Zaragoza is a northern Spanish city and the capital of the Aragón region. In its centre, the Baroque domes and spires of the Basílica del Pilar rise above the rooftops, reflected in the Ebro River. Zaragoza is known for its rich mix of architectural styles, from the Moorish arches of the Aljafería Palace to the Renaissance Museo Goya, which houses works by local artist Francisco de Goya. The city has a vibrant food and nightlife scene, with restaurants lining the streets of the El Tubo district and music bars that come alive after midnight.
Book a Zaragoza hostel housed in a fully refurbished medieval building, with an underground wine bar in the old cellars. There are even Zaragoza hostels in 18th-century palaces, where many of the private rooms have balconies overlooking the quaint old-town streets. Most hostels in Zaragoza have a communal kitchen or an outdoor terrace. To be near the city's nightlife, stay in a cosy hostel right in the lively university district.
Around the riverbanks you'll find Zaragoza's historic centre, with the city's basilica and cathedral on the south bank and the Balcón de San Lázaro viewing platform on the north side. This is the place to go for archaeological sights – you can see the remains of a Roman forum at the Teatro de Caesaraugusta. Between the river and Plaza de España is El Tubo: an area of narrow winding streets popular for its tapas bars. Southeast of Plaza Aragón is a tree-lined shopping district, with restaurants and parks.
While Zaragoza is packed with interesting museums, there's plenty to see just outside the city walls. Spend the day exploring Belchite: a ghost town which has been empty since 1937, or take a bus to the Galachos de la Alfranca Nature Reserve to hike through riverside forests. To try some local food, pop into the Central Market. Here you can taste longaniza (Aragón's version of chorizo) and stuffed trout, or fill up on sweet and doughy churros.
Zaragoza's international airport is 10km west of the city. At arrivals, hop on an Intercity bus – these leave every half hour and stop at Zaragoza's bus and train stations, as well as Paseo Maria Agustín (just southeast of the centre). You can also catch a high-speed train (AVE) from Madrid (about 1 hour 20 minutes) or a 3-hour bus from Barcelona. To get around, use the city's bus or tram systems or hire a Zaragoza en Bizi bike for the day.