7 Hours in Zaragoza
Hola! This past weekend I took a day trip to another Spanish city about 3 hours north of Madrid. I arrived at around 13:45h and after wandering around for 30 minutes trying to find wifi (the struggle is real) I finally got ahold of my friend Jinny and made lunch arrangements. Zaragoza is the 5th largest city in Spain and quite a world of difference from Madrid. Don’t get me wrong, the tapas and cañas were still very much available but it is quite fascinating to me how different a city just 3 hours away can be. Compared to Madrid, Zaragoza is a much smaller, calmer and quieter city. Having lived in Madrid for over a month now it was quite odd to arrive and not have the hustle and bustle that is pretty much a given here in Madrid. There were barely any people on the streets and restaurants (even during the “menu del día” time of the day).
Nevertheless, Zaragoza was an absolutely beautiful city with many things to do despite the size comparison to Madrid. Here’s 7 things to do in 7 hours if you ever find yourself in Zaragoza, Spain.
Avenida de America bus stop
- Climb the Basilica of Pilar
Nestled in the Plaza Mayor of Zaragoza, the Basilica of Pilar is a must visit. I mean it’s pretty darn hard to miss. I’ve seen so many basilica’s and cathedral’s so far duh it’s Europe, but this one stands out the most. Maybe it’s the structure or the spiral steps I got to climb to reach the top or the candy colored roof or even the beautiful ceiling paintings by Goya, this Basilica definitely has its own personality. For just 3 euros we were able to go up the tallest tower and was able to get a phenomenal view of the city. Phenomenal view from the top Dramatic places call for dramatic pictures
- Explore the Goya Museum
Francisco de Goya is a very famous painter in Europe and is well known for his oil paintings. Zaragoza is actually his ciudad natal (basically meaning city of birth) so it was definitely a must to stop by the museum. A lot of the paintings in the museum are originals so cameras and pictures were not allowed….but ofcourse being the rebel I am I snuck a couple pictures not in front of the paintings ofcourse
Museo de Goya (taken by my talented friend Jinny)
The girl behind the camera is finally the subject of the picture!
- Take a stroll at Aljaferia Palace
When you look at any website for must do things in Zaragoza, Aljaferia comes after the Basilica so I was pretty pumped to head there after lunch. I don’t know if its because I have already seen so many amazing palaces and castles with phenomenal architecture that my standards were set a little too high. Nevertheless, it was still a beautiful stroll!
Casually sitting in front of the palace
A view of the palace
- Grab a bocadillo de calamare
Treat Yo’ self as my friend Judy would say and this bocadillo de calamare was seriously the best “treat” after a day of exploring. This is popular pretty much anywhere in Spain, it is basically a baguette with calamari topped with aoli, honey and salsa picante aka heaven in a bite. I’ve been trying to stay away from bread but I could smell this bocadillo from a mile away so it was pretty hard to resist (no regrets though) and if you’re feeling lucky a caña de cerveza (beer) is only 1 euro. None for me though, beer still tastes like I’m licking the bottom of a barrel, blegh.
(The food was so good, I forgot to take a picture. I know, shocker)
- Enjoy the Street Art
One thing I found unique about Zaragoza was its street art. During the time I have been here in Madrid I have yet to see eye catching street art or for that matter street art at all. Zaragoza was full of it, pretty much everywhere I turned there was some type of art on the walls. It was nice seeing all the creativity and trying to guess what each piece of art meant!
Beautiful street art (all taken by my talented friend Jinny)
- Menu del Día
Need I say more? Menu del Día is basically another way of saying we’re going to serve you a 3 course meal with drinks for 10-14 euros. In my case 9 euros which in American standards is ridiculously cheap. Travel tip: Whenever I am traveling within Spain, I always try to eat lunch at a place that has the Menu del Día option because I know I am guaranteed a satisfied stomach for a very reasonable price. The best thing about this place is they gave us a bottle of wine AND water for free with our meal! 9 euro Menu del día and a whole bottle of wine (I did not finish the wine mom, not an alcoholic)
- Watch the sunset on the bridge
I have witnessed some pretty amazing sunsets in my life. Living on an island for half of my life, visiting big cities, or even climbing up mountains I would say that I have seen my fair share of that took my breath away sunsets, or so I thought, until I witnessed the sunset on the bridge overlooking the Basilica of Pilar. I seriously felt like I was in a movie because the sun was perfect, the breeze added to the moment and the landscape that laid in front of me was unreal. Pictures, even though it looks like a postcard will never be able to do it justice. It was simple, yet one of the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever witnessed plus the Basilica stays lit up so it ends up looking like a castle! Disclamer: This is real life
Next up, Continent hopping for the weekend! Stay tuned to find out where to!
Hasta la proxima vez,