Located at the junction of the Cinco and Ara rivers, Ainsa lies beneath the Pyrenees in Spain’s north-east. It’s renowned for its beautifully preserved fortifications and its proximity to the awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes of Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park.
Things to do in Aínsa
One of the town’s most important architectural landmarks is the Castillo y Casco Historico de Ainsa, a stone-built castle that dates back to the 11th century. From its medieval walls, there are magnificent views across the town and its squares lined with alfresco cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss seeing the 12th-century Iglesia de Santa Maria with its crypt and trapezoid cloister.
Sprawling south-west of Ainsa is Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park, which encompasses unique rock formations, rugged ravines and abundant sinkholes. It’s a popular destination for canyoning and climbing, while it also provides a habitat for wild cats, stone martens and vultures. In addition to megalithic monuments, the park is home to cave paintings dating from the Upper Palaeolithic.
A short drive east of Ainsa will take you to the Real Monasterio de San Victorian, which was established in the 11th century at the foot of Peña Montañesa. Legend tells of Saint Victorian arriving in the Pyrenees to flee earthly temptations and after years as a hermit in the Cueva de la Espelunga, a monastery was built in his name. Join a guided tour to explore the monastery while learning about its role as a spiritual centre of Sobrarbe.
Getting around Aínsa
Ainsa is around two hours’ drive from Zaragoza and Zaragoza Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Buses connect to Ainsa and the town is small enough to explore on foot. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around the region.