I do not write about my travel adventures, experiences and the best places to visit as much as I should do that.
My parents visited me not long time ago and I had chance to get to know Zaragoza very deeply and much more than before- going to museums, walking around the streets I have never had before and even finding great Instagram spots.
When you first visit Zaragoza, it can seem there is only one Cathedral to see and that is all, but deeper you search- more you find and I learn about Zaragoza more and more each day and that is why I wanted to inspire you to visit this beautiful city.
About the city
Zaragoza is located in very great location geographically. The city is capital of Aragon (region in the North of Spain), and located between Madrid, Barcelona un France/ Andorra and Pyrenees mountains. So for example if you have a week to month time in Spain and want to see as much as possible, you can rent a room or apartment in Zaragoza and go from there to all parts of Spain.
Talking about that, Zaragoza has very good transport system. Everyday trains from Station Delicias go to Madrid, Barcelona and smaller cities even Pamplona and Girona. By living in Zaragoza, in 2h you can be in mountains, or the same time and be in beach with cocktail in your hands. There is even an airport in Zaragoza which is poorly planned with not many routes though.
Weather. I need to warn you about the weather. As Zaragoza is located pretty high from the sea lever (you can notice in the area, it is very sandy, and not very beautiful). The weather is very windy and the wind can be so cold that you will search for your winter coat even if the day is sunny. The coldest month is April, but in July it can reach up to 40 C.
Cathedral de Pilar
When you search for the Zaragoza in Google, thousands of images of the cathedral of Pilar pops up and maybe that is why it seems that there is nothing else in the city to see (a little bit to think about). The cathedral is beautiful, massive and impressive though (no question about that).
Cathedral is located between the river Ebro and old town of Zaragoza. The basilica is roman catholic church and was completed in 1961. The cathedral needed 300 years to be built.
Next to the cathedral you can find large square with beautiful, modern fountain in it. Spot for pictures? Absolutely!
A tip. When at cathedral, do not forget to go to the oldest cafeteria in Zaragoza to take a cup of coffee with churros. It is 5 minute walk from the cathedral on the Alfonso street (calle de Alfonso). The interior and facade of the building is spectacular itself! Then name of Cafeteria: Gran Cafe Zaragoza.
Puente de piedra
If you are near by the cathedral, you must snap some pictures of and from the Bridge of rocks (puente de piedra). The bridge is very antique bridge crossing the river, and on each of the ends has two lions guarding it. Seemed interesting for me that busses and cars are allowed to cross the bridge. Usually these kind of bridges are allowed only for pedestrians.
For beautiful photos, step on the bridge and take beautiful photos of the cathedral with no people disturbing the view and photo sessions.
You probably already passed by or were very close to the quarter or district of Tubo- full of life, people, cafes and all kind of small stores that pulls you in their joyful life.
El Tubo has been known as Tapas district, so if you are about gastronomic pleasures, this district is for you. The district is located in historic center of Zaragoza and I would say is the heart of Zaragoza- between cathedral and Plaza de España. Maybe it is just me, but I always love walking around small streets, old towns and local restaurants looking at local people life and businesses and enjoying the busy life of cities.
Castillo de Alfajeria
Alfajeria Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces I have seen, especially in Spain. Can see the Arab influence over the building as it has been in many architecture pieces of Spain. Here you can catch many Instagram shots for your social networks. Try to go there in the morning to avoid a lot of crowds, children and Chinese tourist groups.
What is interesting is that the palaces is actively being used as the location for parlament of Aragon.
Alfajeria was built in the 11th century. Palace has medieval islamic influence. The palace is the only conserved testimony of a large building of Spanish Islamic architecture of the era of the Taifas (independent kingdoms). So, a magnificent example of the Caliphate of Cordoba- Mosque and the Alhambra of Granada in Andalusia must be included in the triad of the Hispano-Muslim architecture the Aljafería of Zaragoza (11th century) as an example of the realisations of the Taifa art.
Mornings (except Thursdays and Fridays)- From 10am to 1.30pm
Guided Tours: 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30am.
Afternoons (except Thursdays)
November to March: From 4pm to 6.30pm. Sunday afternoons closed. Guided Tours: 4.30pm, 5.30pm
April to October: From 4.30pm to 8pm. Guided Tours: 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm
July and August: English guided tours 10 am 5 pm
In January, July and August the Palace can be visited every day of the week.
Access to the Palace ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Tickets and prices.
Adults: 5 €.
Reduced: 1 € (Pensioners, students, holders of youth cards)
Groups (more than 20 people): 4 €
Free: Sundays and children under 12 years
Museo de teatro de CeaserAugusto
I have been living in Zaragoza for almost a year and only few weeks ago I discovered that in the center of Zaragoza is hidden Roman time district which hides such a historical pieces as Amphitheater and it is not even hidden because the theatre is very large and can be seen from the street without entering the museum. So how did I missed that? Mystery unsolved.
If you are not really interested of the history and development of the Amphitheater, you can see it from the outside and not pay for the ticket. Obviously that way the view is not so amazing and you cannot take so good Instagram photos of the location. Sometimes museums like this are not so good planned and seems like- 5 min. and you are out and feels like a waste of money.
Museum of Amphitheater showed 15 min. long video about the whole district, development, how people lived here for 1000 years without knowing about the amphitheater underneath their feet. So it is worth to buy the ticket and get smarter about the location. You can also take some coffee in the local cafeteria, which you can enter from the outside without paying for the museum and have a nice view to the amphitheater as you rest your feet from walking.
Direction. Calle San Jorge 12
From Tuesday to Saturday. 10:00 AM-2:00 PM/ 5:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Public holidays and Sunday. 10:00 AM- 2:30 PM
Closing days: Monday
General: €4 Reduced: €3 Children: Admission free
Important note! There are many Ceasar August related museums around the district, four in total. So if you are a big Roman time fan or museum fan, you can buy one ticked for all museums. I went to two museums in total- this and Therma museum (about Roman saunas). This I found out the most interesting and beautiful one for your eyes, mind, IG photos and money.
Monasterio de Piedra
This one I left you for a dessert. I have been travelling a lot in the last year and I do not remember when was the last time I saw some place more amazing and beautiful as this one. That mentioning I will take the step back and let you know that it is located outside of the city center (around 1h drive by car). As well as is the most expensive one I mentioned. (14 EUR if buying online and 16 EUR if on the spot).
I went there with my parents and boyfriend (my father was so nice to pay). And let me tell you- he would tell me if that was waste of money or not worth. He did not! We all agreed that this was really spectacular park, views and nature and the best time spent together.
When you enter the location, I advice you to start with Monastery– old, a bit ruined (due to war) abbey with small museum of old times, wine cells and some bits of history. Already great spots to take the beautiful photos on the ruins of the Monastery.
Then continue with the spectacular natural park. It has red or blue routes that you can chose from. We chose the blue one because it seemed with more beautiful views of water and waterfalls. Be ready to walk a lot, also in some wet caves and locations (in one the watery fog even came down to us over our heads), but that all was a part of journey and did not bother us at all! Obviously- all the beautiful views and backgrounds that you can take photos at. The hike was around 2 hours long casually walking (we did not really run, we enjoyed every step).
Direction. Calle Afueras, Nuevalos, Zaragoza
Tickets and prices
Adults: 12-64 y.o. 14,40 €
Children: 4-11 y.o. 9,90 €
Seniors: from 65 years 9,90 €
You can also book an hotel and SPA which is located in the area!
Mercadillo. I enjoy shopping if I have time when I am travelling. For me it seems like a part of culture and traditions (of course if you do not only enter store chains such as Zara and H&M). By the way, Zara is Spanish brand and maybe that is why I enjoy it more in Spain than I did in Latvia.
But let’s start with more traditional shopping in Spanish style- Mercadillo or market (open-air). These small (a lot of times not so small) markets are popular and traditional all around Spain. All the locals know which days are the market days and run at the morning to shop for food, clothes and shoes (some sellers give really high quality products).
In Zaragoza, market is located near by station Delicias and river (white, big bridge you will notice). The place is called: Parking sur de la Expo.
Opened every Sunday and Wednesday. More sellers on Sundays. Working hours: 10am-2pm
Puerto de Venecia.
Puerto de Venecia is one of the best shopping center which I have seen so far. It is huge and outside of it is beautiful lake, wooden bridges and even ducks walking around. As well as water slide and playing ground for children. Beautiful place for wonderful photos and sightseeing.
A lot of great restaurants, American, Spanish, Italian and others. In “What to eat” section I will talk about WOK in Spain, but if that seems for you- you can search it in Puerto de Venecia!
In the Shopping mall you can find the biggest sport stores, clothing stores, from low end to high end stores and for your fun- also cinema!
You can get to Puerto de Venecia by jumping on the bus No. 32 from Palacio de Alfajeria. It takes around 30 minutes to get there but you will not regret. Bus ticket price: 1.35 Eur
What to eat?
North of Spain including Zaragoza is not very tapas and sea food friendly as it is far away from South and sea. I would say Zaragoza is more about good meat and steaks or a little bit of everything!
Also what I really love about Spain in general is the menu idea. During day many restaurants has menu options where for fixed price you can chose the first meal, second meal and the dessert + water and bottle of wine included. The price normally should be between 11-15 Eur for a menu.
The second gastronomic idea in Spain I live for are the WOK. Yes, we all know wok and you will say: but that is not Spanish?! Obviously, it is more of an Asian and that is Asian restaurant but let me tell you how it works. Wok restaurants has fixed price around 13-15 EUR that you pay and has free buffet you can go and get food from. Take and eat as much as you can and guess what? It is not only Asian food. There are potatoes, meats, sea food, Spanish food and Italian food. All in one place! Drinks are not included though.
I would definitely advice you to try a lot of wines as possible from the region, as well as Rioja. Red wines are very good in the local restaurants and for a good price.
My favourite meal to eat when I go out (and usually they are for a very good price as well) are the “Puntillas” or small octopus fried in oil. So delicious. Poor octopus but so delicious!
Where to eat?
When you visit Palacio de Aljaferia I would suggest to take a meal in Casa de Emilio which is located very near by, is cozy and small restaurant which we noticed is very local people loved (we were the only tourists). Very traditional Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine.
Direction. Avenida Madrid 5
Gran Cafe Zaragozano is located in the Plaza de España, right next to the old town and shopping street. What I like about this place is that it has a large terrace space which is located in light and sunny location (many cafes in the center are squeezed in small streets, are narrow and without sunlight). Even thought this is the central restaurant, the prices are good and I advice you take a glass of red wine and “puntillas” and take that Instagram photo, girl.
Wok. Mentioned before. Located in Puerto de Venecia and I suggest to visit this place in working days for better price and less crowd.
El Tubo. The district I mentioned before is full with great restaurants and tapa bars. Me myself have been to few and could not even decide to which to go because they all seem so great.
Discussion. I hope you enjoyed my post about Zaragoza. Do you want me to write more about where to eat, where to go and what to see type of tourism posts?
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