Famed for its pentagonal fortress and Romanesque-style cathedral, Jaca is a historically rich city in the Pyrenees mountains of north-east Spain. It’s located along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route and is a popular destination for winter sports as the gateway to the ski resorts of Valle de Astun and Candanchu.
Things to do in Jaca
Dominating the centre of Jaca is the Ciudadela de Jaca, a 16th-century pentagonal fortress built on the orders of Felipe II according to Italian design principles. Step across the moat to admire its well-preserved bastions, tunnels and barracks, then explore the large parade ground. Today, the fortress houses the Museum of Military Miniatures, which exhibits intricately created dioramas.
One of Jaca’s most important landmarks is the 11th-century San Pedro Cathedral, which combines Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles. Marvel at the Corinthian capitals and the cross-vaulted roof, then explore the chapels dating from the 15th to 17th centuries. The cathedral houses several pieces of art by Gabriel Yoli, Juan de Salas and Gil Morales the Younger, as well as an apse painted by Manuel Bayeu.
Spanning the Aragon River on the western edge of Jaca is the Puente San Miguel, a historic bridge originally built in the 15th century and has been reconstructed several times since. Follow the Camino Puente de San Miguel to the asymmetrically designed bridge, which was an engineering marvel of its time and is now an icon of Jaca.
Getting around Jaca
Jaca is around an hour’s drive from Huesca and 1.5 hours from Pamplona while Bilbao Airport is just over three hours away. Trains connect from destinations across northern Spain to the Jaca railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Jaca can easily be explored on foot.