When my husband and I found ourselves in Rome, resting after an incredible trip from Amsterdam and Italy with our two good friends, we looked on the map for our next destination. We could go east across Italy into Marche and then cross the Adriatic Sea into Croatia. We could head back north the way we came and hit up Germany and Benelux. But all those options seemed tedious, requiring long buses and trains overland. We wanted something different and found a cheap trans-Mediterranean crossing from Civitavecchia to Barcelona. The idea of a 24 hour cruise was enticing but also we were excited to be just 90 minutes away from the site of TBEX Europe: Girona.
We thought it would be fun to preview this little town on the Costa Brava and smooth out some logistics before the big convention started. For me transportation is key and if you are coming from Bracelona to Girona, it is very, very easy by train.
Train from Barcelona to Girona
Sorry to say, there are no direct trains (from what I read) that bring you from Barcelona airport to Girona. So you’ll have to come into the city and transfer out. But it is still very straightforward.
The train from Barcelona to Girona leaves every hour on the 16s. So Neil and I aimed for the 3:16pm train, ended up eating a fabulous tapas lunch and happily boarded the 4:16 train out of Barcelona Sants Station bound for Figueres. I didn’t know much about the layout of the ticket booths or vendors. So I played a bit of the hot-cold game with the information booths, following vague directions such as “the glass windows” when I asked for tickets to Girona. It was fine but save yourself some trouble (including a 2 Euro service fee for each ticket bought at the glass windows) and follow this way.
Go to the turnstiles for Tracks 13 and 14 at the Sants Station. By the entrance down to the tracks, there will be ticket machines that say “Renfe”. This is the ticketmaster company for these trains. Choose Girona, pay 7,70 Euro and head down to the tracks. Your train will be bound for Figueres. Follow the crowd and wait. Watch the teleprompters because for 20 minutes our train was supposed to arrive on 13 but 2 minutes before departure, it came in on 14. It was not a big deal, because Neil noticed that every one had moved to track 14, but we were scratching our heads for a moment, thinking: where did everyone go?
On the Train along the Costa Brava
Service is smooth and lovely. No reservations required for any seats. So take your pick and get ready for the beautiful Spanish countryside to sweep past. Bathrooms were clean but lacked soap and paper. Luggage racks are available, at least in the first car where we sat. So Neil and I stowed our packs and walked down the aisles without having to say, “Pardon… Lo Siento!” a thousand times.
More teleprompters announce the stops. Girona is the third from last stop. The station itself has a cafe, bookshop, and bathrooms (no charge). Bus #2 stops right outside. Pay on the bus. The fare is 1 Euro 30 cents. The Historic Center is about a 15 minute walk away. Everyone is really nice. So don’t worry about stopping to ask for directions. About half the people we met spoke some English and the others knew to speak to the gringos slooowly.
Today was our first day walking around the squares and having lunch on Placa Independencia. A river runs through Girona and lovely little bridges connect different barrios in town. Tapas are great (you must have at least one helping of Patatas Bravas) and locals rave about the seafood. As this is only a short preview stop for us, we’ve already begun a list of local dishes and restaurants in Girona to try when we come back.