Old Town Girona in Catalonia, Spain for Historic Travel

Old Town Girona Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)The Old Town of Girona in Catalonia, Spain is the best part of this Costa Brava city for travel lovers with historic or cultural travel interests.

Spain is, needless to say, replete with arts, culture, and a recorded history that spans back to before the Middle Ages.

Costa Brava and Catalonia in general is unique in Spain: Bordering France, the Catalonian language is distinct from Spanish (my high school level Spanish speaking ability failed me repeatedly here), Catalonia currently is fairing much better economically than the rest of Spain, and the region was the first in Spain to legally ban bullfighting outright.

This progress is interesting to see amid the centuries-old architecture. Girona, an ancient yet modern city, perhaps represents best the balance of the region as a whole.

Its ties to the past are best seen in the Old Town of Girona while the modernity of Girona, Costa Brava, and Catalonia as a whole are more evidenced across the River Onyar.

Onyar River Girona Costa Brava Spain (Jennifer Miner)

Girona Town Hall and several modern plazas are walkable from the train station. Cross the River Onyar, though, and leave the trappings of the 21st century behind you. Goodbye internet cafes, see you later!

As with every other European city with history tracing back to the expansion of the Roman Empire and the Medieval and Renaissance eras, the signs are obvious to a traveler when she sees them: Narrow streets, paved in cobblestone, with buildings crowding up the sidewalk, some in various states of decay and ruination.

The old Roman Wall, crumbling in sections, still creates a boundary between Old Town Girnoa and the city’s outskirts.

Roman Wall Old Town Girona Costa Brava Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)

An archeological walk, Arabian baths, the Jewish Quarter, the city walls and more make up Old Town Girona.

Old Town Girona Landscape Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)

Old Town Girona Costa Brava Spain (Jennifer Miner)

Jewish Quarter Old Town Girona Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)In the 11th century, Girona had a thriving Jewish community. In 1492, as historians know, the Spanish Inquisition drove the Jewish people from their homes and country — but today, in Old Town Girona, the Jewish ghetto is one of the best preserved in all of Europe.

Calle de la Forca, the main road during Roman times runs right through the Jewish Quarter — just as it was once the center of trade in Girona, it still has many merchants in today’s shops and stores.

Wandering around here can feel a bit poignant, as can be imagined. But today, this part of Old Town Girona is bustling, thriving, and humming with activity.

The enormity of what happened in the Jewish Quarter (also known as the Call Jeue) of Girona can weigh on a visitor.

To more fully understand the history and events of Girona, the Museum of Jewish History and Museum of City History both cover the pre- and post-Spanish Inquisition lives of Jewish Spaniards living here.

Jewish Quarter Old Town Girona Catalonia Spain (Pam Mandel)

Jewish Quarter Old Town Girona Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)

The Cathedral, built in the 12th and 13th century, has a Baroque Catalan style on one side, but otherwise is a well-preserved representation of the Gothic architectural style.

Also look for the Sant Feliu church, in which lay the tombs of Girona’s founders, and Sant Pere de Galligants. This 12th century church has an archaeological museum within its walls.

Girona Cathedral Costa Brava Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)

Old Town Girona Church View Catalonia Spain (Jennifer Miner)

There are a lot of terrific travel destinations in Spain, but if the Catalonian region of Costa Brava is on your itinerary, consider spending time in Old Town Girona.

It’s the ideal part of a beautiful area of Costa Brava to appreciate the history and modernity of Spain. For the historically inclined traveler, in fact, it’s hard to imagine a better place.

Jardins de John Lennon Old Town Girona Spain (Pam Mandel)

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The Old Town of Girona in Catalonia, Spain is the best part of this Costa Brava city for travel lovers with historic or cultural travel interests.

13 Comments on "Old Town Girona in Catalonia, Spain for Historic Travel"

  1. My husband and I are planning a pre-cruise in Spain next year before our SilverSea cruise ship travels from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale. From the culture and history that you’ve described, Girona sounds like a good option. I’ll keep our post in mind.

  2. There’s a series of mystery novels set in Girona featuring Isaac, a blind Jewish physician, by Caroline Roe, set in the 14th Century. One of his friends is the bishop, who lives next to the cathedral. Isaac lives in the Jewish Quarter. It’s so cool to see these places now after reading about them.

  3. Yvonne Condes | October 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    Wow. My husband and I went to Spain on our honeymoon. We spent a lot of time in Barcelona and also went to Sevilla, and Madrid. Would love to visit Catalonia one day.

  4. I’ve never been to Spain but I would to visit! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  5. You are ROCKING that red hat my love. Beautiful photographs.

  6. I just can’t get enough of Spain – Girona is still on the Spanish bucket list. Love the old Roman walls and towns…amazing how some have stood the test of time! Great photos.

  7. marvelous egypt travel | October 23, 2012 at 10:23 am |

    that’s awesome post
    am enjoyed reading it
    i blogged about something similar to this in my site

  8. Girona is indeed a very pretty place, unfortunately it is often overlooked, most people are just passing through the airport on the way to Barcelona.

  9. Girona is a favorite for The Scoopettes, and easy to get to living in Barcelona! In May, there is a flower festival in Girona in which the streets and buildings are covered in flowers! Worth it.

  10. I’ve only visited Barcelona for a few days and I loved it. I would love to go on a car trip to Spain to discover the small villages, taste the authentic food and meet the friendly Spanish people in the country. I did the same in France and I have unforgettable memories.

  11. I enjoyed wandering around the medieval stone buildings in the old part of Girona. The cathedral is certainly worthy of a visit and the Jewish area is rich in history. The newer part of town is a typical Spanish shopping area.

  12. Great post for a special place, Girona!
    I was there for a couple of days and I had two surprisese, one the old towns and the second a Spanish ham shop where I’ve eaten the best Spanish ham in all Spain!!! And I’ve travelled all aroun Spain! I’m a fan of iberico ham and I didn’t think they eat that in Catalonia… well they do! Check some info about ham: http://www.jamonarium.com/en/content/27-spanish-ham-pata-negra-bellota-serrano-iberico-iberian
    Wonderfull place, quite and with charm!
    Thanks for the post and the photos!!!

  13. Me and my husband will be visiting Barcelona Oct 1. We are thinking of taking a train from Barcelona to Figueres to visit the Dali museum and on way back we would like to stop at Girona. How far is the old town from the train station, is it walkable or we need transportation? We want to visit the Jewish Quarter and the cathedral.Any comments are appreciated.

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