Flower power – Girona Temps de Flors

It’s that time of the year again, Girona’s city wide annual display of flowers. But it’s not just a floral-fest-themed show spanning 9 days.

While flower displays are the main pull strung out amongst numerous locations (handy one page map available from tourist office), there are plenty more spots that host an eclectic mix of abstract art displays. Many may have a tenuous link to anything connected to flowers, but perhaps that’s what makes it so popular and interesting.

It’s that popularity over the last decade and a half at least that has really put Girona on the map, as visitors flock here daily in their thousands, causing bottlenecks within Girona´s myriad maze of  mediaeval narrow streets. Last year they did the sensible thing and created a series of one way thoroughfares.

The bulk of what is essential viewing is undoubtedly within the old town area, and includes the Arab Baths, the steps of Girona’s St Mary Cathedral and St Felix church. The latter seems to be a kind of benchmark, prompting many a comment, “oh last year’s display was better”. It is a large blank canvas that must involve a lot of creative imagination, and of course planning.

I well remember just after Game of Thrones was filmed in Girona, the long stairway below the church of St Marti had a splendid Thrones themed display. What many may not realise is that this is the only chance to peer into small private courtyards where owners show off their own ideas. Also, if you find yourself near Placa Catalunya there’s an old air raid shelter from the time of the Spanish Civil War which opens during this time.

One of my past favourites was the roofless remains of a former cinema in the back streets behind Girona city town hall (ajuntament). It had some very dark, abstract, thought provoking ínstallations like hanging chairs and sombre mood music. Sadly it’s been redeveloped and turned into offices.

With food and drink stops you would need the best part of a whole day to get to see it all, as popular locations have constant queues. Comfortable footwear is recommended as most of the old town streets are cobbled and parking is difficult.

Restaurants will have a special menu for the festival, no surprises that prices do increase, but everywhere is packed. 

Flower display on the front steps of St Feliu church, Girona