Spain has many festivities throughout the year. A good way to celebrate the beginning of Autumn is by visiting Zaragoza in Aragón during Las Fiestas de la Virgen del Pilar in mid-October. Zaragoza is a gorgeous small town between Madrid and Barcelona. It’s possible to see it in a day or you could also stay the weekend. Beware, that’s “puente” weekend, meaning that it’s a long weekend, so travel and lodging prices might be higher than usual.
Below are only a few of the many places to visit in Zaragoza:
Basílica del Pilar
Stunning Renaissance Basilique. It holds Goya paintings and concerts inside. Check the schedule here. The best views are from the bridges. There’s also a path along the river where you can appreciate the reflection of the Basilique almost geometrically aligned with the actual Basilique.
- Puente de Santiago & Puente de Piedra
Both these bridges offer amazing views of the Basílica del Pilar
- Plaza del Pilar
Both bridges lead to La Plaza del Pilar where most of Las fiestas happen. The parade ends here since the Basilique is in the Plaza.
- The parade
If you go during the festivities you’ll be able to see the Reinassance outfits of the local families marching from Plaza España to the Basilique where they offer flowers to La Virgen del Pilar.
- Plaza España
It feels like every city in Spain has a Plaza España, including Mexico, but they vary so much in size and aspect. You’ll find many shops and restaurants here.
- Museo del Teatro de Cesaragusta
Ruins from the theater during the Roman Empire. It’s fun walking around it and pretending you’re in the middle of the ring with a crowd surrounding you. The museum is free during the festivities. You can check out prices and hours on their website.
- Palacio Aljafería
A UNESCO World Heritage-11th century palace with Moorish influences. As of October 2018 prices are 1 EUR for student and 5 EUR General Admission. Consult prices and schedules on their website.
- Food truck garden
Along the main road that goes from Plaza del Pilar to the Palacio de Aljafería, we found a food truck garden. It had craft beers brewed by Ambar. As well as trucks with food from all over the world. This area was not as busy as the city center so it was easier to find seats and relax.
- El Tubo Quarter (Tapas District)
Narrow pedestrian road with many local bars and restaurants. Most bars have affordable drinks and gorgeous gardens. It leads to Plaza España.
Zaragoza has many other museums including the Archeological & Fine Arts Museum and the Goya Museum. It also has lively and friendly locals who pour out of the many cafes and bars. It is a small city but with plenty to do over a weekend. My favorite moment in Zaragoza was admiring the Basilique from the path along the river. I can’t decide if it was more beautiful during the day or at night. I’ll let you be the judge. Enjoy your time in this magical town and remember to enjoy yourself even when trying to get through a crowd or parade in a narrow-cobblestone road. Remember you’re looking at everything for the first time. BE PRESENT!