Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar
Caesar Augusta Roman Remains Museum
Third Millennium Bridge
Come to Zaragoza, one of Spain's major cities. The capital of the Region of Aragon is located on the banks of the Ebro River, halfway between Madrid and Barcelona. There are many reasons to come to this open, friendly city. Take note:
2,000 years of history.You will find a stunning legacy of monuments in the streets of the city, vestiges of the Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Christian communities who left their mark on the place: Roman ruins such as the Circus; Aljafería Palace; Mudejar-style churches, with the UNESCO World Heritage designation; Baroque gems like the Pilar Basilica; the work of brilliant artist Francisco de Goya... And also the Expo 2008 site. If you like art, then Zaragoza is the perfect destination for you.
Leisure: a range of activities. Theatres, cinemas, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, fairs... In Zaragoza a spectacular year-round cultural programme awaits you. The cultural life of the city is intense. See for yourself in the city streets or at venues like the Auditorium, the Principal Theatre or the Aragon Conference Centre. You can find all the different artistic styles in this city.
Delicious gastronomy.Savour typical regional dishes and, of course, take part in one of the city's great traditions - going out for tapas: small gastronomic creations that delight all those who try them.
A great city for shopping.Zaragoza has a range of shops to suit all tastes. From pedestrian areas to large shopping centres, not forgetting the street markets. Stroll through the streets of the city and feel their bustle and vitality.
Night-time entertainment.Enjoy Zaragoza nights. Pubs, nightclubs, bars and terrace bars open their doors until the early hours of the morning. Fun is assured in a city with wonderful nightlife at any time of year. You will see for yourself when you explore the main areas for going out. You will want to come back for more.
Festive spirit.Zaragoza is a city that is always ready for a fiesta. You can see this, for example, during Easter week. The processions bring over one hundred thousand visitors to the city each year. Most important, however, are the El Pilar Fiestas in October. Come and take part in events that fill the streets with happiness and bustle: vaquillas (bullfights with young bulls), concerts, sports, religious processions, regional folklore...
The pleasure of a stroll.Going for a stroll around Zaragoza is a traditional activity open to all. Dress comfortably and explore the streets. This city is compact, ideal to wander on foot, and its boulevards, avenues and pedestrian areas are perfect for a stroll. This is also the best way to admire its monuments.
Routes and outings in the surrounding area.Discover the area surrounding Zaragoza, with a wealth of landscapes, villages, spa resorts, cultural routes and countryside. From Fuendetodos, the birthplace of brilliant artist Francisco de Goya, to Calatayud, where you will find the Piedra Monastery nature area. Follow the Moncayo Route, to the province's highest mountain, just a few kilometres from Tarazona, a Mudejar town packed with art. We would also recommend a visit to the Cinco Villas region, with its medieval atmosphere. These are a few outings that you will enjoy, less than an hour and a half away.
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A route through Zaragoza
The best way to discover Zaragoza's monuments is to stroll through its streets. You will feel all the wealth of its 2,000 years of history.
The city walls, churches, basilicas, palaces, stately houses and squares of the old quarter reflect the different civilisations that settled the city.
Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians left their cultural legacy behind, waiting to be admired to this day. There are certain monuments and places that are simply not to be missed. Leave your watch behind and grab your camera. You should plan your stay according to the time you have available. However much time you have, take note of our proposal to make the most of a day in Zaragoza.
You can start the day in Plaza del Pilar Square, alongside the Ebro River. Here you will find three of the city's emblematic buildings: The Pilar Basilica, church and universal symbol of Zaragoza; La Lonja Palace, the region of Aragon's most important 16th century civil building, venue for many exhibitions throughout the year; San Salvador Cathedral (the "Seo"), Aragon's most valuable and significant monument, where you will find medieval artistic styles reflected, along with Renaissance and Baroque elements. Be sure to look at the exterior wall of the Parroquieta Chapel, on one side of the Seo - it is the pinnacle of Zaragoza Mudejar architecture.
Before lunch, head for the Caesaraugusta Theatre Museum, just a few minutes walk away. See what the Roman city's most popular monument was like. There are many witnesses to Zaragoza's imperial past to be seen - the city walls, the Forum, the River Port and the Public Baths, with their respective museums.
To get your strength back, there is nothing better than trying the regional gastronomic delicacies at any of the many restaurants in the city. After lunch you can get underway again by visiting the Metropolitan Water Park, the city's main recreation area and green lung, and a veritable open-air museum. A legacy of the Expo 2008 exhibition, it is home to a whole host of entertainment, sports and cultural options: stroll along its avenues and enjoy the Water Gardens, the golf course, the River Beach, the Arbolé Theatre... The most classical-style garden is the Parque Grande or Great Park, with wide landscaped avenues adorned with monuments such as the statue of Alfonso I the Warrior, or spaces like the Botanical Garden.
At mid-afternoon, Aljafería Palace awaits. Don't miss this Moorish gem, the most important 11th century civil construction in the Islamic West, with stunning areas such as the Santa Isabel and San Martín patios, or the polychromed coffering of the Throne Room. To finish off the day, we would suggest that you head back to the centre of the city and visit the Patio de la Infanta, a 16th century architectural gem with various works by artist Francisco de Goya. If you are interested in art by this great painter, you can see more in the Ibercaja Camón Aznar Museum (MICAZ), housed in the Renaissance Palace of the Pardo, where the four large series of engravings by Goya are displayed in one of the rooms. Zaragoza still has much more to see. This is why it is best to stay on for two or three days if possible. It is the best way to take a closer look at all this city has to offer. We recommend you make for any of the tourist offices, where they will help you plan your visit. These are the most outstanding monuments in the regional capital of Aragon.
A range of options centring on the Ebro River and the Pyrenees Mountains
The Ebro River and its surroundings are Zaragoza's main ecological area. You only have to go for a walk along the river to see its importance in the history of the city.
There are numerous points of interest along the Ebro River as it passes through the capital of Aragon, and one the most interesting is the Water Park in the Ranillas meander. This is an area of approximately 120 hectares around the International Exhibition grounds which features a combination of extensive green areas, services and both recreational and sports areas, including a golf course. This is also one of the highlights on the "Bizi Tour", a guided visit by bike along the rehabilitated banks of the Ebro River.
Visitors can also enjoy a visit to the protected natural area known as the Galacho de Juslibol, less than 5 kilometres from the city centre. Don't miss this unique area with its priceless landscapes, ecology and culture. It is also well worth visiting the Galacho de la Alfranca, a refuge for small ducks, black and white poplars and willows which can be reached on the tourist train which departs from Azud del Ebro.
Another highly recommended route is the Aragon Imperial Canal, a great work of engineering, completed in the 18th century. It was originally designed to link the Cantabrian Sea with the Mediterranean with a long, navigable channel. This canal is 150 kilometres long and runs through Zaragoza. Enjoy the luxuriant vegetation of its banks, home to a host of animal species. The Imperial Canal passes alongside the city's great green lung: Primo de Rivera Park. Visit this park, where the people of Zaragoza come to relax, a beautiful ensemble of paths and avenues with fountains and gardens, which has become a huge open-air museum. Here you will find the statue of the king Alfonso I "the Warrior", one of the city's most spectacular monuments. We would recommend a visit to the Botanical Garden, also to be found in the park.
Skiing just an hour and a half away In the Aragon capital you will find all the facilities for your favourite sport, whatever it might be. The city has a range of sports halls and centres. There is a long list of options. The Ebro River is the ideal setting for fishing, rowing and kayaking. There are also several reservoirs nearby where you can go sailing, windsurfing, water-biking or even water skiing. A good one is the Mequinenza Reservoir, known as the Aragon Sea, just over 100 kilometres from Zaragoza. This long section of the Ebro River is a good place for fishing. Species such as black bass, perch and wels catfish bring thousands of people from all over the world to these waters every year. You can also play golf at either of the courses in Zaragoza. In addition to the 18 holes at La Peñaza and the Real Aeroclub golf clubs, Las Ranillas Urban Golf in the area near Expo Zaragoza 2008 offers a 9-hole course, putting green and practice green. Just over an hour and half away by car you will find the Formigal and Panticosa ski resorts, in the heart of the Pyrenees. It is possible to go for the day from Zaragoza. There are daily return bus services. Practise your favourite sport with excellent facilities. The Pyrenees are also the ideal setting for mountaineering, climbing and adventure sports (paragliding, hang-gliding, canyoning in the Sierra de Guara Mountains, caving, hunting...). You just have to choose.
Regional flavours to suit every budget
Gastronomy is an art in Zaragoza. This is why we can assure you that you will eat well and drink better. There are a host of options: restaurants, wineries and bars, from the most simple, homely establishments to the most luxurious and exotic places with Asian influences.
You just have to choose which one. In Zaragoza you will find gastronomy with prices to suit every budget. For €6 you can have a set menu in the bars of the Old Town. For €30 or €40 you can sample the latest creations fusing the aromas and flavours of different culinary traditions.
Be sure to go out for tapas while you are in Zaragoza. Your best bet is to make for the centre: Plaza de San Miguel Square and the streets around it; the old "Tubo" area; Plaza de Santa Marta and Santa Cruz Squares and the streets around them; the side streets around the Paseo de la Independencia, such as Cinco de Marzo, Cádiz and Plaza del Carmen Square. These are not the only ones, though. Let the locals advise you - you won't regret it. You can sample real miniature delicacies for a very reasonable price.
Many of these tapas, along with a host of dishes, are prepared using regional produce: fruit and vegetables from the gardens of the Ebro River, Teruel ham, Aragon baby lamb, extra virgin olive oil, wines with Designation of Origin (Cariñena, Campo de Borja, Calatayud and Somontano)… Don't forget to try typical fare like migas (fried breadcrumbs), chicken with tomatoes and peppers, roast baby lamb, rice with borage and clam sauce, and pigs trotters stuffed with wild mushrooms.
Don't forget the terrace bars either. At dusk, from spring onwards when the weather is good, the streets of Zaragoza fill with tables and chairs and people come together on the terraces to enjoy a cold drink with friends. Just head for Paseo de la Independencia, Plaza de San Francisco, Paseo de Sagasta or Primo de Rivera Park, where there are live performances in summer, and you will see for yourself.
For young people
Nightlife and cultural activities all year round
Leisure at all levels, nightlife, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, sports activities... Young people play an active role in Zaragoza's cultural programme and day-to-day life.
The city has a range of leisure activities and entertainment for young people. The list is long, with plenty of ideas at any time of year. Programmes that support live music, as well as multitude of music festivals, creative events, film seasons and theatre... On spring and summer nights the "12 Moons" municipal programme offers a range of activities for weekend nights: workshops, multisports, cyberleisure, games, Reading Club…
Don't forget that you can also go on a range of dramatised city visits, where the history of Zaragoza is acted out for young audiences. We suggest a trip back in time where you will find Romans, film stars, Goya-esque characters… Discover these characters on a route through the historic centre.
It is during the Pilar fiestas, in October, when young people become the main protagonists. These are days of fun, happiness and abandon, music, competitions, vaquillas (bullfights with young bulls), festivals and plenty of colour as all the local people get involved, especially in the peñas - associations of friends who fill the streets of Zaragoza with laughter and revelry.
Don't leave Zaragoza without enjoying its impressive nightlife. From Thursday into the weekend, the Zaragoza night puts on its party clothes, and pubs, bars and nightclubs open their doors, catering to all kinds of tastes. There are different areas to go out, with a range of possibilities depending on the clientele: El Rollo - Moncasi, University - Tomás Bretón, La Paz, León XIII, "El Casco", "Zuma", La Magdalena or the ACTUR centre, with venues offering rock, pop, jazz, salsa, house, techno… Not to forget the renovated area near the banks of the Ebro River, next to the Expo 2008 site.
The little ones, big protagonists in fiestas and celebrations
One of the most enjoyable and original ways of discovering Zaragoza for a large part of the year is on the MegaBus, a children's tourist bus that runs round the city's most emblematic places and monuments.
Climb aboard and let a fun film director explain the keys to the city's history to children in a simple, enjoyable way while she looks for locations for her new film. This bus service is free for under 5s, and tickets are available for purchase on the bus itself or in advance at the Zaragoza Tourist Office. The bus goes on to the area around Plaza del Pilar, where the director asks the audience to take part in the filming of the first shots.
In Zaragoza, children are the protagonists in many of the local fiestas, celebrations and festivals over the course of the year. We would suggest coming in October, coinciding with the El Pilar fiestas. The best thing is to stroll through the city's streets and parks, the stage for music, games and street entertainment for the little ones. Magic shows, circus performances, dance, clowns and puppets fill places such as Delicias Park, as well as many of the streets of the city centre. Don't miss the "Giants and Big-Heads", either, who can be seen chasing children left, right and centre. If you want, you can also head for Plaza de San Bruno Square, where you will find humour with clowns and mimes.
The Three Kings Parade (5 January); children's shows packed with fantasy on San Valero day (29 January) - the patron saint of Zaragoza; the children's Carnival (end of February), with theatre and fiesta in the streets; theatre performances and activities in the parks in summer... these are other recommendations.
Zaragoza with children
If you want, you can also explore Primo de Rivera Park (the city's main green area) on the "Chu-Chu Train" - a fun way to discover this network of gardens and avenues. An enjoyable way to finish off your stay would be a few hours at the Theme Park. You can visit the park March-October. Here you will find a roller coaster, Ferris wheel and witch's train, along with more modern, innovative attractions. Thousands of people come to the park every year.
A major city with commercial vocation
Open-air markets, crafts, ceramics and souvenirs shops, shopping centres and all kinds of establishments where you will find fashion, accessories, top brands... Zaragoza is a great city for shopping.
The Aragon capital combines modernity with tradition, the latest trends with more typical products. The main areas for shopping in Zaragoza are the centre, along with Don Jaime I and Alfonso I streets and their surrounding area. These are pleasant areas of the city with many pedestrian streets, full of hotels, bars, restaurants and all kinds of shops. There are also modern shopping centres and department stores offering all kinds of articles and products, both in the centre (Independencia, Puerta Cinegia) and in the outskirts (Puerto Venecia, Augusta, Grancasa, Plaza Imperial...). Although these are not the only shopping areas in the city.
Other useful information
Opening times: most of the shops and shopping centres are open from 10am-8.30 or 9.30 in the evening. Traditional shops open from 10am-2pm and from 4.30-8.30pm.
Sales: the winter sales generally begin in the first week of January and go on until the end of February, and the summer sales begin on 1 July and run until the end of August.
How to pay: most people pay in cash or with a credit card, when you must show your passport or identity card.
Tax free: residents from outside the European Union are entitled to have Value Added Tax (IVA) refunded on purchases of more than €90.15.
Congresses and business
Zaragoza has many facilities for congresses and business meetings. The city has undergone a major transformation as a result of hosting the International Expo 2008.
Zaragoza is capital of the Region of Aragon, and it is almost equidistant from Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. The city has excellent communications with the rest of Spain and Europe thanks to the high speed train line (AVE) and its international airport, as well as the motorway network. The history of Zaragoza dates back 2,000 years and the city has a major year-round programme of cultural events and entertainment. If you like the countryside and sports then you are in luck too, because close by there are a host of routes to be done around the Ebro River and the Pyrenees Mountains, just an hour and a half away by car.
Because of the International Expo 2008, dedicated to Water and Sustainable Development, the city of Zaragoza underwent an incredible process of transformation, to be provided with new infrastructures, accesses and buildings, such as the new Conference Centre.