Up in the hills of cork forests above Girona, Joanet is a sleepy hamlet by day, but at night on the weekends locals come from miles around to eat at the terrific bar and restaurant which serves succulent barbecued steaks and awesome pigs' cheeks. Work up an appetite by following the GR83 national walking path or mountain biking paths which lead through the village to neighbouring Arbucies or Sant Hilari.
I live in Girona, a Ryanair hub (with flights to and from Bristol) which many people use to get down to Barcelona. However it is a great town with plenty going on, top class restaurants, easy access to Barcelona by train (€12 return) or if you hire a car, to the foothills of the Pyrenees and the nicer bits of the Costa Brava. Not necessarily a huge amount warmer than the UK, but generally a lot brighter! The only downside is that it is a bit short on hotels, so you need to book early.
I know that most people get off the plane at Girona and head straight for Barcelona. However, if you are looking for somewhere that's not so busy for a couple of days, consider Girona. I really like it along the riverside with the painted houses. There are several museums, the medieval part of the city and a great choice of restaurants where you can have a set 3 course meal for around 12 euros.
I have some accommodation suggestions at:
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org