Although winter may now be swift approaching, don’t let the shorter days or crisper weather put you off the idea of getting outside and taking a walk. The historic Girona has plenty to offer when it comes to city ambles and scenic strolls.
As with many of the older Spanish cities, to truly experience the architecture and atmosphere it’s best to head to Girona’s old town, Barri Vell, which dates back to the lower Palaeolithic period. Here you’ll find a mixture of Iberian, Roman and Moorish influences, and this varied and lively history is most evident in the maze of cobbled streets making up with the old quarter.
To reach Barri Vell, cross one of the many bridges from Eixample, the modern part of the city, and look down the River Onyar for one of the best known views in Girona. The tall, narrow houses that line the riverbank date back to medieval times and became even more of an attraction in 1983 when they were each painted in a different vibrant colour.
Once you’ve had your fill of wandering the narrow streets and marvelling at the magnificent architecture, stop for a bite in one of the old town’s many eateries or make your way to the Rambla and Calle Calderes to browse in the city’s eclectic boutiques.
It’s near impossible to visit Girona without a visit to the 11th century cathedral which looms over the entire city. After taking in the baroque beauty of this landmark, venture into ‘El Call’, the Jewish quarter of Girona which lies at the bottom of the cathedral. The Jewish community lived in this area for over 600 years and, when walking, make sure that your route passes the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta, (The Jewish History Museum), to see artifacts preserved from this era. Aside from this notable destination, the best way to soak up the immense history of Girona is to simply let yourself get lost in the labyrinth of streets – the cathedral’s spire will always act as your guide home.
Another great walk which will lead you to most of the city’s prominent attractions is the ‘Passeig Arqueològic’, or ‘Archaeological Walk’, along the Roman city walls. Start at the right end, near to the Church of St Feliu (Ex-Collegiata de St Feliu) and follow the wall round, stopping at the churches, museums, and, most importantly, the Arabic Baths that you pass on the way. This walk also features many vantage points that allow you to climb up higher for panoramic views of Girona and the mountains in the distance.