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“How did Girona get its status as a food city?”
This is a question we asked our Girona food tour guide while exploring traditional Catalan food in Costa Brava.
While seemingly simple, the answer to the question is steeped in layers of history and tradition.
More recently, Michelin restaurants and contemporary chefs have propelled Catalan food to rock-star status.
Taking a Girona food tour is a great way to uncover why Girona is one of Spain’s top food cities.
Continue reading to unravel the secret and learn what delights await you on a captivating Girona walking tour.
Girona Food Tour Overview
Guiding us on our culinary journey was Pat from Girona Food Tour, the first official company and original food tour provider in the city.
What interested us is that Girona Food Tour focuses on immersive experiences centered around Girona and Catalan food.
Intimately familiar with the Catalan culinary culture, Pat, a Girona resident, and daughter of a restaurant owner, regaled us with stories about the city and food.
For about four hours, you’ll explore Catalan food from past to present. This Girona walking tour makes several stops to taste traditional Catalan foods including a market visit.
This Girona food tour isn’t only a food tour, it’s also a cultural tour of a beautiful city. You get to marvel at some of the city’s important architectural and cultural sites.
Girona Food Tour – Favorite Food Highlights
Xuixo – Girona’s Legendary Pastry for Breakfast
Starting the day like locals, our first stop on the Girona food tour was for the legendary pasty known as xuixo.
Like many other traditional Catalan foods, the xuixo has numerous legends surrounding its origins. “Let me tell you my favorite story,” Pat told us, “it is about el Tarlà, the juggler”.
The love story between the juggler and a baker’s daughter, in the 14th century, was a fascinating story of the delectable pastry.
The flaky crust is filled with Catalan crème with a cup of coffee, the perfect start to this Girona food tour.
The Flavors at Mercat Del Lleo
Continuing on the Catalan food exploration we stopped at the city’s main market.
Mercat del Lleo or Lion’s Market has more than 60 stalls and an abundance of amazingly fresh produce.
Engulfed by the bright colors, scents, and tantalizing fruits, vegetables, seafood, and artisanal products in every direction, our senses came alive.
With so much to see and experience, Pat led us to three local vendors with their unique specialties.
At a cheese stall, we were introduced to local Catalan cheese and olive oils. We were also surprised to discover sweet sausage or botifarra dolça, a traditional Catalan sausage.
Having immensely enjoyed bacalhau in Portugal, we were surprised to stop for codfish, which is also popular in Girona.
Catalan Tapas at Artusi Restaurant
Going out for tapas is one of the most popular activities in Spain. And for that reason, a stop for authentic Catalan tapas was part of the Girona tour.
At a local restaurant, we sampled a variety of small dishes along with the local Empordà wine.
Discussing Catalan food, we learned about the mix of sweet and savory, like strong meats cooked with fruit in the cuisine.
One of the tapas tastings of Girona veal in a bed of apple compote with a reduction of sweet red wine epitomized Catalan food.
Spanish Ham Tasting
Diving into the world of Spanish ham was one of our favorite stops on our Girona food tour. This was our first ham-tasting experience, which was similar to a cheese tasting.
We sampled three different types of Spanish ham, starting with the everyday Serrano ham to the exclusive Jamon Iberico ham.
While tasting the different grades of ham, we learned about the long history and fascinating world of Spanish ham.
Paired with Cava or Spanish sparkling wine, we relished the textures and flavors of the various varieties of Spanish ham.
Rocambolesc Gourmet Gelato
Our Girona food tour ended at Rocambolesc, an artisanal gelato store created by Jordi Roca of the famous El Celler de Can Roca restaurant.
The store which looks like Willy Wonka walked through, is a delicious whimsical array of colors and temptations.
Everything is made using high-quality natural ingredients. We had the local specialty known as the Panet, a hot brioche stuffed with refreshing ice cream.
The incredible flavors and cutting-edge ice cream-making techniques are nothing short of a gastronomic delight.
This unique dessert was the perfect end to our Girona food tour.
A Walking Tour of Girona With Cultural Insights
What we enjoyed about this Girona tour is that it is more than a food tour. It’s also a walking tour where you get a cultural view of the city as well.
Girona, founded by the Romans, grew in prosperity in the medieval times. The medieval characteristics can be seen in the old town, which is the core of the city.
As we ate our way through Girona, we appreciated the opportunity to walk and digest along the narrow medieval streets.
In Girona, places were named after the activities that took place in that area to make it easier to find them.
At Wine Square, where we stopped, the main activities were centered around wine. Learning about the rich folklore and legends, Pat entertained us with stories about the Wine Square.
We couldn’t help but step back in time and imagine what life was like then.
As we walked through the narrow medieval streets of Girona, we took the time to make a stop at Girona Cathedral.
This impressive Cathedral has a unique combination of Baroque, Roman, and Gothic styles.
Girona City Walls
Surrounding the city are the Girona city walls, which are worth exploring on your own.
The medieval walls were built in the 9th century to protect the wealthy city from outside attacks.
Today, these are the most complete remaining walls in Spain and they are all around Girona’s Old City.
Las Ramblas Girona
Although not as famous as Las Ramblas de Barcelona, we strolled along Las Ramblas of Girona.
We learned that Ramblas were originally long streets built over rivers.
In Girona, an exception was made because the river is on the other side of the buildings. Nonetheless, Las Ramblas Girona is a wide pedestrian street with its own unique charm.
The street also serves as a marketplace on Saturdays, where vendors come to sell mostly food products.
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Iconic Eiffel Bridge Girona
One unmissable architectural landmarks is a walk on the most iconic bridge in Girona.
Known as the Red Bridge or Iron Bridge, it was built by Gustave Eiffel 20 years before the Eiffel Tower.
The Red Bridge in Girona is also known as one of the best spots to take amazing photos of the city.
Girona Game of Thrones
If you are a Game of Thrones Fan, you probably know that Girona was selected as one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones Season Six.
Numerous medieval streets and buildings from the old town served as shooting stages.
Although we are not aficionados of the series, the beautiful grounds for the medieval-themed show are stunning.
If you are a Game of Throne fan, don’t miss the opportunity to join the Girona Game of Thrones Tour.
The 2.5-hour tour takes you on an intriguing journey inside the official filming location of Game of Thrones.
Linking architecture with one of the most famous medieval fiction stories, it’s an unmissable experience for GoT fans.
Overall Impressions of Girona Food Tour
What We Loved
- Great food stops – we loved the carefully curated stops on this Girona food tour. Each one highlighted a unique aspect of the cuisine. The portions were also generous making it a tasty and fun-filled culinary adventure.
- Great insights into Girona and its history – This was our first time visiting Girona Spain and we learned so much about the culture. The links between local food and history came to life with our insightful tour guide.
- Meeting and Interacting with locals – Stepping into local life at the Girona market and meeting the local producers and artisans was one of our favorite highlights. This Girona food tour offers an authentic experience.
What Could Be Improved on this Girona Food Tour
Overall, there was not much that can be improved about this Girona food tour. The food tour blends traditional Catalan food with history to provide a holistic view of a top food city.
That said, one suggestion is:
- More wine samples – we love discovering local wines and diving deeper into the region’s Empordà wines would have been great. However, we realize that this is a food tour and not a wine tour.
However, if you love wines and want to dive deeper into the regional wines, this half-day wine tour from Girona to the Empordà wine region is a great option.
How To Book Your Girona Food Tour
Girona food tour is the first official company to organize guided food tours in Girona. The tours offer immersive experiences of Catalan cuisine and culture.
The tour is about four hours in length and you’ll taste traditional Catalan foods and discover the local wines.
Go with a curious mind and eat only a small or light breakfast. Be prepared to taste for yourself why Girona is on top of the world’s culinary map.
FAQs – Girona Food Tour
Is Girona Walkable
Girona is an easy-to-navigate city on foot. Wear comfortable shoes and visit the city’s landmarks.
What Is Girona Famous For
Girona is famous for its medieval walls, exceptional cuisine, and top-rated restaurants. More recently, the town has grown in popularity for being a filming location for Game of Thrones.
Is Girona Expensive
Compared to Barcelona or Madrid, Girona is considered relatively affordable. That said, the prices of activities and accommodations will depend on your spending habits.
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Have you been to Girona Spain? In the comments below, please let us know which one of these Girona food tour stops interests you the most.
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Disclosure: Special thanks to Costa Brava Tourism Board and Girona Food Tours for having us on this tour. All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too!
Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest