Once occupied by the Romans and then the Islamic people, Zaragoza has a rich and extended history. The historic sites, museums, and architecture all show off this rich history and cultural influences. While in Zaragoza, be sure to check out the famous Roman Catholic cathedrals before heading out for some tasty tapas at one of the popular tapas bars. Spaniards tend to eat dinner much later than Westerners, so be sure to have a late lunch to tide you over before hitting a hot eatery overlooking the historic city.
1.Caesaraugusta Forum Museum
The actual city of Zaragoza was believed to be established around 14 BC. This museum has been restored and preserved to allow guests the opportunity to witness what life was like during this Roman occupation. The unique location of this museum is one of the great draws – all the preserved historical sites are underground. You can also see the advancements that the Roman Republic is known for, such as the water supply pipes and the sewer channels. On top of these technological marvels, you’ll also see structures from a market and store walls. In the basement of the museum, you’ll find structures of the ancient forum that once stood in its place.
Plaza la Seo, 2, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-72-12-21
2.Palacio de la Aljaferia
Built in the 11th century, Palacio de la Aljaferia is an Islamic palace listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing. Its Moorish architecture can be seen throughout the palace and grounds. It once was home to the emperors of the Islamic kingdoms when Spain was broken into independent states. Once Catholic Spain rose, the Catholic kings of Spain used this place as home. Today, guests can visit the museum and marvel at the architecture and detailed ceiling artwork and frescoes. Staff can be accommodating when looking through the palace, but an audio tour for your visit should be a must.
Calle de los Diputados, s/n, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-28-96-83
3.Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar
© Karl Allen Lugmayer/stock.adobe.com
The Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar was built sometimes between the 17th and 18th centuries. This classic Baroque architecture is a real gem to behold when visiting Zaragoza. The origin of the church is to venerate the Virgin Mother Mary. Many saints have paid tribute before the statue of her here, such as Saint Teresa of Avila. This site was consecrated in the first or second century and since has been the location of many churches. Today’s basilica houses nine chapels, all with their own dome to top it. Guests can also view the sixteenth-century organ that has been used in the church for centuries.
Plaza del Pilar, s/n, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain
4.IAACC Pablo Serrano
© IAACC Pablo Serrano
When you’re ready to hit the modern and contemporary art scene in Zaragoza, you’ll want to head over the Aragonese Institute of Contemporary Art and Culture (IAACC) Pablo Serrano. Open since 1994, this museum was initially established by the late artist Pablo Serrano before becoming a property of the Aragon Government. Though visitors can look at the impressive collection of Serrano’s works, other famous artists, like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Henry Moore, have work here as well. Within the museum, guests will find dedicated workshops for artists, a library for research, and areas for visiting exhibits.
Paseo Maria Agustin, 20, 50004 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-28-06-60
5.Caesaragusta Theatre Museum
The Caesaragusta Theatre Museum is one of Zaragoza’s most precious Roman ruins. This theater was accidentally discovered during modern construction, as is often the case in these ancient cities. Originally built in the first century, the theater was originally a place of leisure and political meetings. It is believed that at one point, its exterior was similar to Rome’s more famous cousin, the Colosseum. Guests can visit the basement’s audiovisual history of the museum before trotting the same walk that the ancient Romans once used. Once inside the theater, guests can take in the reconstruction documentary on the ten roll-down screens that come out for use at night.
Calle San Jorge, 12, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-72-60-75
© Zaragoza Museum
Entering the Museuo de Zaragoza (Zaragoza Museum), guests are greeted by three magnificent statues above the arched doorway. This will be the first of many gorgeous sites throughout the tour. This national museum houses nearly every museum-worthy category from the Paleolithic archaeological finds to modern art. Though primarily focused on the history and artwork of Spain, many visiting exhibits bring international cultures to light. Whether you’re interested in seeing Roman furniture set up as it was in a villa or checking out Goya’s famous works, Museo de Zaragoza is a must-see.
Plaza los Sitios, 6, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-22-21-81
7.Museo Pablo Gargallo
For those who are fans of Pablo Gargallo (and those who have not yet stumbled onto his great works), Museo Pablo Gargallo gives guests an insight into the mind and works of this great sculptor. A good friend of Picasso, Gargallo is one of the great Aragonese artists. Not only will guests see original artwork, sculptures, cartoons, and biographical pieces from Gargallo, they can also marvel at the seventeenth-century architecture of the building. This museum is in the Argillo Palace that once belonged to Francisco Sanz de Cortes. Upon entering the courtyard, you’ll see the Olympic Greeting, two equestrian statues Gargallo made for the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.
Plaza San Felipe, 3, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-72-49-22
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The Goya Museum in Zaragoza looks at the namesake's famous works. However, guests who visit the Goya Museum will discover much more than Goya paintings and prints. The museum is broken down by two primary categories: 15 Essential Works and 48 Prominent Works. The 15 Essential Works include a self-portrait by Goya, the museum palace, Saint Francis of Assisi in Prayer by Juan Antona de Friaz y Escalante, and Christ Carrying the Cross by Juan Zarinena, among others. The 48 Prominent Works are no less important than the 15 Essential Works and must be admired during your visit as well.
Calle Espoz y Mina, 23, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-39-73-87
9.Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza
One of the UNESCO Cultural World Heritage sites, Catedral del Salvador o La Seo is one of the most prominent churches in Zaragoza. Visitors will be astonished to discover that this was the first Christian cathedral built in Zaragoza. It is dedicated to San Salvador and over time was the place of other religious houses, like an Islamic mosque and a Roman temple. Today, guests can visit the gothic-style church to witness the grandeur of cathedrals built during the period. Guests should be sure to see the Altarpiece inside the cathedral, which is a classic Gothic characteristic.
Plaza de la Seo, 4, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-29-12-31
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10.Museo de las Termas Publicas de Caesaraugusta
© John Vlahidis/stock.adobe.com
Another fantastic Roman find in Zaragoza was the Roman baths, which are now part of the Museo de las Termas Publicas de Caesaraugusta (Caesaraugusta Public Baths Museum). One of the most exciting aspects of the baths is the reconstructed and diagramed latrines. It was a small room with a bench full of holes for Romans to do their business. A small channel of water ran at the feet of the people sitting to use for hygienic purposes. Sometime during the first century, the latrines were replaced with an open-air pool. The museum focuses on providing an authentic look at how important the baths were to the Roman people for more than just hygiene.
Calle San Juan y San Pedro, 7, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-72-14-23
11.Zaragoza Central Market
The city of Zaragoza is popular with street vendors and markets selling wares of all kinds. Perhaps the most famous is Zaragoza Central Market, which specializes in selling food. Though not on the street, this market is worth a visit even if you’re uninterested in the food. Over 100 years old, the building is full of arches and columns that lend to classic Parisian architecture. The stalls are typically handed down from each generation. Today, there are 133 food stalls selling everything from seafood to vegetables. Though the market is an impressive site to visit alone, the fifth floor of the building provides a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Av. De Cesar Augusto, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-28-19-98
12.School Origami Museum of Zaragoza
© School Origami Museum of Zaragoza
When you think of origami, you’ll likely think of beautiful little flowers, birds, or perhaps airplanes. School Origami Museum of Zaragoza, called EMOZ by locals, will break any stereotype you may have of origami. EMOZ treats origami as the pure art form it is. Visitors will pick their mouths up from the floor when they see the paper creations made by artists. From knights slaying dragons and masks to multi-colored animals and movie-worthy characters, you’ll be astonished at what can be done with just paper. Of course, the museum would not be complete without offering origami workshops to introduce the art form and craft to those interested in learning more.
Plaza San Agustin, 2, 50002 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-876-03-45-69
13.Alma Mater Museum
© Alma Mater Museum
Similar to many significant locations on this list, Alma Mater Museum is on a spot with over two millennia of history. Alma Mater Museum looks at Spanish history and religious history in the area. Many of the artifacts on display specifically look at holy garments, crucifixes, artwork, and objects, but this is a fantastic museum for those who are not interested in religion as well. Overall, the history that surrounds the area and complex is worthy of a visit. Check out the 12th century defense tower or the Gothic chapel from the 15th century. Complete your holiday with a stop at the open-air cafeteria.
Plaza la Seo, 5, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-39-94-88
14.Puente de Piedra
The Ebro River runs through Zaragoza, so when people need to travel between sides, Puente de Piedra bridge is one of the most beautiful ways to cross. In 1991, four bronze lion statues were added to pillars at the ends of the bridge. Because of this, locals have since been calling it the Bridge of Lions. Though it has been through much destruction and rebuilding, the bridge dates back to the 1400s, when the people of Zaragoza realized the need for a bridge. The bridge today is built entirely of sillar stone and reaches 225 meters in length.
50014 Zaragoza, Spain
15.Sala de Exposiciones la Lonja
La Lonja de Zaragoza is worth checking out for the history of the building alone. The first structure built during the Renaissance, La Lonja includes three false floors to hold up the characteristic arches. The main room of the building is built with Gothic architecture still influencing the arches and vaults in the ceiling. Since the early twentieth century, this building has been used as an exhibition space, housing some beautiful work by famous artists, such as Vazquez Diaz, Picasso, and Beruete. Visiting exhibits have been presented at La Lonja that include important relics from around the world and photography, and art from many popular artists.
Plaza Ntra. Sr. del Pilar, s/n, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-72-49-12
16.Bar Hermanos Teresa
© Bar Hermanos Teresa
After a day of sightseeing, you’ll likely be famished and looking for some good grub. One spot in Zaragoza worth checking out is Bar Hermanos Teresa, which serves up excellent tapas big on flavor. When you’re ready to dive in, check out the chickpeas with bletus, foie gras, and a poached egg or the gratin of asparagus and prawns. Try some popular Spanish cuisine, such as bull meatballs, veal tripe, or blood sausage. Of course, sweeter dishes, like the fig and English crème tea cakes and the pineapple carpaccio with saffron and milk foam is also worth a try.
Calle del Gral. Ricardos, 11-13, 50013 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-42-52-12
© Café Nolasco
Sometimes a stop to recharge is essential, and at Café Nolasco, you’ll find good food, drinks, and free wi-fi to fill all your needs. This bright and modern space overlooks the old city center. Though it is a small restaurant, the open, airy décor makes the room feel much larger. While coffee is an obvious choice, many locals and visitors suggest the gin and tonic to go with your meal. The food is Mediterranean with Spanish influences, like the taboule salad or the risotto with truffles and parmesan. The cheesecake is also highly recommended for your post-meal sweet treat.
Calle San Jorge, 18, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-876-01-72-82
© Los Xarmientos
Los Zarimentos is a prix fixed dining experience for those interested in trying a special meal made specifically for your tastebuds. There are two primary menus from which to select: the Aragonese meu and the Xarmientos menu. The Aragonese menu begins with a tomato and meat salad with egg and cheese vinaigrette. You may then choose between the Ternasco ribs, teak, octopus, xarmientos, or tuna belly before moving on to the apple pie a la mode. The Xarmientos menu is a tasting menu that gives you the chance to try pickled ventrescu and Iberian ham before trying Grilled cod on dried fruit tabule and roasted ternasco shoulder. Desert is French toast a la mode.
Calle Espoz y Mina, 25, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-29-90-48
19.Restaurante la Migueria
© Restaurante la Migueria
Often overlooked for the flashier cuisine, like Paella, migas is one of the staples at La Migueria. Migas is a traditional Iberian dish that uses up leftover bread and ingredients. It is versatile and filling, and La Migueria makes sure to showcase this rare treat. La Migueria has several migas options, but some of the popular ones include chorizo and grapes. Continue your meal with one of the main courses and then complete it with some tasty wine and traditional flan or goat’s cheese with jam. No matter what you try, you’ll find an affordable, traditional Spanish meal in the heart of the city.
Calle Estebanes, 4, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phgone: 34-976-20-07-36
© Casa Lac
Listed in the Michelin guide as the oldest restaurant in Spain, Casa Lac opened its doors in 1825. This fine dining establishment works hard to provide a spectacular menu for patrons. Although there is a full menu with meat and seafood, Casa Lac focuses many dishes to vegetables. In fact, there is a 6-course vegetable meal as well as desserts like roasted figs stuffed with cheese mousse. A popular seafood dish is shrimp ravioli with leeks. This restaurant is trendy, so you should seek a reservation for a specific dining time or date in mind.
Calle Martires, 12, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-39-61-96
© Montal Alimentacion
Four generations have offered exceptional service and cuisine at Montal Alimentacion. While it is a gourmet store, the restaurant and taste shop are the standouts for a relaxing meal. The Taste & Shop features themed events, such as wine tastings, themed dinners, and product tasting, while the restaurant is a full-service experience. It is located in a palace from the 15th century, making this beautiful atmosphere the perfect setting for a dinner or special event (like a wedding). Shop the gourmet selections in the store, where patrons can find high-quality products and delicatessen offerings.
Calle Torre Nueva, 29, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-29-89-98
© PALAFOX HOTELES
Celebris is a restaurant located in the Hiberus Hotel. The rooftop dining provides fantastic views of the city as the sun sets in the warmer months. Since Spaniards prefer a late dinner, you’ll find that most fine dining establishments, like Celebris, do not open until late (8:30 pm or later). The late hour should not deter visitors from enjoying these fine restaurants. At Celebris, you’ll get treated to fixed menus that can be chosen based on your dining preferences and time. The wine selection at Celebris is celebrated for bringing some of the best wineries in Spain to the table.
Hotel Hiberus, Paseo de los Puentes, 2, 50018 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-876-54-20-06
If you’re looking for a great spot to catch a futbol game while in Spain, consider heading over to La Pilara for the game and a pint. On top of the cold beer and excellent waitstaff, you’ll find some of the most delicious pinchos and tapas in Zaragoza. One option at La Pilara is to select the tapas bar, which showcases several different tapas every night. Whether you choose several or stick with one of your favorites, you will not be disappointed. Located in the quaint historic district, enjoy the pub-feel carried throughout the bar.
Calle Cuatro de Agosto, 14, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-39-58-34
24.Restaurante Meli Melo
© Restaurante Meli Melo
Restaurante Meli Melo is a popular tapas bar in Zaragoza, so reservations are recommended. If you cannot reserve a table, there are standing areas for eating as well. The service bar allows patrons to see the options available to them on the menu before they are made freshly for you. No matter which floor you choose to eat on, you’ll be impressed with the clean, modern atmosphere and friendly staff. While the tapas are delicious, the sweets are just as impressive and artistic, such as the watermelon ice cream. Be sure to make a stop in here during your vacation, and you’ll be surprised to find you have to fight the locals for a spot here.
Calle Mayor, 45, 50001 Zaragoza, Spain, Phone: 34-976-29-46-95
24 Best Things to Do in Zaragoza, Spain
- Caesaraugusta Forum Museum, Photo: txakel/stock.adobe.com
- Palacio de la Aljaferia, Photo: LorenaCirstea/stock.adobe.com
- Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar, Photo: Karl Allen Lugmayer/stock.adobe.com
- IAACC Pablo Serrano, Photo: IAACC Pablo Serrano
- Caesaragusta Theatre Museum, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Zaragoza Museum, Photo: Zaragoza Museum
- Museo Pablo Gargallo, Photo: schankz/stock.adobe.com
- Goya Museum, Photo: anon/stock.adobe.com
- Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza, Photo: txakel/stock.adobe.com
- Museo de las Termas Publicas de Caesaraugusta, Photo: John Vlahidis/stock.adobe.com
- Zaragoza Central Market, Photo: rh2010/stock.adobe.com
- School Origami Museum of Zaragoza, Photo: School Origami Museum of Zaragoza
- Alma Mater Museum, Photo: Alma Mater Museum
- Puente de Piedra, Photo: citylights/stock.adobe.com
- Sala de Exposiciones la Lonja, Photo: pedrosala/stock.adobe.com
- Bar Hermanos Teresa, Photo: Bar Hermanos Teresa
- Cafe Nolasco, Photo: Café Nolasco
- Los Xarmientos, Photo: Los Xarmientos
- Restaurante la Migueria, Photo: Restaurante la Migueria
- Casa Lac, Photo: Casa Lac
- Montal Alimentacion, Photo: Montal Alimentacion
- Celebris, Photo: PALAFOX HOTELES
- La Pilara, Photo: WavebreakMediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Restaurante Meli Melo, Photo: Restaurante Meli Melo
- Cover Photo: LorenaCirstea/stock.adobe.com