One of the places I was desperate to visit in Spain, was Girona. I’d previously networked with ambassadors for various different tourist agencies around Girona and they had all highly recommended visiting Girona with kids. It had appealed to me ever since. So, despite my husband’s reluctance, we scheduled a visit to Girona with the children, whilst we were staying in Costa Brava.
Shopping for children in Girona
We parked in the first carpark we came to and wandered into the main shopping district. Baby Bear needed some new shoes that would actually stay on his feet, because he kept kicking his off and had just recently learnt to walk. We found the shopkeepers in all the shops extremely friendly and helpful, even those who only spoke a little English. There were lots of shops selling children’s clothes and had we been looking for clothes, we’d have been spoilt for choice. After just twenty minutes of browsing the shops we found a lovely little children’s shoe shop called Dnins inside Girona Boulevard and Bear was delighted with his new shoes. The staff were very polite, patient and helpful, although we did have a little wait to pay. They only sold children’s shoes and the prices were very good value for money.
Girona Old Town
I really wanted to see the old town though. Not the department stores and high street shops which look not too dissimilar to back home. The cathedral, the narrow little stereotypically Spanish cobbled streets and multi coloured 20th century houses nestled alongside the river Onyar. Independence Square and the Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu. I wanted to see old Girona and really feel like we were in Catalonia.
So we drove across the city and parked in a car park just around the corner from the cathedral. We took photographs of the brightly coloured buildings overlooking the river Onyar and it finally felt like we were in Costa Brava as we walked along in the sunshine. This was the family day out in Girona that we had been looking for and despite not particularly being one for history, my husband loved this city too.
Where to buy Ice Cream in Girona
We were lured by the temptation of ice cream and wandered into La Lletera where we were wowed by an immense selection of ice cream and frozen yoghurt flavours and toppings. It was from La Lletera that Baby Bear had his first ice cream as they even made miniature cones for toddlers. It was a hot sunny day and the ice cream was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend a visit to this artisan ice cream takeaway.
Basilica Sant Feliu
As we devoured our ice cream, we admired a bridal party leaving the vast steps of the Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu. Also known as the Basilica of Sant Feliu, parts of this gothic church date back to the 10th century, when it was Girona’s first cathedral. In fact… we ended up not seeing the more modern Girona Cathedral of todays times, which is tucked away behind it. We got lost in enjoying a stroll through those sought after cobbled streets, admiring the little boutique shops and restaurants. I feel we should have arrived earlier in the day and spent far longer in Girona to appreciate all of the sights.
Child Friendly Restaurants in Girona
We strolled from there through to Independence Square, where we contemplated having dinner in one of the many child-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating. Unfortunately, they all seemed to have long waiting times before tables would be available, so with impatient children in tow, we left it. In hindsight, I wish we had waited, or perhaps arrived earlier. It would seem they must eat dinner earlier in Girona than we do back home. The restaurants in other parts of the town, just didn’t seem as nice in comparison.
If I had more time in Girona…
I’d have loved to stop and have dinner in Independance square and browse some of the boutique shops by the cathedral. There was also a vast market in the Parc de la Devesa, which was winding down by early afternoon, but looks like it is probably well worth a visit in the morning on Tuesday’s and Saturday’s.
I would have also loved to do a vineyard tour. There are many vineyards in Costa Brava, many within easy reach of Girona. Other family travel bloggers that I know, have reported on Vineyards which are family friendly and have an abundance of activities for children to enjoy, as well as adults. We simply weren’t on a long enough holiday to schedule in everything that we wanted to do.
Another place I wanted to visit, was the coastal region of Cadaques, with it’s Cuban style houses, rich history, and immense beauty which captured the hearts of many an artist, including Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Tips for Visiting Girona with kids…
If you are visiting Girona with kids, arrive early, so you have longer to explore. If you want to browse the market, make sure you go on a Tuesday or Saturday morning.
Research where you plan to park, before you arrive. I recommend parking near the market and cathedral. Do check the signs and establish whether or not you need to pay for parking. Parking near most of the attractions will mean less walking for little legs and that you are near to the car if the children get tired.
Most definitely do some shopping and I highly recommend Dnins for children’s shoes, although that is a fair walk from the Placa De Sant Feliu.
Schedule an ice cream stop and lots of photo opportunities. Girona is a beautiful city and a great one for taking family photographs.
Head to Independence Square early if you want to eat there and be prepared to wait. The pricier restaurants had shorter waiting times, the more family-budget friendly restaurants had much longer queues. However, in general, these were the best ones for children’s menus.
Be sure to see the Cathedral, as I hear it’s quite impressive. It’s also the setting for some of the filming in Game of Thrones, if you happen to be a fan.
I personally found visiting Girona with kids, much more enjoyable that visiting Barcelona with kids. If you check out our post about our road trip across Spain, you’ll see why we didn’t really find Barcelona very family friendly.