The distance between the capital of Spain's Catalonia region, Barcelona and the medieval city of Girona is just 53 miles (85 km) traveling northeast. The easiest and quickest way to make the trip is by direct high-speed train (40 minutes),
Driving is another viable option, but takes a bit longer (1 hour 30 minutes). Consider one of the many tour groups or hire a private car service for some added luxury.
Buses going directly from Barcelona to Girona are the most affordable option, but they take longer than the train (1 hour 40 minutes) and at times cost more.
Once in Girona, consider continuing onto the Costa Brava in this 7-day itinerary.
Duration: 40 minutes
Renfe's high-speed AVANT/AVE trains are by far the easiest, quickest, most logical way to make the journey from Barcelona's Barcelona-Sants, the city's main train station, to Girona. The high-speed route takes just 38 minutes, and runs roughly every hour. The earliest trip leaves Barcelona at 7 a.m., and the latest departs at 9:40 p.m.
There are slower MD/Regional trains that take a bit longer (1.5 hours), so make sure to opt for the AVANT or AVE option if time is of the essence. However, the slower trains make more stops in Barcelona, so can be helpful if you are staying far from Sants. The slower trains are often cheaper as well. All trains should be taken in the direction of Figueres Vilafant, Portbou, or Cerbere.
Because of the frequent trains, tickets can be purchased at the station. However, trains do occasionally sell out, and booking through Renfe's website is easy if you prefer the peace of mind.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes, more with stops
Having a car gives you the freedom to explore the route between Barcelona and Girona, and perhaps take a few side trips. Rental car companies abound in Barcelona, with Alamo, Budget, and Europcar being the highest rated. Remember that non-EU driver’s license holders must obtain an International Driver’s Permit in order to drive in Spain.
The most direct route takes you Northeast along the AP-7 highway. This trip takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but does not take you along the coast.
To travel along the Costa del Maresme, the coast south of the well-known Costa Brava, take the C-2 highway. This will only add a few minutes to your journey and will open up chances to stop in some charming seaside towns like Mataró and Calella.
Read more about unique places to see in the Catalonia region in the third option in 7 Days in Spain: 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas.
If you prefer not to drive, hiring a private transfer online is easy. Companies abound for car services from shared shuttles to private luxury vehicles, with prices just as variable. Many private car services and tour groups will offer off-the-beaten-path stops such as Marimurtra Botanical Gardens or Lloret de Mar, a unique city that combines Mediterranean beaches with ancient history.
Duration: 1hour 40 minutes
Another viable option is to take the bus directly from Barcelona's Barcelona Nord bus station, located near the Arco de Triunfo, to the Girona Estació, Girona's bus stop right next to the main train station. Sagalés runs 7 busses daily, the earliest leaving Barcelona at 7:40 a.m., and the latest departing at 11:00 p.m.
While the bus is at times cheaper than the train, the difference is not significant (sometimes the train is even less), and the train takes less than half the time.