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Zaragoza is a warm and inviting city strategically located between Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia and Toulouse. In peoples' haste to see the big cities, this gem is often passed without so much as a second look. The city welcomes visitors with its rich culture, shopping, eating and sightseeing. Its more than 2000 years of history makes the city one of the greatest historical and artistical legacies in Spain. It is situated in Aragon, one of the previous kingdoms of Spain.
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Points of Interest in Zaragoza
Zaragoza Card provides:
- Free entry to all museums and monuments.
- 24 hour unlimited use of the Saragossa Tourist Bus.
- Free public transport (depending on the type of card).
- Including guided tours and the services of the “roaming” tourist guides.
- A free tapas and drink at one of our tapas bars.
- Discounts in more than 50 establishments (hotels, car hire, cafés and bars, restaurants…)
- Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar. A Roman Catholic church. The architecture is Baroque style and it was built between 1681 and 1872. It features paintings on the ceiling by Goya and Bayaeu who are very famous and classic artists.
- Iglesias Mudejares. Mudejar is a still of art that mixes Christian and Muslim tradition. Good examples of that are a part of La Seo cathedral, Magdalena church, San Miguel church and San Pablo church.
- Catedral de la Seo. Located on the Plaza de la Seo. It is a Gothic style cathedral built over the remains of a mosque. It features an exquisite collection of tapestries.
- Iglesia de la Magdalena.
- Iglesia de San Miguel.
- Iglesia de San Pablo, Calle de San Pablo 42.
- Palacio de la Aljaferia. Moorish castle with intricate decorations including ceilings of gold.
- Las Murallas. Parts of the ancient wall that surrounded the city are still standing.
- Caesaraugusta route. A route of 4 museums with a joint ticket is available in better price than separately. The route exposes monuments from times of Caesar August (I century B.C.):
- Museo de Zaragoza, Plaza de los Sitios 6. The municipal museum is free and is very much worth a visit for both its impressive mosaics from Caesaraugusta and its celebrated collection of Goya.
- Museo Ibercaja Aznar. Another free museum displaying a collection of Goya and temporary exhibitions.
- Expo 2008. In 2008 Zaragoza hosted an international expo for which a new areal was opened with many new buildings designed by famous architects such as Zaha Hadid. It is now possible to stroll around the areal. The only facility open to tourists is the aquarium.
- River Aquarium.
Signs of the city's founding, when the city was named after Emperor August, are still visible and can be enjoyed by tourists even today. 2,000 years later, the architectural remains of large public buildings indicate Caesar Augustus’ influence over the city. Today you can still admire the city’s Forum, Thermal Baths, the River Port or the Great Theatre, archeological remains which reflect the splendour of the city as it was during the Roman Empire.
Later on, during the Muslim occupation of Spain, Zaragoza was the capital of a kingdom in which art, music, and science formed the cornerstones of life in the Court. From this period, you can still see the Aljaferia Palace, a marvellous example of Muslim art, which has been witness to Zaragoza and its rich history – right up to the present day. From the early days of Christianity, Zaragoza still possesses a multitude of indicators that tell us something of the grandeur of the city: thanks to the Mudejar, the show of tolerance whereby different cultures were able to live side by side, and World Heritage, you can still enjoy beautiful enclaves such as the San Salvador Cathedral (the Seo) or the San Pablo church. From the period of Renaissance, there is a multitude of palatial houses which tell us of the sumptuousness of Saragossa in the 16th Century. Museums, such as the one dedicated to sculptor Pablo Gargallo, or exhibition halls, such as the monumental Lonja, are archetypal of Aragonese Renaissance art.
But Zaragoza is known worldwide as the home to the magnificent Pilar Basilica, heir to a tradition which is over 2,000 years old, and a destination for Christian pilgrims of all denominations.
Zaragoza has a Continental Mediterranean climate, very dry, with cold winters and hot summers. With an average of 318 mm per year, rainfall is a rarity mostly occurring in spring. There is drought in summer with only a few storms in the late afternoon. In July and August temperatures are typically above 30°C (86°F), reaching up to 40°C (104°F) a few days per year. On those days you will quickly pick the idea of siesta: hiding away after lunch, during the hottest part of the day, to enjoy later the evenings and nights at a delightful 18-22°C.
In winter the temperatures are low, usually between 0 and 10°C (32-50°F), with some frosts during the night. Snow only shows up once every couple of years but fog is not uncommon (about 20 days from November to January). However, the only bad part is the Cierzo, a cold and dry wind blowing from the NW that is quite common on clear days, and can make your stay really unpleasant. Beware also of sunny days in spring and autumn, if the Cierzo blows, you will regret not having warm clothes with you.
Detailed weather forecasts including wind speed can be found in 
- The Parque Grande is excellent for a walk or a chill. Huge in size, you forget the city, and the many fountains adds to distraction.
Swimming pools for hot days
Summer days can be very hot in Zaragoza. If you prefer relaxing by the swimming pool over a sightseeing program, here are a few suggestions. Public swimming pools in Zaragoza are generally clean and well maintained. The entrance fee is some €3 for an adult. Open-air pools are open until 9 or 10PM in the evening.
- Centro Deportivo Municipal Actur, C/ Pablo Ruiz Picasso s/n (near Avenida de los Pirineos). Multiple swimming pools, large lawn area. Few trees, hard to find a place in the shadow.
- Centro Deportivo Municipal Salduba, Paseo de Mairano Renovales s/n (Part of Parque Primo de Rivera between Calle de Manuel Lasala and Paseo de San Sebastián). 50m pool, the right place for serious swimming.
- Palacio Municipal de Deportes, Calle de Luis Bermejo. Small pool, plenty of trees for shadow.
Some of the best known regional specialities are: Bacalao al Ajoarriero, cod-fish with garlic and eggs, Huevos al Salmorejo, eggs with cold tomato cream, Longanizas y Chorizos, highly appreciated kinds of sausages, Ternasco Asado, roasted young lamb, Pollo al Chilindrón, chicken in a sauce of cured ham, tomatoes, onions and paprika, Cordero a la Pastora, lamb Shepherd's style, Lomo de Cerdo a la Zaragozana, cutlet, Migas a la Aragonesa, a dish made of crumbs scrambled with an egg and chorizo. People even eat rabbits stewed in rabbit blood. Borrajas is a vegetable which can only be found in Aragon. It is usually eaten with olive oil.Melocotón con vino, peaches in wine, is also a good option, though sometimes it is hard to find a restaurant serving this dessert.
Zaragoza is well known because of its many tapas bars. The best place to eat is the old city, commonly called "Casco viejo" which is a bunch of small streets similar to the Zoco.
One excellent choice is in Calle de los mártires which is a tapas bar in which you can only eat one tapa. In the first one the mushroom and close to it the Taberna de Doña Casta, the "Huevos rotos con foi" which is mainly scrambled egg with fries and foi or jamón serrano. Plaza Santa Marta is in the old town as well; it's a little bit more expensive but the food is of high quality. A "Tabla" is a wooden plate in which different tapas like cheese and sausages are served, often with a bottle of wine in the price.
Sea food tapas are not that common, but can be very good and cheap. Casa de Mar, located in Eusebio Blasco Street, is a local favorite. Cheap crayfish, cuttlefish and a great cold white wine. A four person meal with two bottles of wine costs less than €12 each.
- Los Victorinos, C/José de la Hera, 6 (alley off Calle Don Jaime I). Probably the best tapas bar in town (although surely not the cheapest!). Try the Boletus Edulis tapa.
- Palomeque, C/. Palomeque, ☎ +34 976 214082. A classier, unusual take on a tapas bar, but not overpriced compared to some of the other "high-end tapas".It is advisable to call ahead, as this is a very popular restaurant €10-€20 per person.
- Casa Yesca, Calle Blanca de Navarra 2, corner of Av. Madrid (2 block west from Aljaferia), ☎ +34 976 329 454. Lunch and dinner. Small and neat, with smooth background music, and a gourmet's touch. Menu del dia €10.
- Taberna La Piedra, Cortes de Aragon, 64. Delicious if a bit pricey. The Piedras and Solomillos are highly recommended. Great for beef lovers or lovers of very traditional Spanish food. €50 per person.
- La Tertulia Taurina, C/ Pignatelli 122. Traditional Castilian-Aragonese cuisine restaurant in the old part of the city. Slow Food with great selection of meats. Menu of the day €12 (local wine and desserts included) or à la carte for around €36.
- Amorino, Calle Afonso upper end (Near Plaza España). High quality Italian style ice cream. Somewhat pricey. One scoop €3.
There is a number of good wines produced in Aragon.
Tareas of Calle de Espoz y Mina and Calle Mayor, which are a stone's throw from Plaza del Pilar, have plenty of varied bars from which to choose.
- Cafe Praga, Plaza de la Santa Cruz 13, El Tubo, ☎ +34 976 20 02 51. Great local favorite that has live music playing in the main bar, or you can retreat to the upstairs terrace and enjoy a tasty beverage overlooking the plaza.
- Exo, Plaza del Carmen 11, ☎ +34 609 63 98 11. Smooth and sleek, this bar impresses as much as it does with its extensive cocktail list. Check out the funky decor while listening to the easy going Spanish rock that is often played here.
- La Cucaracha, Calle del Temple 25, El Tubolla. Laidback and casual student hang out that doesn't really get going until the early hours of the morning.
- Rock and Blues Cafe, Cuatro de Agosto 5-7, El Tubo. Unleash your inner rock god at this long standing favorite, where live music plays throughout the week.
- La Campana de los Perdidos, Prudencio, 7. 21h - 3h. Enjoy a beer while listening live music, theatre, poetry from wednesday to sunday
Zaragoza has much to offer in the way of shopping, with most central streets being lined with shopping opportunities.
Shopping area stretches from Residencial Paraiso in Sagasta to the Plaza de España. The most exclusive shops are on Francisco de Vitoria, San Ignacio de Loyola, Cadiz, Isaac Peral and the streets crossing them.
Craft and souvenir shops are located at Anticuarios de la Plaza de San Brun.
If you are looking for everything under one roof, then El Corte Inglés next to Plaza de Paraíso, and Centro Comercial Gran Casa is a one-stop super mall where you can find everything including shops, restaurants a bowling alley and cinemas.
- Centro Comercial Augusta, Avenida De Navarra 180 (next to Delicias train station). Shops, restaurants, cinema. Offers free WIFI access, according to website.
- GranCasa, Calle de la Poetisa María Zambrano, 35. Shopping mall.
Mercadillo La Romareda behind the La Romareda Football Stadium is the largest open-air market, but if you are looking for food and fresh produce head for Mercado Central and Lanuza Market.
Mercado Central is on a site which has been a market place since the Middle Ages. It is the perfect place to buy Zaragozan products as well as observe the atmosphere of a traditional Spanish market. The Misericordia Bullring is the place to go on Sunday as it is the venue for the traditional flea market.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Zaragoza on Wikivoyage.