Girona's Barri Vell from the Eiffel Bridge

Cozy Girona comes as a sweet surprise after Big-and-Bold Barcelona. It boasts four rivers, and an Eiffel bridge over the Onyar. It has a medieval wall for walking on, looking out from and dining in the shadow of. It comes with buckets of history—and if that is not enough,has  a clutch of world-class chefs any city would be proud to claim. These things, plus genuinely friendly residents, have landed the little city on my short list of European favorites.

Cobblestone streets and ancient arches

Barri Vell, Girona’s historical center, meanders fetchingly up a steep hill and down again, its nooks and crannies begging to be explored. People here are delighted to share their town and long-standing traditions with visitors (such as the gotta-live-here-to-love-it annual re-enactment of the 1809 Napoleonic Siege of Gerona, which more or less took over the neighborhood two weeks ago).


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