As I started visiting the place I had the feeling of having reached a tale land. The atmosphere, the colours, the buildings, the streets were all together charming.
The history of the city goes back with 2000 years, through The Força Vella, the roman foundation of the place (1st Century BC-10th Century AD) and the medieval quarter, mostly expanded in the 14th and 15th Century. An abundance of architectural styles can be found here from the beautiful streets with porticoed squares to the exuberant baroque and Noucentisme-style.
The Força Vella, or the Roman fortress, was built within an almost triangular perimeter, similar to an acropolis. This was the first wall of the city and remained unchanged for more than 1000 years, parts of it can still be seen today.
The Cathedral, the heart of the fortress took 7 centuries to be built, thus once reaching the 18th Century it already gathered a variety of styles like Romanesque, Baroque, or Gothic. The Gothic nave, built in the 15th-16th Centuries has a width of 23 m, being the widest of its kind in the world.
The Arab Baths, in the Romanesque style of the 12th Century, were inspired by the Roman baths system and have an entrance or the changing room, relaxation areas, the central pool with barrel vaults and cupolas supported with slim columns and decorated capitals.
Basilica of Sant Feliu was in fact Girona’s first cathedral until the 10th Century, bears the Gothic style and a slender bell tower with a mixture of Romanesque and Baroque, in different periods. With its castle-alike appearance it hosts remarkable works of art from both pagan and early Christians.
The Jewish quarter within the first city walls is quite emblematic for the area consisting of labyrinth of narrow streets and patios. The medieval atmosphere feels like having been trapped in time due to the well preserved buildings.
As Girona expanded its size, so did the city walls wit the medieval defence system of the 11th-15th Centuries. Protected with new ramparts with many visible and walking sides you can see the city from them. Various towers offer an excellent view over the city and lets you discover its past.
With passages, stair walks and streets meandering around the old city carries you around within the open-air architectural splendour. If you choose the path along the river Onyar, you will not be disappointed at all: colourful houses reflect and shine in the blue water offering an amazing game of colours. Bridges connecting the old side across the river have their charm too.
One of the legends of Girona mentions the lioness’s bottom which mentions that as a visitor to the area you have to kiss its bottom for showing that you want to come back to the city, if not even forever.
La Devesa Park worth a visit too. If you enjoy the walks within nature than the calm of this park can offer you the perfect place to do so.
Overall the spell the city throws on you as soon as you arrive is a beneficial one. Lots of museums, buildings, parks, free time activities and eating traps of chocolate wait for you to discover them.
Don’t be shy, give it a try!