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Girona Familiarisation Trip

28th October 2022

As many of you already know, we are opening a new line of escorted holidays, which means no minimum numbers are required when booking!

Linda and Steph recently went to Girona for the weekend to check out the hotel, and excursions, and to meet the tour guide, Danny. If you would like to find out more about this trip please email Steph here.

Here is Steph's diary below:

Friday 14 October 2022

Linda and I arrived at Manchester Airport at 6.45am for our 9am flight to Girona.  A trip to familiarise ourselves with some of the main excursions for our Catalonia holidays.  We were hand luggage only so headed direct to security which to our pleasant surprise was quick and organised.  Following a lovely decent over the Pyrenees, we arrived at Girona Airport just after 12pm local time ahead of schedule and was met by lovely warm sunshine.

Following a quick change into our summer clothes, we were warmly met by our guide Danny and his girlfriend Kena.  After quick introductions we were on our way for our first stop of the weekend, lunch!  Our journey took us through spectacular scenery of farmland and mountains, we were truly amazed by the beauty of the area.  After a short drive we arrived at Can Tosca, a beautiful building and venue, with a good selection of traditional food.

Following lunch, we visited Girona to explore the Old Town, where the flower festival is held every year.  There was a great selection of shops and eateries set in little streets surrounding the lovely cathedral which put on lovely displays for the occasion. We stopped in the main square for a quick refreshment before making our way to our hotel in Calella.

We arrived at our seafront hotel, the GHT Maritim at around 6.30pm.  Check in was fast and our rooms very clean and modern with great sea views.  We unpacked and got ready for our first evening meal, a tapas restaurant in the nearby town of Pineda De Mar serving pintxos – small, finger foods, often served on top of bread and skewered with sticks.  The restaurant was bustling with a great atmosphere, and we were spoilt for choice as the waiters regularly came around with a large selection of delicious food!  After dinner we were ready for an early night following a long day.

Saturday 15 October 2022

We woke up refreshed and following a good and plentiful breakfast in the hotel, we were picked up by Danny at 9.30am for our next day of sightseeing.

Around an hour’s drive took us to Besalú, a fantastic medieval town inland north of Girona.  We walked around the cobbled streets and took in the great views and spectacular bridge that is the trademark of the town.

Our next stop was the Dali Museum, dedicated to the artist Salvador Dalí in his home town of Figures. Built on the site of the Figures Municipal Theatre, destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, he rebuilt the theatre to house his work. The design of the building reflects Dalí’s eccentric personality, who devoted himself to its conception and in September 1974 the doors of the Surrelist museum were opened.

For lunch we headed back to the coast to Tossa de Mar and visited a small traditional restaurant on the cobbled lively streets lined with shops, bars, and cafes, that lead up to the magnificent ancient castle and the Villa Vella, the old quarter, with its ancient defensive walls and towers still intact. The beach was lovely and full of tourists making the most of the lovely October sunshine. 

Our final stop of the day was the botanical gardens at Blanes, the coastal views were amazing, and the gardens very well maintained with exotic plants from around the globe.

Our dinner this evening was La Roda in Calella, the restaurant specialised in chicken and is well known for its Sangria, which was delicious.  Our visit to Calella was during the towns Oktober festival, a large tent is erected on the beach front.  We decided to finish the evening experiencing the fantastic atmosphere amongst the many visitors both local and from overseas that the event attracted.

Sunday 16 October 2022

After good night sleep we headed to breakfast.  Today we had a slightly later start so we took a walk along the beach front and enjoyed the morning sunrise.

We were then picked up by Danny and we headed to Barcelona!  Our first stop was a visit to a cava, Freixenet.  Here we had a guided tour and learned all about the cava production, which included going underground into the caves and finished with not one but two glasses of cava. (optional excursion)

Next was Park Güell, we parked close by and had a light bite before entering the grounds.  The tickets for the day had been sold out so we were lucky to have pre-booked. Originally commissioned as an urbanisation and park by Eusebi Güell to Antoni Gaudi it comprises of gardens and some architectural elements. A peaceful place, in spite of the many visitors, above Barcelona with spectacular views of the city. We then had a tour around Barcelona in the car before stopping close by the Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudi’s most famous works which have been in construction since 1882. 

We then moved on towards the city centre, stopping at Jardines Del Mirador.  These gardens are high above Barcelona city centre and offer spectacular views of the whole city, marina, and sea.

Then our final stop was Las Ramblas, the area was very busy with people enjoying the shops, bars and restaurants.  There are some great places to visit including the Gothic cathedral as well as our coffee stop at Palau de la Musica Catalana, a concert hall in the heart of the city which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.  After taking in some of the sights around Las Ramblas we returned to the car for the hour drive back to Calella.

We spent our final evening at a local restaurant, La Torre.  It was a lovely warm evening and we sat outside amongst the trees and fairy lights and were served their locally famous pizza and tapas.

Monday 17 October 2022

We were up early for a quick breakfast ready for our journey home.  Our flight back to Manchester was from Barcelona El Prat, and we chose to take the train from Calella along the coast into Barcelona Sants with an easy change of trains for our onward journey to the airport.  The train was brilliant value and offered lovely views of the coastline.  Barcelona El Prat airport had a great choice of shops and restaurants, which kept us occupied during our short wait before we boarded for our two-hour flight home.