You can't ride all day every day and even if you could, you'd be missing all that Girona has to offer. Whether you're coming with your family, a non-cycling partner, or you're looking to add some local adventures, take the time to explore all that Catalonia has to offer. Read our guide to get inspired!
Just on our doorstep is beautiful Lake Banyoles. Explore the 6km walking path, the weekend local artisan market, have a lakeside picnic, or enjoy drinks over the water at the best located cafe in town.
In our mind, however, the lake is nice to look at but better to swim in. The highly protected lake means the water is crystal clear. There are only 3 points of access to the lake for swimming. If you’re interested in distance swimming, you can enter through Club Natacio Banyoles to use their 500m buoyed swim line with change rooms, showers, and access to the rest of their facilities, including lounging space on the grass beneath the trees. If you’re more inclined just to cool off or let the kids play, further down the lake past the club there is a swimming point off the treed walking path. There are ladders from the banked grass into the water and a grassy, sun soaked area to enjoy a picnic with stunning views of the lake. The third way is through Banys Vells Cafe. During the summer months, the cafe has a swim area only accessible through the cafe. Enjoy lunch or a drink and take a dip. All three areas are lifeguarded during the summer months.
You might have conquered the climb by bike but the real “Rocacorba” is the sanctuary, located to the side of the main road toward the summit. Originally dating back to 1130, the remains of the castle can still be seen. The structure was rebuilt in 1428 after an earthquake but then fell into decline after the family fled during the 15th century peasant rebellion. The current sanctuary, constructed in the 18th century, was built on top of the previous church. You’ll also enjoy stunning views of the Pyrenees and the coast line.
With views of Lake Banyoles and the rolling foothills toward the Pyrenees, climb up the two viewing decks of Puig Clara. Only 3km from the lake, the trail can be steep in places but is well marked and the views are worth it.
In the City:
Medieval Girona has so much to offer in such a small area. From the Cathedral and Arab baths to the Jewish museum and the many culinary opportunities, explore the ancient walls and cobbles streets along the River Onyar.
There are architectural delights throughout the city and if you’re curious about the riverside homes, the Casa Masó, is one of the only ones open to the public. Designed by architect Rafael Masó (1880-1935), the house is set up how it would have looked when Masó lived there.
The most obvious and prominent attraction of Girona is the Catedral de Santa María de Girona but don’t miss the numerous other historical sites including the Benedictine monestry of Sant Pere de Galligants, the Arab baths, or Girona’s original cathedral, Basilica de Sant Feliu. Of course, if you feel like you’ve seen something before, it may have been a Game of Thrones filming location!
If you’re more inclined to just walk around and soak up the vibe, start in the Jewish quarter. The maze of cobbled alleys and stone staircases date back to the 12th and 15th centuries and will no doubt reveal some interesting places. Take a walk along the stoned wall at the back of the old town for great views of the city and cross the river on as many different pedestrian bridges as you can, including the famous Eiffel bridge (yes, the same designer of the Eiffel tower).
There are plenty of amazing restaurants with cuisines ranging from local Catalan to vegan and everything in between. For the cyclist, see and be seen at the cycling cafes including Espresso Mafia or La Fabrica; grab a meal at Federal or Rocacorba Cafe; or take a seat in the Plaça de la Independència and people watch with a local beer.
For the Foodie:
El Celler de Can Roca and Rocambolesc Gelateria, Girona
If you’re a foodie with the ability to make a reservation almost a year in advance, Girona is home to the legendary Michelin starred El Celler de Can Roca. Experience avante-garde cuisine from Joan and Josep Roca. Don’t have a reservation? Take a walk in the old town of Girona for gelato from the same chef at Rocambolesc. With quirky-shaped popsicles and smooth, tantalizing ice creams and sorbets, you might just do a second loop around the old town to justify another helping.
Enjoy the areas most outstanding products in dishes created by Pere Arpa. Ca l’Arpa is located nearby in Banyoles where you can enjoy exquisite dishes in the spirit of the good old family-run inns.
Locations don’t come better than Pont Vell. Enjoy a meal overlooking the 11th century Romanesque bridge in Besalu. The stunning view is only rivalled by the food which is prepared by chef Robert Mora who has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including El Cellar de Can Roca.
Places to See:
Santuari de la Mare de Déu del Mont: With a 360 degree view including Pyrenean peaks, Girona, Banyoles, and the coast on a clear day, it’s worth the drive up the narrow mountain road. Explore the church at the top and linger in the view by grabbing lunch at the summit restaurant.
Ruta del 7 Gorgs, Campdevànol: The “Route of 7 Gorges” is a 7.5km family friendly hike that starts in Campdevànol. You can easily spend the day meandering in the forest and following the route that will take you to seven different waterfalls where you can take a dip or even jump in at some spots.
Costa Brava: There are countless amazing beaches along the Costa Brava from Tossa de Mar to L´Escala, just take your pick. The beaches around the town of L’Escala offer a variety of different bathing options where you can enjoy the deep, clear turquoise water.
Towns to Visit:
Besalu: The impressive stone bridge into the historical stoned village is something special to walk across. Wander around the cobbled streets and enjoy a bite to eat with views of the bridge.
Castelfollit de la Roca: The incredible village perched on the cliff is an impressive sight. Wander inside and you’ll forget the sheer drop is so close. Grab an ale, stout, or fruit beer at Poch’s microbrewery or book a hot air balloon for views of the volcanic nature reserve, La Garrotxa.
Cadaquès: There is no better place to enjoy a seafood paella than in this stunning coastal town that inspired both Picasso and Dalî. With access to the natural park of Cap de Creus enjoy the beauty of the wild Costa Brava coastline as well.