Inhale the Girona Flower Festival

January 6, 2024   8 Comments »

Inhale the Girona Flower Festival

May 10, 2016 8 Comments »

Girona Flors de temps viewing tips

I can smell it wafting through my window, the perfume of fresh roses tickling my nose and stirring me from my morning slumber. As if a prince tip-toed into my room to wake me up. Birds chirp, the sun is shining, and flower petals are everywhere – falling from the sky like a spring shower.

I wish.

Actually, I wake up to the sounds of a cherry picker moving around outside my window making a harsh beeping noise and the sound is amplifying off of the narrow stone walls. I wondered if the men on the cherry picker were peeping in my window as I slept. I got up and pulled back my curtains. No one is looking back at me because they are busy running wires from balcony to balcony in this narrow alley of the Jewish Quarter of Girona.

Preparing for the city’s largest festival, Girona Temps de Flors, (Flower Festival) is not necessarily romantic – however, the end result is.

Girona’s Flower Festival By the Numbers

Created in 1954, the festival transforms the city every spring and welcomes approximately 200,000 visitors. This year there are 130 displays, that over 1000 volunteers have put together meticulously at all hours of the night and day leading up to the festival.  And there are too many flowers to possibly count.

Transforming a Very Old City

The old city has been transformed! Girona is normally known for its 2,000 years of history behind its medieval walls; however, this week it’s known for flowers behind, on, and in its medieval walls. Stairways, alleys, parks, churches, courtyards, plazas, little nooks, and coves suddenly turned into ornamental flower gardens before my eyes. Many of the displays are in buildings that aren’t open to the public the rest of the year, so Girona Temps de Flors is a chance to really see the secret spots of the city.

Before and After Flower Preparation

Since I’ve been ‘living’ in the city for the last two weeks I was able to watch the medieval town transform.  The two days leading up to the start of the flower festival were filled with volunteers creating their masterpieces.  Wooden displays, waterfalls, mud skulls, iron sculptures, and contemporary displays were created. Even the restaurants prepare special flower menus, and stores have flower displays in their windows; no ancient medieval stone was left unturned.

This year on the Basilica steps there was a night theater presentation to open up the festival and welcome spring. We had the best seats in the whole city as our Airbnb apartment looked right out on the Basilica steps! Thousands of people gathered below us as night fell and soon the whole plaza was filled with a light show, DJs, and the sounds of chainsaws.  The show depicted the battle of good and evil and started out with fire, chainsaws, and the walking dead among the large crowd and gave way to the fairies of Spring winning out and decorating the Basilica steps while cute DJs spin tunes.  Odd…yes…but it was fun to be a part of such a big event – and have balcony seating!

Tips for Viewing Girona Temps de Flors

Girona Flower Festival press pass
Press…coming through!

Move over…Flower Press coming through!  For our stay, we were given flower press passes…yes, there really is such a thing.  Pete, Dalene, and I wore our badges timidly at first, but soon we got used to wielding our power and flashing our passes to cut through the big lines so we could get photos.  But if you don’t have a Flower Press Pass, then here’s my best advice for viewing the sea of flowers in Girona Spain.

Stay in Girona Overnight and Get Up Early

People here keep crazy hours.  This culture eats lunch at 2 PM, has a siesta, and goes to dinner at 9:30 or 10 PM.  That means everyone wakes up late here.  Girona’s old city streets are completely empty from 7 AM until 9:30 AM – so you can wander around and see most of the outdoor displays and take pictures without thousands of people in your way!

Go to the Indoor Exhibits between 1:30 and 3:00 PM

This is when most of the visitors/tourists are eating lunch, so the cafes are busy, but the lines for the indoor displays are shorter!

Go During the Week

The weekends are extremely busy, so if you can, go during the week and you’ll avoid the heaviest crowds.

Start at the popular exhibits and then work your way to the outskirts

The displays that are in the further reaches of the city aren’t gone to as much.  So start early at the popular exhibits around the Cathedral steps, Arab Bath and Gardens, and then head out to the outer reaches.  Some of my favorite exhibits were at the University and there was no one there when there were long lines near the Cathedral.

Bring a Camera and Think About Perspective

Girona Flower Festival tips
Think like a flower!

Even if you just have a phone camera you are using, remember to consider perspective.  I saw so many people just snapping photos at chest level giving a very boring view.  You’ll often find me sitting or laying on the ground taking photos! To get good flower photos, you want to be at their level.  Crouch down, put the camera on the ground or way up high over your head or among the flowers – try to think like a flower!

Temps de Flors Photography

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