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Zaragoza

By Meg West - Mon 10th Jun 2013

In need of another weekend trip to let off some steam ? How about Zaragoza ?

I recently spent the weekend in Zaragoza and would recommend it as an interesting place to visit. I must admit my stay there wasn’t particularly cultural, but there’s a great mixture of things to do, so you’re sure to find something and have a good time.

Getting there: Getting to Zaragoza from Madrid can be cheap but lengthy or expensive but fast! So depending on your budget, you can choose between travelling by bus or by train. The buses run from Avenida de América approximately every half an hour and will cost you about €36 for a return trip: http://www.alsa.es/. The only downside to this option is that it takes 4 hours, but the route is scenic (it was beautiful!) and the coach is comfortable. There’s also a 15 minute stop-off about halfway through. If you decide to go by train, Renfe is the one you need. Look out for good deals, because it might be possible to go by train and come back by bus. When I was booking my trip I just missed out on a €22 train ride, which would have only taken 1 Hr 15 minutes. So the moral of the story- if you see a cheap train, book it! This website gives you the best deals for Renfe trains:

Where to stay: My friends and I stayed in an apartment very close to the centre of the city, which I would definitely recommend doing. Between 4 of us, we paid about €55 each for 3 nights and it meant we could come and go as we pleased and have our own space. Alternatively there are of course dozens of hostels and hotels to choose from.

Things to do: This is where my advice becomes a bit “lads on tour”. I went with 3 boys from my university, so our activities were centred around drinking and football, but I have done my research and can suggest some slightly more “sophisticated” ideas :

Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar: We honestly did visit it! It’s Zaragoza’s main cathedral, really beautiful inside, free to enter, very centrally located. You’d be silly to miss it!

Río Ebro: This famous river is apparently as important to Spain as is the Thames to the UK. Confession: I did not know this. I did of course see it, but can’t say I went to have a good look, so read up a bit and make sure you get a good photo.

Fluvial Aquarium: this aquarium is the biggest freshwater aquarium in Europe with species of fish from all over the world.

Museums: like any city, Zaragoza is scattered with museums of all sorts. Head to the tourist office for more info.

Go-karting: This is where it all goes downhill. A ten minute taxi ride outside of town, but a lot of fun. You pay €25 for 20 mins of karting, which includes a race, score sheet etc...

Fútbol: Real Zaragoza are in the first division, so worth going to see if there’s a match on while you’re there. We were sat 6 rows from the pitch for €20 !

Nightlife: of course, like any city, Zaragoza has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants, bars, nightlubs etc. The area between Calle Juan Pablo Bonet and Avenida de Goya has lots of bars offering a variety music, ranging from Spanish pop to heavy metal. The “Casco Antiguo” (Old Quarter) is also a very popular going-out-zone for people of all ages. Make sure you don’t get there too early though, because the bars won’t start to fill up until about 2:30AM.

So there’s a few ideas to get you started. Of course Zaragoza has much more to offer, so make sure you head to the tourist office when you arrive to make sure you don’t miss out on anything that might take your fancy!

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