Girona, often compared to the Renaissance cities of Tuscany, is an ancient mix of cultures, with a rich history that is finely preserved. Around 1 hour north of Barcelona and 40 minutes south of the French border it has been fought over in almost every century since it was the Roman fortress of Gerunda on the Via Augusta. Following the Moorish conquest of Spain, Girona was an Arab town for over two hundred years, a fact apparent in the maze of narrow streets in the centre, while there was also a continuous Jewish presence for over 600 years.
Given its location and history it is therefore a unique Catalan city which retains the stamp of its diverse past and an overall beauty - especially during its long hours of sunshine and blue skies. Tourist highlights include the perimeter wall which protected the city from a total of 21 attacks until the 18th Century. The wall affords a fantastic view of the town and local mountains.
The centrepiece of the old town is the magnificent Cathedral, which at 22m, has the largest single-naved vault in the world. This mighty Gothic creation is an imposing sight over the rest of the town, especially when lit at night. It is approached by almost 100 17th century Baroque steps.