Girona and Dali Museum

Girona and Dali Museum featured Image
The city of Girona is Just 100 km (60 miles) from Barcelona, Girona is filled with medieval architecture. A few miles further away is Figueres, home to the iconic painted Salvador Dali.

As you approach the banks of the Onyar River, you’ll see the medieval walled city of Girona ahead.

As you follow your guide along cobblestone streets, don’t forget to snap plenty of pictures of the Jewish Quarter, which has been in place since the Middle Ages, the incredible facade of the 11th century Girona Cathedral or the panoramic views over the colourful houses on the Onyar.

Why not drive to Figueres. Once you arrive, prepare to see the breath taking collection of modern works at the Dali Theatre Museum. As you browse through the countless pieces by Dali, you’ll gain insight into his creative genius and cultural influences. End the day with a walk through Figueres, and admire the charming city and take some photos to remember the trip.


The first historical inhabitants in the region were Iberians; Girona is the ancient Gerunda, a city of the Ausetani. Later, the Romans built a citadel there, which was given the name of Gerunda. The Visigoths ruled in Girona until it was conquered by the Moors in 715. Finally, Charlemagne reconquered it in 785 and made it one of the fourteen original counties of Catalonia. It was wrested temporarily from the Moors, who recaptured it in 793. From this time until the Moors were finally driven out in 1015, the city repeatedly changed hands. It was sacked by the Moors in 827, 842, 845, 935, and 982. Wilfred the Hairy incorporated Girona into the County of Barcelona in 878.

In the 11th century, Alfonso I of Aragon declared Girona a city. The ancient county became a duchy in 1351 when King Peter III of Aragon gave the title of Duke to his first-born son, John. In 1414, King Ferdinand I in turn gave the title of Prince of Girona to his first-born son, Alfonso. The title is currently carried by Princess Leonor of Asturias, the second since the 16th century to do so.

A lane in the Jewish Quarter. Girona's Jewish community was lost as a result of the Expulsion.

The 12th century saw the Jewish community of Girona flourish, having one of the most important Kabbalistic schools in Europe. The Rabbi of Girona, Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi (better known as Nahmanides or Ramban) was appointed Great Rabbi of Catalonia. The presence of the Jewish community of Girona came to an end in 1492, when the Catholic Monarchs outlawed Judaism throughout Spain and Jews were given the choice of conversion or exile. Today, the Jewish quarter or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe and is a major tourist attraction. Just north of the old city is Montjuïc, or hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan, where the Jewish cemetery was located.

Girona has undergone twenty-five sieges and been captured seven times. It was besieged by the French royal armies under Charles de Monchy d'Hocquincourt in 1653, under Bernardin Gigault de Bellefonds in 1684, and twice in 1694 under Anne Jules de Noailles. In May 1809, it was besieged by 35,000 French Napoleonic troops under Vergier, Augereau and St. Cyr, and held out obstinately under the leadership of Alvarez until disease and famine compelled it to capitulate on 12 December. Finally, the French conquered the city in 1809, after seven months of siege. Girona was the center of the Ter department during the French rule, which lasted from 1809 to 1813. The defensive city walls of the western side were demolished at the end of the 19th century to allow for the expansion of the city, while the walls of the eastern side remained untouched but abandoned.