THE CITY OF ZARAGOZA
Zaragoza offers the advantages of a medium-size city (700,000 inhabitants) and the facilities of a big capital. Zaragoza is situated in North-East Spain, between Madrid and Barcelona. Capital of Aragón and the most important city in the Ebro Valley, Zaragoza lies 200 metres above sea level, occupying the alluvial terraces of the great peninsular river and part of the lower valleys of its tributaries, the Rivers Gállego and Huerva.
The climate is Mediterranean-Continental and rather arid. Its more than 675,000 inhabitants make it one of the most densely populated cities in Spain.
During 2008 Zaragoza has been the venue of the International Exhibition EXPO 2008 “Water and Sustainable Development”. This event has contributed to the modernization of the city, with a significant improvement on conventions and tourist infrastructures.
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 civilizations 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.
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. The most outstanding religious monument in Zaragoza is without doubt the Basilica of the Pilar, “El Pilar”. Built on the site of a primitive Mozarabic church, it is endowed with different styles in construction and ornamentation.
Of particular note are the choir (with its exquisite choirstalls), the impressive Renaissance altarpiece in alabaster by Damien Forment, the Holy Chapel where the image of the Virgin is venerated, and the cupolas painted by Goya.
Do not forget to visit the Moslem Palace of the Aljaferia, palace of Joy. Now it houses the Parliament of Aragon but in the past, since the 11th century, it was the palace of the Moslem monarchs of Zaragoza. It also acted as inspiration for Verdi in his operetta Il Trovatore.
GASTRONOMY IN ZARAGOZA
Zaragoza has something for every palate and the choice of places to eat here is infinite. Eating in this city can be lots of fun, as it offers a diverse menu with the blending of four cultures and recipes that have been preserved from generation to generation. Foods range from fried dishes to tomato and pepper sauces, traditional borage and fresh vegetables grown next to the Ebro River. The prolific Pyrenean pastures, dense woodlands, fertile lower valleys and warm dry climate create the perfect environment to produce some of Spain’s highest quality meats, agricultural products, cheeses and wines. While Zaragoza may not be on the sea, it is a logistical center for the distribution of goods all over the country and therefore receives shipments of fresh fish from the coasts every day. Olive oil is a standard at any table and the oil is used in many local dishes as well.
Tapas are also available in most restaurants and many bars/stands. Tapas are little appetizers served at bars and in small cafés before a main meal, or even as a meal. The best place to eat is the old district called: “Casco Viejo”, specifically, the area known as “El Tubo”, which is a bunch of narrow and ancient streets, and a perfect place to enjoy the best of the miniature cuisine in Zaragoza. There are also many restaurants to enjoy traditional food. You can also visit the famous gastronomic route of Puerta Cinergia in Plaza España.
HOW TO COME TO ZARAGOZA
The Zaragoza airport offers international flights to/from London (Ryanair), Milan (Ryanair), Brussels (Ryanair), Paris (Ryanair), Bucarest (Wizz Air), Cluj Napoca (Wizz Air), and Tenerife Sur (Orbest).
The fastest option to get to Zaragoza (Zaragoza Delicias Station) from Barcelona (Barcelona Sants) or Madrid (Puerta de Atocha) is to take the high-speed train (AVE). Trains run hourly from 5:50 to 21:00 and arrive at Zaragoza in 1h30min. Allow at least a 2h margin between flight arrival and AVE train departure.
We recommend that you buy and print your AVE tickets in advance here. If you are buying a return ticket, you can select fare type “IDA Y VUELTA” for both inbound and outbound trips, as it is usually the most economical option.
Please, take a look at the following resource, that can help you in planning and booking your travel: www.rome2rio.com
Although the easiest and faster way to reach Zaragoza is by the high-speed train (AVE), Zaragoza is also connected to Madrid and Barcelona by bus. ALSA is the company that operates this service. There is one bus almost every hour. If you come through Madrid, you can catch the bus either at the station ”Intercambiador Avenida de America” or directly at Barajas airport terminal 4. If the travel is via Barcelona, take the bus at the station “Barcelona Nord”. Tickets can be bought electronically. Please, check timetables and prices here (in Spanish) or here (in English).
Buses arrive at Zaragoza-Delicias Intermodal Station (it is just behind the train station). Zaragoza-Delicias Intermodal Station also houses a hotel, a business centre, shops and a variety of services for travellers.
Permanent telephone: enquiries and bookings 902 240 202 (number only available within Spain).
Permanent telephone: enquiries about international routes 902 243 402 (number only available within Spain).
- Zaragoza Airport: Aena Zaragoza
- Trains: Renfe
- Tram of Zaragoza: Tranvía de Zaragoza
- Transporte público: Bus Zaragoza , Radio Taxi Zaragoza 976 42 42 42
- Wiki Zaragoza
- City Council web site: Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza
- Tourist information: Zaragoza Turismo
- Tourist information : where you can find clickable image maps, and dowloable audios in different languages: Spanish, English, French, Deutsche and Chinese
- Emergency call: 112 Aragón