What do you do if you arrive in Zaragoza at night, with nowhere to stay, nowhere to go, and no idea of what awaits you in the hours that are yet to come? Perhaps you're asking yourself right now, well why would that happen? The fact is, it sometimes does. Zaragoza is a city with an airport, but getting trains and buses out of the city and away to other destinations at night is not always easy. A delayed flight here, en route to somewhere else, could quickly leave you stuck in Aragon's capital for the night. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be a great thing, given you know what to do. Zaragoza, after all, is a spontaneous city that will not deprive you of adventures as long as you've got the desire to go out and seek them.
So you are at Zaragoza-Delícias train and bus station. You've just arrived here by the airport shuttle bus. Or perhaps via one of the many train lines or bus routes. Nonetheless, you have nowhere to stay, and it's getting late. Here's what you do; follow the main road that leads to the center. As you pass the first roundabout, it's impossible to miss the castle-like structure to your left. That's the Aljafería, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose Islamic origins date back over a thousand years. You won't be visiting the inside at dusk, but it's an absolute jewel to see lit up on a dark evening as you casually stroll past it and head into town.
Once the main road has finally taken you to Calle del Conde de Aranda, you are now in the center, and you will feel it. This street is aligned with palm trees, and it's around here where you'll find some of the cheapest beers in town at the local bars. But you need somewhere to stay first, don't you? Zaragoza is full of hotels and hostels. Most of them, however, can often get fully booked on Friday and Saturday nights. There is, nevertheless, one place that almost always has rooms due to its size, and that's the Hotel Oriente. For its reasonable prices and perfect central location, the quality of the rooms here is very high. In terms of value for money, the Hotel Oriente is your best bet, although you're welcome to go on hunting for cheap hostels.
Even if it's the only thing you do in Zaragoza, go and see the Plaza del Pilar. The cathedral here is stunning and particularly majestic at night. The surrounding streets in this area are where you'll find the nightlife. And it's just around the corner where on Calle Murallas Romanas you'll find Gallagher's Irish pub which is right next door to the Latin music nightclub known as Gavara, both of which are directly facing some of the oldest ruins in the entire city, the Roman walls. What an easy yet perfect way to combine drinking pints and to try out salsa moves with appreciating history. Last but not least, if you're still out when the sun comes up, the nearby café 'El Chipiron' will be sure to take you in with open arms. It offers no elegance, but that's not what you came for. You wanted another drink, right?
“It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.” - Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)
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