It’s a common travel annoyance: you score a deal on a budget airline only to discover the airport is miles away from the place you actually want to be.
Located 103 kilometres (64 miles) from Barcelona itself, the Barcelona Girona Airport is one such confusingly named destination. However the numerous cheap flights offered by companies such as Ryanair, make it a popular choice for travellers throughout the Costa Brava.
But Girona (Catalan spelling), or Gerona in the Spanish spelling, has plenty to see and is well worth a visit in itself. So here are some practical tips on making the journey, as well as some hints on what to do if you decide to stay a while.
The cheapest and easiest way to get to Barcelona is by bus, with frequent departures from outside the airport arrivals hall. The journey takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and terminates at Barcelona’s main bus station, Barcelona Estacio Del Nord.
The timetable is helpfully scheduled to coincide with Ryanair’s flight times but be careful when making the return journey. There are two buses that travel to Girona – one to the airport and another to the town centre. Make sure you get on the right one or you will be facing an additional half-hour trip from the town to the airport.
There is a reliable train service between Barcelona and Girona city centres, full details of which can be found on the Spanish national rail website, Renfe. Again, the journey will take around 1 hour and 15 minutes. A taxi for the 12 kilometre (8 miles) trip from Girona Airport to the town centre costs approximately 20 Euros.
There are two options for travelling by road. If you’re in a hurry, you can take a taxi for around 120 Euros one-way. If you’d prefer a more leisurely journey, you can hire a car at either airport and take the scenic route along the Costa Brava. The advantage of this option is the chance to make a detour to one of the many beaches along the way. Good choices are Lloret de Mar or the tiny, sandy cove at Cala Pola.
Decided to stay?
Girona has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained but is small enough to get a flavour of the place in a couple of days – making it perfect for a stopover on the way to the city. Tucked halfway between the mountains and the sea, the town is an appealing mix of historical centre and modern culture. The picturesque Old Town nestles against the dramatic backdrop of the cathedral, which boasts the widest gothic nave in Europe, while the old Jewish Quarter is particularly well preserved and makes for an interesting afternoon’s stroll. The rehabilitated town wall and fortifications also offer spectacular views over the town and surrounding countryside. With numerous bustling cafes and restaurants, colourful markets every Tuesday and Saturday, and a busy programme of music and theatre events, Girona is much more than a budget gateway to the Catalonian coast.