We were loving our two week vacation in Barcelona but decided to add to the adventure by heading out of town for the day with Juliette. We chose a town that only took 40 minutes on the high-speed train, looked adorable and where they shot scenes from Game of Thrones — what else could we ask for?
Girona is an adorable town about 100km Northeast of Barcelona. Known for its medieval architecture and its famous colored homes along the River Onyar, it was a great escape for the day.
How to get there
Girona is an easy trip from Barcelona. There are two options: high-speed train (AVE) or local train. The high-speed train departs from Barcelona Sants several times a day. The local train departs (and stops at) many train stations in the city which makes it more convenient but also about twice as long of a ride. We opted to take the metro to Barcelona Sants so the trip from there to Girona was only 40 minutes.
From the train station in Girona, it is an easy 15 minute walk into town. We didn’t need to take a taxi all day.
Where to buy train tickets
Renfe is the train company but it is tricky to buy tickets online, especially with a US or Australian credit card. Instead, we found it easier to buy them in Barcelona which you can do at a window or machine. The nice thing about the tickets is they give you an assigned seat and you can buy them in advance. They also gave us a ticket for Juliette even though children under four are free.
Where to eat
Just because Juliette doesn’t eat solids yet, doesn’t mean we didn’t venture out to find great food wherever we went. Girona is famous for El Celler de Can Roca twice named the world’s best restaurant, owned and run by the Roca brothers (check out the Chef’s Table episode about the youngest brother, Jordi). We couldn’t get a reso until 2020 and thought it may not be best with a baby. So we settled on some more pedestrian options — but they were delicious!
We started with a light brunch at La Fabrica Girona. We went here because the pictures were to die for. And it was just as beautiful and delicious as we hoped!
After a bit of strolling around town, we went to lunch at Mimolet. We ordered a beautiful pre fixe menu that was a seasonal special for 20 Euros. The food was creative and quite good.
We timed lunch so that Juliette would have eaten and just fallen asleep when we sat down. But babies don’t always operate on our schedules and she decided to wake up as soon as we ordered our food. We took turns walking her around the street outside to lull her back to sleep between courses. Finally, she made it clear she wasn’t going to sleep so she sat with us at lunch, which totally worked.
Bonus: The server was so patient and sweet with her and this restaurant even has a changing table in the bathroom!
After a bit more strolling we hit the most anticipated food stop of the day: Rocambolesc– – an ice cream shop created by the Roca brothers who were famous for their restaurant in town. So, although we couldn’t go to their restaurant, we had a taste of their desserts. These flavors are so unique. They have popsicles, pints and soft serve — along with incredible toppings. I had their seasonal special: Soursop and jasmine swirled with blueberry and violet. I got rose beads on top. Seriously.
- Restaurants may have small windows for serving lunch (one we went to had a window from 1:00-2:30pm), so plan ahead.
- Many dinner places do not open until 8:00pm so keep that in mind if you need to get a train back to Barcelona.
Walking, walking, walking
We walked A LOT in Girona. It is a small city so very easy to see most of it on foot. Although there were lots of babies around town (in carriers and strollers), it was at times tricky with a stroller and we had to be a bit strategic with our walking navigation.
- Wear good walking shoes. We were on our feet all day and the uneven streets made it even more important to have good shoes.
- Be aware that there are a lot of stairs in the old town! We were still glad to have had our stroller, but there are a lot of stairs and every street is cobblestone — so a lot of bumping. Pick up a map from the tourist office by the river which shows which streets have stairs so you can navigate more effectively. This was hugely helpful!
- Enjoy the bridges. There are a few bridges that stretch over the River Onyar and are iconic in pictures of Girona. They also are great spots to capture photos of the colorful apartments along the bank. Note: There are stairs leading up to some of the bridges, but we just carried the stroller up and down and it wasn’t too bad.
- Upon the advice from the tourist office, we attempted to go walk along the Girona wall. We were told there were two entrances that only had “a few” stairs. We walked for ages all over the hill at the top of town looking for these entrances and never found them. About two hours later, we found ourselves at the base of one tower (with lots of stairs) and took turns walking up just to see the view and then came back down. Maybe you’ll have better luck finding this entrance than we did. If you don’t have a stroller, this looks like an awesome thing to do!
Game of Thrones
They shot many scenes from Game of Thrones in Girona, specifically in Kings Landing and Bravos. Of course we had to find all of them.
It was a long day for us but we were so glad we did it. We considered spending the night there but one (full) day was plenty for to explore and make it home — all three of us ready to sleep!
Have you been to Girona? Do you have other favorite day trips outside of Barcelona? Comment below.
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