What to see in Spain

Zaragoza

Tourist attractions Zaragoza

Located in the Community of Aragon in northern Spain, Zaragoza’s multi-domed Basilica del Pilar alone makes a trip to this city worthwhile. But there’s plenty to enjoy here, from strolling along the banks of the tranquil River Ebro to tracing the Mudejar heritage of the imposing Aljaferia Palace, complete with turreted towers. 

The fifth-largest city in Spain, Zaragoza is famed for its lively tapas bars and nightlife as is the birthplace of legendary Spanish artist, Francisco Goya. Roman ruins, Renaissance architecture and notoriously friendly locals make Zaragoza one of Spain’s most underrated cities and the perfect choice for a city-break, offering an alternative to the more tourist-centric cities of Madrid or Barcelona. 

An authentic picture of urban life in Spain, a trip to Zaragoza also offers the chance to enjoy the famous Fiestas del Pilar, a 10-day festival celebrated every October. The best time of year to visit Zaragoza is during the spring or fall season when you can make the most of the cooler temperatures to go sightseeing. Furthermore, you can visit Zaragoza as part of a wider tour of Spain as it’s well-connected to the larger cities of Madrid and Barcelona by both rail and road.

Things to see in Zaragoza

If you travel to Zaragoza, don’t miss out on the chance to visit the incredible Basilica del Pilar, a treasure of Baroque architecture and the most important landmark in the city. Constructed between the 17th and 18th-centuries and rising up from the banks of the River Ebro, this majestic Basilica stands on the site of Santiago’s apparition of the Virgin Mary. Highlights of a visit to Basilica del Pilar include its alabaster altarpiece, the ceiling frescoes painted by Goya himself and the incredible view of Zaragoza from the top of the northwest tower.

From Baroque finery to elaborate Islamic-era architecture, the Aljaferia Palace is one of the best things to see in Zaragoza. Situated in the heart of the city, this stand-out landmark dates back to the 11th-century. One of the grandest Islamic-era buildings outside of Andalusia, what was once the stately residence of the Islamic rulers of Zaragoza has been used as the seat of regional parliament since 1987. Expect to lay eyes upon exquisite Mudejar architecture and lavish interior decoration if you visit Aljaferia Palace.

If you consider yourself a foodie, one of the best things to do in Zaragoza is to discover the culinary delights of Mercado Central. Housed within a beautiful Art Nouveau building, this covered market has its roots back in the Middle Ages. Stop for a spot of tapas or rub shoulders with the locals as you shop for fresh produce. 

Finally, to discover the masterpieces of Spain’s favourite art genius, be sure to pay a visit to the Goya Museum. This gallery is set over three floors, with the second entirely dedicated to the works of Goya. The influence of Goya on Zaragoza is undeniable so it’s certainly worth a visit to learn more about this famous Aragonese painter.

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