The largest city in the Spanish province of Aragon, the city of Zaragoza is one which is brimming with history and passion. If you stroll through the city, there’s every chance that you might get taken in by its relaxed atmosphere and vivid architecture, some of which dates back over a millennium. From Roman times to the present day, several eras have made their mark on Zaragoza.
Today, the city attracts visitors due to its vast array of shops, its welcoming nightlife and reputation as a great sporting city. It also has a reputation for being a place which embraces spirituality, as evident from its many religious festivals and beautiful places of worship. As you might expect, the city is full of museums and galleries too.
Despite having a historic centre with many narrow roads, a hatchback is better for driving in the city than something smaller. This is due to the large number of motorways and dual carriageways.
The city’s most impressive building is the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar, a massive cathedral built between the 17th and 19th centuries. It attracts worshippers from across Spanish-speaking countries on pilgrimages every October and is free to enter.
Museo Zaragoza is the main municipal museum in the city and is also free to enter. Among its more impressive exhibits are the mosaics as designed by Caesaraugusta and a series of artworks from Goya, a native of the region.
Expo 2008 is one of Zaragoza’s more unique attractions. Although the aquarium is the only building completely open to the public, the buildings themselves are worth taking a few photos of if you’re a fan of contemporary architecture.
La Hora Bruja Sound Festival, which takes place at the Museo Pablo Serrano, takes place over three days in June. It mainly sees acts playing authentic flamenco music in front of an appreciative crowd dining on similarly authentic tapas dishes.
Some of the motorways leading to Bilbao (E-804), Barcelona (E-90) and Pamplona (AP-15) are toll roads, while other highways are free to drive on.
Unusually, the city centre seems to experience higher volumes of traffic during weekends and public holidays rather than weekdays.
On some of the streets in the city centre, metered parking is restricted to one or two hours at the most. After that, payment is required.
Intermodal Zaragoza Delicias Station is the city‚Äôs main high-speed train station. Trains can be caught going to Madrid in one direction and Barcelona in the other. Minor commuter services to smaller towns are also available here.
Zaragoza Airport (Aeropuerto de Zaragoza) is located 10 miles west of the city centre and is accessible via the N-125. It offers flights to other major Spanish cities as well as London.