Everyone loves a freebie, so I’m kicking off my posts on my recent travels with the top 10 free things to do in Girona, Spain!
I recently spent about a week in Girona, enjoying a mini reunion of my international student friends from last year. Two of these lovely ladies go to university in Girona. Alexia also happens to have lived in Girona her whole life so I’m not short of expert opinion when it comes to this list of free things to do in Girona. To even further boost the reliability of this post, I’ll also mention that my friends both study Tourism… making them the ideal hosts and ultimate sources of information on 1) tourist-worthy and 2) free things to do in Girona ;P
And if you’ve never heard of/thought of visiting Girona before – Girona is a city in Catalonia, about an hour north of Barcelona. I hope my photos and tips can be a little tour guide for you, just as Alexia and Angela were for me!
1. Walk across the Eiffel Bridge
Girona’s jewel is the Eiffel bridge, which although it was designed by the same Gustave Eiffel as Paris’ Eiffel Tower, with a similar aesthetic, is understated just like the rest of the city. TripAdvisor seems to bash it for its humble appearance, but I loved the Eiffel Bridge’s simplicity. As you walk across, make sure you get a quintessential photo looking at the colorful houses along the river Onyar through the bridge’s steel work!
Address: Pont de les Peixateries Velles, Riu Onyar, Girona, Spain
2. Explore Girona Cathedral (and Find the Witch!)
Girona has a sprawling cathedral which was built across seven centuries, so just looking at the varying styles of architecture from outside is interesting (without paying the 7 € entry fee). Make sure to spot the witch! Legend has it that one of the many gargoyles which spout rain water from the Cathedral’s top ledge is a witch who used to throw stones at the Cathedral. She was turned into a Gargoyle as punishment so no more curses would come from her mouth. She’s really there – see if you can find her!
Address: Plaça de la Catedral, s/n, 17004 Girona, Spain
3. Find the Game of Thrones Filming Sites
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, the whole city of Girona may seem eerily familiar – that’s because season 6 had many scenes filmed here (7 episodes in fact)! Its main use was as the town of Braavos, and maybe the most memorable spot is the stairs where Arya begged!!! This is a more exhaustive guide.
Address for the steps: Plaça de la Catedral, s/n, 17004 Girona, Spain (around the back of the Cathedral)
4. Walk the Medieval Walls / Passeig de la Muralla (and Find the Toilet!)
Girona was once a walled city, and now you can walk along the top of the remains of the medieval walls! The walls also host the very best view of the city, including the mountains beyond. We strolled along at sunset which was gorgeous. If you’re a weirdo like us – try to find the “toilet” along the far wall. It looks like a corner bench, but has a circular hole in it that you can see all the way down (hundreds of feet…) to the ground. Apparently this served as a 9th century toilet for the wall’s guards?!
Address: Carrer dels Alemanys, 20, 17004 Girona, Spain
5. Explore the German Gardens / Jardins dels Alemanys
Near the medieval walls, you can find the beautiful German Gardens, which in the spring is probably the most beautiful of the free things to do in Girona! We spent some time perusing the flowers, as it was late March and they were just starting to bloom!
Address: Carrer de la Muralla, 2, 17004 Girona, Spain
6. Explore the University of Girona
Whilst exploring the old town of Girona, definitely check out Universitat de Girona. This is where both my friends go to university, and of course (from an outsider’s perspective) I couldn’t believe how lucky they are to study in such a picturesque place!!! (I think they feel differently as you don’t appreciate the architecture as much when your head’s in a book in the library). There’s a gorgeous courtyard here that’s worth a wander through.
Address: Plaça de Sant Domènec, 3, 17004 Girona, Spain
7. Visit Independence Square
Back in the city center of Girona, Independence Square is a gathering place, surrounded by popular restaurants with sprawling al fresco dining areas. It’s a busy square, which commemorates the Spanish independence from the French. This takes on a new meaning now, though, as Catalonia vies for its independence from the Spanish…many of the buildings encompassing the Independence Square have Catalan Independence flags flying proudly.
Address: Plaça de la Independència
8. Eat the best Gelato in Spain from Rocambolesc
Okay, I’ve cheated a little with this one as it’s technically not free. Once you look in the window at the glorious gelato, the cute aesthetic, the gelato panini press (!!) and the rows of colorful toppings and sauces, you will HAVE to drop a few euros on a gelato. And if you’re gluten free like me, don’t worry. There are plenty of gluten free options at Rocambolesc (and the rest of Girona – read my full gluten free Girona guide here). But they say time is money, and I’m saving you time you could’ve spent looking for the best gelato in Spain because I’m telling you, this is where it’s at.
Address: Rocambolesc, Carrer de Santa Clara, 50, 17001 Girona, Spain
9. Kiss the Lion’s Butt
The hilarious and … highly hygienic (note sarcasm) legend is that if you kiss the lion statue’s butt, it will ensure that you come back to Girona. I, for one, had fallen in love with the city by this point so I made sure to pucker up and give the lion’s butt a big kiss. Luckily, of all the free things to do in Girona, this only costs your dignity!
Address: Carrer de Jaume Pons i Marti, s/n, 17004 Girona, Spain
10. Rub the Foot for Good Luck
One of the famous legends of Girona (they seem to have a lot of legends, don’t they?) is that Saint Narcis saved the city from a French army invasion. The French army opened Saint Narcis’ tomb to discourage the citizens, but out came millions of flies. The flies killed six French soldier per fly (powerful flies!) and saved Girona. Ever since then the fly has been a symbol of Girona. At carrer de les mosques (Fly Street) there is a statue of Saint Narcis’ foot, and apparently if you rub it you get good luck…
Address: Carrer de les Mosques, Girona, Spain
Thank you for following along – I hope this helps anyone going to Girona (especially on a budget!). As most loyal readers know, I’m not generally one for “top 10” lists but a list of free things to do in Girona seemed a lovely way to organize my initial thoughts on this city! There also doesn’t seem to be a ton of tourist information out there on Girona compared to other cities, and if I hadn’t had the wisdom of Alexia and Angela I definitely would have missed out!
Have you ever been to Girona? Any more tips for me?
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From what I can tell, Girona looks lovely, but was rather hard to read bc I think your images and text somehow got mixed up… #WanderfulWednesday
Uh Oh, I’m sorry about that! If you are viewing on mobile, the mobile theme is currently not working but hoping to have it working soon 🙂
It should be fixed now!!
Kissing the butt, rubbing the foot, finding the witch – there’s a lot of superstitious activities in Girona! I’d have to do all those if I took my kids plus the gelato! I didn’t know Eiffel had also designed a bridge. Girona looks beautiful with plenty of fun things to do and I always love a guide to free things! #WanderfulWednesday
Hahaha well…when you put it that way… 😛 Yes your kids would love it – I went to Girona for the first time when I was 8 and I’m pretty sure it’s what gave me the travel bug!
Hurray for free activities! As a traveller on a definite budget, I whole-heartedly approve of this post. 🙂
Free is ALWAYS best!
I have wanted to visit Girona since i saw it in Game of Thrones (I know, terrible reason!) And even more reason now, I love all the legends especially. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
It is a beautiful city and a beautiful region, I hope you get to go one day and sit on Arya’s GoT stairs!
Kiss the lion’s butt <– LOL! And why aren't there any wisteria plants in Houston?! I love seeing them in different cities!
Hahah I know right. I was like… do I have to? Yes, I had to. (And now, hopefully that means I can return!)
OK, that’s a story and a half! I kind of want them to have a statue of a killer fly instead, but hey, I guess a saint’s foot is just as good, right? #WanderfulWednesday
There were statues of giant flies plastered to the side of the wall on the street corner…but they looked more artsy than killer haha!
I’d love to explore more of Spain… I’ll have to add Girona to my list, looks awesome, seems like a great city to just wander around! #citytripping
Yes please do! Such a great wandering city!
So I thought the gardens were going to be my favourite pick… but then I saw the ice cream! My oh my!
There really is nothing better than having good friends to show you around! 🙂
It was AMAZING (the city, the friends, and… the icecream!)
Girona is a place I would love to visit. For some reason, I feels like I would like it more than Barcelona. I have heard about the famous ice cream on the city. Looks like it has to be the first stop during a visit. #wanderfulwednesday
If you’re into smaller cities and less overwhelming touristy-ness, then Girona is for you. I much preferred it to Barcelona (although I liked Barca too! Just SO touristy!). Yes the ice cream is theeee best, I’m so glad my friends took us there!
Perfect list and beautiful pics. You definitely covered all of the best things there are to do/see/eat in Girona! Thanks for linking to my GoT tour article. <3
My pleasure!! I wish I had gotten to do a GoT tour but I did my best!! Your post is great and I hope you get some traffic from this 🙂
These pictures are stunnnnning and make me want to hop on a plane right now!
Thank you so much Chelsea! Annnnd you totally should… it was only a 20GBP flight to get to Girona from the UK!!
Girona looks so incredibly beautiful, and I never would have known about it if it wasn’t for your post! I feel like I need to hop on a plane right now because that would be so awesome to see some filming sites of GOT! I’m so obsessed, and I totally recognize those stairs!
I’m glad I could introduce it to you then! I know – I’m not even an avid GoT watcher and even I recognized those stairs!!
Oh I would love to visit this part of Spain – so historical and culturally rich. Also these are fantastic tips on exploring the area for free and keeping the budget down – book marking this for future refernce
Oh yay, glad you’ve saved the post and I hope it comes in handy in the future!
Oooh the wisteria in that garden! You know I’m a fan… love all the little bits of info like the toilet on the walls and the witch story on the Cathedral. And just saying I will definitely kiss the butt of the lion if I visit, no embarrassment there!
It was alllll over the city and SO beautiful!
Girona looks like a lovely city! Especially those colorful houses by the river! Indeed the views from the bridge are beautiful! #wanderfulwednesday
Yes those houses are probably the quintessential view of Girona – absolutely gorgeous and all color coordinated 😉
Ooh one of my other blog friends I follow is visiting Girona, so this is the 2nd time I’m hearing about this lovely city in a week. And she posted a photo from that gelato shop too, and I was absolutely drooling!!
Oooh coincidence! Yes I think all of Girona flocks to that gelato shop – for good reason!!
This is very cool because I had just told a friend Girona was worth a visit.. based on nothing. Just rumours I heard. Now I can pass this on. Woo hoo! Thanks for joining #farawayfiles
Ohhh I’m so happy I can help! Thanks for sharing my post, I hope your friend gets to kiss the lion’s butt ;P
I’m so glad I read this I really know nothing of Girona! We’re going to Barcelona this summer so may have to squeeze in a visit! #farawayfiles
Ooh I’m so glad I could help then! Yeah it was literally just a 7 euro train journey (bought on the day) to get from barca to girona. So definitely worth it even just for a day visit! It’s totally different from Barca and shows you another side to the region 🙂
Well after that much walking, you really deserved some gelato!! Girona looks lovely!
Hahah yes a lot of walking indeed. Think I deserved a few gelatos ;P
I’m dying to get to Girona!! I seriously want to go back to Spain just to visit! Well there… and a bunch of other places … How amazing to have two friends studying tourism as your guides there … could you seriously see the city in a better way?! I’m pinning this for when I finally make it here one day- because I will! You’ve inspired me! 😀
Ahhh I can’t believe you haven’t been – Totally worth a return visit! I’m going to post quite a bit about it/the region over the next few weeks so hopefully it will all come in handy for you v v v v soon!!
Spain looks absolutely beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to visit! And that gelato, oh my that looks heavenly 😀 Amazing photos, such a gorgeous place 🙂
Gelato was probs the best part!!
Girona really looks beautiful. I love legends. I kinda feel that it draws the past into the present and gives a place more appeal. I hope kissing butt helps you get back 😉 if it doesn’t you still have a great memory.
Hahaha I hope so too!!
I want to visit Girona! This looks amazing and I love your ideas for free things to do. I’m bookmarking this!
Good – I hope you can get there some day soon, Sherri!!
Spain is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
Ah this all sounds amazing. I love a guide with all the free things to do in places. I have saved this for if I ever make it back to spain!
Yay!! I hope it comes in handy some day soon 🙂
I’m always looking for freebies in new places, so thank you!
Girona is lovely and I cannot wait to kiss the lion’s butt! BTW, that problem of your text and images being mixed up is still persisting 🙁
Ohhh noo 🙁 I added a new plug in so I think that’s the source of the issue… and it’s showing up for some people but looks fine for others. Thanks for letting me know!
I had never heard of Girona before but based on your pictures it looks absolutely lovely!! And I love the great ideas you have, helps with the finances!! 🙂
Yes it’s a bit under the radar but SUCH a lovely city and only an hour from Barca!!
Great guide! I want to visit Girona for the Game of Thrones filming locations, but now I have another reason: that delicious gelato! #citytripping
Ah, I love Spain! Girona looks lovely, and I always enjoy places so much more when I have a local to show me around. I think you learn so much more that way, plus it’s nice to have a personal connection to a place. Your ice cream looks AMAZING, definitely give you a pass for including that one 🙂 Also some of the pictures aren’t showing properly for me either (I’m on a laptop) 🙁
uh oh. What does it look like? Is the formatting mixed up or are some photos just not showing? It looks correct on my laptop and phone!
I really loved reading this post, Sarah, as I’ve recently been considering Girona as a place to visit and can see that it looks wonderful. I love the colourful buildings here and all those legends really add to the appeal – I’m sure we’d be kissing that lion’s bottom too! Great share for #FarawayFiles
Love Spain and I love doing free things, therefore I love this post! So useful! And what a cute little town!
I’ve only started hearing about Girona the last year or two and it definitely seems like somewhere I’d enjoy exploring. An old town with medieval walls and Eiffel’s architecture ticks a lot of boxes for me, and the fact that it was used for Game of Thrones is an added bonus. Perhaps next time I visit Spain. #wanderfulwednesday
You had me at Game of Thrones Filming Sites. I love this guide and I love that you included addresses too. Now that my job is to be a travel blogger I am noticing things like this!
THANKS FOR THIS! I will be using your blog on my trip.
Ahh that’s great, I’m so glad my tips could be helpful! It really does help having local friends, so I’m just happy I could share their knowledge 🙂 Have a great trip!
Hola, soy una chica andaluza y celíaca a la que le ha encantado tu blog. Muchas gracias por las ideas y por poner los sitios donde se puede comer sin gluten. Gracias! Un abrazo xxx
Hola! Muchas gracias for your comment. I am learning Spanish and it was very exciting to be able to read your comment. (I am better at reading than writing so did not write my reply in spanish!). I’m so glad to hear the article was helpful 🙂