I wasn't aware of the existence of this city until I had to book a ticket from Barcelona to Moscow. Many ticket aggregators showed a few very cheap options but they also showed warning icons nearby them, informing me that a departure airport is not exactly in Barcelona but in Girona, a little town nearby. That was the first time I heard about this city and I decided to spend a few nights there before coming back to Moscow.
How to Get to Girona From Barcelona
There are many ways to get to Girona and I decided to use a train. I always give preference to a train commute, where possible, because it's extremely convenient to get from a city center A to a city center B without complex airport check-ins and having to negotiate with nasty taxi drivers.
Luckily for me, a railway station I needed was within a walking distance from my hostel in the city center. That's one of the greatest features of Barcelona: anything you would need is just a walking distance away. This railway station is called Barcelona-Sants and it's located nearby Plaça d'Espanya. You can buy a ticket on arrival with one of the station's payment terminals. I was a bit surprised with a price of €32 for a 40 minute ride and the ticket class was suspiciously marked as “tourist”. I didn't have time to check what does it mean but I guess it's some kind of price discrimination for foreigners which is not uncommon in many countries and I'm sure that the Spanish people pay much less for the same rides.
The railway station of Girona is conveniently located nearby the city center so it would probably take you no more than 15 minutes walking to check in to any hotel or hostel in the center of Girona. As I walked to my booked apartment, I had crossed the most popular place in Girona: a small river with a few crossing bridges:
One of those bridges was made by the Eiffel company and it's not hard to find out which one: it looks somewhat like the Eiffel tower. The area nearby those bridges is very popular in the evenings and you can find a lot of shops, cafes and restaurants there.
Girona City Walls
The city center of Girona is surrounded by walls and they offer great views on the city:
All of the action happens on the main streets of Girona, at both ends of the bridges. The “internal” side of the city is older and more popular and the “external” side is more modern and it's packed with a lot of commercial buildings and condos.
I liked the “old” side of the river more: it has a lot of bars and cafes with their tables outside and it also has a few bookshops with quite an interesting selection of books. One of the books I've found really interesting is “History of Catalonia” by Sobrequés i Callicó, Jaume. The author neatly explains the reasons for Catalonia's struggle for independence and this book also filled a few gaps in my knowledge of the history of Spain starting from the age of crusades up until the years of Franco's dictatorship.
Getting to Girona Airport
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Girona airport is to ride a bus from the train station. The bus terminals are located at the basement floor of the station, so you have to enter the station first and then take the elevator down. It's possible to pay cash inside the bus so there is no need to buy a ticket in advance.
Girona is a nice city to visit for a couple of days. It's one of those places that is really great to stay at, until you understand that there is nothing else to see and it's time to move on. I would definitely check Girona again if I happen to be in this part of Spain in the future.