ZARAGOZA is an inviting city that has managed to absorb its rapid growth with a rare grace. Its centre reflects an air of prosperity in its wide, modern boulevards, and stylish shops and bars. Highlights include the spectacular Moorish Aljafería, an impressive collection of Roman ruins and an awesome basilica, devoted to one of Spain’s most famous incarnations of the Virgin Mary, Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

The city’s fiestas in honour of the revered saint – which take place throughout the second week of October – are well worth planning a trip around, so long as you can find accommodation. In addition to the religious processions (which focus on the 12th), the local council lays on a brilliant programme of cultural events, featuring top rock, jazz and folk bands, floats, bullfights and traditional jota dancing.

The Plaza del Pilar is the obvious point to start exploring Zaragoza. The square, paved in a brilliant, pale stone, was remodelled in 1991, creating a vast, airy expanse from La Seo, past the great Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and over to Avda. César Augusto. The plaza spans the city’s entire history: Roman ruins at both ends; between the churches, a Renaissance exchange house, the Lonja; and at the centre, some modern statuary and the Fuente de la Hispanidad, a giant waterfall shaped like a section of Central America and the Caribbean to commemorate 1492.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a 1 minute guide to Spain

Video: a 1 minute guide to Spain

From the Moorish marvels and flamenco heartland of Andalucía to Ibiza's bleached-sand beaches and hedonistic nightlife, Spain is a country you'll want to visit…

27 Jul 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

Festivals are a different beast in 2017. They used to be associated with drinking warm cider while watching crusty bands in your naffest clothes; now the best e…

07 Jun 2017 • David Hillier insert_drive_file Article
Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Forget package holidays: Palma is far more than just the gateway to Mallorca’s beach resorts. The Balearic capital is a dynamic city of stylish restaurants, c…

28 Feb 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month