Gerona information

Introduction to the Province of Gerona
The province of Gerona, also known as Girona, is part of Catalonia and is the most north easterly province in Spain, bordered by France to the north and with a Mediterranean coastline (the Costa Brava) along its eastern flank. Its interior largely comprises a Pyrenean landscape and so the province of Gerona offers a wide variety of sights, attractions and leisure opportunities.

Gerona City
Gerona is a beautiful mediaeval capital city, all too often overshadowed by nearby Barcelona, which warrants a thorough exploration and will not disappoint.

The city is divided down the middle by the River Onyar and Gerona’s two sides are connected by a series of pedestrian bridges, one of which was built by Gustave Eiffel, he of the Tower fame. The riverbanks are colourfully lined with orange and lemon painted houses dating from the Middle Ages. On the old side of the city, you’ll find Gerona’s huge and imposing Cathedral, with a flight of 17th Century steps leading up to its doors. Nearby is the church of Sant Feliu whose tower was truncated by a lightning strike in the 16th Century and has never been replaced and Gerona’s 13th Century Banys Arabs or Arabic Baths near here are also well worth visiting.

Gerona’s Jewish quarter, the Call, is the best preserved such example in western Europe. From the 9th until the 15th centuries this area of the city was home to hundreds of Jews but they were virtually forced to live separate lives from the remainder of Gerona’s citizens. Gerona is believed to be the place where the Kabbalah school of thought started. Visit the Museu d’Historia dels Jueues (Jewish Museum) to find out more about the fascinating history of Gerona’s Jewish population.

Gerona is a wealthy place and you will find designer shops and boutiques throughout the city. The Rambla Llibertat, beside the river, is the main shopping area and holds Gerona’s colourful flower market on Sundays. In May, Gerona hosts an incredible extravaganza of flowers, the Temps de Flors, when the whole city is transformed by blooms crafted into the weird and wonderful sculptures.

For eating and drinking head for the Placa Independencia. See below for more on the gastronomy of Gerona.

The award winning and hands on Museu del Cine (Cinema Museum) has amazing exhibitions and collections relating to the world of cinema.

Around Gerona City and Beyond
The Costa Brava has some great beaches and seaside destinations. Port Bou (near the French border) has just a small pebbly beach but is a pretty place, L’Escala is an appealing resort, Tamariu is uncrowded, Tossa de Mar is a developed but still attractive resort with three beaches, Lloret de Mar is unashamed holidaymaking and Blanes is a real town with a sandy beach.

Inland, the towns of Figueres, Banyoles and Ripoll should be on your list of places to visit. Figueres is famed for its Museu Dali (Salvador Dali Museum), which will appeal to all. Banyoles, situated on a large lake is an attractive place to stop off at if you’re bound for the Pyrenees. Ripoll is a superb place to base yourself for walking in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

The Natural Park of Cap de Creus and of course the Catalan Pyrenees provide ample opportunity for getting back to nature. The Pyrenees are of course a great skiing destination in the winter.

The Gastronomy of Gerona
The cuisine of Gerona draws its influences from the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains inland. No regional speciality typifies this more than Mar I Muntanya, the region’s version of surf ‘n’ turf, which could mean pork with crab or lobster with chicken and any variety of unusual combinations on that theme. Rabbit (Conejo) is a popular dish, maybe served grilled with rosemary (Romero). Try the anchovies (Anchoas) from L’Escala, which are renowned. You will also find plenty of dishes that use rice and mushrooms in their preparation.

Sweet specialities of the region include Xiuxo, a cylindrical pastry filled with cream or custard and Bizcocho de Frambuesas, an alcohol laced cake, topped with raspberries.

Ratafia is virtually the “national” drink of Gerona, a sweet liqueur made from green walnuts, nutmegs and aromatic herbs. And don’t forget the lovely cavas from here, such as Recaredo, for a real treat.


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