Zaragoza? Where? I’ll admit that when I decided I was going to be an au pair in Zaragoza I needed a little help from Google maps to find out where exactly in Spain it was. However, although it’s not the first choice for tourists it is still a beautiful city and is perfectly situated between Madrid and Barcelona making it a great stop off destination. It’s almost a week since I left Zaragoza now so I thought I would round up my experience by giving a few hints and tips to any tourists who are still clueless about this little known treasure.
1.) Visit the Pilar and La Seo
When it comes to Cathedrals two are definitely better than one. I have already mentioned the Pilar in a previous post about Zaragoza but it deserves to be included here. In order to make the most of my experience I put my hygiene obsessed tendencies aside and kissed the pilar which Mary supposedly appeared upon and also took the lift up to the top dome where you can see a panoramic view of Zaragoza. La Seo is also a cathedral that is not to be missed and here there is also a very interesting tapestry museum which is definitely worth a look.
2.) Visit the underground Roman ruins
Zaragoza was once called Caesaraugusta and was a Roman town founded by Caesar Augustus himself. Today the remains of this great Roman settlement can still be seen under the city, just go to the big box thingy opposite La Seo.
3.) Visit the Roman Ampitheatre
If you’re interested in all things ancient the Roman theatre is also definitely worth a look. I was quite surprised when I first saw this because it is tucked away and surrounded by shops and cafés.
4.) Visit La Aljafería,
This is another place which I have already mentioned in a previous post but I couldn’t leave it out. If you’ve visited the Alhambra palace in Granada you might be a little bit disappointed but La Aljafería is still very pretty Moorish Palace and is worth a visit.
5.) Visit the Centro de Historias
This is a great museum to visit especially if you have kids. I loved the origami exhibition which is part of the EMOZ (Escuela y museo de Origami de Zaragoza) and has some truly incredible figures of animals and insects all made out of paper. One of my favourites were the origami owls- so cute!
El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
This is a must see for any Goya enthusiasts as it houses a wide range of his works, My favourites were the engravings which include the famous work “dreams of reason produce monsters”
7) Have a Guinness in Flagherty’s Irish bar
I may be biased here but I definitely think that Flagherty’s on Calle Alfonso is one of the best bars in Zaragoza. During my stay here I became a bit of a regular and could always have a bit of “craic” with the barmen. If your Spanish isn’t up to scratch this is definitely the place to come as the staff all speak good English and you’re likely to bump into some fellow brits. Also the beers are really cheap during Happy Hour.
8.) Have tapas in the Tubo
The Tubo is a lovely area full of tapas bars which can be accessed by turning left off Calle Alfonso. At night this area comes alive and includes “El Champi” which serves a variety of mushroom based tapas and “La Plata” which has a charming outdoor terrace. This is definitely the place to go if you’re in search of a good nocturnal atmoshpere
9.) Have a Smooy
I hadn’t discovered Smooy until I came to Zaragoza but they are a Spanish franchise which operates internationally. They specialise in Frozen Yogurt which comes with a selections of toppings and is the most heavenly thing I’ve ever tasted! If you go to the one on Calle Alfonso there are plenty of benches to sit down and enjoy it or if you opt for the one on Via de la Independencia I would suggest enjoying your snack in the Plaza de los sitios.
10.) Go shopping near the church of the Magdalena
While I was in Zaragoza I was disappointed to discover that the church of the Magdalena and the Mudejar tower were closed for the summer. The silver lining however was that I found some really funky vintage shops nearby so if you’re a fashionista you must check out this area.