Until recently the only thing I knew about Aragon was Catherine, Catherine of Aragon. The Spanish princess was the first wife of the notorious King Henry VIII and mother to Mary I. She kept her head (unlike two of his other six wives) but was divorced so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Catherine’s ancestors were the rulers of the once powerful Kingdom of Aragon in northern-eastern Spain. Located in the shadow of the Pyrenees, Aragon’s rich history and unique geology makes it a perfect place for families to explore.

Castle Loarre, Aragon, Spain

I learnt first hand what the region had to offer on a recent trip with the Spain Tourism Board and BritMums. I was blown away by the scenery and variety of things to do. From adventure sports to gushing waterfalls, medieval towns and excellent food and wine, there something for everyone. The best bit? The area is relatively under the radar so it’s not overrun with tourists – yet! Here are some of Aragon’s highlights.

Medieval Castle LoarreCastle Loarre, Aragon, Spain

Who doesn’t love a castle? Soaring 500m above the plains of Huesca (and around 30 mins from Huesca city) stands the medieval Castle Loarre. Work began on the structure in 1020 by order of King Sancho III el Mayor de Navarra who wanted to protect his kingdom from Muslim powers. The Romanesque castle is the best preserved in Europe and an impressive site to explore. Built into the rocky foot of the Pyrenees mountains, in places you can see parts of the mountain seeping through the stone.

Castle Loarre, Aragon, Spain

I can imagine my daughter making up stories in her head as she climbed up its steep stone stairs, wandered through its ancient tunnels and looked up at its tall turrets. The austere Romanesque architecture gives a blank canvas for the imagination. With views looking across the plains of Huesca, there’s instagram-worthy photos to take at every turn.

What’s unusual is the castle never saw active battle so no ghosts here and no need for the dungeons. Instead it was used as a monastery

The castle has had a recent use though, Ridley Scott used it as a filming location for his 2005 epic Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom. Once you’ve soaked up the history, check out the gift shop filled with princess and knight paraphernalia which I could easily could have spent a fortune in. Children can view the castle armed with a treasure map to cross off sights they discover within the castle walls.

Castle Loarre is open daily (except Christmas day and New Year’s Day). In summer from 10-8pm and winter 11am – 5.30pm Guided tours are available. Adults, €4.50; children, €3; under 6s, free. Visit the website.

City of Huesca
The city of Huesca is a good starting point to explore the rest of Aragon and is one hour’s drive from Zaragoza airport. Located in the shadow of the Pyrenees, in summer you can go canyoning and white water rafting. In winter, the Pyrenees turn white with snow and Aragon has six ski resorts to visit.

Huesca, Aragon, SpainHuesca has a small but quaint old town with Romanesque and Renaissance architecture and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Tatau is the first tapas bar to be recognised by the gourmet food guide. There’s also a Planetarium around 10 minutes away which is worth a look.

Where to stay?
We stayed at the 4* Abba Huesca Hotel where we enjoyed excellent (and abundant) food. The rooms were large and had all the basics while the hotel has a swimming pool and gym. It’s a 5 minute walk to the old town.

Hike and rock climb in Riglos
A 15 minute drive from Huesca and you are in Riglos. Over 300m above the small village stand the russet-coloured formations of Mallos de Riglos. They can be seen from miles away, appearing out of the valley at the foot of the Pyrenees. Mallas de Riglos, Aragon, Spain

Vultures and other birds of prey circle overheard while experienced climbers tackle it’s rock faces. Families can hike around the mountains and there are easy rock climbing sections for children with metal bars fixed into the rock. If climbing and hiking aren’t your thing, enjoy being in their presence and taking enviable photographs.
Mallas de Riglos, Aragon, Spain

Go White Water Rafting on the River Gallego
For adventure activities, how about white water rafting? In the shadow of the Mallos de Riglos is the River Gallego. We took to the rapids with a guide who expertly assisted us down the river, looking at the incredible scenery as we clung onto the raft. I’ve only done rafting a couple of times before but my goodness it was a lot of fun. Having such a picturesque backdrop to gaze upon made it all the more special.
Children from 6 years old can take part with Adventure y Familia by UR Pirineos on a shorter, easier course. The centre does week-long water activities or you can book a day excursion.

Accommodation
There are camping options available nearby. If you are looking for a bit more comfort, there’s the boutique hotel, Real Posada de Liena, in Murillo de Gallego. It has incredible views across the valley and delicious food and wine from local vineyards. There’s a few rooms for families with older children.Real Posada de Liena

Piedra Monastery Gardens
A hidden gem and one of my favourite sights was the national park and monastery garden, Monasterio de Piedra, in Nuevelos. It is a large, tranquil space created by the River Piedra which has carved interesting caves and waterfalls which greet you at every turn.

Waterfalls at Monasterio de Piedra, Aragon, Spain

What makes it unusual is this lush oasis is essentially in the middle of the desert. With easy walks for children, caves you can walk through then appear behind waterfalls, children will adore exploring and letting their imagination run wild.

In high season there are Bird of Prey exhibitions. We saw falcon, eagle and vultures spread their wings and swoop past our heads.

Vulture at Monasterio de Piedra

It is popular destination for families visiting from Madrid (a three hour drive away) but it did not feel overcrowded on a Saturday morning.

Vulture at Monasterio de Piedra

Don’t miss the 12th-century Cistercian monastery either and if you are staying overnight, there is a spa hotel attached which has decent rooms, a swimming pool and a gourmet restaurant.

Monasterio de Piedra, Aragon, Spain

Architecture and dinosaurs in Teruel
The city of Teruel is characterised by its Mudejar art which has made it a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mudejar Tower in Teruel

The Moorish-inspired architecture came about in the 14th century after the Moors had been driven out. Some skilled Muslim builders stayed and created Islamic designs using simple materials such as brick, wood and pottery. The fusion of Christian and Islam manifests itself in the Cathedral of Santa Maria.

Cathedral of Santa Maria, Teruel Aragon, Spain

Teruel also has a modernist side with Gaudi-inspired buildings. Known for its Iberian serrano ham, it’s a quaint city to wander around and has a Roman Aqueduct. Surrounding the region lies history going much further back than the Moors and Romans. Back to the dinosaurs!

Teruel plaza, Aragon, Spain

Discover Dinosaurs at Dinopolis
Palaeontologists discovered fossil bones belonging to one of the world’s largest dinosaurs in Teruel. Many more continue to be excavated and close to the site stands the dinosaur park and museum, Dinopolis. It is Europe’s biggest paleontological park.

Dinopolis, Aragon, Spain

This is a must for families. Its focus is very much on learning through fun. There are train and boat rides which take you back millions of years, theatre shows and a wonderful 3D film which will captivate children. As well as viewing dinosaurs and other prehistoric animal remains, you can see palaentogists at work (how cool is that?), visit the life-sized dinosaur park and if you need a bit of extra fun, go on its fairground rides. My daughter would adore Dinopolis!

Dinopolis, Aragon, Spain
Cost: Adults, €28; children, €22; under 4s, free. Visit the Dinopolis website for more information

*I was a guest of BritMums and Visit Spain but, as ever, all opinions are my own. 

*Our tour and activities were arranged by Planeta40 

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Why family-friendly Aragon in Spain needs to be on your travel wish list

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45 Comments on Why Family-Friendly Aragon, Spain, Needs To Be On Your Travel List

    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm (4 months ago)

      Thoroughly enjoyed it.

      Reply
  1. Katy Clarke
    June 20, 2017 at 7:30 am (4 months ago)

    Love the mix of history, landscapes and adventure here. What a discovery! Am definitely adding to our Spanish road trip itinerary for next year #citytripping
    Katy Clarke recently posted…7 different ways to see fjords in NorwayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm (4 months ago)

      Would fit in very well to a road trip itinerary. Sounds like an exciting trip. Happy planning. X

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 20, 2017 at 8:55 am (4 months ago)

      It is beautiful! Would have loved to explore a bit more of Teruel. Will be going back!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm (4 months ago)

      Indeed! Loads of history and culture.

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth Newcamp
    June 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm (4 months ago)

    Wow! This looks like the perfect combination of some castle/city items and nature. The dinosaurs would be enough for my little ones on their own but I am in need of some waterfalls and other natural elements so this looks like a huge win all around! #CityTripping
    Elizabeth Newcamp recently posted…Spring in Delft, NetherlandsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm (4 months ago)

      For sure! Such a great variety of places to visit and for everyone’s tastes!

      Reply
  3. Lolo
    June 20, 2017 at 2:57 pm (4 months ago)

    So freaking beautiful!!!! I totally want to go now! I had never heard of this until yours and Clare’s IG pix! Definitely saving this! #CityTripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm (4 months ago)

      It’s an amazing region! You’d love it there. X

      Reply
  4. Chiera
    June 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm (4 months ago)

    I applied for a TEFL job here a couple of years ago (didn’t get it) but since then I have been dreaming of this place! It looks absolutley amazing! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm (4 months ago)

      Oh really? Hope you get to go soon. It’s as amazing as it looks.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm (4 months ago)

      Thank you so much. Was a wonderful surprise!

      Reply
  5. Kat
    June 20, 2017 at 6:26 pm (4 months ago)

    So many great things to see and do! I love the Islam-inspired architecture and colours in Teurel and Dinopolis looks like a great place to explore with kids!
    I’m so dense sometimes – I’ve read about Katherine of Aragon but never put two and two together to realise that she had the title of a place called Aragon.
    Kat recently posted…Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry PotterMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm (4 months ago)

      Hehe I don’t think you’re the only one! Me included. It’s a beautiful part of the world.

      Reply
  6. Wilbur
    June 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm (4 months ago)

    This is one of the few parts of Spain that I haven’t been to. Need to put that right based on your great review & pics. Wilbur #citytripping
    Wilbur recently posted…Western Crete – Part OneMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:02 pm (4 months ago)

      Oh you must Wilbur. So much to explore there.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm (4 months ago)

      I’m so glad I discovered this part of Spain! Loved it!

      Reply
  7. Hilary
    June 21, 2017 at 1:01 am (4 months ago)

    Wonderful! We’ve traveled through Spain, but not this region! Obviously we must remedy that! #citytripping
    Hilary recently posted…Mission San FranciscoMy Profile

    Reply
  8. Lyf&Spice
    June 21, 2017 at 1:50 am (4 months ago)

    Looks like a very beautiful place. Cheers!! #citytripping

    Reply
  9. Ruth | Tanama Tales
    June 21, 2017 at 4:46 am (4 months ago)

    In Latin countries, we know about Fernando de Aragon, the Catholic King. He was behind the Columbus’ trip and the Discovery of America. I am amazed at the beautiful places you visited. I love Spain and there is no doubt I want to visit this region. The rock formations are incredible.
    Ruth | Tanama Tales recently posted…Las Vegas: The Outstanding Neon MuseumMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm (4 months ago)

      Of course! That’s so interesting. It’s a brill region and you’d love the cuisine too!

      Reply
  10. Shelley
    June 21, 2017 at 6:12 am (4 months ago)

    I’d heard of Catherine of Aragon, but had so related her to Henry, that I assumed Aragon was in England!! Haha…now I have learned correctly, and it looks like an interesting and under-the-radar place to visit. So cool that dinosaur remains were discovered around there, and that there’s a whole park and museum dedicated to them. My daughter would definitely love that too!! 🙂 #citytripping
    Shelley recently posted…Le Tatin: the best little Crêperie in Seoul you don’t know aboutMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 21, 2017 at 9:25 am (4 months ago)

      Haha – glad to help with the geography. Dinopolis was amazing! Definitely going back!!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 30, 2017 at 10:38 pm (4 months ago)

      Oh, thank you Karen. Such a great trip!

      Reply
  11. Wherejogoes
    June 21, 2017 at 8:19 pm (4 months ago)

    Something for everyone with the history and castles, the dinosaurs for the small folk and the white water rafting for the adventurous. What a great trip to a part of the world we often don’t hear much about. #CityTripping
    Wherejogoes recently posted…AKUMAL BEACH, RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICOMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 22, 2017 at 2:13 pm (4 months ago)

      Thanks Jo, it was a wonderful trip and a privilege to discover this part of Spain!

      Reply
  12. shobha
    June 21, 2017 at 9:38 pm (4 months ago)

    Great summary of the trip! I can’t believe we did so much in such a short time. And, you didn’t even get into the really long (and wonderful) lunches and dinners peppered throughout. No wonder it felt we had been away for a week!
    shobha recently posted…All You Need To Know To Watch Lucha Libre in Mexico CityMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm (4 months ago)

      Thank you! I know!! The food was incredible…deserves a post of its own really

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 25, 2017 at 10:29 pm (4 months ago)

      I absolutely loved the dinosaur park! Definitely not just for the kids! X

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      June 29, 2017 at 9:33 pm (4 months ago)

      Definitely. You’d love it x

      Reply

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