Day Trip to Zaragoza
Having always been fascinated by the name Zaragoza, I knew this was a place I really wanted to visit. Not just for the name but also because it was the chance to visit a new region of Spain: Aragón. And Zaragoza truly did not disappoint.
We started off our trip to Zaragoza early in the morning and the train ride was only 2 hours long — it’s about 320.3 km from Madrid to Zaragoza. As soon as we got there, our first stop from the train station was the Palacio de la Aljafería. This medieval palace is one of the most splendid examples of Islamic architecture in Spain, built in the 11th century Al-Andalus ruled by the Moors.
Fun fact: The famous Mesquita in Córdoba, the Alhambra in Granada, and this palace in Zaragoza are the three most well-preserved and well-identified examples of Islamic architecture in Spain constructed by the Moors.
The palace was truly a work of art and after exploring each of the halls thoroughly (as well as the outdoors garden), we proceeded to the Francisco Goya museum. Francisco Goya was from the province of Zaragoza and spent a large part of his life there. Having learnt about his paintings and art in my Spanish classes in high school, I was very excited to visit this museum.
Me in the palace, a painting in the Goya museum, my burrata salad, manolitos, the cathedral, the Zaragoza train station, and me again exploring the palace
For lunch, we stopped at a local tavern/bar where I was served the most delicious burrata salad. Of course, we had to get a little sweet treat after so we went to Manolo’s bakery where we got manolitos (mini-croissants that are widely popular in Spain).
As we wandered through the city after lunch, we proceeded to the cathedral. Much like the other cathedrals we saw on this trip, this one was large and beautifully maintained. There was a prayer service happening whilst we were inside so we sat down in the back for some time and quietly left. By this time, we had to head back to the train station (it was around 7:30pm) and our train would reach Madrid at 9pm.
Zaragoza has been by far one of my most favorite places I have visited in Spain — and it seems to be a lesser known gem (as observed by the local tourist numbers!). I really want to go back someday to get to know the city further and take in all it has to offer.