The medieval city of Girona bears historical roots in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures. Only 30 minutes by high-speed train from the Catalonian capital, this historical hub proves to be a true crossroads of religion and culture. Our Girona Tour, designed as a day trip from Barcelona and led by a historian, will reveal the secrets of this historically rich city and help to better understand why it makes such an impressive cultural impact.
Meeting our docent at the station in Barcelona, our introduction will start on the train, where the docent will put the social and cultural history of Girona into context and explore the pivotal role this city has played in the story of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Upon arrival, we'll enter the city with a stunning view of Girona's colorful apartment blocks that line its river and overlook Gustav Eiffel's (yes, that Eiffel) famous bridge. Passing through the city gate and into the historic center, we'll begin to trace the religious roots planted in Girona's enchanting, narrow cobble-stoned streets.
Muslim and Jewish Influences
In an attempt to uncover how Islamic culture influenced Girona, we may start with a visit to the 12th century Moorish bath. We’ll duck into the entryway to see the exceptionally preserved central pool covered by a cupola, and navigate our way through the ruins of the Banys Àrabs. We’ll then make our way through the Jewish Quarter, which was home to nearly 150 Jewish families until their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Today it remains very well preserved, containing a web of narrow medieval alleyways winding through the ancient neighborhood. While navigating these serpentine streets, we may be on the lookout for mezuzos, enclosed parchment attached to door frames that are a mark of faith.
From here we’ll continue our route, climbing up to the Basilica of Sant Feliu, a prominent structure nestled into Girona’s old city. We may venture into the interior of the basilica, and discover a celebrated sculpture of a recumbent Christ, by Spanish artist Aloy de Montbray, as well as 4th century early Christian and pagan sarcophagi. Continuing up the stoned pathways, we’ll arrive at la Catedral de Girona. An impressive structure featuring the hallmarks of varying architectural styles, this cathedral is home to the sacred chapel of Narcism, the patron saint of Girona, and to the magnificent 11th century Tapestry of the Creation, unanimously considered to be a true masterpiece of medieval artwork.
By the end of our tour we'll have a better idea of the intertwining Jewish, Christian, and Muslim narratives that shaped the history of Girona. We'll leave you (with tickets for your return to Barcelona) free to explore the rest of this quaint city on your own.
Note: We do not include a break for a full lunch on the tour. There will be a pause mid-excursion for a short snack. Your docent can recommend lunch restaurants in Girona for after the walk, should you choose to take the later train back to Barcelona.
Where does it meet? Where does it end? We meet in Barcelona Sants Train Station. The tour ends in Girona.
Will you buy train tickets? Yes, we will pre-purchase the round trip train tickets. Your expert will have them on hand when you meet at the station.
I have mobility difficulties. Can I take this tour? This excursion is fairly walking-intensive, and some sites in Girona are unfortunately not very wheelchair-accessible. Please contact us if you have mobility concerns and we would be happy to advise on the appropriateness of the tour.
Will there be time to explore Girona on my own? We encourage you to spend time in the city after the walk. Please let us know during booking which return train you prefer (3:11 pm or 5:11 pm). Your expert will likely return on the 3:11 pm train. NOTE: There are later return options; if you'd like an even later return, please contact us to hear about other options.
Does the 6 hour duration include train time? It includes the train ride to Girona, but not the train ride back. Some clients like to stay in Girona and explore on their own for a while.