If you ever have the opportunity to stay at Hotel Camiral, you will surely be looking to do something to make the most of your stay there. Regardless of your interests, Girona offers something for everyone. Its natural beauty offers many outdoor pursuits, whether you are a historian or a sports fanatic, golfer, walker, cyclist, triathlete, runner, water enthusiast, music lover, or a theatre and arts aficionado, the area has it all. Create and build your very own personal experience.
For my own visit with PGA Catalunya, I have been given a comprehensive list of things to do and see but, with only a few nights at my disposal, I have to pick a select few. Come and follow in my footsteps to see what I have been up to over the last few days. The best way to discover the natural beauty of this resort is through one of their Hotel Camiral Experiences, a series of leisure pursuits and fun activities for all of its guests, whether you’re on your own, with your partner or family, or in a group. Anyone wishing to make a day of it can bring along one of their picnics, which they would be delighted to prepare for you.
I’ve curated my choice of activities to include sightseeing in Girona, a zip-wire experience, some cycling and a walk along the coastline of Costa Brava in three full days – but will still allow time to unwind by the pool too, so time to prepare for the adventure ahead. Shall we start with a brief history of Girona?
Historic Town of Girona
The ancient walled city of Girona, perched on a hillside in northern Catalonia, is often viewed as Barcelona in miniature. It’s an ideal day trip en route to Costa Brava beaches, ski resorts in the Pyrenees and all of which are an hour away from Barcelona by car. But Girona rewards a longer stay. You won’t be the first to find and fall in love with the city, with its millennia of cultural and culinary heritage. From the River Onyar, its labyrinthine old town streets twist in a beguiling mix of architectural styles, dominated by the cathedral.
For a colourful view of the city, try to visit during its spring festival, the Temps de Flors. The medieval centre will be decked in glorious floral patterns, and there is a packed schedule of gastronomic and cultural events running together which provides plenty to see and experience. Artusi, just off the Rambla (Place de les Castanyes 6) does wonderful embotits, pastries and coffee for breakfast. Then walk up Forca until you see the 91 stone steps ascending to Girona cathedral, seven euros, free on Sunday. You are standing on the Via Augusta, the Roman road that crosses Iberia, which brought Moorish conquerors from the south (banished in the 11th century) and French from the north (who besieged Girona in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries). While Barcelona and the Costa Brava provide many a visitor to Spain with more than enough to fill a vacation. Historical Girona, only half an hour away from Barcelona by high-speed train, is worth a day trip for anyone, but, most of all, for Game of Thrones fans. So many friends have been urging me to watch it for some time now.
Feeling famished? No problem, I have this one sorted for you. There is a hidden cafe tuck away from the crowd. It’s not often you are lovingly served a latte in a bike cafe by a Tour de France cyclist. But then, to be honest, it’s not often in Spain that you are lovingly served a latte. Coffees here tend to be uncomplicated, cheap, fast and unadorned by pretty pictures of coffee beans and butterflies. La Fábrica cycle cafe is veering from the norm. Food-wise, there is a healthy glow to the place. Popular staples are bowls of muesli, sandwiches on delicious granary bread and cake all crammed with satisfying, natural goodness.
Leaving this historic city behind and moving on to a little more adventure, this time involving some exercise, you can explore the area a little further afield, on foot or by bicycle, on the network of greenways that cross Girona from north to south and from east to west. Enjoy a unique natural heritage replete with incredible views, breath-taking scenery and charming towns along the way. With the sun beaming down endlessly, it is wonderfully therapeutic to cycle through the rural scenery and explores more of Catalonian’s hidden gems. An ideal length of stay would be around three hours but be sure to pause long enough for some instagrammable shots.
Zip Wire Adventure
Always saving the best till last, perhaps even more nerves to be wrecked with this one! When it comes to high-octane sports, few things in life are more thrilling than the sensation of being able to fly. Zip wires have been used around the world, especially in remote mountainous regions, for generations as a means of traversing difficult terrain. More recently it’s become a popular adventure sport among both children and adults and Girona offers two zip-wire circuits, as well as an area dedicated to teambuilding activities. Waiting is always nerve-racking, and there’s plenty of tension to be endured here. Once it’s time for our slot, an instructor takes us to be kitted up with harnesses, helmets and goggles. A pouch at the front can hold phones, so you can snap away. As I glance apprehensively at the mist-covered peak we’ll soon be heading up to, it’s hard to resist the temptation to ask for another final check of my equipment. But it was far more fun than I’d expected and left me wanting to go back for more.
Looking for something blue? The 256 kilometre stretch of coastline running from just north of Barcelona to the border with France, where the Pyrenees mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea. Wind whipping up the pine trees into a symphony to compete with the sound of the waves, which come crashing into narrow coves or against dramatic jumbles of rock at the foot of vivid orange, tree-studded cliffs. The ever-present sensation of a breeze, strong and cool, against my skin and in my hair, masking the sun’s heat. Cool, soft, incessant wind – ferocious and wild, but also gentle, pleasant. Combining elements of modernism and traditional Catalan décor with an otherwise fairly minimalist architectural style, these manors had views to die for, not to mention private access to the coastal path, and even direct stairways to coves so secluded they may as well be private beaches. The upmarket area, where almost all the properties were second homes, was a stark contrast to the far more cheap and cheerful town of Lloret where my trip had started, but all the towns had one thing in common; that wild, rugged, and unceasingly beautiful coastline, where from the top of rocky cliffs, weathered pine trees stretched out longingly towards the bright blue sea.
There are many more activities within PGA Catalunya or you can simply ask the concierge for more information during your visit. You will be guaranteed a most memorable stay and I can promise that you will never want to leave.