The Stone Monastery

This was a place we found on Trip Advisor – the Monasterio de Piedra Park. Searching for somewhere to explore outside Zaragoza, this place got rave reviews so we added it to our visit list. An easy drive of just about an hour south west of the city, I loved the scenery en route – it seemed like a lush oasis on the arid Aragon plain. We stopped in this little village briefly to take pictures – how could you resist?

04.02.079 - Stone Monastery

A packed car park at the monastery, as deserted as the Cinco Villas was, this place was exactly the opposite. Full of Spanish families, we saw no other tourists, but the crowds had descended. A bit of a sinking heart really, we had got so used to having places to ourselves, not so here. We found a parking spot (eventually) and joined an enormous queue just to get tickets to go inside.

04.02.001 - Stone Monastery

04.02.002 - Stone Monastery

The monastery was founded in 1195 by Alfonso II of Aragon and named for the nearby Rio Piedra (Stone River) – all due to the calcified limestone deposits on its bank.

Once we eventually had our tickets we opted to explore the monastery – both this and the other buildings close for lunch between 1 and 3 – already caught out by this we had learned our lesson. It was indoor exploring first and then the grounds and gardens later in the afternoon.

04.02.004 - Stone Monastery

04.02.007 - Stone Monastry

04.02.008 - Stone Monastery

04.02.009 - Stone Monastery

A guided tour was just about to leave but we explained to the lady in charge that we didn’t speak Spanish. She gave us an information sheet in English and told us to make our own way around. This worked well, we made it ahead of the huge tour group and browsed at our leisure.

04.02.011 - Stone Monastery

04.02.012 - Stone Monastery

04.02.025 - Stone Monastery

04.02.026 - Stone Monastery

Fabulous cloisters, old chapel ruins and an incredibly interesting wine museum – a great way to spend the morning.

04.02.016 - Wine Museum

04.02.017 - Wine Museum

04.02.018 - Wine Museum

04.02.020 - Wine Museum

04.02.022 - Wine Museum

04.02.023 - Wine Museum

Next stop was the cafe for a lunch break before hitting those glorious gardens.

42 thoughts on “The Stone Monastery

    • We were exactly the same before this visit. Never planned to go here, it was not on any wish list of mine but so glad we tagged along on this work trip with my husband – we discovered a gem!

    • We can’t really complain, up until then we had no issue with crowds – quite the opposite! Skipping ahead of a huge tour group definitely worked here though, we were far enough ahead to feel like it was all to ourselves again!

    • It was – although we couldn’t do the guided tour due to our basic Spanish, they had some excellent English information to guide us around so we got to get a full overview of this lovely place.

  1. The scenery certainly looks wonderful Joy, it certainly looks like an area you could spend weeks exploring 🙂 And the old monastery is amazing, I love all those wonderful vaulted ceilings 🙂

    • Aren’t the ceilings just wonderful – I love them too and crumbling old buildings!! The whole area is so interesting and the fact it is off the beaten track for most tourists makes it even more special.

      • Anywhere that’s off the beaten track certainly gets my vote of approval!! 🙂 And it’s an added bonus if its such a wonderful old building such as that monastery 🙂

    • We managed to skip ahead of a big tour group Susan so that definitely helped. My heart sank when I saw the car park and then that queue for tickets but we did still have a great day.

    • It was Suzanne – a gorgeous place, you can see why it is so popular. I think we just got so used to having places to ourselves in Aragon this was a shock to the system!!

  2. Such an interesting place, Joy. Even though there were people, not being surrounded by tourists must have been an interesting experience.

  3. This looks a lovely place Joy especially as you managed to get ahead of the crowds! I always love places that perhaps tourists don’t visit so often – you get a real feel of a place from them. We also went to a lovely monastery at the top of Lake Como – not on the tourist trail as much as other places we went to and we had the place more or less to ourselves! I’ll be blogging about it when I get all my photos sorted out! Just got back last Wednesday evening and back on WA time more or less! I’ve just come back onto the blog too and am looking forward to posting again and catching up with blog news! Hope you’re enjoying the lovely warm weather – gather it’s really warm over with you at present! We had pleasant weather on the continent but it was quite cool – Lake Como was much cooler than our last visit a few years back but just as beautiful as we remembered it to be! Berlin was milder but not really warm. Perth is very chilly and we are all rugged up with the heaters on and have already lit the wood burner a couple of evenings!

    • I can hardly believe you’re back home already Rosemary – time seems to have flown past!! Hope you’re not too jet lagged. Looking forward to reading all about your trip, we’ve been to Lake Garda for a week and on a day trip to Lake Como from Milan once which wasn’t long enough – reading about your days out there will be great. We are also planning a trip to Berlin so again looking forward to reading about your experiences. We are loving the sunny weather here, last weekend was winter, this weekend we were sweltering – British weather!!

      • Yes don’t know where the time went Joy! Have so many photos to sort out! Spent the day babysitting as my daughter is working this week – very enjoyable but exhausted tonight! Still feel a bit jet lagged from time to time but I must say we had great flights this time and it seems to have helped ( lucky that the plane wasn’t full so could stretch out across 3 seats for the Heathrow – Dubai leg). Hopefully the sun is still shining sounds like it’s been really warm with you! 😃

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