Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is characterized by heterogeneous histologic findings, clinical presentation and outcomes. Using the Girona population-based cancer registry data we sought to explore the incidence of HL over three decades in Girona Province (Spain) and examine the relationship between clinical features at diagnosis and survival. From 1985 to 2013, 459 cases were recorded. Patients were stratified by sex, age group, stage at diagnosis, histological subtypes and the presence of B-symptoms. The crude incidence rate (CR) was 2.7 and the corresponding European age-adjusted rate was 2.6, being higher in men than in women (sex ratio=1.6). Incidence remained constant throughout the period of study. Nodular sclerosis was the most frequent histology and showed an increasing incidence over time [estimated annual percentage change=+2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.8–4.0]. The 5-year observed survival and relative survival of patients diagnosed with HL were 73.1% (95% CI: 69.0–77.5) and 74.6% (95% CI: 70.0–79.4), respectively. No statistical differences in observed survival were observed across the three decades of study (P=0.455). Clinical parameters negatively influencing 5-year relative survival in the multivariate analysis were as follows: age at diagnosis at least 65 years; clinical stage IV; and presence of B-symptoms. These current patterns of presentation and outcomes of HL help delineate key populations in order to explore risk factors for HL and strategies to improve treatment outcomes.