Catalunya’s second largest city has a reputation for romance, but it’s fabulous for families too. With its magnificent Romanesque and Gothic buildings, Arab baths, Baroque cathedral and well-preserved city walls, Girona is a city just tailor-made for adventure. Most of its streets are pedestrianised, its centre is picturesque and compact, and the Spanish affection for children underpins the service in its hotels and restaurants, so it’s a great choice for a family holiday.
Home from Home
The Hotel Pallau da Bellavista is located close to the city centre and the Old Town, with the surrounding countryside easily accessible. There’s free parking for your rental car, cots and babysitting available on request and, crucially, all the rooms are soundproofed so if there’s a bedtime meltdown, it won’t go beyond your four walls! The Hotel Historic offers serviced self-catering apartments with separate living areas alongside its standard rooms. It’s located within walking distance of Girona’s main attractions and has rustic contemporary décor and a restaurant serving traditional Catalan food. For families on a budget, the Hotel Husa Fornell’s Park is a good bet – one child sharing a room with parents can stay free. The hotel has recently been refurbished, so the décor is bang up to date, and it offers babysitting, a children’s menu in the restaurant and a swimming pool especially for the little ones.
Food for families
Most of Girona’s cafes and restaurants are family-friendly and relaxed, but there are a few that stand out. A short drive outside the city is Mas Pou, set in a magnificent stone farmhouse dating back to the 16th century. There’s a children’s play area and baby changing room, and high chairs are available. The food is family-friendly too – although there’s a special kids’ menu, most children will happily tuck into Catalan specialities like butifarra sausage with haricot beans, lamb chops, or baked apples with custard. Atmospheric Casa Marieta is another good choice – it’s located right next to the cathedral and the menu features familiar favourites like steak, roast lamb, and duck alongside local dishes like salt cod with garlic mousseline, and a wide range of mouthwatering puddings. The restaurant has changing facilities. Cafe le Bistrot offers a great-value menu del dia in an informal and welcoming atmosphere, and serves Catalan specialities alongside unthreatening pasta dishes. It’s up a steep flight of stairs, so if you have a buggy you’ll need someone to help you carry it.
Top Days Out
Girona has a wealth of fun and exciting activities on offer for kids of all ages. The bigger ones (12 and over) will love the thrill of a hot-air balloon flight over the city. Another above-ground activity that’s perfect for adventurous children is the high-rope forest experience at La Selva d’Aventura Over 5s can can take to the treetops and play Tarzan on a series of ropes and ladders, and there’s a play area for the little ones, while over-5s. If your children are more of the water-baby persuasion, plan a visit to Aqua Brava . This fabulous water park boasts a huge wave pool, tropical island and kids’ lagoon, as well as white-knuckle slides and a thrilling river raft adventure. For those who prefer to keep their feet on dry land, there’s Gnomo Park , where the kids can enjoy bowling, mazes, trampolining, adventure play grounds and even a “gnome farm”!