Spain Guide

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When you've explored the many historic places of interest to be visited within the city of Zaragoza you may decide to hire a car to discover the delights of the surrounding province and the region of Aragon. Beautiful nature reserves, medieval towns and villages and even ski resorts are all within easy driving distance of the city.

You could do the popular "wine trail" to the local villages of Calatayud, Borja and Cariñena all producers of good quality wines which have been awarded the coveted "certificates of origin".

A visit to the birthplace of the great Spanish master Francisco Goya is a must for art lovers. The artist is the most famous son of Zaragoza and is widely regarded as being the Father of Modern Art. He was born in 1746 in the small village of Fuendetodos where a cottage has been restored and turned into a museum dedicated to this life and work (although it's not the one where he was actually born). Goya's masterpieces can be seen at various museums and historic buildings throughout the province and if you drive a short distance to the north of Zaragoza city you can see some of his earliest works at the Carthusian monastery in the village of Montañana. You'll be wasting your time if you're a female because only men are admitted to the 16th century Cartuja de Aula Dei which houses 11 Goya murals depicting scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary.


Equally male orientated, but without the ban on women, is the annual bull running in Pamplona 180 kilometres north of Zaragoza. If you're visiting in July it's worth making a visit to Spain's best known fiesta the San Fermin festival which involves much music, dancing and general merrymaking besides the famous (and downright hazardous) running of young blades and bulls through the streets.

Safer thrills and spills are to be found at the Universal Studios Port Aventura theme park near Tarragona on the Mediterranean coast a couple of hours drive east of Zaragoza. It's a great day out for kids with Disneyworld style rides and attractions, the major one being the death defying Dragon Khan roller coaster with no less than eight loop the loops. Drive 100 kilometres south west of the city and you'll come to the Monasterio de Piedra (Monastery of Stone) in the middle of a beautiful nature reserve which is one of the most scenic places in the whole of Spain with lovely waterfalls created by the River Piedra. The Cistercian monastery has been declared a national monument and houses a museum devoted to the world renowned wines of Calatayud.

The medieval town of Sos del Rey Catolico, about 130 kilometres north of Zaragoza, is another national monument and is well worth a visit. It was the birthplace of the Catholic monarch King Ferdinand in 1452 (hence its name) and took its place in the history books after he married Isabella of Castile, so uniting the two great kingdoms of Spain.

If you're visiting Zaragoza in the winter months, the city is within easy reach of Spain's Pyrenean ski resorts and the lesser known slopes of Valdelinares, to the south of the city near Teruel.

If you plan to hire a car, check in advance that parking is available either at your hotel or within easy reach of it. And remember that when driving in Spain it's a legal requirement to carry your passport with you at all times (or identity card in the case of Spanish nationals) together with your car hire policy documents.

On the spot speeding fines are imposed on non residents (the police will accompany you to the nearest "hole in the wall" if necessary!). Children are not allowed to travel in the front passenger seat and the use of mobile phones while driving is banned.