With a population of just under 1,300,000 people and an area of almost 48,000 square kilometres, Aragon has the second lowest population density in Spain. Population density is at its lowest in the Pyrenees, in the north of the region, and at its highest in the region’s capital, Zaragoza, the lively metropolis where just over half of the region’s population live. The three provinces that make up Aragon are: Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza.
With its majestic mountains, the Pyrenees, and numerous rivers flowing through it (among them the Ebro, Spain’s largest river), Aragon is a natural paradise. However, it is also a region of contrasts; the snow-capped mountains and green valleys in the north and centre give way to significantly drier areas in the south around Teruel.
Large areas of the region remain so totally unspoilt they are almost wild, which makes Aragon the ideal location for nature-lovers and outdoor types. For the most spectacular scenery in Europe, in fact, you need look no further than Ordesa National Park, close to the French border.
Aragon existed as a separate kingdom from its inception in 1035 until the formation of the kingdom of Spain in 1591. In subsequent centuries, the region witnessed many historic battles and sieges, many of which have left their marks on the landscape in the form of castles and fortresses in various states of repair.
Loarre, for instance, is one of the most spectacular Romanesque castle in Europe. The region also boasts a significant World Heritage Site, the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon, the collective name given to ten churches and monuments which stretch across Teruel and Zaragoza.
Beef, lamb and dairy products dominate the rich and varied cuisine of Aragon, although seafood, and fresh fruit and vegetables are also in abundance. Among the many traditional stews favoured in this region, you must try chicken ‘chilindrón’ stew. Other local dishes you won’t want to miss include Teruel cured ham and Aragonese pork sausages.
The region is served by the international airport of Zaragoza, and has excellent motorways linking it with Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and the rest of Spain.