This is part 10 of the series on San Sebastian, Girona, and Barcelona, Spain. Other parts of this series (as they become available) can be found at this link.G
Girona is a small, Catalonian town located about a 40-minute express train ride from Barcelona. It’s a beautiful city, with an old city wall with lookout towers, gothic churches, and a river that cuts through the city. In fact, parts of Games of Thrones was filmed here because of its untouched, timeless appearance of another time.
We stayed in Girona for two days largely because we had secured a reservation at El Cellar de Can Roca, twice voted Number one restaurant in the world according to World’s 50 Best, and now inducted into the Best of the Best list, together with El Bulli (now closed), The French Laundry, The Fat Duck, Noma (original), Osteria Francescana, and Eleven Madison Park.
Bookings for El Cellar de Can Roca open 11 months in advance and essentially sell out within about 5 minutes. Our good friend Peter (Bryan’s best friend from childhood), secured a reservation for a table of six and then found people to join him. We were one of the lucky six.
There’s no question that the food is a major reason to come, and we loved all of our meals in Girona. However, it’s also just a wonderful place to explore and get lost.
Hiking the Old City Wall
The old city wall is fun to climb and walk. It’s certainly the place to go for the best views of Girona, and you can get some amazing photos (without even really trying) if you come during sunrise or sunset.
You can do the walk in about an hour or so, during which you can climb up to several different lookouts for different perspectives of Girona.
Can Roca Family
The Can Roca family have been in Girona Spain for quite some time. Three brothers run El Cellar de Can Roca, but their parents also have a more casual restaurant nearby. In fact, the brothers will still have staff meal at the parents’ restaurant.
Additionally, the youngest brother and dessert chef, Jordi Roca, also has opened a number of casual ice cream shops, called Rocambolesc. The dessert shop offers simplified versions of ice cream “sundaes” inspired by the high end desserts he makes at the restaurant. You can make your own ice cream (there is a whole bar of toppings), or you can enjoy one of the pre-designed offerings.
Enjoy fun, sometimes irreverent-shaped popsicles of different flavors. The signature popsicle is shaped after Chef Jordi's nose, which - for the record - is very large and something kids (and his family!) would tease him about when he was younger. Chef Jordi has embraced his big nose as a popsicle.
Other fun ones include a "bloody" hand (it's actually blood orange sorbet inside, and it's delicious!), a blueberry flavored Darth Vader, and a fun made-to-order ice cream filled pancake "pocket".
Wandering Girona Spain
Finally, it’s really just fun to explore the old city without much of a plan. I especially enjoyed the times when we just wandered around, snapping photos, and taking in the peaceful, laid-back way of life that is Girona.
We accidentally stumbled upon this famous stairway which was used in Game of Thrones.
The old cathedral is beautiful, and the cobblestone streets are charming and full of character.
You can spend hours getting lost, exploring all the fun alleyways and hidden streets. It is truly a beautiful little town. Of course, the food is top notch.
Definitely worth a visit!