In what will be a series of posts, I am chronicling my trips outside of Barcelona in a bid to explore more of Catalunya’s beautiful countryside, towns and coastline. Catalunya (in Catalan, Cataluña in Spanish, or Catalonia in English) boasts a spectacular variety of treasures to unearth, and if you are spending more than a weekend in Barcelona there are plenty of incredible places to visit within easy reach of the city.
My first stop was Girona, in particular during the yearly Flower Festival called Temps de Flors which takes place in May. The pretty streets, riverside houses, architecture and old city walls of Girona are all worth a visit in their own right, but the Flower Festival adds another colourful dimension.
Having said that, the crowds do tend to visit during this time, in particular during the afternoon, so if possible make yours a morning visit to see the best of the festival before everyone else. For me a day trip was sufficient, and it made a very pleasant change to the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, despite the afternoon crowds. I still managed to find a quiet spot to enjoy an ice-cream by the river, which is essential for any holiday!
Girona takes just under 40 minutes on the Ave fast train from Barcelona, and costs from 25 euros for a return journey. The trains run pretty frequently, but do check the service first as some trains have a two hour wait before the next one. There are a huge variety of accommodation options around the city if you prefer to stay overnight instead of return to Barcelona. I stayed at the Peninsula, located between the station and the old town so within walking distance of everything you need. The hotel public areas are recently refurbished, although not all the bedrooms are, and the single room I booked was basic but adequate, and the staff friendly.
A myriad of dining options are also on offer as you would expect; I had a coffee in a cafe at the base of the cathedral steps which was reasonably priced especially for the pleasant location, and ate lunch just by the Church in the Riverside Cafe, where the food was good and not expensive, but the service did leave a lot to be desired. I must admit when I travel alone I always find it hard to choose restaurants as I feel a little uncomfortable dining alone, so if you have any recommendations please do share them!
For the rest of the day I wandered the streets, checking off the flower displays on my map from the tourist information, and taking pictures!
All photographs and content copyright of Claire Sturzaker © and Tales of Barcelona.