Alemanys 5

Girona, Catalonia, Spain Book from

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
The 16th and 21st centuries collide in these dazzling architect-designed apartments in central Girona (sleeping 2-10)
Architect Anna Noguera redesigned this 16th-century house in the shadow of Girona’s cathedral to be her weekend retreat from Barcelona, and now lets it for visitors to the city. It’s as special as that would suggest: an oasis of modernist calm in a building still ringing with ancient delight, including the original rainwater collection system in the courtyard.

Inside you’ll find curved lamps, Eames chairs, exposed stone walls and warm lighting. The house is split into 2 apartments, El Jardi ('The Garden', sleeping 2-4) and El Badiu ('The Veranda', sleeping 2-6), and these can be booked separately or together to sleep a maximum of 10 people. We especially loved the small rainwater-fed pool in the garden and the views of the narrow, Moorish streets of the Jewish Quarter from El Badiu's roof terrace. It’s the ideal base for a stylish long weekend in Girona, eating out, perhaps, at El Celler de Can Roca, one of the best restaurants in the world, as well as exploring the city's architectural treasures and cycling through woodland to secret beaches.


  • It’s as stunning to look at as the photos suggest: clean lines, wonderful lighting and a beautiful combination of ancient and modern
  • Housekeeper Montse speaks lots of languages and will look after you really well. She is the wife of a local chef and can offer a bespoke concierge-style service for meals and activities
  • A fantastic location in old Girona, within walking distance of everything
  • State-of-the-art kitchens for self-catering, plus lovely dining areas
  • Perfect for 1 or 2 couples or families holidaying together: El Badiu has 1 double room and 2 single rooms, El Jardi has 2 double/twin bedrooms. Both can fit extra beds and baby cots


  • Driving around the city’s narrow streets (which confuse Sat Navs) can be complicated
  • El Badiu has no access to the garden and pool
  • A 6-night minimum stay June-September
  • Although El Jardi works well for 2 couples, you will have to share a bathroom

Best time to go

Girona is a year-round destination, although each season is very different. The spring and autumn are very pleasant and better if you’re planning to visit the beaches, which can be very crowded in the summer. They are also the best seasons for walking. In May the city celebrates Temps de Flors and the streets are full of flowers. In the autumn, Temporada Alta is a 3-month festival of music, dance and theatre, held in the city. The summer is very hot; winters are cold with snow on the mountaintops nearby.

Our top tips

Girona is a renowned culinary destination, serving up classic Catalan food, which tends towards surf’n’turf in its most exquisite varieties. The second best restaurant in the world, El Celler de Can Roca, is close by, but you'll need to book perhaps a year in advance to get a seat!

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 2 apts for 2-6, or house for 10
  • Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
  • Maid service on request


The house is split into 2 apartments, El Jardi ('The Garden'), which is downstairs and sleeps 2-4, and El Badiu ('The Veranda'), which is a duplex sleeping 2-6. You can also book both together, sleeping a maximum of 10, which would be wonderful for a family celebration or special weekend in Girona.

Throughout, the design is stunning: modern, minimalist, stylish. All fittings are top of the range and work harmoniously with the brickwork walls, ancient features and pale stone.

El Jardi is a good option for 2 couples or a small family, sleeping up to 4 in 2 double/twin bedrooms, though there's only 1 bathroom (with a shower). The kitchen/diner is spacious, and leads onto a lovely living area with a long couch and shelves of books and CDs. A sliding door can hide the kitchen while you’re relaxing. You also get access to the private garden with its shaded dining area and small rainwater-fed plunge pool.

El Badiu has 1 large master suite (plus an ensuite bathroom with a tub and shower), and 2 big single rooms with space for a rollaway bed in each and little shower ensuites. It’s ideal for a family with 2-4 children and has plenty of play space, a roof terrace, a dining area with a lounge, and a large family kitchen. The living room has a large fireplace and the terrace has views over the Jewish Quarter. From the third step you also have a partial view of the cathedral.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Oven
  • Plunge pool
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The apartments have state-of-the-art kitchens, which are perfect for cooking up sensational meals using local goodies. In El Jardi you get a kitchen/diner and there's an outside oak table for relaxed alfresco eating in the garden. There's a hob, oven, fridge and dishwasher, and the kitchen can be hidden behind a fold-out screen when not being used.

Upstairs in El Badiu, there's a far larger family kitchen with all mod cons plus a dining table with wheels so you can trundle it outside to the roof terrace, which is equipped with a BBQ.

Full basic ingredients are provided for cooking and cleaning, and there are supermarkets, bakeries and grocery stores within easy walking distance. And if you can't be bothered to cook, you don’t have to walk far to find somewhere to eat: the Jewish Quarter has plenty of small cafés and bakeries and across the bridge in the newer part of Girona, street cafés spill into the pavement. Montse can also arrange a shopping service, welcome hamper and meal deliveries or a chef; just ask.

As well as what's mentioned in our top tip, there is a 3-Michelin-starred restaurant in Sant Pol de Mar (Santa Pau, 57km), and 12 other Michelin-starred restaurants within an hour’s drive. For something more affordable, ask Montse for recommendations - her husband is a chef in one of Girona’s finest kitchens. There are booklets about local restaurants in the apartments, and Montse can arrange a private chef service for a Catalan tasting menu.

Features include:

  • Breakfast by arrangement
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Meal delivery service
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Welcome hamper on request


  • Lose yourself in Girona’s historic sights, including the old medieval walls, the cathedral with the widest Gothic nave in the world, and the Arab baths

  • Explore the cobbled streets of the Jewish Quarter, with its creperies, ice cream stalls, souvenir shops, art galleries and more

  • Criss-cross Girona’s bridges, from the old quarter to the new and back again, and explore the shopping streets around the river

  • Hire a bike to explore or get out into the countryside on 2 wheels - just a few minutes from the apartment there is a vast forest with hundreds of signposted off-road mountain bike routes, some of which extend to the coast

  • Take a drive to the coast. The glamorous towns of Begur and Cadaqués lure wealthy Barcelonians for the weekends and make a great day trip

  • Architect Anna recommends El Canadell, a secret beach in the fishing village of Callella de Palafrugell outside Girona, as her top insider’s tip

  • The Empordà region, under 20 minutes away by car, has plenty of charming medieval villages to explore, as well as fields of wildflowers and mountaintop crusaders' castles

  • Visit the 3 main sights of the Dalí Triangle: the museum in Figueres, his house in Port Lligat and the castle in Púbol. It takes 2 days at the least to cover the ground; you will need to book tickets for the Port Lligat house in advance

  • Play golf. There are 8 courses nearby, including the PGA Catalunya Resort, 22km from Girona, which is the second best course in Spain and among the 100 best in the world

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming


Alemanys 5 is not your typical family apartment by any means, but if you’re a super-slick clan with children who can handle the stairs here, it would work really well. The owners have kids and El Badiu's single rooms were designed with them in mind. If you hired the whole house, it would work well as a retreat for 2 families together, or an extended family; it sleeps 10 adults + 2 babies.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

El Badiu has 2 single rooms with their own bathrooms, which would work well for older children


Babysitting can be arranged via the housekeeper for an extra charge

Baby listening:

A baby monitor should work throughout the house and in the garden; check your model as the thick stone walls in some areas might be a problem

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Games and toys

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Cycling around Girona or to the national parks
  • Beaches within an hour's drive such as Lloret de Mar and Platja de Treumal
  • Small theme parks open in summer on the coast and nearby
  • Walking in the national parks

Families Should Know:

The stairs and the pool are a potential hazard for younger children; watch them carefully


  • Airport: 20 minutes (Girona), 1 hour 10 minutes (Barcelona)
  • Doctor: 15 minutes
  • Hospital: 15 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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