16 Best things to do in Zaragoza

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Zaragoza is one of the largest cities in Spain and unlike many other popular cities not yet discovered by mass tourism, we found it a perfect city to experience real Spanish life. Zaragoza will amaze you, at least it certainly did for us! There are a lot of great things to discover in Zaragoza.

We are happy to share our experience in this article and hope to get you excited to travel to Zaragoza. After reading this article you know what the best things to do in Zaragoza, where to stay, the best places to eat and more!

Zaragoza basilic
Bar Cafetería Santiago

Things to do in Zaragoza?

Zaragoza is a huge city where the main activities are located in the historic center (El Casco). Read below our 16 recommended activities to do in Zaragoza.

Tip: use the below map to see where all the best things in Zaragoza are located. Click on the right top corner to view the map bigger. If you click on the star symbol next to the title you can save this map in your Google Maps account. In the map you can show or hide different categories. You can then use this map to navigate when you reach your destination.

#1 Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

The most impressive building in Zaragoza is without a doubt the basilica. For pilgrims, this is a very important building to visit because centuries ago the Virgin Mary, also called El Pilar, appeared on a marble column that stands in the basilica. Many religious persons visit this place to give a kiss on the column where the holy spirit once appeared. After this event, they started to build a building around the pillar to honor the Virgin Mary. In the past centuries, this building has grown in size, and in the 17th century, it finally became the basilica that we can admire today.

When you arrive you immediately notice how gigantic the building is, the many domes and colors are beautiful to see. Once you enter you will be enchanted by the huge columns, statues, and art. For example, you can find works by the famous painter Goya. The basilica can be visited daily for free and you will probably visit it more often like us because it is so impressive that you want to see it again.

Things to do in Zaragoza

#2 Climb the tower of the basilica

If you want a beautiful view of the city and the basilica, climbing the 90-meter tower is highly recommended. With an elevator, you rise to a height of 60 meters where you are treated to a fantastic view. You can go up a bit from this place until you have reached the highest point at 80 meters. Here you stand on a narrow plateau where the view is stunning, but for a photo, the lower part is better because of the glass.

The entrance to the tower is not at the main entrance, it is on the riverside. Use the map at the beginning of this article to find it easily. You may need to reserve a ticket. It is recommended to walk past it after you have visited the basilica to check if you can go in immediately, if not, you can make a reservation. Another option is to visit the tourist office opposite the basilica, they can also help you book a time slot. Tickets cost €3 per person.

tower of the basilica

#3 Plaza del Pilar

Plaza del Pilar is an impressive square due to its size and the imposing buildings that surround it. With a length of 1500 meters, Plaza del Pilar is the longest square in Europe. It impresses for this reason alone! This square is the center of the historic center because the most important buildings are located on this square. The basilica of El Pilar is located on this square, but also two large fountains, a huge statue of the artist Goya, La Lonja which is the commercial building of Zaragoza, and much more. Moreover, it is a pleasant square because of the many bars and terraces, you can easily enjoy your time here for hours.

Plaza del Pilar

Where to stay in Zaragoza

We stayed at Hotel Avenida and recommend it. For us, this is one of the most beautiful hotels we have ever stayed in. The hotel is fantastically decorated, when you step inside it seems as if you have entered an oasis of peace. The rooms are also very spacious with comfortable beds. Everything is very stylishly decorated. In addition, it is right in the center, so you have everything within reach, which is a big benefit! This hotel is also very nice for people who travel by car because they have a price agreement with the parking garage in front of the hotel, for only €15 per night you can park the car in front of the hotel. Fun fact; if you travel with your pet, they are allowed here. Keep in mind that there may be additional costs involved. Check prices and availability here!

If Avenida is fully booked Catalonia El Pilar is highly recommended. This hotel is also located right in the center and is highly appreciated by other travelers! You can check the current prices via this link.

#4 Goya museum

Goya is one of the most important painters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Europe. Through his paintings and graphic works, he humorously gave his opinion about the everyday matters that were going on at the time. Political and religious topics were also often discussed via his work.

You may not expect much from this museum at first, but if you are interested in art and culture you will love it amazingly. The iconic humorous works of art are magnificent. For €6 per person, you can enjoy a great time.

Goya museum

#5 Catedral del Salvador

The Cathedral of Zaragoza is located on Plaza la Leo and does not seem that big from the outside but once inside you will be enchanted by its treasures. The best thing about the cathedral is that your ticket includes an audio tour so you can learn everything about the cathedral. During this tour you will see that many architectural styles can be found, this is because the cathedral was built between the 12th and 17th centuries. Tickets are €6 per person. It is also possible to climb the tower of the cathedral, this costs €1 extra.

#6 Palacio de la Aljafería

You can often find Moorish influences or remains in the south of Spain, but you can also admire this in Zaragoza by visiting the Aljafería Palace. This palace was built in the 9th century when Zaragoza was occupied by the Arabs. You can visit the palace daily, tickets are €5 per person. The most beautiful part is the courtyard of the palace because of the plants and beautiful columns. You will also visit a couple of rooms where you can enjoy detailed art. Not everything is open to the public, as the Parliament of the Province of Aragon is located here. This palace is worth visiting as it is different from what you are used to see in the north of Spain. Normally you need to travel to the south of Spain. It is recommended to walk from the center to this palace in 20 minutes, buses are just as quick because of the traffic jams.

Palacio de la Aljafería

#7 Enjoy the Spanish food

Because Zaragoza has not yet been discovered by mass tourism, you can enjoy fantastic food here. It’s not expensive at all and you only get to be among the locals, it couldn’t be more fun.

We recommend a couple of places which you can read in the chapter: where to eat. There is one place that was ridiculous good: La Republicana. In this bar you can enjoy a menú del día (€11,50 per person). The portions are extremely good, the quality of the food is excellent and the atmosphere in the bar is very cozy. It’s an amazing place to eat! Try the canelones (cannelloni) as a starter and for main course calamari andaluza (Andalusian squid) or Salsom horno (salmon from the oven).

La Republicana

#8 Visit the central market

There is nothing more fun during a trip than visiting a market. Before 1903, the main market was always held in the old market square, today it is located in Lanuza. This building was designed by an Argonese architect named Félix Navarro Pérez. When you arrive at the market you immediately notice how beautiful the entrance is. This is built in a neoclassical style where you see many elements related to the market. Once inside it is nice to walk around and watch the locals do their shopping. Of course, it is also fun to buy something yourself.

Central market

#9 Puente de Piedra

If you walk from the basilica to the river Ebro you will see Puente de Piedra on your right, this is a bridge that was built in the 12th century. When you walk over this you notice that on both sides you are welcomed by lion statues. The best thing is to walk across the entire bridge and then stand on top of the roof of the Convento de San Lázaro museum. From this point, you have an impressive view over the basilica, the river, and the bridge. This is also nice for photographers to try to capture a special moment. You can also try to make a timelapse because the sun disappears behind the river, so the shot can be very beautiful.

photography Zaragoza

#10 Old Quarter El Tubo

In the historic center, you can find the old district El Tubo, which is the district where you can experience the Spanish atmosphere, especially in the evening. This district consists of small streets, alleys, and squares with terraces. Here you will find many eateries where the locals go in the evening to enjoy tapas while enjoying a drink. It is recommended to walk around here in the evening and visit different bars.

It is possible to discover Zaragoza with a tour. You will walk through the El Tubo district and visit many activities on this list and learn everything about it through the guide. Read more information about the tour here.

Old Quarter El Tubo

#11 Kayaking on the river

If you want to do a unique activity in the city, kayaking on the river Ebro is something for you. During a 2-hour trip (€20 per person) you will kayak along the old center and you can enjoy a unique perspective of the city from the water. We recommend making a reservation at ebroNAUTAS.

Kayak Zaragoza

#12 Calle de Alfonso

In the historic center, you find the main street Calle de Alfonso, this pedestrian street is wonderful to walk through because of the many shops you can find there. The best part, however, is that you can see the basilica towering above all the buildings when you walk down this street. It is recommended to walk from the old bank of Aragon towards the basilica, you will then pass all the shops and can make awesome photos.

Calle de Alfonso

#13 Wine tour

Zaragoza is located between the mountains of the Pyrenees, the wine region of La Rioja, and the forests. Because the river Ebro runs to the provincial town of La Rioja Logroño, there has been a good trade route between the two regions for centuries. The most important import product is the wine that is transported via the river. For this reason, Zaragoza is an excellent place to enjoy Spanish wine. Ask at the tourist information desk which wine tour is recommended to follow.

#14 Roman buildings

Zaragoza was formerly occupied by the Romans, so you can still see many ruins in the city. The most important buildings can only be visited by visiting a museum, more about this in the next activity. Nevertheless, you can still see enough Roman influences throughout the city that are free to visit. The main public attractions are located next to Zaragoza’s market. Here you will find the old Roman walls and the monument of César Augusto.

Roman building Zaragoza

#15 Museums

Our favorite museum is Goya, but there are so many more to visit. Below is a list of museums that are worth visiting:

  • Museo del Teatro de Caesaraugusta: here you can admire the remains of a Roman theater. You will learn more about the history surrounding this theater here;
  • Museo del Foro de Caesaraugusta: Here you can see remains of the Roman forum. The great thing about this museum is that through reconstructions you get an idea of how the people lived in this Roman city;
  • Museo de Zaragoza: here you can see archaeological and painting in an old pavilion;
  • Museo de Pablo Gargallo: in this museum you can admire copies of the most famous sculptor ever from Aragon.

#16 Visit an olive oil plantation

Finally, it is fun to discover more of the surroundings of the Aragon region by visiting an olive oil plantation. By following a tour, you learn about how olive oil is produced. Also included in the tour is a visit to Belchite, a village that was badly destroyed by bombs during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Nowadays it is possible to visit these ruins which will impress you. Check at the tourist information desk for more information.

How many days do you need for Zaragoza?

Zaragoza is a fantastic city because there are so many great things to do in Zaragoza. We recommend staying at least 2 days / 3 nights in Zaragoza. In 2 days you can do most of the activities on this list. If you want to go kayaking for a morning, follow a wine tour, visit different museums, and/or visit the olive oil plantation, it is recommended to plan 3 to 4 days for Zaragoza.

Where to stay in Zaragoza?

Because Zaragoza is a big city and its popularity among the national population, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. It is important to make a reservation in time because the below accommodations are quickly booked due to their popularity. Use the links below to make your reservation, the advantage is that you can change your reservation free of charge 24 hours before check-in.

We stayed at Hotel Avenida and recommend it. For us, this is one of the most beautiful hotels we have ever stayed in. The hotel is fantastically decorated, when you step inside it seems as if you have entered an oasis of peace. The rooms are also very spacious with comfortable beds. Everything is very stylishly decorated. In addition, it is right in the center, so you have everything within reach, which is a big benefit! This hotel is also very nice for people who travel by car because they have a price agreement with the parking garage in front of the hotel, for only €15 per night you can park the car in front of the hotel. Fun fact; if you travel with a pet they are allowed here. However, there may be additional costs involved. Check prices and availability here!

If Avenida is fully booked Catalonia El Pilar is highly recommended. This hotel is also located right in the center and is highly appreciated by other travelers! You can check the current prices via this link.

Where to eat in Zaragoza?

As mentioned in activity #7, La Republicana is the best place to eat. In this bar, you can enjoy a daily menú del día for €11,50 per person. The portions are extremely good, the quality of the food is excellent and the atmosphere in the bar is cozy. It’s a nice place to eat! Try the canelones (cannelloni) as a starter and as a main course calamari andaluza (Andalusian squid) or Salsom horno (salmon from the oven).

Another nice place is Bar Cafetería “Santiago”, this bar is located in a fantastic location, it is located on Plaza del Pilar. If you sit on the terrace you can enjoy an impressive view of the basilica. Inside the bar you need to order, they have several tapas and pintxos that are tasty and also not expensive considering the location. The patatas bravas and pintxos with gambas are recommended to try.

In #10 Old Quarter El Tubo we mentioned that it is best to walk around here in the evening and visit different bars. In the street C. Libertad, you will find some nice places where you can eat delicious pintxos.

Granier Panes Artesanos is a great place to have a typical Spanish breakfast. Here you can order fresh sandwiches with something savory. Another recommendation is Palmaria Cafe because it is magnificently decorated.

Pintxos Zaragoza

How do you get to Zaragoza?

Zaragoza cannot be reached directly by plane. For this, you need to fly to Barcelona, ​​Madrid or Bilbao. At one of these three cities, you need to use the train to arrive at Zaragoza. Train tickets can be purchased here (you can also buy other public transport tickets via the link).

When you are going to travel to Spain by car you will pass San Sebastian a city in the north of Spain. We recommend visiting first San Sebastian because it would be a shame to pass San Sebastian without having visited this amazing city. Secondly, your long journey from your location will be shortened by 3 hours.

We do not recommend traveling from outside Spain to Zaragoza by public transport because of the long travel time.

If you travel to Spain by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

What is the best period to visit Zaragoza?

Zaragoza is located more inland of Spain, so temperatures are pleasant all year round for a city trip. You can visit Zaragoza every month. The best period is between April and October, during this period there is less precipitation and the sun shines more. The disadvantage of this period is that it is busier and prices rise.

Want to see more of Spain?

If you have visited Zaragoza, there are still many beautiful cities and places in Spain that you can visit. If you want to travel to the north of Spain, as we did, you can use our northern Spain road trip for inspiration. If you follow this itinerary, Ordesa National Park is your next destination.

If you don’t follow our itinerary but are still curious about which places to travel to from Zaragoza, the best options are Barcelona, ​​the wine region of La Rioja, or San Sebastian. San Sebastian is a port city where the historic center is beautifully situated along the sea. In La Rioja you can discover the countryside of Spain with many vineyards and Barcelona speaks for itself, this is a metropolis where you stay for weeks! Click on one of the links to open one of our articles.

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