Standing in line for the breakfast buffet or sleeping on your host’s pillow, not your thing? Far away from characterless hotels and stuffy Airbnbs, we’ve found the best place to spend a night in Girona. The award-winning Alemanys 5 House is much more than just a nice holiday apartment!

The beautiful historic centre of Girona has served as the backdrop for world-renowned film and television productions – even the makers of “Game of Thrones” have used the Roman buildings as a backdrop for the show.

Alemanys 5 House is nestled almost indistinguishably between the stone facades of the neighbouring houses. Only the generously laid out balconies hint at the fact that this is no ordinary Catalan home waiting behind the bare steel and glass door.

The landlord Joan Manuel Ribera and his wife bought the house in 2000 and spent countless hours of work, sleepless nights and a considerable sum of money restoring the building over the next 10 years. During the restoration, the walls of the 16th-century house revealed both archaeological finds and structural engineering challenges. Today, clean lines and combined elements of light, shadow, fire, stone, water and nature dominate the tranquil space of the multi-award winning architecture.

The Alemanys 5 House can be rented as a full house with five bedrooms. If you need less space, two separate apartments – El Badiu (three bedrooms and large roof terrace) and El Jardí (two bedrooms, pool and garden) – are available to rent individually. The in-house garage and goods lift, along with the optional breakfast, cooking or laundry, provide for a comfortable all-inclusive package.

Some of you may already know that Girona is a popular retreat for many professionals. Nonetheless, after arriving in the city, we were a bit surprised when we had to stop at a zebra crossing to let triathlon World Champion Jan Frodeno jog across the street in front of us. The small north Catalonian town is an attractive destination for athletes, thanks to both the perfect training conditions for cyclists and runners, and its proximity to the Costa Brava and its beautiful beaches. Coffee lovers and fans of fine dining will get their money’s worth too – the density of restaurants awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand is truly impressive!

The small town is an attractive destination for athletes, thanks to the perfect training conditions for cyclists and runners, and its proximity to the Costa Brava and its beautiful beaches.

With its rich history, phenomenal architecture, and high-quality, road-bike-friendly amenities, the Alemanys 5 House is the perfect retreat for all cycling aficionados and bons vivants. Oh and by the way, checking in after us was none other than Wout van Aert – so if you want to reside in a mixture of cyclocross World Champion and GRAN FONDO flair on your next visit to Girona, you can find all the details here:

Do’s and Don’ts in Girona

Bike Shops

The Service Course
Offers high-end rental bikes, organises events and rides.
Carrer Nord 10
17001 Girona

Eat Sleep Cycle
Offers high-quality rental bikes, clothing, organises events and cycling tours all over Europe.
Carrer del Vern 3
17004 Girona

Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Center
Besides organising rides, they stock used cycling kit and components from the pros.
Carrer Nou 14
17001 Girona

Coffee & Relax

La Fabrica
A must see: the most famous cycling café in the city!
Carrer de la Llebre 3
17004 Girona

Federal Cafe
Delicious snacks and meals throughout the day.
Carrer de la Força 9
17004 Girona

Coffee & Greens
Good coffee overlooking the Riu Onyar, bicycles allowed.
Rambla de la Llibertat 25
17004 Girona

Food & Drink

Typical tapas bar with a great selection and rustic atmosphere.
Carrer de la Cort Reial 12
17004 Girona
No website, just good food

Minimalist interior and modern fusion kitchen
Carrer d’Abeuradors 4
17004 Girona

El Celler De Can Cora
The “World’s Best Restaurant” 2013 and 2015.
Carrer de Can Sunyer 48
17007 Girona

Catalan for beginners

Sure, you can get by with just some Spanish, but if you want to communicate with the locals properly, a few Catalan words will go a long way!

Pa amb tomàquet: typical Catalan dish – goes with breakfast, as a starter or just in between. If you like Italian bruschetta, you’ll also love this farmhouse bread!
Butifarra: Catalan sausage speciality, usually grilled.
Calçots / Calçotada: a kind of spring onion grilled on an open fire, peeled and then dipped in a spicy sauce similar to Salvitxada or Romesco and eaten with the hands. A local speciality and a little messy!
Vermutería: vermouth bar with mostly traditional flair.
Patatas bravas: golden yellow baked potatoes with spicy sauce. Patatas bravas is translated as “courageous potatoes”.
Cervesa: Beer – any questions? Oh yes, in Castellano you write Cerveza with a Z, of course.

bon dia: hello
sí: yes
no: no
si us plau: please
mercés: thank you

tancat: closed
obert: open
salut: cheers
perdó: sorry
no parlo català: I do not speak Catalan

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #010

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Words: Photos: Valentin Rühl