Saying Girona is a mini-Barcelona is oversimplifying this ancient Catalan city. First it was Roman, then Muslim, then it was taken by the Franks, then it became Catalan - under the guidance of Barcelona. And somewhere in there it acquired a medieval Jewish quarter - now one of the best preserved in Catalonia.
So along with wonderful food and fine examples of Modernisme and Art Nouveau architecture, Girona also has grand churches, impressive defensive walls, medieval baths, wonderfully designed arcaded houses and colourful people.
Girona is much smaller than Barcelona, so it's far more manageable as a city break destination. Its squares are small and the prettiest bits of the city criss cross the Onyar river on pedestrian bridges.
Most people start their adventures in the Old Town, around the maze of narrow, upwards climbing streets and alleys of the ancient Jewish quarter. This area reeks of wonderful atmosphere, which you can explore more thoroughly at the Museu d'Historia dels Jueus de Girona - Spain's centre for Jewish studies.
For more of Girona's history - the stuff about the Romans and the Visigoths - visit the City History Museum.
Just like Barcelona, Girona has plenty of excellent places to eat, and there are numerous cosy bars and cafes on charming squares. So you could easily spend a romantic time just strolling around admiring the city itself.
If you want to direct your wanderings, head for the Museu d'Art. This lovely building was once the Bishop's Palace, and is now home to 8500 works collected from the region. It is right next to the unmissable beauty of the Cathedral, at the top of a majestic flight of steps.
Another nice strolling route is along Girona's medieval walls. You walk the top of them, amongst gardens. With a view of the whole lovely city.
An intimate B&B in Girona, close to the Cathedral and Musee d'art. Charming rooms have parquet floors and stone walls. Lovely breakfast terrace and walking distance to restaurants. A great choice for those on a budget.
Sant Jordi Desvalls, Catalonia
This five-bedroom cheerful guesthouse is perfect for families, or for a large group - you can rent the whole house. Colourful decorations bounce off influences from Cuba, India, Marrakech, and Paris. A secluded family setting from which to explore the area.
A spectacular 16th century fortified house, lovingly restored as a boutique country retreat. Each characterful room has its own charms, with exposed wood beams, stone arches and elegant furnishings. Perfectly located to explore the beauty of the Muntanyes de Begur Mountain Range.
A gorgeous collection of rooms and apartments in an historic building. Chic sunlit interiors have parquet floors, exposed stone walls, attractive furniture, some with private balconies. A great choice for groups, families, and local explorers.
A chic hotel set in the rolling hills. Rooms are light and contemporary, featuring white furnishings, stone walls and large bathrooms. Fantastic regional cuisine, stunning outdoor pool and gardens filled with climbing plants. An ideal hotel for exploring the area or relaxing in the surroundings.
A modern hotel in Girona's historic centre. Bright rooms and family rooms all in white with splashes of red. Excellent business facilities, indoor pool, bar and restaurant. A great value choice for those on a budget.
A quirky but chic hotel in the historic heart of Girona. Romantically styled bedrooms with light stone walls, parquet floors, attractive fabrics, and large bathrooms. Lots of character and a warm atmosphere.
An exquisitely restored country home in the Baix Empordà countryside. The elegant rooms are the ideal antique-chic, with exposed stone walls, original features, plush linens and handcrafted oak furniture. Rolling gardens, outdoor pool and sun-terraces complete the picture.
A charming hotel perched on the edge of the pine covered Costa Brava coast. With light, airy and elegant rooms commanding spectacular views of the ocean. Sip cocktails beside the rooftop pool, indulge in classic Girona dishes from the in house restaurants or wander along the sandy beaches. Bliss!
A lovely country house hotel in a tiny village within striking distance of beaches. Sunlit rooms and suites have stone walls and garden views. Excellent restaurant, terraces, pool and garden. A great choice for total relaxation in the countryside.
This beautifully restored historic castle has also rekindled an elite form of luxury. Incomparable views from the rooms, terraces, and swimming pool of the vineyards, valleys, and herb gardens around. Opulence and wellbeing in an outstanding location.
Restored farmhouse in mediaeval Madremanya. Rooms are individually designed and feature exposed stone walls, tiled floors scattered with Persian rugs and four poster beds. Romance is the raison d'etre at El Raco; it is an adults only retreat with the emphasis on peace and relaxation.
Girona (10, 17462 Madremanya)
15th Century country house B&B set in stunning gardens and with views of Madremanya village. Three rooms are rustic and charming and self catering houses are perfect for families or small groups. Lovely outdoor pool and plenty to do from cycling and walking to exploring further afield.