Guide to Girona
Many visitors to the Catalan capital of Barcelona or the Costa Brava beaches will pass through Girona Airport en route. The city of Girona (spelled as Gerona in Spain) is located approximately 100 km to the north of Barcelona, and around 7km from Girona Airport. There is a regular bus service from the airport to the city centre.
Like all of the Costa Brava, Girona has a Mediterranean climate, which means even in the winter months, the daytime temperatures are very mild. The early spring and autumn are good months to visit and enjoy the warm sunshine. Being located around 30km inland, the temperatures are slightly cooler than on the coast in winter, and a little warmer in summer.
Girona has a population of just under 100,000, and is a quiet, typical Catalan city. Built on the banks of the Onyar River, Girona has a spectacular old town with many medieval buildings. Overlooking the old town area is the beautiful 11th century Gothic cathedral. The city of Girona retains its Spanish charm and has not been noticeably affected by tourism, unlike many of the coastal towns on the Costa Brava.
Most of the nightlife in Girona is centred around Plaza Mayor (the main square) which has a number of bars and restaurants where you can eat and drink outside for most of the year at day or night.
The old town area has a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays (0900-1300) selling local foods, crafts and clothing. Many of the stalls are set up on the bridge which divides the new town from the old town area. From the bridge there are spectacular views over the river.
Girona Old Town
Girona has a small, but impressive old town quarter which stretches along the banks of the River Onya. The bridge connecting the new town area to the old town has some beautiful views of the coloured houses which line the river bank. The old town consists of a single main street lined with small shops and bars following the path of the river.
At the summit of the old town is the impressive cathedral which was constructed between the 14th-17th century. If you climb the hill to the cathedral, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Two of the finest wineries in Catalonia are located in Girona province at Perelada and Espelt. Tours are available to both where you can learn about the wine-making process and sample and buy local wines.
The Girona Museum of Cinema tells the history of filmmaking right through from the shadow lanterns they used in China to today's huge blockbusters. There are many enormous flatscreen TV's playing clips, old movies being shown, a range of optical illusion you can play around with and a huge volume of historic articles pertaining to all things cinema. The official website can be found at Museum Del Cinema
Cycling in Girona
The Girona region has long been associated with cycling. Many professional cyclists have lived and continue to live in the city, perhaps the most famous being the now disgraced Lance Armstrong, who made Girona his home and base for many years during his time with the US Postal team.
Whilst being well-known for its excellent road cycling, Girona is less renowned for mountain biking. The Girona region is home to some of the best off road riding in Europe, most of the local riders are mountain bikers with hundreds turning up to race every weekend.
Girona Cycle Centre provide cycle hire and biking holidays for visiting cyclists and local riders alike in the Girona region.
The Arab Baths located in the old town area of Girona are an impressive example of 12th Century Roman architecture and worth a visit if you have an hour or so to spare. Entrance is good value at 2 €. There is also a small museum which is included in the entry price.
The Dali Museum at Figueres
The official museum of Salvador Dali is located in the town of Figures around 30 minute drive to the north of Girona on the AP7 motorway. The museum was designed and built by Dali in the town of his birth, and attract visitors from around the world. For more information see the official Salvador Dali Museum website
Mona Monkey Sanctuary
The Mona Monkey Sanctuary is situated just ten minutes from Girona Airport in the small town of Riudellots de la Selva. The foundation was established in 2000 to help rehabilitate illegally captured monkeys, chimpanzees and other primates. Visits to the sanctuary need to be arranged in advance by contacting the Mona Monkey Sanctuary directly.
Hotels in Girona
There are a number of hotels located close to Girona Airport. Hotel Vilobi Park is the closest, and is walkable from the airport terminal. There is an excellent Novotel a 5 minute drive from Girona Airport. The Novotel has a pool, a good restaurant and is located in an attractive setting in the Girona countryside.
In Girona city centre there are plenty of hotels and hostals catering for all budgets. At the edge of town, the Hotel Ibis offers affordable accommodation and easy access if you have a car.