Onyar River, especially on the Old Town side. While they generally keep to themselves, they will often beg for change.
While not the destination that Barcelona is for "stag" parties from Northern Europe, Girona does see its fair share of them given that many of them fly in to the Girona Airport on their way to Barcelona.
It should go without saying as it would seem obvious, but don't attempt to jump in to the Onyar River from any of the bridges across it. In addition to being difficult to get back out of, the water simply isn't deep enough for the height and you will sustain any number of grievous injuries upon landing.