March 1, 2012 - Posted by Erin in Spain, Travel, Travels in Europe, Travels in Spain

Colorful hanging houses that line a bridge-crossed canal? Girona tourists might do a double take thinking they’ve made a wrong turn, ending up in Venice or Spain’s capital of hovering homes, Cuenca. But what a lovely wrong turn that would be, as this Catalán town – just over an hour away from Barcelona – will capture your traveling heart.

I’m no stranger to the cities and villages that crisscross the Iberian Peninsula. I never tire of them, but at the same time, many of them do start to look a tad similar, right down to the darling grandpas with their canes and messenger caps.

Girona caught my attention, though. It was love at first sight. Un flechazo, as they say in Spanish.

And I fell hard for the over-2000-year-old city with switchback streets that stagger across the hillside. Over the river, between warm-hued buildings, and up the never-ending steps of the gothic cathedral (previously the site of an even older cathedral that once served as a mosque) – I was enamored of my new Catalán discovery.

From the cathedral, we slithered down alleyways, under arches and into one of the largest preserved Jewish quarters in Europe. Then we trekked over bridges, and past cozy cafés that summoned my friend Cheryl and me to stop for a much-needed caffeine boost. The refuel would have to wait, though.

Locals indulging in their primera copa mingled in the streets outside bars, teasing our growling tummies and wine-deprived taste buds. Little did we know we were on the verge of a nine-course meal – one that would seal the deal on my Girona love affair. But, as usual, I must reserve discussion of food for a separate post, or risk going on an all-too-common tangent….a tangent about mind-blowing jamón cream sauces or, I don’t know, artichoke hearts (which until two weeks ago, I hated) nestled in a sweet sobressada that tasted so good it nearly brought me to tears. Yes, this must wait for another post.

Following our feast, we returned to our rustic countryside villa, nestled below a castle-topped hillside, along an orchard of trees. I thought I’d met the one – THE pueblo – until the next day, when I was introduced to Cacaqués.

Disclosure: I traveled through Catalonia as a guest of Charming Villas Catalonia. Rest assured that I’m keeping it real – all opinions are entirely my own.

8 Responses to “Falling for Girona”

  1. Rachel Says:

    When I was studying abroad in Barcelona, we took a day trip to Girona. I, too, fell in love. For awhile I daydreamed about going to the Universitat de Girona for grad school, but now I’m going to law school instead. But mark my words, one day I’ll make it back to that enchanting city, even if just for another day trip 🙂

  2. Kaley [Y Mucho Más] Says:

    Loveeee the final pic!

  3. EurotripTips Says:

    Girona was indeed a beautiful place, and definitely surprising!

  4. Erin Says:

    All this talk of how fabulous it is – I just want to go back already!

  5. Judit-Corina @WineDineDaily Says:

    Gironda look so charming, we wish we could indulge in “primera copa” too.

  6. Cheryl Says:

    Aww, Erin thanks for the mention! We need to hit up more cafes in the future.

    Your photos are so beautiful. You make me want to head back to Girona right now. 🙂

  7. jan Says:

    What a lovely post. Your photos have captured me. I will be in Barcelona for five days in nine days time (but who is counting!). Now I am thinking of doing a day trip to Girona. I sure hope the strikes do not cause chaos while I am there. Is train the way to go?

  8. Erin Says:

    You should definitely considering heading to Girona – 100% worth it. As for the train, I do believe that’s the best option – not because I did my own research or anything, but because the people who arranged our trip (and who live there), told us that getting there by train would be best. Not only was it very easy but, as I recall, it was quite cheap as well.

    Have a marvelous trip!!

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