Zaragoza is nothing short of magical,
I experienced the beautiful Aragón capital this summer with my husband. The most remarkable thing about Zaragoza is the way the city is constructed of many different architectural styles and how you can tell the city has a lot of history, just walking through the streets.
My husband and I immediately fell in love with the city and all of its hidden gems. In this post, I will share some of my favorite things to do in Zaragoza as well as I will share my food recommendations.
Things to do in Zaragoza
There are quite a few things to do in Zaragoza! Some of them are really big attractions, while others are more of a “enjoy the vibe”-kind of experience. Anyway, Zaragoza is super charming and I am sure you will love it just as much as my husband and I did.
Our list of things to do in Zaragoza contains 6 things you CAN’T miss when visiting!
Visit Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar
The Basilica is the landmark of the city and it is HUGE!
We hadn’t done much research on Zaragoza before we went but from a quick Google search and our Airbnb-host’s best recommendation, we figured we had to see this place.
The place is mesmerizing inside and out. On the inside, the basilica is covered with the most beautiful paintings and ceilings were equally stunning. Wherever you look, there’s something that catches your eye and there are so many details in this place.
If you go through the basilica, you can get to an elevator that will take you to one of the basilica’s many towers. This trip will cost you 3 € and I would say it’s money well spent! From the top of the tower, you have a gorgeous view of the rest of the towers with their beautiful roofs as well as you have a view of river Ebro and the city.
The placement of the Basilica couldn’t be any prettier. River Ebro is running right behind it and in the front, there’s a huge square where people come to eat at the restaurants or drink a coffee whilst people-watching.
Enjoy the green areas of Zaragoza
This is one of the more nature-like things to do in Zaragoza.
I would suggest that you visit one of the parks in the city. The parks are a good place to get away from any traffic and noise from the city and it is perfect to bring your own food and have a picnic.
In the parks, you will experience how locals, young and old alike, enjoy the nature. Some by sitting down at a bench and talking, other doing their exercises and others again playing games. It can be a great place to do some people watching, but also a great place to meet locals and ask for their best advice on what to see and do in the city.
Visit Aljafería Palace
Walking into Aljafería palace, was almost like walking into another world.
Aljafería is a medieval Islamic palace and it has plenty of little details throughout the building. The palace reminded me a lot about my visit to Seville and Real Alcazar de Sevilla, which is also known as Dorne in Game of Thrones. The architecture was quite similar as well as the gardens in the middle of the constructions were almost identical (or at least vey much alike).
The palace is very well kept and walking through it you can learn a lot about the history of the region Aragón and its rulers through the years. I thought it was pretty interesting and I definitely felt like a princess walking around in the hallways of the palace.
Another really cool thing about this place is that they have a student discount. If you make sure yo bring your student-card (or other proof that you are in fact a student) you get to see this beautiful place for only 1 €, which makes it super affordable to visit.
Enjoy Casco Antiguo (at night)
Casco Antiguo is the old part of Zaragoza. It is filled with colorful buildings with little balconies and plenty of narrow streets. This part of Zaragoza is super cute.
Especially at night.
There are tons of bars and restaurants in the area, which means that there’s a really nice atmosphere. Even though we visited during the summer holiday, which should be high season for tourist, we didn’t really meet any other tourists. That meant that we got to experience a really authentic Spanish summer night in Zaragoza and boy,
I am in love with the Spanish culture.
While I studied in Spain my professor once told me “us Spaniards, we love to go out for food and drinks and we love to go out and talk with a lot of people” and honestly, who doesn’t love that? To me, the food, the drinks, and the amazing people are some of the things that make me travel to Spain over and over and over.
Relax by river Ebro
Ebro is the second longest river in Spain and runs through Zaragoza all the way from Cantabria to the Mediterranean sea. In Zaragoza you can find a lot of nice places to sit down and enjoy the view of Ebro, while recuperating for exploring more of the city.
While it can be tempting in the Aragonian heat, you should not go swimming in the river. If you want to cool down in some water, I suggest you visit one of the many piscinas (pools) that can be found throughout the city.
Visit Caesar Augusta Roman Remains museum
This museum is home to some very well preserved Roman ruins. At the museum, you can experience a partially preserved forum as well as a sewer and an old market. It is the perfect place to learn even more about this part of Zaragozan history.
This museum also has super good prices if you are a student. As a student, you can enter the museum for just 2 €.
I really hope you found some inspiration on things to do in Zaragoza on this list! If not, I hope I can at least help you find a nice place to eat!
Where to eat in Zaragoza?
Our Airbnb host mentioned that much like Basque Country, Aragón is known for its incredible cuisine. In Zaragoza, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafées, where you can sit down and indulge in some of the Spanish deliciousness. But where should you go?
Who doesn’t love Spanish Croquetas? This place specializes in exactly that! They have many, many different kinds and they both have classical croquetas and more special ones. All are around 2,10 € a piece, which is a great price. It is also the perfect place to go for a drink and a snack if you feel a small hunger sneaking up on you.
Restaurante San Lorenzo
The restaurant makes really good food inspired by the Mediterranean and Basque cuisine filled with fresh veggies. It is very affordable and there is a good price/quality ratio. Also their menú del día (menu of the day) is about 11 €, which includes both a starter, a main course, a dessert or coffee and a drink.
Café del Tibet
Okay, this is not exactly traditional Spanish food, but it is definitely worth a visit! At this restaurant, they serve Nepalese food of different kinds. We loved it very much, as the food is full of flavor! They have many different items on their menu and it is fun to try new things. We ordered a plate for sharing. The plate has many little dishes and was a super great way to try many different things.
Where to stay in Zaragoza?
Choosing where to stay in Zaragoza depends widely on your preferences. Do you prefer staying in the touristic center and being able to walk everywhere or do you prefer staying a bit outside and take a long walk or use public transportation? Both preferences can be met in Zaragoza and the have a very well connected bus system, that allows you to go anywhere in the city.
The areas I would suggest you stay in are the following, as they are all relatively close to the touristic center and not too far by bus either:
As mentioned earlier in this post Casco Antiguo is just amazing and full of life. Also, this is where most of the things you want to experience in Zaragoza are located. There are tons of hotels in this area and you can find both very expensive rooms or cheaper alternatives. An example of a very popular place to stay is Zrooms Suites (Affiliate link).
Parque de Roma
Parque de Roma is a bit outside of the center and is a bit more local and cozy. You could, for instance, stay at NH Sports (affiliate link), which has had great reviews and looks super nice.
Centro is the city center and here are a lot of shopping opportunities as well as you can find some pretty good places to eat. There are not that many hotels in the area, so you might want to consider Airbnb instead. If I should mention one hotel in the area though, it would be the Hotel Zenit (affiliate link), which is nice, but still affordable.
Universidad is about half an hour away from the tourist center with public transportation and a lot less if you have a car. There isn’t that much to see in the area, but it is calm and you could, for example, stay at Reina Petronila (affiliate link), where there even is an indoor pool to cool down in the heat, which I personally think would be a major plus!
Other areas you might consider when booking your accommodation in Zaragoza are Delicias, La Almozara and Las fuentes. I haven’t been able to find any good hotels in these areas, but I am sure you would be able to find a really nice Airbnb. The areas are all a bit outside the touristic center, but nothing too bad.
How to get to Zaragoza?
It can be quite difficult to figure out what is the best way to get to Zaragoza.
Fly to Zaragoza
Zaragoza has a nice little airport. There are only 8 airlines flying to the airport though; Air Europa, Evelop, Iberia, Orbest, Ryanair, Volotea, Vueling and Wizz Air. Most of these are quite cheap, so I’m sure you can find a good price. I just checked the trip from my local airport and the prices were really good, but the travel times were absolutely awful! Luckily for me, there are other ways to get to Zaragoza.
Take the train to Zaragoza
Zaragoza is located right between Madrid and Barcelona and right in the middle of these two cities and Basque Country. This means that quite a few trains run through the enormous train station in Zaragoza. The trains in Spain are run by Renfe. From their website, you can buy tickets for your trip, but make sure to check out GoEuro.com as well as they sometimes have special offers that make it cheaper for you.
My experience with the Spanish trains is, that they are usually very comfortable and clean. They do not have any wifi though, so make sure to bring a book or something like that, if you are taking one of their longer routes.
Take the bus to Zaragoza
I don’t know why, but in Spain there are SO MANY bus companies and bus routes! Usually traveling by bus in Spain is the cheapest option if you want to visit a different city and I think that is the same, when going to Zaragoza. On of the largest bus companies is ALSA bus and you can find tickets and prices on their website. I have experienced a bit of trouble with their website a few times when it comes to actually buy the tickets, so don’t worry if it happens to you. What you can do instead is to go to the ALSA ticket office of the city you are traveling from and buy the ticket there instead. These offices are usually located at the bus station, which makes it super easy.
I hope you feel ready for your trip to Zaragoza and that I could inspire you to visit some of the mentioned places. I completely fell in love with Zaragoza and I am sure you will too.