Long ago, the Cinco Villas of Aragon were established along the frontier with Navarre, and one of them was Sos del Rey Catolico (the other four less-famous towns are Tauste, Ejea, Uncastillo, and Sabada). Though it was a small town, its location guaranteed that it would be deeply historic. The kings of Aragon fortified it with a thick wall, and inside that wall a lovely medieval town developed. Today, the whole town is considered a national historical monument.
You’ll find the Palacio de Sada, where King Ferdinand was born (that’s where the town gets its name), and you’ll find meandering cobbled streets left over from medieval times. Perhaps the most delightful thing to do in this town is to walk through the streets with your camera, photographing buildings that seem to have erupted from five hundred years ago.
Don’t miss the church of San Esteban, dating to the 12th century; the Plaza Mayor decorated with high arches; the castle; city hall; the town gates, dating back to medieval times; or the Medieval Stock Market. If you’re on limited time, Sos del Rey Catolico makes an excellent day trip. If not, you can stay at the government-run parador here.
There isn’t much to do in Sos del Rey Catolico beyond soaking up the atmosphere, but the town isn’t far from Zaragoza with all it has to offer. In addition, the area is in the middle of some lovely country, perfect for hiking or taking a picnic out with you.
Where to Stay
An excellent hotel is the Parador de Sos Del Rey Catolico, a six-story newer building that was built to blend well in a medieval setting. Its structure is primarily stone and wood timber, and its decor is antique and quaint. Some of the rooms have beautiful sweeping views of the countryside, despite the hotel’s position inside the town. You can get excellent Aragonese food in the restaurant.
Be certain to try the ternasco a la aragonesa (roast young lamb), and the “cordero al Chilindrón” (more lamb), marinated rabbit, and medieval cake, reminiscent of New Orleans King Cake.
If you’d rather eat away from the hotel, consider going out for a picnic, or drive out to Zaragoza with all its great restaurants and activities.