Don´t you just love it when your mountain bike base has more to offer than just awesome trails? Imagine returning back to your base and riding into a beautiful, medieval city with plenty of opportunities for sightseeing and a cold beer. If you think that sounds pretty good, the city of Girona in northern Catalonia, Spain is the place to be. This city is conveniently located between the Costa Brava and various attractive natural parks with plenty of mountain bike opportunities such as in Les Gavarres. However, besides the abundant mountain bike trails in this area, Girona has a lot more to offer.
The rich history of Girona and the 25 sieges this city faced, are still clearly visible. It is therefore no wonder that Girona served as the décor for Games of Thrones. In addition to the cultural sights, is Girona also know for its gastronomy and accessibility. This makes Girona not only a great base for your mountain bike holiday in Spain but also for exploring one of the country’s most beautiful regions. From the sights you can’t miss to the nicest places to eat, I walk you through the best things to do in Girona.
The historical and cultural sights
Girona has a long history with influences from Napoleon to the Moors and the Romans. Luckily many of these historical influences are still evident in this city, such as the Girona Wall. The wall was first built by the Romans and expanded over time. Thanks to restoration work, the wall is in good condition and definitely on the list of top things to do in Girona. Besides the rewarding walk over this cultural sight, you also get to enjoy some of the best vantage points of Girona’s beautiful skyline. Along the city’s skyline you will notice the Girona Cathedral which is also worth a visit.
One the most remarkable aspects of Girona is the great condition of the old Jewish Quarter. Especially considering the fact that the Jews were expelled by Catholic Monarchs around the 15th century. At its heyday, the Jewish Quarter of Girona also know es El Call, was one of the largest in Spain. Today, it is without a doubt amongst the most photogenic areas of Girona, full of picturesque alleys and secret gardens.
The city of Girona is filled with many interesting sights. Other recommendations include for example the Arab Baths which are located just around the corner of your LBS, Dosofftrack. For fans of Games of Thrones, the Arab Baths, the Girona Cathedral and the Archaeological Walk will look familiar from the series’ 6th season that was filmed here. Also don´t miss out on a beautiful stroll along the waterfront of the Onyar River. The fact that Girona is not only a great mountain biking destination but also a beautiful city, makes it such an interesting base for your mountain bike holiday in Spain.
Where to eat & drink
Start your day of sightseeing or mountain biking with a good cup of coffee at either Espresso Mafia or La Fabrica. The latter is a popular choice amongst bikers and also a great option for breakfast. After a day of sightseeing and/ or mountain biking there is nothing more rewarding then a nice cold beer at one of the cosy bars around Plaça de la Independèndencia. For dinner, there are also plenty of options in Girona. From more traditional tapas restaurants, to gastrobars and exclusive restaurants, you will not go hungry in Girona.
Without a doubt the most famous restaurant in Girona is Al Celler de Can Roca. A dinner at this exclusive restaurant requires a reservation months in advance and has a substantial price tag. For a more budget-friendly option you can visit the place where the famous Can Roca brothers began their culinary journey: Restaurante Can Roca. This restaurant belongs to their parents and is the place to enjoy typical homely Spanish food for a very friendly price. Other great options are La Pedra, a cosy tapasbar in Old Town famous for their delicious homemade croquetas or El Vermutet Can Gombau for a glass of homemade vermouth. For something a bit more adventurous, try Cúrcuma. This restaurant is renowned for its innovative tapas dishes that go beyond the standard patatas bravas.
Trips from Girona
The city of Girona is located only 30 minutes away from the famous Costa Brava. Here you will find a variety of coastal towns with each their own character. You have the more typical tourist destinations such as Patja d’Aro, Blanes and Lloret de Mar. However, if you are looking for an off the beaten tracks seaside town, Begur is the place to be. Also the coastal towns of Calella de Palafrugell and L’Escala are worth a visit.
A little bit further north you will find the charming coastal town of Cadaqués. This beautiful white-washed town served as inspiration for one of Spain’s most famous artists, Salvador Dali. Close to Cadaqués lies the beautiful Cap de Creus Natural Park, which also offers great mountain bike trails with even more rewarding views. Lastly, you shouldn’t miss out on a trip to one of Spain’s most lively cities: Barcelona. From Girona it is only an hour drive or just 39 minutes by train to this famous city with plenty to explore.
Where to stay
Girona offers several bike-friendly accommodations where you and your bike will have a comfortable and above all, safe stay. If you prefer to stay in hotels, consider Hotel Nord 1901 or for example Hotel Peninsular. If you don’t mind spending a little more, Hotel Historic is a great option. This bike-friendly hotel is a favourite of Lance Armstrong and is beautifully located in old town. If you would rather go camping, a few kilometres outside of the city centre you will find a camping with swimming pool. The best part of choosing Girona as your base, is that from every accommodation you will easily access the mountain bike trails in the area.
How to get there
One of the best parts of Girona is its accessibility. The airport Girona-Costa Brava is located at just 13 kilometres from the centre of Girona. The centre is easily reachable with the bus or a taxi. Another option is flying into the Barcelona Airport. From here you can take the bus straight from Barcelona airport to Girona. Another possibility is to take the fast train from Barcelona into Girona, which takes only 39 minutes and costs just 25 euros. With these great transportation options, there is no excuse not to choose Girona as your base for your mountain bike holiday in Spain.
Thanks to the amazing mountain bike trails around Girona and the abundance of sightseeing opportunities, this city distinguishes itself from your average MTB base. Additionally, you can also easily access some of Spain´s most beautiful beaches and discover the famous city of Barcelona. The abundance of accommodation and the many nice places to eat, add to Girona´s appeal as mountain bike destination. With plentiful things to do in Girona you will not only discover the amazing trails but also a typical Spanish city.