Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Zaragoza

We love to travel not only locally, but throughout Spain, so I will also include information, from time to time, about where we have visited.  Usually these places can either be driven to within a few hours of our home, east of Málaga, or we will have flown there from Málaga (AGP) airport.

Zaragoza and the River Ebro, Spain

We managed to find some cheap return flights from Málaga with Ryanair  to Zaragoza in northern Spain.  If you take only hand luggage, there are often bargains to be had,  so if you have a few days to spare, it is well worth spending a long weekend in this beautiful city.

Situated in the northeast of the country on the river Ebro, Zaragoza was once an important Roman colony, a thriving Muslim city and a cornerstone of the Catholic Spanish empire.   This ancient city has the fortune of being located between Madrid, BarcelonaValencia and Bilbao, which probably accounted for it’s prominence.

Zaragoza is Spain’s fifth largest city and is the capital of the immense autonomous region of Aragon.

Roman walls in Zaragoza, Spain

Deriving its name from the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus,  Zaragoza has a real Roman theme to it, with an 80 metre section of  the old city walls still surviving, as well as a forum, theatre and baths.

We lost no time in getting to know this charming city which, despite having a population of over 700,000,  feels surpringly small and easy to get around.

Zaragoza cathedral

We visited the beautiful Baroque Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar and took the scenic elevator inside the highest tower for magnificent views over the River Ebro and the city.

Palacio de la Aljafería, Zaragoza

We were amazed by the Palacio de la Aljafería  which pre-dates the Moorish Alhambra Palace in Granada, and is the home of the regional parliament of Aragon.  The Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon, including the Basilica, La Seo Cathedral and the  Aljafería Palace have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zaragoza is a city that may not figure on the typical tourist trail around Spain but, nevertheless, may just be one of its best kept secrets! 


You might also enjoy:

A weekend away: Santiago de Compostela

Venturing further afield: San Sebastián in the heart of Basque country

A long weekend in Santander



40 thoughts on “Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Zaragoza

  1. Pingback: Top 5 English-Language Blogs on Spain Travel | Busbud Blog

    • I agree. There are many, many towns and cities in Spain well worth visiting. Though I guess within a specified time frame of a holiday (one or two weeks) there simply isn’t time to see everywhere.

      Thanks for your comment – much appreciated 🙂

    • There is quite a bit of Roman influence in Spain. One of the things I love about the country, apart from the diverse scenery, is how different places have had such wide ranging and ancient influences.

      Thanks for your comment, always appreciated.

  2. Oh Marianne, you’ve let the cat out of the bag! I have family in Zaragoza so I’ve been there a few times and agree that it is a beautiful city! Lovely photos! I am desperate to go back and see my cousins there…
    If you ever head in that direction again, there’s actually quite a few other places worth visiting, including Tarazona which has a spectacular town hall, “hanging houses” perching rather precariously, an old Juderia and a lovely cathedral which was under restoration for many years. I believe it re-opened last year and it’s claimed that it has one of the most beautiful cloisters in Spain. I have cousins who live there too and have been visiting the town fairly regularly most of my life. Just before the “crisis” there was a lot of work done in the old town to restore the houses there. Don’t let the gaudiness of the colours in this photo, that I took in 2010, put you off: Firstly I think I bumped up the saturation a little and secondly I expect they will have faded rather a lot by now in the sun!

    • I was saying to another commenter that we only had two nights in Zaragoza, and only had the opportunity of exploring within the city, but I would love to drive up there and have a good look around.

      I LOVE your photos of Tarazona – it looks amazing. The colours are so vibrant. I’m not put off in the slightest – quite the opposite. I’m so glad you shared your photos – and thanks for the tips 🙂

      I also took the liberty of looking at some of your other photos and was particularly struck by the ones of Segovia. We are looking forward to a trip to Salamanca, Segovia and Avila next Spring.

      • I’m glad you enjoyed the photos 🙂 Segovia is really lovely and has a lot of interesting corners to visit. We’ve been there twice on our “Grand Tours” of the country. Salamanca is fascinating too, but I found it cooler than I like, even in August (I had to wear socks on one day – unbelievable!), Avila is also worth a vist – amazing town wall! Have you ever been to Toledo? A bit closer to you, but a little bit off the beaten track for many tourists, are Baeza (where my grandfather was born) and Úbeda, both beautiful towns crammed full of Renaissance buildings!

        • Yes, we visited Toledo in October last year, which we loved – and managed to fit in the windmills at Consuegra. Funny you should mention about Baeza and Úbeda – we went there in July – post to follow soon 🙂

    • Don’t beat yourself up, Patricia – there are lots of Spanish (or French) cities I don’t know either. That’s the beauty of being a blogger though, isn’t it? We can introduce the less well known towns and cities to others 🙂

      Yes, I would say Zaragoza is definitely worth a day or two of anyone’s time …. if you get the chance 🙂

      How’s the south of France treating you?

  3. Hi Marianne! I’m happy I found your blog, as I like reading and getting inspiration from fellow travel bloggers 🙂
    Really nice post on Zaragoza. I’ve been there a couple of times and it is a very relaxed and enjoyable city – and underrated as well. A really nice trip I once did was to the Monasterio de Piedra, also in the province of Zaragoza and nearby the Río Piedra. Not only is the monastery beautiful, but the surroundings are also amazing with a couple of waterfalls and crystal waters.
    I also know the province of Málaga quite well, as my mother comes from there, so I’ve been there quite often and visited many villages in the province.
    Have a nice weekend!

    • Hi Irene

      Very kind of you to get in touch about my post on Zaragoza. If I get back to that area, I’ll be sure to check out the Monasterio de Piedra and the nearby river. Our trip was only for two nights and we didn’t have use of a car whilst we were there so all our exploring was within the city, but it’s always worth knowing about places to visit. The waterfalls sound amazing 🙂

  4. Looks so beautiful there Marianne! The minute I can travel, you will be my first stop for sure. 😀 Great shots hon and thanks for sharing. *big hugs*

  5. I´ve only ever driven round Zaragoza (shameful, but you can´t do it all!) Will have to stop next time, you´ve inspired me. My sister visited there years ago, thanks to cheap flights from Ryanair via Stansted. Where Ryanair fly, the tourists will follow. Their deals do make for great cheap weekends away (irritating as they can be to fly with!)

    • I’m not a great fan of Ryanair – but I put up with them to get where I want to go. As long as you abide by their long list of rules – there are some great bargains to be had.

      The very walkable old centre of Zaragoza is a delight – and not crammed with tourists either. We took the HOP ON-HOP OFF bus around the city, too.

  6. The first pic is whoasome. Really great capture catching the whole thing in such clear result. It’s interesting when you mentioned about it being a thriving Muslim city and a cornerstone of catholic empire.

    • Thanks Rommel – that first photo was taken from the highest tower of the cathedral. Such great views!

      Yes, very interesting that so many areas throughout Spain have had many religions happily living side-by-side for centuries.

I´d love to hear from you, and much appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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