Zamora is a small old Spanish town 50 km from the Portuguese border. It is located on the high right bank of the Duero River and at one time was an important strategic fortress, which was constantly claimed by someone. In the 1st century BC e. the city was taken over by the Romans, who paved the “Silver Road”, gradually conquering the territories of Spain from south to north, and then the Arabs seized power here, brutally fighting Christians for these territories. According to populationmonster, Zamora is one of the largest cities in Spain.
Today, Zamora is called an open-air museum of Romanesque art: in the 12th-13th centuries, a dozen Romanesque churches with Byzantine domes were built here, they are well preserved to this day. The Arab heritage is not so lucky, but the ruins of the 10th century castle can still be seen.
There are few hotels in Zamora, as most tourists come to this city for a day from Madrid. However, staying here for a few days still makes sense: firstly, churches and castles are very beautiful in the night illumination, and secondly, it is very convenient to ride from here to neighboring cities: to Salamanca, Valladolid, etc.
Some city hotels are concentrated in the area of the railway station. Pros: as a rule, these are modern hotels in new buildings, their location is convenient for those traveling by train, but you should keep in mind that you will have to walk uphill to the Old Town for about 20 minutes. There are no problems with parking in this area, many hotels offer their own free parking, but public parking is also quite available here.
The old town is very compact, and most of the hotels are located in old buildings with all the accompanying pluses and minuses: it is beautiful, colorful and all the sights are within walking distance, but the old buildings do not have an elevator, the rooms are small in size, there are interruptions in hot water and others. communications (this applies only to inexpensive hotels, in more comfortable hotels there are no such problems). Parking in the historical center is bad: it is either prohibited or very expensive (about 15 EUR per day), and very few hotels in the center have their own parking. Zamora is a quiet and calm city, but there are a lot of noisy bars under the windows, so if possible, choose rooms on small streets and overlooking the courtyard.
The hotel staff rarely speaks English, as there are few tourists from other countries here.
Many hotels offer breakfast for an additional fee. It’s usually quite expensive for instant coffee and a cheese and ham sandwich. In any tapas bar you can have breakfast for much less money and much tastier. Breakfast at the hotel makes sense only on major holidays (for example, Christmas or Easter), when everything in the city is closed.
Zamora has its own parador (this is how castles, palaces and monasteries converted into hotels are called in Spain) – Parador de Zamora 4 *, located in the castle of the 15th century. Stone walls with tapestries have been preserved in the rooms, wooden floors and beams have been restored. All rooms are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms, and almost all have views of the city. The hotel is surrounded by a beautiful garden with a terrace and an outdoor swimming pool. The cost of accommodation is from 100 EUR per day for a double room.
For budget travelers, there are more budget accommodation options. A good three-ruble note in the center will cost in Zamora from 45 EUR per day for a double room, a 4 * hotel – from 60 EUR per day, and a small room for one person in a guest house – from 30 EUR per day.
Shopping in Zamora
The shopping districts in Zamora are concentrated on Tres Cruces Avenue, Santa Clara and San Torcuato streets. There you can find shops of popular European brands (mostly Spanish, including those not represented in Russia), as well as handmade leather shops, souvenir kiosks, cheese shops and wine shops.
Clothes and shoes can be purchased in shopping centers; There are two major malls in the city – Centro Comercial Valderaduey (the locals call it Eroski) and Via de la Plata.
From Zamora, it is worth bringing souvenirs with the symbols of Easter and Holy Week (Semana Santa) and local delicacies: cheese, wine and chickpeas from Fuentesauco – it is especially good in this region.
At the end of June, a large fair opens on Viriathus Square, where artisans from all around come to sell ceramics and other souvenirs, including leather accessories.
For cheese and wine, go to the Aperos y Viandas gastronomic shop, which is located near the Cathedral, or to any supermarket (the largest choice is in Mercadona).
Cuisine and restaurants
Local cuisine is predominantly local and seasonal products: many legumes, rice dishes, the famous chickpeas from the town of Fuentesauco, sheep’s cheese from the Leonese breed of sheep, honey from Sanabria, asparagus from Guareni, peppers from Benavente and meat.
Almost all restaurants in Zamora serve roast beef, game, rice and cod dishes. Regional specialties include el pulpo a la sanabresa (Sanabrian octopus), dos y pingada (scrambled eggs and fried ham, a traditional Easter dish) and presas de ternera (veal dish). For dessert, they serve sweet rolls and las natillas almendradas (Spanish custard with almonds).
In the historical center of the city, prices are a little high, but the quality of food is quite up to par. You can have a cheap meal at Jarama and Gofer’s restaurants, these establishments are popular among locals who come here on weekends with the whole family after children’s football matches to celebrate the victory. A three-course menu during lunch will cost 12 EUR excluding drinks.
The city has a good pizzeria Telepizza, one McDonald’s and one Burger King (in the Eroski shopping center) and several Turkish kebabs Doner Kebab, where you can also have a cheap meal.
Zamora has a lot of tapas bars and this culture is very important for the city. In 2006, a tapas competition was even established here: each bar prepares an appetizer worth 1 EUR, and after tasting, the locals choose the winner. The competition runs from May to June, and anyone can participate in it.
The most famous tapas, pincho moruno, is served at the El Lobo bar between San Torcuato and Santa Clara streets. It is fried pork meat with herbs on a skewer and cannot be tasted anywhere else in the world. Another good similar bar is Dolfos, which has a lot of unusual tapas, including those with atypically sour or sweet taste.