Zaragoza, also referred to as Saragossa, is a beautiful historic city located in northern Spain. It is the regional capital of the Zaragoza province and the autonomous region of Aragon. The metropolitan area of Zaragoza is home to over 700,000 people, making it the fifth largest city in Spain.
Zaragoza has a long history stretching back two millennia, with the Roman Empire, Muslim Taifa Kingdom and the Crown of Aragon all stamping their mark on the city. In recent years, there has been a lot of modern development, particularly in the run-up to the EXPO, the international exhibition themed around water that was hosted in Zaragoza in 2008.
For expats considering relocating to Spain, Zaragoza is an excellent choice. Although not as well-known as a number of other Spanish cities, Zaragoza has a lot to offer. It’s a safe and affordable city and well situated for exploring other parts of the country. Many expatriates also move to Zaragoza to work or study at the world renowned university.
Zaragoza is located alongside the Ebro River, at 199 meters above sea level. The climate is described as semi-arid because of its location within a river basin and surrounded by mountains, which is typical for that part of Spain.
Zaragoza is beautiful but very hot in the summer, with mostly sunny days and very little rainfall, often resulting in a period of drought. It’s normal for temperatures to reach as high as 40°C, so many will avoid the midday sun during the summer, opting to enjoy a traditional Spanish siesta.
In the winter, Zaragoza experiences a cold and dry wind that blows through from the north-west, known as the Cierzo. This causes temperatures to drop down to about 2°C, and sometimes lower. Consequently, frost and occasional snowfall are experienced during the winter months. Fog is also usually present for about 20 days a year, between November and January.
Property in Zaragoza is much cheaper than in other big Spanish cities and with the economic crisis, house prices are still dropping. Most expats will look for rental accommodation, and because property owners have been unable to sell, there are lots of apartments to rent at good prices.
Rental accommodation is available either furnished or unfurnished, and you can negotiate on the price. Apartment leases in Zaragoza typically include a parking space and storage in the basement, and you’ll be expected to pay two months’ rent and a deposit in advance.
Houses to rent are scarcer, but the further out into the suburbs you’re prepared to live, the more there is available. Although public transport from suburbs and surrounding villages is not very reliable, there is much less traffic and you can get a lot more for your money.
For further information relevant for relocating to a Spanish city, including an introduction to Spanish visas, please refer to our article on Moving to Spain.