Zamora information

Introduction to the Province of Zamora
In the north east part of Spain and bordered by Portugal to its west, lies the landlocked province of Zamora, part of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. It is a geographically diverse province with high mountains, wide rivers, lakes and fertile agricultural plains and has an equally rich and diverse flora and fauna. Zamora is as yet pretty undiscovered by the tourists from outside Spain and so is relatively unspoilt and retains its traditional ways and customs without the influence of mass tourism. For a relaxed and traditional insight into the real Spain, Zamora is ideal.

Zamora City
The provincial capital is a relatively quiet and laid back city by Spanish provincial capital standards. It is built on the Duero River, near to the border with Portugal. The old quarter of Zamora, stretches out along the bank of the river and much of the city’s mediaeval walls that it was enclosed by remain. Zamora was known as one of the most heavily fortified towns and was once held to siege for seven months. The old quarter is packed full of beautiful ecclesiastical and civil architecture, which includes the highest concentration of 12th and 13th Century Romanesque churches in the whole of Spain. To discover more about Zamora’s history, visit the Provincial Museum, housed in the elegant 16th Century Palacio del Cordon.

Zamora’s 12th Century Cathedral is the pinnacle of the Romanesque ecclesiastical architectural offerings in the city. Located within the walled citadel, it sports a stunning dome and richly carved fa§ade. Inside the Cathedral’s museum has on display the incredibly detailed and sumptuous Flemish “Black Tapestries”.

Close to the Cathedral, in the same section of the old city, is Zamora’s recently restored castle, which has magnificent city views and some beautiful gardens, known as the Parque del Castillo.

A stroll around the street of Zamora’s old quarter will reward you with a stunning Romanesque church at virtually every turn and in every square. Most notable amongst them is the Church of San Juan de Puerta Nueva, the Church of Santa Maria la Nueva (which has an interesting museum attached to it, dedicated to Holy Week or Semana Santa in Zamora), the Church of San Pedro and San Ildefonso and the Church of Santiago de los Cabelleros , where El Cid was knighted.

Zamora has an excellent covered market where you can stock up on local delicacies such as sheep’s milk cheese, honey and asparagus. You can read more below on the gastronomy of Zamora.

Around Zamora City and Beyond
The dramatic looking town of Toro, 30km from Zamora, was the location of a famous battle in Spanish/Portuguese history in 1476 and has enjoyed royal patronage fro many years as exemplified by the beautiful Colegiata Santa Maria la Mayor building. It is a fine example of Romanesque architecture. Nowadays Toro is at the heart of one of Zamora’s most important wine producing areas.

The town of Sanabria is renowned for its cider and honey production and has been declared a town of Historic and Artistic Interest. It is also the gateway to the Natural Park of Lago de Sanabria. The park is an area of outstanding natural beauty with mountain backdrops, rivers, waterfalls and more than thirty glacial lakes. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including eagles, wildcats and wolves. There are some fantastic walking trails in the park.

Other stunning areas of natural beauty in Zamora include the Arribes del Duero area, with its impressive river gorges and forested lands and the Lagunas de Villafafila (also known as Las Salinas), the second largest water reserve in Spain and home to a wide variety of water and migratory bird species.

The Costa de la Luz has some of arguably the best sandy beaches in Spain, one of the best being at Zahara. The windy city of Tarifa at the southern end of this costa is a mecca for windsurfers and has a laid back, hippy atmosphere. Whilst for golfers there is the internationally renowned Valderrama Golf Course at Sotogrande. Sotogrande is also the home of polo in Spain.

La Sierra de Grazalema National Park offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, canyoning and bird watching. Take an umbrella and waterproofs because this is the wettest place in Spain!

The 1700 sq km national park of Los Alcornocales is home to Spain’s largest area of cork oak woodland.

The Gastronomy of Zamora
The cuisine of Zamora province is typically hearty yet humble in origins, utilising the produce from its mountains, rivers and agricultural plains. Zamora is noted for its chickpeas, peppers, mushrooms and asparagus. The cuisine is heavily centred on meat, especially beef, pork and game but you will also come across river fish, such as trout, on the menu.

Typical Zamora dishes include Arroz a la Zamorana, which is a heavily herbed and spiced rice dish that utilises many parts of the pig in its preparation, and Dos y Pingada, which is a fried ham and eggs dish, typically served at Easter. Pincho Moruno is a very typical tapas dish of the area and is skewered and herbed grilled pork meat.

Look out for the honey from Sanabria, the province’s sheep’s cheeses (Queso Zamorano) and Rebojos Zamorano, which are sweet, hard buns. Also from Samoria come a delicious cider and of course there are Zamora’s fine wines, such as the very dark red, Vino de Toro.


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