Zaragoza is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and one of the country's oldest cities. Tourists often overlook the city, but this is completely undeserved. Zaragoza has an impressive historical center and many cultural events are organized every year.
The city has over 700,000 inhabitants.
Zaragoza is not only the province's capital, but also the capital of the autonomous community of Aragon, one of the former kingdoms of Spain. This region is located in the northeast of the country, west of Catalonia. Zaragoza is built on the Ebro River. The surroundings are diverse, ranging from desert-like (Los Monegros) to densely forested hills.
The University of Zaragoza is one of the oldest and most prominent universities of Spain. Technology plays an important role in local economy (south of Zaragoza lies the Parque Technológico), as does logistics. The latter because of the city's central location between Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. The city's airport is the fourth-largest on the Iberian Peninsula for freight traffic. There are also a large Opel factory, a factory for household appliances and a factory for the production of trains. The Spanish air force has a base nearby and the city houses the Academia General Militar.
Zaragoza Airport is situated 16 kilometers west of the city center. Besides the Spanish airline Iberia, budget airline Ryanair carries out many flights to Zaragoza. The airport is easily reachable by rental car from the city's beltway. The way to the airport is already clearly signposted from the center.
The city has an extensive network of city buses, exploited by Transportes Urbanos de Zaragoza (TUZSA). During weekends (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) there are also night buses. Zaragoza is developing a streetcar network. At the moment, there's one line: the north-south line between Valdespartera and Parque Goya. Two lines are expected to be added in 2015 or 2016: between Las Fuentes and Delicias, and between La Jota and Torrero. Zaragoza lies on the AVE high-speed train line. The Spanish capital Madrid can be reached in 1.5 hours by train; to Barcelona it takes 15 minutes longer.
Zaragoza is a busy city and in the center free parking places in the street are hard to find. It's no problem though, as there are many parking garages (mostly underground) in and around the center, where you can safely (and coolly) park your rental car. There are also excellent road connections with the rest of Spain: from the beltway, freeways run north, east, south and west.
It's best to visit Zaragoza in the spring or fall, at least if you want to avoid the hottest time of the year. In June and July it gets really hot in the city. On the other hand it then gets really entertaining in the center in the evening and until deep in the night. August isn't a good month either, as most locals then go on holiday and over half the bars, restaurants and many smaller hotels are closed. Zaragoza has an enormous choice of accommodations, to suit everybody's purse and scattered around the city. Because of the large choice, you don't have to book your room in advance, unless you want to stay at a specific hotel or if you want to visit Zaragoza during the El Pilar Festival (October).
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