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Travel Guide Europe Spain Aragon Zaragoza

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Introduction

Zaragoza from Basillica de Nuestra señora del pilar

Zaragoza from Basillica de Nuestra señora del pilar

© All Rights Reserved Rish_n_Ben

Zaragoza, also known as Saragossa, is the fifth largest city in Spain with metropolitan population of roughly eight hundred thousand people. It is also the capital city of the Autonomous Community and former Kingdom of Aragon. The city lies along the Ebro River and its main tributaries. The city and region have had an extremely long history starting as a Carthaginian military post, which was conquered by Caesar Augustus.

The Moors took over the city in 714 and held it until 1118. During that time it went on the control of many different Muslim Sultans. The Aragonese took control of the city and setup there own little kingdom. Although by 1137 they were pretty much under Castilian control. Zaragoza was a hot bed of activity during the inquisition, mainly because of a few local Priests that really took it on themselves to spread the message. The city suffered heavily during the Spanish Civil War with 500,000 to 1,000,000 people dying in the region. This is because the area was the centre for Republican Loyalist activity making Franco focus more on attacking it.

Today Zaragoza is a growing into a major economic center. There are also many wonderful sights to see in the city and amazing hiking in the surrounding region. This city is a wonderful place to spend a few days.

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Sights and Activities

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

Zaragoza Cathedral

Zaragoza Cathedral

© All Rights Reserved steff

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar (Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar) is a stunning Roman Catholic Church that venerates the Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Pillar. It is believed to be the first church ever dedicated to Mary. The church is supposedly on the sight where St. James the greater, an Apostle, saw an apparition of Mary, making this the only known apparition of the Mary that happened before her Assumption. St. James the greater was also the first person to bring Christianity to Spain. Several churches have been built on this sight with different styles. The current church was constructed between 1681 to 1686 in a baroque style, although the final touches were not put on until 1872. The Basilica itself is a large rectangle with a nave, which has 12 huge pillars, and two aisles. There are also two all brick chapels attached giving the church an Aragonese feel. Additionally there are 9 additional small chapels that are part of the main church

La Seo Cathedral

La Seo Cathedral is one of the main cathedrals in Zaragoza and is located on top of the old Roman Forum in the city center. A mosque was constructed on the site during the Moorish occupation but when the Christians reclaimed the city they built a Romanesque Cathedral on its spot, although the minaret from the mosque is still part of the current tower. From 1204 to the 15th century all the local kings were crowned in this church. The church has had its designed changed several times over the centuries. Today the church is a mixture of Romanesque, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Mudejar and Gothic styles. La Seo Cathedral and the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar share co-cathedral status in the city.

Other Churches

The following Churches are the Mudéjar monuments that make up an UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • San Pablo
  • Santa María Magdalena
  • San Gil
  • San Miguel
  • San Ildefonso
  • Fecetas Monastery

Museums

  • The Museum of the Forum is a good museum located below the Plaza Del Pilar.
  • Museum of Trapestries is a great museum dedicated to the woven arts.
  • Museum of Fine Arts has many paintings from early Aargonese artists.
  • Camon Aznar Museum has many paintings ranging from Rubes to Van Dyck.

Other Sights and Activities

  • City Hall
  • Lonja is the old currency exchange.
  • Carmen Gate is the old city gate.
  • Palaces - There are several 16th century palaces scatered around the city that are worth visiting.
  • Aljafería is a large Moorish castle located outside the old town. Currently the castle is the seat for the regional parliament. Built in the 10th century this castle is very impressive with amazing towers and stone work along its walls. One of the main features is the Troubadour Tower, which was built in the 9th century. The tower was the setting for Giuseppe Verdi's opera The Troubadour.

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Events and Festivals

International Folk Festival, Zaragoza, Spain 2007

International Folk Festival, Zaragoza, Spain 2007

© All Rights Reserved Rish_n_Ben

  • Las Fiestas del Pilar is the main festival in Zaragoza and starts on October 12th. It lasts for nine days with many events including an opening speech, bands, dances, procession of gignates y cabezubos that are figures made from papier mache, a final fireworks show over the Ebro River, and the bull festival. One of the more popular events is on the 12th when locals make a giant cloak of flowers for the Virgin.

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Weather

Zaragoza is mainly a mediterranean continental desert climate, this is because the city is walled in on all sides by mountains. The average rainfall is only 310 mm, which makes for many sunny days. Most of the rain occurs in the spring. The summer is extremely dry with temperatures reaching up to 40 °C. The winters tend to be foggy with temperatures between 0 °C and 10 °C.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max10.3 °C13.3 °C16.6 °C18.7 °C23.2 °C27.7 °C31.5 °C31 °C26.7 °C20.7 °C14.3 °C10.7 °C
Avg Min2.4 °C3.5 °C5.2 °C7.4 °C11.2 °C14.8 °C17.6 °C17.8 °C14.7 °C10.3 °C5.8 °C3.5 °C
Rainfall22 mm20 mm20 mm35 mm44 mm31 mm18 mm17 mm27 mm30 mm30 mm23 mm
Rain Days766896445789

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Getting There

By Plane

Zaragoza Airport (ZAZ) is a medium sized airport outside of the city. It is also a Spanish Airforce Base and an emergency landing strip for the NASA Space Shuttle. There is a bus service that connects the airport to the city every half hour.Currently, Air Europa flies to Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife-South, Air Nostrum to A Coruña, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris-Orly, and Ryanair to Alicante, Brussels-South Charleroi, London-Stansted, Milan-Orio al Serio and Rome-Ciampino.

By Train

Intermodal Zaragoza Delicias Station is the main train station downtown. The city is on the Madrid to Barcelona Spanish High Speed railway line. Madrid is only 1 hour and 15 minutes by train and Barcelona is only 1 hour and 30 minutes. There are also long distance railway lines and local Cercanías lines, which are slower. A cheaper way to get to Zaragoza from Barcelona is using the "Regional Express" - a slow train going on an ancient track, stopping at every small village and some those post-industrial ghost towns, and really astonishing landscapes. The ride takes 5 hours, costs €22.
Other neighbouring cities like Huesca, Teruel, Pamplona, Logroño, Bilbao or Valencia are connected by a few daily conventional trains.
All trains and buses arrive to Delicias station. The city centre is some 2 km away from, and can be reached using urban buses 34 and 51 or by taxi (10 minutes, around €10).

By Car

Zaragoza is very well connected by free speedways with Huesca (1 hour), Teruel (2 hours), Madrid (3 hours), and by toll highways with Barcelona (3 hours, €30), Pamplona and Bilbao. Traffic around the city is relatively light except on some weekends and holidays.

By Bus

You can reach Zaragoza either from Madrid or Barcelona in 3:45 hours. The coach company is ALSA and the single/return ticket costs around €15/€26. Zaragoza is also well communicated with other main capital cities, such as Valencia and Bilbao. There is possibility of getting to Zaragoza from France by bus. The main lines travel from Lourdes, Tarbes, Pau and Oloron.

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Getting Around

By Car

Free parking in the city centre is very scarce. Most streets have metered parking limited to 1 or 2 hours. Underground paying parkings are scattered in the entire city and usually have free places.

The taxi drivers are plentiful and mostly honest.

By Public Transport

If you plan on busing around, a card costs €7 at any tobacco kiosk (initial card fee of €2, so when charging it next time will just cost €5). With the card you can change lines within an hour without being charged again. Single tickets are €1.35.

By Foot

If you stay in or near the old town, most is walkable.

By Bike

There is a shared bicycle system called Bizi. It has a fairly good website in English which allows you to get a temporary subscription online beforehand. This subscription is valid of three days and costs €5.28. As with most shared bicycle system, the first 30 minutes are free after which you'll pay €0.52 per additional 30 minutes. This is up until 2 hours, after which you'll have to pay a penalty of €3.16 per hour. The deposit is €200. After getting a temporary subscription online, you receive a subscription number which, together with your pin code of choice, enables you to take a bike immediately upon arrival in Zaragoza. Bike availability is usually good, and there are plenty of stations in the city centre, as well as near the Delicias train station and the expo area.

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Eat

Zaragoza is well known because of its many tapas bars. A "Tabla" is a wooden plate in which different tapas like cheese and sausages are served, often with a bottle of wine in the price. The best place to get tapas is the old tapas, commonly called Casco viejo with is a bunch of small streets overflowing with restaurants.

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Drink

There is a number of good wines produced in Aragon.

Tareas of Calle de Espoz y Mina and Calle Mayor, which are a stone's throw from Plaza del Pilar, have plenty of varied bars from which to choose.

Night Clubs

The main night club districts are El Tubo, El Casco Viejo, La Zona, El Rollo and El Ambiente. El Ambiente is the gay friendly scene.

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Sleep

Accommodation is a reason to visit Zaragoza in itself - if you plan to visit both Madrid and Barcelona taking advantage of the fast train connection, you can choose to stay here, halfway between them. Not only will you pay less for the combined train tickets to Zaragoza from either city than from the entire Madrid-Barcelona AVE ride, but you will also benefit from the much lower rates hotels charge in Zaragoza. And all the attractions of Zaragoza are an added bonus on top of it!

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Albergue Zaragoza HostelC/ Predicadores 70Hostel80
Apartamentos TuristicosCoso 152Apartment-
Aparthotel Los GirasolesAvda. César Augusto, 27Hotel-
Apartment Gotor 9Gascon de Gotor 9 1oD 50.006 ZaragozaGUESTHOUSE-
B&B SiestaSobrarbe, 34-36 ZaragozaGUESTHOUSE87
Hotel Husa Puerta de ZaragozaMiquel Roca I Junyent, 5HOTEL-
Hotel SauceC/Espoz y Mina 33Hotel-
Husa Via RomanaC/ Don Jaime I 54 56Hotel-
Sabinas ApartmentsC/Alfonso I, 43 C/ Bayeu, 4Apartment-
San Miguel Apartment14 Calle San Miguel level 2, door #6Apartment-
iSleep HotelSan Francisco 1C, Pol. Ind. Centrova, La MuelaHOTEL-
Hotel HispaniaAvenida César Augusto 103Hotel83
Eurostars PlazaLos Fayos 11Hotel-
Hotel Oriente 3Coso 11 - 13Hotel-
Hotel TiburPlaza SEO 2Hotel-
Hotel IncaManifestación 33Hotel-
Hotel El PríncipeSantiago 12Hostel-
Hotel MazaPza España 7Hotel-
Hotel Plaza FeriaAvda. Diagonal, 11Hotel-
Albergue Ciudad de ZaragozaC/ San Juan Bautista de la- SalleHostel-
Hotel AltoventoPaseo Ramiro I, 2Hotel-
Pension RomaDuquesa de Villahermosa, 4, esc. Izda. , 5o AGUESTHOUSE74
Hotel las TorresPlaza Nuestra Señora del Pilar, 11Hotel-
Hotel Paris CentroCalle San Pablo 19Hotel-
Pension Santa GemaSantander, 3Guesthouse78
Casa Palacio de los SitiosC/ Pozo, 7Apartment-
Hostal Central ZaragozaAv Cesar Augusto 72 PrincipalGUESTHOUSE78
Apartamentos Paris CentroC/ San Pablo, 4Hotel-
Apartamentos Augusta CentroC/ San Pablo, 24HOTEL-
Apartamentos MurallasC/ San Blas, 29HOTEL-
Hostal El CarmenPaseo Maria Agustin 13HOTEL75
Hostal San MiguelCalle Trinque 8 Fuentes de Ebro Fuentes de EbroGUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Rio ArgaCalle Contamina Nº 20-24 (Alfonso I)HOTEL79

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.

In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.

The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.

Post

If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 41.656288
  • Longitude: -0.876606

Accommodation in Zaragoza

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This is version 16. Last edited at 14:21 on Jun 9, 17 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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