We spent almost 5 weeks in Girona, but we didn’t just sit there the whole time. So, apart from our bike trips, here is a list of what we’ve seen around Girona. Be it the must see Sagrada Familia or the less known but beautiful historical towns around the region.
We didn’t want to go to Barcelona as we’ve already been there and there is so many more to see in the region. But we did have to check on the progress of building the Sagrada Familia. The entrance fee is 26 euro plus 10 euro per tower. If you want just one tower, definitely go for the Passion facade one. It is neccessary to book in advance, but the towers can be bought on site, at least in the less busy winter month. You have to download their app, the tickets get uploaded there and from the app, you can also listen to the audioguide. The system works very well, so you are through security quite quickly and can enjoy the cathedral in its whole splendidity. It is just awesome, awestrucking work of art and architecture and I felt so alive there. The game of art, the tree-like structure, the wide space,… Compared to my last visit in 2009, when only part of the interior was accessible, it is basically almost finished. The works are ongoing on the last facade and the central towers and they say it shall be finished in 2026. I am really looking forward to that.
Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery
It is a spectacular cycling climb, so we met there with Michal, who was on bike. The origin of the monastery is not known, but its first mention comes from 9th c. The remains are very well preserved and large, including the church, catacombs, some smaller chapels, cloister, tower, storage and part of living quarters. There is also a restaurant with spectacular views of the seaside, but it is closed during winter.
Castelfollit de la Roca, Besalú and Olot
Castelfollit de la Roca sits on a 50m high, 1km long cliff and thus offers some nice views. But we found Besalú much more interesting, with its medieval bridge designed to protect the town, with a curved shape and several gates. One interesting fact about the third town we visited that day, Olot has not just one, but three volcanoes right in the middle of the town. They can be climbed for views and one of them was even used to protect the town, with watchtowers.
Vic and the Sau Dam
Another medieval town, and also strongly pro-catalan independance. There is a Roman temple from 2nd c., which was discovered by chance in the middle of palace walls in late 19th c., a Roman stone bridge still in use today, and a cathedral that looks dull from the outside, but the interior is very different and interesting to see. The small center is very friendly to stroll and have a coffee.
The Sau Dam is some 45 minutes ride away from Vic and it is interesting because of the Sant Romá church rising from the water. With such a low water level as we had, the church is visible in its entirety, albeit pretty unsafe to walk inside. Other houses from the former village can also be seen.
Port Lligat and Dali’s house
Dali set up his summer residence here. In course of several years, he joined 7 small fisherman houses into one. Staying true to his lifestyle, it is a very original house, spreading in multiple levels joined by stairs and passageways. Behind the house, there is a big garden with olive trees, several original structures and a swimming pool which bore witness to a number of extravagant parties.