Explore Chocolate City: Zaragoza Spain
I took a coach from Barcelona to Zaragoza, because it was the most affordable and convenient way. And because I love traveling by coach. It is 4 hours, from coastal Catalonia through the great plains of Spain to Chocolate City.
On the way you will cross the Greenwich meridian, but without changing time zones. You will see Europe’s Wild West. I honestly was waiting for the tumble weeds! The likes of this I had only ever seen in the Southwest of the US before.
There are abandoned rural villages along the road, Cardiel for example, which lies on a hill about an hour outside of Zaragoza. All that is left are the ruins if a church and a few stone houses around it.
Siesta time in Zaragoza
When I first arrived in Zaragoza on Saturday around 3 in the afternoon I hardly saw any people at all. All the shops were closed. Nobody on the streets. I am not used to that from Barcelona. But here, they take their siesta seriously. Then, at 8pm I had no words to describe the MASSES of people on the streets and squares, all locals, young and old. It turned into a city full of life at night.
Yes, Zaragoza has a lot of churches and museums, and yes, some of them I highly recommend seeing. What sets it apart from all the other Spanish cities I have seen so far though, is its affinity to chocolate. And this what I want to tell you about, with my own suggestion for a self guided chocolate tour.
Place España and Palacio de Sástago
To see a lot of the city and still get all your chocolaterias in, I suggest you start at Placa España. There is a tourist office at the corner where you can buy the Chocolate Pass for 9 Euros. It is only two doors away from Bombonera Oro on Coso, 48. While you are on Coso, peak into the Palacio de Sástago, to see the courtyard and feel royal for a moment.
Calle de Alfonso
Turn right: You will want to walk down Alfonso street for the view of the cathedral. On the way, you can stop at Montal Alimentación on Torrenueva street just off Alfonso (unless you come on Sundays), which is located in a well preserved historic building and has one of those oldtimey storefronts, that many of the chocolaterias have here.
On the other side of Alfonso street you’ll Plaça Sas with all the cafés and outdoor seating areas. With your pass you can get a cup of chocolate with churros at Chocolateria Valor at the corner of the square. Enjoy a few minutes of rest here before you continue your walk towards the cathedral.
Plaza del Pilar, Cathedral, Puente de Piedra
Once you reach Plaza del Pilar you’ll have to decide which view of the cathedral you prefer: go up in the tower and see it from above. Or go left towards the tourist office and climb the stairs to the 5th floor of its tower to see the river and cathedral from the side.
Or, pass the cathedral on the right to cross the streets towards the stone bridge, Puente de Piedra. This is what I recommend you do anyway just before sunset, so you can get the best view Zaragoza has to offer, right from the bridge, across the Ebro river, looking towards the well lit cathedral.
Mercado Central Market
If you chose to turn left, towards the tourist office, you can then walk up Avinguda César Augusto, past the old market to get your treats from Tupinamba and Horno san Valero.
La Seo and Goya Museum
Otherwise, turn right and see La Seo cathedral, from the inside and outside! You will not be able to miss the signs pointing you towards the Goya museum in that area. It is located just one block away from Don Jaume I street, and surely worth it if you like paintings. Personally, apart from the religious themes, I found most of his art too gruesome and dark, but if you can handle that then it’s worth a visit. They have audio guides in different languages.
Don Jaime I and Fantoba Chocolateria
Back on Don Jaime I, you will find many places that give you chocolate, like Fantoba Hermanos S.L., Capricho Taller de Chocolate, Tupinamba and la Alacena de Aragón. I highly recommend you put Fantoba on your list. According to the ladies behind the counter, it is the most historic chocolateria in Zaragoza and it sure looks quirky. At the end of the street you will find yourself at Plaça España again, where you started your tour.
In case you have more time to explore I recommend you take some of the sides streets off of Alfonso street. Not only, because the cakes at Pastelería Lalmolda on Méndez Nuñez street are amazing, but also because these streets are filled with cute little bars and street art.
If all the walking made you hungry, check out Ellie’s guide to places to eat in Zaragoza.
On the second day of my visit, on the way back to the bus station, I added two more attractions. Firstly, the Museum of Contemporary Art, because I heard the view from the top was stunning. And secondly, even closer to the station the Palacio de la Aljaferia. Whatever you do, you have to see this. It is one of the 7 World Heritage Sites in Zaragoza. And it is free on Sundays, so you really have no excuse. Let the pictures speak for themselves.
Hope you enjoyed the post! Let me know if you ever make it to Zaragoza and how you like it! I am also curious if you know of any other Spanish towns famous for a certain food or drink, that I still need to explore 😉 comment below and don’t forget to subscribe for more travel stories!