Sunday, 26 October 2014

Introducing colourful Girona - a town with character

I'd like to introduce you to the colourful town of Girona, located a little bit more than an hour away from Barcelona. You can easily get there with the train (I paid 24€ for a return ticket), and you'll also enjoy views of the gorgeous Catalan countryside on the way. Girona is famous for the Ryanair airport, that's for sure, but also for these picturesque houses along the river Onyar, and for the charm of its cobbled streets.
The famous houses on the river Onyar

There's actually a story behind these iconic colourful houses, which are the most photographed part of Girona. They were built throughout the centuries, but it was only in the twentieth century they were painted according to a specific palette of colours, created by painter Enric Ansesa, James J. Faixó and the architects Fuses and J. Viader. Nowadays they look like they are crumbling, but they are altogether pretty beautiful. You could literally spend hours taking pictures of them from different bridges and angles, or waiting for the perfect light to catch their beauty with your camera lens.
The colourful houses along the river Onyar from up close
There are several bridges that cross the river Onyar, one of them a bright red iron bridge designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel, and simply called "Pont de Ferro" ("Iron Bridge"). 

The "Eiffel Bridge" on the river Onyar
I enjoyed walking Girona's silent cobbled streets, wondering what I would find behind the next corner. Girona is a town of houses made of stones and walls covered with ivy, with staircases that always lead to churches with imposing portals.

The portal of a church in Girona

The Romanesque monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants was one of my favourite buildings in town, with its beautiful octagonal bell tower.

Tower of the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants

Girona could almost be in Italy, with its narrow streets, its open-air restaurants, and most of all its medieval charm. At the end of October the weather was still pretty good, and there were very few tourists, most of them Spanish.

Streets of Girona

Girona was also an important centre of Jewish culture in Catalonia, before Jewish people were expelled from Spain in 1492 by the famous "Reyes Católicos" Isabella and Ferdinando. Nowadays, you can visit the Museum of the History of Jewish People. Unfortunately, when I visited it was closed. The medieval quarter where they used to live, called Call, is one of the best preserved in Europe, even though it is a bit difficult to understand where it begins and where it ends.

As I've noticed in other towns across Catalonia, you can gaze at churches from weird angles, for examples from under a steep marble staircase, as in the case of the "Escalera de San Martín" (Saint Martin's Staircase) in the following picture.

A church portal in Girona

Isn't Girona a pretty town? Would you like to visit?



  1. I would definitely like to visit Girona Town. It's so pretty! And I like the crumbling look the houses have been given.

  2. That's beautiful! I definitely want to check it out.

  3. It's so incredibly pretty! I love those houses. Your photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels :)


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