Part of the charm and uniqueness of our cycling tours is that they take you away from many of the typical tourist cities and sights. You get to experience all the beauty of your destination but with a more authentic ambiance. However, the challenge with some of the smaller quaint destinations is their limited access, making them not always as convenient as major hubs. Continuing our series of “Getting There!” blog posts, this article covers the best options you have to get to Girona and other small towns in the heart of Catalonia.
INTRODUCTION TO GIRONA
Girona makes an ideal city to start any tour in Catalonia because it typifies the diversity of region like no other city in the region. Walking along the Roman ramparts, exploring the narrow cobblestone streets of the old Jewish Quarter, shopping the modern stores of the commercial streets, and marveling at 12th century Moorish architecture, you can get a feel for the true mixture of influences that Catalonia has inherited throughout the ages. Located in Spain’s northeast corner just an hour north of Barcelona and about 30 km from the coast, Girona is easily accessible by train, plane, car, and of course, bike.
- Fly into Girona Airport
Located about 8 miles from the city center, Girona has its own local airport. This airport is serviced by Ryan Air with flights from many destinations in Europe, including several airports in the UK. From the Girona airport to the city center, there is a bus that takes about 25 minutes and runs every hour. There are also taxis that can take you directly to your hotel of drop-off location for around 20 – 25 euros. If you are a group of four or more that can split the cost, this may be a better option than waiting for the bus.
- Fly into Barcelona
For travelers coming from outside of Europe or those whose home airport is not serviced by Ryan Air, flying into Barcelona’s El Prat International Airport is the best option. The airport has flights operated by a host of different airlines including major international airlines like KLM, Iberia, and British Airways and budget airlines within Europe like EasyJet. The airport is located about 8 miles southwest of the Barcelona city center. From the airport you have several options for travel to Girona.
Train – There are numerous trains each day from Barcelona to Girona. The Ave (fast train) takes about 40 minutes and the regional train takes about 1 hour 40 minutes. You can check the times of trains for your travel dates online at Renfe.com, and tickets can be purchased easily upon arrival at the station for about 31 euros for the Ave or 11 to 16 euros for the regional train. It is important to note that these trains depart from the Barcelona-Sants train station which is in the city center. From the airport you can catch a short train, bus, or taxi into the city to catch your train to Girona.
Coach – There is a private bus company, Sagalés, that provides 2 or 3 buses each day from either terminal of the Barcelona Airport direct to Girona’s city center. These buses take just about 2 hours to Girona center, and a one way ticket costs about 19 euros per person. Single tickets can be bought on board the bus or online.
Taxi – It is possible to take a taxi all the way to Girona, but for a solo traveler or just one couple this is an expensive option. However, depending on the type of traveler you are, the convenience of landing at the airport and being dropped off right at your hotel may outweigh the expense. This may also be a preferred option if you are traveling in a group that can split the cost. Depending on your arrival time, there may be some companies available for transfers without a reservation; however, an advanced reservation generally makes for a smoother (and cheaper) transfer. There are several companies like Catalonia Transfer and Barcelona Airport transfers that offer online quotes and reservations.
GETTING TO/FROM FIGUERES
Figueres is the end destination of our Gastronomic Catalonia tour. Though small, it also has easy access to and from Barcelona or Girona by train or bus.
Train – The same train line that runs from Barcelona to Girona also continues to Figueres. The Talgo fast train takes only one hour and a half to reach Barcelona from Figueres and the more frequent regional trains take just over 2 hours. Both of these trains stop in Girona before Barcelona if that is your destination. You can check schedules for your travel dates and estimate ticket prices at Renfe.com.
Bus – There are also a few bus companies operating lines from Figueres to and from Girona and Barcelona. Sagales is a private bus company that operates buses from Figueres. They have two buses each day that take just over an hour to the Girona airport, and they have buses that go to Barcelona via Girona that take about 2 hours and 20 minutes. The Sarbus Group is a company that operates buses throughout the Catalonia region and their bus line SARFA runes between Figueres and the Girona airport. Both of these companies also offer services for group bus rentals and private transfers. Please refer to their respective websites for specific information and a full list of services.
GETTING TO/FROM PALAMÓS
Palamós is the starting town for our Gastronomic Catalonia and Short Escape in Catalonia tours. To get to this beautiful Mediterranean beach town, you can take a SARFA bus from either the Girona or Barcelona airports, or you can hire a private transfer from one of the transfer companies serving the region. The bus takes about 2.5 hours from the Barcelona airport and about 1 hour 15 minutes from the bus station in Girona. Tickets are only available the day of your trip. At ShuttleDirect.com you can reserve a private transfer from the Girona airport or train station to Palamós for around 60 euros for two people. As a subsidiary of Viajes Alameda, Shuttle Direct offers extensive transfers throughout Spain and Catalonia, and if you are considering private transfers we recommend that you make a reservation online before departing.
• RENFE Spain’s national train operator https://venta.renfe.com/vol/inicioCompra.do
• Catalonia Bus SARFA http://www.grupsarbus.com/paginas/sarfa_portada.php
• Catalonia Bus Sagalés http://www.sagales.com/
• Shuttle Direct http://www.shuttledirect.com/
• Airport http://www.barcelona-airport.com/index.htm
• Public Transportation http://www.tmb.cat/en/home
• Taxis http://taxi.amb.cat/s/en/home.html
• Barcelona Tourists Guide http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/
• Airport http://www.girona-airport.net/index.html
• Public Transportation http://www.teisa-bus.com/en/index.html
• Taxi http://www.girona-tourist-guide.com/en/airport/girona-airport-taxi.html
• Girona Tourist Guide http://www.girona-tourist-guide.com/