Day Trips From Girona

The city of Girona has a rich history being occupied by the Romans, the Jewish community, Catholics and the French when it was conquered by Napoleon in 1809.

Barri Vell is the historic centre of Girona, stretching from Gran Via along the line of the medieval wall which was demolished in the 19th century to the Passeig de la Muralla.

The city’s main historical attractions include its Roman ruins, the charming small streets of its Jewish quarter (El Call), the Arab Baths, the ancient monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants and the magnificent cathedral which dominates the whole city from high above the Onyar River.

Some of the modernist buildings you can visit by the architect Rafael Masó (Girona, 1880-1935) include House Ribas Carehuet, street de la Força, 6/ House Masó, street Ballesteries, 29/ Pharmacy Saguer, street Argenteria, 20 and House Ensesa, street Barcelona, 70

It will take you at least couple of days to fully explore the city of Girona. But when you are ready to visit some of the nearby attractions you might like to consider day trips to Blanes on the Costa Brave, Figueres and Olot in the Pyrenees. Below are some details on how far they are from Girona and what you can expect to find there.

BLANES, COSTA BRAVA

Is 43km from Girona along the C-250, GIV-6703, A-2 / N-II and GI-600 motorways. Blanes was once a small fishing town and still retains some of its original charm.

The resort has a 4km stretch of coastline with wide sandy bays and small rocky coves, offering a good selection of water sports. It is a quieter resort than its neighbours Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar and the beaches are popular but not overcrowded.

Back from the seafront there is the Old Town steeped in history with ancient monuments, Gothic churches, fountains and shrines still standing as reminders of its colourful past. There is also a lively produce market held here every day.

The medieval castle of Sant Joan looks down on the town and its two botanical gardens which boast 11,000 different plant species including some of the most important collections of yucca palms, aloes and cacti in Europe.
If you climb on to Sa Palomera, passing the fishing boats which are washed up on the shingle beach, you will get some of the best views of Blanes.

To the north you will see a wide promenade with gardens which leads to the still busy fishing harbour where fishermen mend their nets and the sailors’ chapel of Nostra Senyora de L’Esperança is decorated with nautical themes. When the fleet comes in each evening the catches are auctioned in the fish market – and you can watch all this going on in the comfort of the upstairs bar and then eat the catch of the day at one of the harbour-front restaurants.

On Monday mornings the beach front promenade is transformed into a large outdoor general goods and clothes market and is a great place to find souvenirs and bargains. The specialty markets near the end of the promenade which are closes to the port feature the work of local artisans, baked goods, meats, souvenirs and fashion items.

FIGUERES

Is 47km from Girona along the C-250, N-11 and N-260 motorways.

It is the birthplace of the great artist Salvador Dalí and a very attractive town, with shops, open-air cafés and some majestic houses.

The Dali Theatre-Museum in the town centre has the distinction of being the largest surrealistic object in the world. The site originally housed the Municipal Theatre which was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. Where everyone else saw ruins, Dali saw an opportunity to create a piece of history and built his museum which currently houses approximately 1,500 pieces of art ranging from sculpture to painting and drawing, from engraving to photography and much more.

Some of the works being exhibited include Galarina, The Spectre of Sex Appeal, Atomic Leda; Rainy Taxi, the Mae West room and the figure of Gala.

The Dali Theatre-Museum is child friendly and a great way to spend an afternoon because it is crammed with optical illusions, stunning sculpture and unusual paintings.

OLOT

Is an 80km drive from Girona via the N-11A, C-66, E-15/AP-7 and A-26 / N-260 motorways.

It is an historic town of Olot situated in an area of dormant volcanoes, with the last eruption occurring 11,000 years ago. It does suffer from earthquakes with the last major one being in 1427 when the town was virtually destroyed.

During the 18th century Olot had a thriving textile industry which led to the Olot School of art which was founded by a group of local artists led by Joachim Vayreda. They produced some stunning fabrics decorated with coloured drawings which can be seen in the Museu Comarcal de la Garrotxa, in the 18th century Carrer de l’Hospici 8. Here you can also see a diverse range of paintings and sculptures by such local artists including Ramón Amadeu, Miguel Blay, Josep Berga I Boix and Joachim Vayreda.

The charming narrow streets of Olot’s old town are clustered around the Plaça Major and the Sant Esteve church, where you will find a number of small and unusual shops and art galleries. Nearby is the Rambla (Passeig Miguel Blay) which is an attractive walkway lined with smart cafés and tree-shaded tables for dining or having a coffee and watching the world go by. The 19th century Teatre-Principal and some fine Modernist architecture are on the Rambla.

Other places to visit in Olot include the Casal dels Volcans (House of Volcanoes) which describes the volcanic history of the town: the Jardí Botanic (botanical gardens), and the Museu Interactiu (Carrer Dr Zamenhoff), which is an interactive museum offering information on the bird and animal life in the area.