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©DoloresGiraldez
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Zamora, the European capital of the Romanesque and its tapas

3 minutes to read

The region of Castilla and León has stunning (and touristic!) capitals -Segovia, Salamanca, León. However, there is another city that should be added to this list: Zamora. Its city center was built upon a big rock and was guarded by the river Duero already in the Celtic times. Its name, which sounds very exotic, comes from the Arabic Semurah, meaning “city of the turquoises.” It is the European city with most buildings from the Romanesque period: 25 churches, a castle, a bridge, and some palaces and houses. Plus, since it is not very touristic, the price of good food is very affordable. Let’s discover more about Zamora!

© Sara Rodríguez Romo
© Sara Rodríguez Romo
Zamora, the "museum of Romanesque art"
Zamora, the "museum of Romanesque art"
Zamora, Spain

What to visit

The best view over Zamora is from the other side of the river, in a place called "Los Pelambres." From here, the city looks like a postcard. Sunsets there are magnificent and can be enjoyed while sipping a glass of wine at the terrace of the bar. Nevertheless, let’s go inside the city. The first thing that captures the visitor’s eye is the rock that overlooks the Duero river. The town was built on top of it- some 30m above. This fact made the site very strategic. Zamora was Celtic, Roman, Germanic, Arabic, and finally, Castilian. For many years it was the most important city on the border between the Muslims and the Christians. Nevertheless, every time it was so hard to conquer, that a saying was created: "you can't conquer Zamora in an hour."

En una hora no se ganó Zamora (La Celestina, VI, 221)
Cathedral of Zamora
Cathedral of Zamora
Plaza la Catedral, 1, 49001 Zamora, España
Los Pelambres, Zamora
Los Pelambres, Zamora
Ctra. Carrascal, 2, 49027 Zamora, España

It was during this period where most of the churches were built. All of them are very beautiful: they are small and delicately built. Nevertheless, the most impressive one is the cathedral. Its central tower is really unique, with scales around it. The cathedral can be found next to the castle. Both have been recently restored, together with the city walls, so the stones look very shiny! The visitor can walk around this unique space for free. From there, you can spot the zamorana plain, beyond the river. 

© Sara Rodríguez Romo
© Sara Rodríguez Romo

Where to eat

In Zamora, it is very popular to eat “pinchos”- small tapas. For each glass of beer or wine, you get one pincho at a reduced price. Be careful; this formula is addictive! There are two areas in Zamora: the “Lobos” and the “Herreros.” They are both in the city center, and you can walk from one to the next. Some bars are specialized in only one pincho, but that only means that this one is particularly tasty! The “Herreros” area is also very popular at night. The most typical bars are: "El Lobo", "Sevilla", "Bambú", "Bayadoliz", "El Caballero", "La Revuelta", "Merlú"... actually, there are so many!

Los lobos, Zamora
Los lobos, Zamora
Calle El Horno de San Torcuato, 1, 49014 Zamora, España
Herreros, Zamora
Herreros, Zamora
Calle de los Herreros, 49001 Zamora, España

Easter

There is a period of the year where Zamora gets really crowded: that's, of course, at Easter. In this city, there's a huge tradition of processions. Everybody belongs to one fraternity -they disguise themselves with tunics and cover their faces with a conic hat. If you want to see them, you need to find a spot hours before; otherwise, you won’t see anything. By the way, if you want to look like a local, it is very typical to eat sunflower seeds while waiting. For the locals, it is a very emotional moment. For the tourists, it is something worth living at least once!

© Ana Moreno Sánchez
© Ana Moreno Sánchez

 Arribes del Duero natural park

Zamora is the capital of the province with the same name. Especially towards the border, there is a natural park called “Arribes del Duero,” where the river goes through beautiful canyons. Again, not very touristic, but it really should be! Don't miss out on exploring that majestic area!

Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero
Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero
Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero, 37246, Salamanca, Spain

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The author

Sara Rodriguez Romo

Sara Rodriguez Romo

I live between Salamanca, in Spain, and Marvão, in Portugal. A passionate traveller, I have visited over 30 countries in four continents. Currently I am doing a PhD in Greek Mythology and working with horses, doing rides in the nature.

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