Usually, my friends and I would arrange to travel somewhere in Ireland for a night or two of catching up, but when one of the girls proposed going to Girona in Catalonia Spain for a couple of days, I couldn’t resist.
In my early twenties, I spent almost two years living and working in Barcelona, and although I have flown into Girona before en route to Barcelona, I had never explored this city, or it’s surrounding areas before.
I was excited to jet off, we flew out from Ireland West Airport, Knock in County Mayo, and it was a pleasure to fly from this small, friendly and modern airport.
Rambla de la Llibertat & The Red Bridge
On arrival at Girona airport, we took a bus directly to the station in the city and walked the short distance to Rambla de la Llibertat in the city centre.
Rambla de la Llibertat has a lovely bustling atmosphere, and we had a delicious lunch here at the friendly Hyyge Cafe, sitting outside under green trees and stone arches.
After checking into our city centre apartment, we discovered the Red Bridge which crosses over the Onyar River which flows parallel to Rambla de la Llibertat, and through the centre of Girona.
The Red Bridge was constructed by Gustave Eiffel, who is the same person who built the Eiffel Tower. The views from the Red Bridge of both Onyar river and the buildings perched on its banks were charming and one of my favourite things about Girona.
Girona Cathedral & The City Walls
After spending some time on the Red Bridge taking in the beautiful views, we strolled on to visit Girona Cathedral, which was a filming location for Game of Thrones.
The cathedral is hugely impressive and dominates the Girona city centre skyline. We climbed its many steps and took a tour of the interior which features many alters to saints and beautiful ceilings and stained glass windows. The admission was €7 for an adult and was well worth it in my opinion.
Our final adventure of the day brought us on a walk along Girona’s medieval walls located beside the cathedral. The weather was still warm and sunny, and I enjoyed the views of Girona and the hills that surround the city from here.
We spent our first evening drinking sangria at La Terra, which is perched right on the banks of Onyar river with wonderful views of The Red Bridge, it was the perfect way to unwind and relax after a busy first day.
Besalu & Castellfollit de la Roca
Day two bought us on a day trip to Besalu, a medieval village about a 40-minute drive from Girona. Besalu’s impressive Romanesque bridge over the Fluviá river and the 11th-century monastery of Saint Paul are must-sees for any visitor. We also enjoyed walking through the villages narrow streets and having a look into the many artisan gift shops.
We stopped off for lunch at one of the cafes in Placa Prat de Sant Pere opposite the monastery. The food in Besalu was very reasonably priced, and we chose a menu of the day, including a glass of wine for about €15. After a relaxed lunch, we made our way onto the main street and ordered a taxi costing €25 to Castellfollit de la Roca about a 15-minute drive from Besalu.
Castellfollit de la Roca is a place of outstanding beauty. It is a small village lying on a basalt crag that was created thousands of years ago as a result of two rivers of lava flowing on either side of it.
The narrow main street brings you along the whole 1km stretch of the medieval village to a viewing area at the end with spectacular views of the surrounding hills.
After admiring the views, we descended on stone steps to a wooden bridge below to get more breathtaking views of the village and the basalt cliff face above.
By the time we got back to Girona that evening we were tired, but still managed to go out for dinner at Cafè CONTEXT Libreria and enjoyed some brandies and great music in the Sunset jazz club after that.
Tossa de Mar
After a great night out with a few brandies, we were all feeling a little bit delicate on the morning of day three, so we decided the best plan of action would be to go out for some brunch. Federal Cafe on Carrer de la Força was our choice of restaurant, and I was delighted to receive a big plate of delicious scrambled eggs and bacon with sourdough toast.
Once nourished, we decided to make the most of our last day on our break and headed off on another day trip, this time to Tossa de Mar. I was excited about having a refreshing swim in the Mediterranian, but first, we had to navigate two buses.
There was no direct bus from Girona, so we first travelled to Lloret de Mar, and took a connecting bus to Tossa de Mar from there. In total, the journey takes about an hour (not including waiting time for a connecting bus).
Tossa de Mar is a picturesque fishing village with a beautiful sandy beach and a lovely walk up to an ancient medieval castle with stunning views. After appreciating the vistas from all around the castle ruins, we headed to the small sandy cove of Playa Es Codolar for an exhilarating swim, what a brilliant way to end our day.
By the time we had our swim and a quick bite to eat it was getting late, so we travelled back to Girona for our last evening of relaxing before catching our flight back to Ireland the next morning.
We had a fabulous time, and I would recommend Girona for a girl’s trip or couple’s getaway. I’m already thinking of bringing Ronan here for a few nights away next year. There’s plenty to do and see in Girona over a couple of days, or even a full week if you go on some day trips.