We all know that when it comes to sites, museums, art and food Barcelona is a dream come true for any tourist and I guess there is never enough time to actually see it all, but if you want to change a bit the landscape, Girona is a great alternative for a day trip.
If you don't have a car or don't plan to rent one, your best way is the train. Renfe offers both slow and fast trains to Girona on daily basis. I chose the fast version which takes you to Girona in 38 minutes for 28 Euro (return ticket). You can book your tickets on the Renfe website.
Train in Barcelona leaves from Sants Train Station. You'll get your luggage checked (similar to Eurostar checks). There can be a bit of queue so arrive a bit earlier (to be relaxed 30 min before train departure).
On your way back, the queue will be smaller so you can be closer to the departure time there.
I will guide you through the city's main sites in the way I visited and how I found it to be the most efficient in a relaxing way. You will need about 3-4h including a stop to grab a coffee and have some food.
1. Rio Onyar
Maybe not that exciting to list a river as an attraction, but if you think about it and will see some of my below coming points you'll see that the attractions are along or over this river :)
Stone Bridge (âPont de Pedra)
This is the bridge you would normally first cross when coming from the train station. It was inaugurated in 1856 and was built out of stones from Girona.
Here is also your first place were you meet the colorful post-card perfect houses of Girona. They were built in the 19th & 20th century and their facades were restored in 1983 with yellow and red ochre, and sienna shades.
I definitely spent some time taking pictures from different angles and at different hours of the day as they look so cute.
Eiffel Bridge (âPont de les Peixateries Velles)
Well, if by reading the title you though, oh, this name sounds familiar, then yes you guessed it right, this bridge was built by Gustave Eiffel right before he built the Eiffel Tower (and the he is also the one who built Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto).
My favorite view of the Eiffel Bridge is from the Pont de Sant Agusti
It's the only house from the Onyar river opened to public, but you need to book in advance.
2. El Call (The Jewish Quarter)
El Call is one one the best preserved Jewish neighborhoods in the world. Make sure you take your time to walk around all the narrow streets.
3. BREAK: Brunch
A place I enjoyed having brunch at is La Fabirca. It's no hidden gem or anything, but I can for sure say it's not just the hype, but the food was great, and the coffee perfect.
4. Girona Cathedral
One of the maybe most popular pictures from Girona after the Game of Thrones era :P it's the one on the stairs of the Cathedral. Not easy to catch it all into one picture, but i did my best :)
5. Legend: The lioness's bottom
The lioness's bottom ('el cul de la lleona'). So the tradition goes, if you visit Girona, you have to kiss the bottom of the lioness statue (C/Calderers, 8). It's a way to show that you want to come back to the city, perhaps even to stay forever
6. The city walls
Take a bit of time to walk around the city walls. You get nice views from up there plus it's a very enjoyable walk (maybe less if super hot)
There is a bit of streetart around Girona. I have collected some for you
But the most famous one is La Cocollona by Erica il Cane.
"The cocollona story is an apocryphal legend, created by Girona designer, photographer and collector Emili Massanas. But it forms part of the local collective memory and we love it! It explains that in the Mercadal neighborhood there was a convent of nuns who were not the most devoted of their kind. However, among them was a novice with a true religious vocation who criticized the life the sisters led. To stop having to hear her reproaches, the other nuns locked her up in an underground cell of the covent for many years, until, as a result of the dark and humidity, she turned into a crocodile. However, thanks to her devotion, from her back emerged two amazing butterfly wings in beautiful colors, transforming her forever into La Cocollona." (Source)