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Enchanting architecture, delectable cuisine and lively nightlife in a charming historic centre – each is a reason for you to enjoy a stay in Zaragoza, whether you're travelling with family, on business, with friends or exploring alone.
Follow our advice to learn about all the points of interest and culinary treats in the city before you book your Zaragoza hotel.
What to do in Zaragoza?
Explore the Plaza del Pilar
Lying at the heart of the city on the south side of the River Ebro, the gorgeous Plaza del Pilar is an absolute must-see during any visit to Zaragoza. This immense pedestrianised space is lined by terrace cafés, and is home to some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the city. As well as the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar and San Salvador Cathedral – the religious emblems of Zaragoza – you'll also appreciate the beauty of the city hall, built in Mudéjar style; the Renaissance-era Sala de Exposiciones La Lonja; and the Baroque jewel that is the tiny San Juan de los Panetes church.
And the wonderful surprises just keep on coming – while you're on the plaza, visit the Goya Museum to admire the works of this celebrated Spanish artist, born near Zaragoza in 1746.
Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar
Spain, along with most of the Latin countries, is home to a vast array of significant religious monuments. Zaragoza's main cathedral, Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar overlooks the Ebro; this colossal building, with its riot of brightly tiled domes and roofs, gives its name to the square that it overlooks. From the top of the north-west tower – accessed for a small charge by lift – you'll get an amazing panorama over the city.
San Salvador Cathedral
After the basilica, visit San Salvador Cathedral. Known locally as the "Seo" (the "Seat"), it was built on the site of a former Roman temple and a mosque. Bearing witness to the multicultural heritage of this Aragonese city, the cathedral exhibits several distinct architectural styles: Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Behind its sober facade, which contrasts to the ornate basilica, the cathedral's remarkable interior is a treasure-trove of superb tapestries.
The Aljafería Palace
A spectacular fortified castle, the Aljafería Palace is today the seat of the Aragonese Parliament. Along with Granada's Alhambra and the Mosque-Cathedral in Córdoba, this is one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in Spain. From the Troubadour's Tower to the gilded saloons and the arcaded patios, the former fortress is one of Zaragoza's main attractions. Take a guided tour to discover all the secrets of this exceptional landmark.
Lovers of ancient history will revel in the city's museums. See the remains of a Roman theatre at the Museo del Teatro de Caesaraugusta, while the Museo del Foro de Caesaraugusta offers a multimedia glimpse into the city during Ancient Roman occupation. For more gems from the Roman era, visit the public baths in the Museo de las Termas Públicas, and see urns and column fragments discovered locally at the Museo del Puerto Fluvial.
Highlights of the Zaragoza Museum include ancient Roman armour, medieval religious statuary and several paintings by Francisco de Goya.
Zaragoza street art
Zaragoza has held autumn's Asalto Festival in homage to street art for many years. Have a wander around the districts of San José, La Almozara, Valdefierro and Las Delicias to admire the vibrant murals adorning their walls.
Sampling Zaragoza's tapas is a must. The best bars are found around the historic Old Town, especially in the lively district of El Tubo.
You can't visit Spain without tasting its charcuterie, and Zaragoza is no exception. Whether for a main dish or a tapas snack, you should sample Teruel ham, chorizo or fardeles sausages made from pork liver. You can also try crespillo fritters flavoured with borage – a popular seasoning used in many local dishes. Regional main dishes include suckling lamb – a traditional Aragonese dish for many years. Cooked over an open fire, the meat is served with vegetables and potatoes.
You certainly cannot stay in Zaragoza without tasting its famous chocolates – the city has a tradition of chocolate making that began in the 16th century. Book a Chocotour to sample sweet treats at renowned chocolatiers, or buy a Chocopass voucher and select five gifts from participating shops.
For lively night out in Zaragoza, take yourself off to the city centre to spend an evening in a trendy Plaza Salamero pub. In the university area around Plaza San Francisco, you'll find plenty of bars – many very old – as well as restaurants and tapas bars. If you're intent on staying out late, head for the Leon XIII district, known for its many pubs and clubs.
If you book a Zaragoza hotel in October, you'll be there for the annual Pilar Fiestas, with its schedule of theatre performances, concerts and entertainment for the kids, as well as fireworks and street parades.
Looking for the best hotels in Zaragoza, Spain? To make the most of your stay, book a hotel with car parking in the historic centre and close to the city's major attractions. From there, you can also easily explore the rest of the Aragon region. If you're looking for a cheap Zaragoza hotel, try our stylish economy property near the banks of the Ebro, where you'll have views over the Old Town.
How to get to Zaragoza
Direct flights from London Stansted serve Zaragoza Airport. From there, shuttle buses into the city take around half an hour. You can also take a taxi or rental a car at the airport.
Once in the city, you can easily get around on foot, by bike or using public transport. The city is largely pedestrianised and has an extensive network of cycle lanes and public transport services.