35 Interesting & Fun Facts about Spain and Spanish Culture

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Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. And it is not surprising! Spain boasts beautiful beaches and the country’s history stretches back centuries. There are also plenty of facts about Spain that will pull you in. 

No matter how kind of traveler you are, the diverse country has something to offer. Knowing a few facts on Spain will help you navigate this beautiful country. 

A definitive fact about Spanish people is that they are a unique and fun bunch. The Spanish traditions revolve around parties and religion, and daily siestas. 

There are tons of facts on Spain to go around, but here are 35 fun facts about Spain to inspire you!

Most important fact about Spain to note

One of the most important and interesting facts about Spain to know for travelers is the existence of Siesta.

Siesta is an afternoon break that the Spanish take every day, and it is traditionally a nap. The tradition has been passed on from the old days but is still widely practiced today.

Therefore, it is very common for all businesses, including restaurants, to close for a couple of hours during mid-day for everyone to rest. It typically last

Make sure you get what you need before Siesta or you might have to wait until after. This tradition is one of the things that Spain is known for.

Other Fun Facts about Spain 

Before packing your bags to head to the Iberian Peninsula, read up on some fun facts about Spain to enhance your trip.

Spain extends into the African continent.  

This is one of the more interesting facts about Spain. Spain is the only European country that shares a border with North Africa. 

There are water borders between the Canary Islands and the Kingdom of Morocco. And in the Mediterranean Sea, there are two Spanish bastions, Ceuta and Melilla. 

The capital city is in the very middle of the country

Madrid is directly in the middle of the country, which is rare for a capital city. The Plaza Puerta del Sol in Madrid is the exact center of the country.  

Spain is home to 47+ UNESCO world heritage sites

There are 47 UNESCO world heritage sites and counting in Spain. These include famous landmarks such as the Alhambra, the Sagrada Família, and the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Find out more well-known landmarks in Spain to visit.

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union

You may not expect it, but one of the interesting facts about Spain is its size! France is the only other EU country that has a larger land mass.

The Spanish Civil War is a significant event in Spain’s history

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was a conflict that took place in Spain.

It began when the army, led by General Francisco Franco, rose up against the government. The war ended with the victory of the Nationalists, and Franco became the dictator of Spain.

Spain had what is now considered the first global empire 

Before England conquered, the sun never set on the Spanish Empire. The Spanish had colonies across North and South America and in the Philippines. Once you place Spain in the middle, there was always sun shining somewhere in the Spanish Empire. 

Spain is the fourth most visited country 

One of the fun facts on Spain is how many visitors they get. Every year, an estimated 58 million people visit a part of Spain. That is about 10 million more people than the population of Spain (47 million). 

Spain has the most beaches in the Northern Hemisphere 

There are more than 8,000 official beaches in Spain. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea, and the northwest by the Atlantic Ocean.

With access to the Balearic islands like Ibiza, the Canary Islands and cities like Barcelona, you should certainly pack a swimsuit. 

You can see Moors influence from more than a millennia ago 

Unless you know your Spanish history, you may not know this fun fact about Spain. It is recognized that the Moors controlled large parts of Spain from the 8th to the 15th century. 

Even though it has been more than 500 years since they were in control, you can still see their influences. When you visit Spain, notice the mosaic tiles used as decoration in architecture design and music. 

The oldest restaurant in the world is found in Madrid 

A delicious and interesting fact about Spain for foodies. Spain is home to the world’s oldest restaurant.

El Restaurante Botin has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. It has been in operation since 1725!

In addition, Botin is famous for their roast suckling pig. Be sure to get a taste of traditional Spanish cuisine at the world’s oldest restaurant when visiting Madrid.

Religious pilgrims and adventurers alike will visit the Camino de Santiago 

It can take a person 30 days to complete the full Camino de Santiago, which stretches nearly 500 miles. 

Many people will just do little day trips. For those who want to do the full trip, plenty of hostels and hotels are available on the way. 

In the Camino de Santiago, you can witness some of the most famous landmarks in Spain.

Spain is a constitutional monarchy 

Since 2014, King Felipe VI has been the king of Spain. Democracy has been in place since 1868. His position is more for show than to dictate policy. 

Celebrate at the world’s oldest fiesta 

One of the more fun Spain facts to know if you are into history and culture.

The Romeria de Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza in the Sierra Morena, is a fiesta that has been put on for 800 years! 

Hosted at the highest point of the Sierra Morena, pilgrims will come to join in the celebration at the Sanctuary of the Virgin every April.

Some say the first modern novel was written by a Spaniard 

The book “Don Quixote” written by Spanish author, Miguel de Cervantes in 1605 is considered by many to be the world’s first modern novel. 

The novel was controversial in the initial launch but was later turned into a famous musical, “The Man of La Mancha,” in 1965. It features a main character who loves knights and chivalry. 

“Don Quixote” set the foundation for Miguel de Cervantes to be recognized as the greatest Spanish author by some.

Spanish artists are some of the most well-known 

You will see influences in the architecture and art pieces that have been incorporated since the late 19th century. 

Spain is home to some of the world’s greatest artists. These include Atoni Gaudi, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali.

Buy a drink and enjoy a free “tapas”

It is very common to go out with friends and enjoy a drink after work or during weekends. 

If you order a drink in many bars, you will also be served a small dish, known as tapas. These can be any popular snacks in Spain.

While it seems normal to have finger food with drinks, this tradition actually stems from bar-goers trying to cover their drinks with a plate, to avoid flies from getting in. 

Have your grapes ready for New Year’s Eve 

And not just in the champagne form! This is one of the more quirky, interesting facts on Spain. 

Spanish people will eat twelve grapes–one for every stroke of midnight–to celebrate and welcome the new year. 

Love is shown differently in Spain 

Spain has the second-lowest marriage rate amongst European countries (Sweden has the lowest). 

But, Spanish couples also only divorce at a rate of 17%, which is considerably lower than most western countries. 

The famous Sagrada Familia is still unfinished 

Gaudi designed the large cathedral in Barcelona in 1882, and it has been under construction since! 

It is considered the most visited construction site globally, with 2.8 million visitors annually. Its construction is also on schedule–Gaudi estimated it would take about 200 years to complete. 

Spain is an advocate for same sex marriage

Spain has a very progressive view on same sex marriage. In 2005, they became the third country in the world to legalize it.

They have also been at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality, with their Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stating in 2016 that “Marriage between people of the same sex is not a question of religion. It is a question of justice.”

No one joins in singing the Spanish national anthem 

Most national anthems are sung loudly, but not so much in Spain. Traditionally, the Spanish national anthem does have words. But no one will sing them. 

The words praise the dictator Francisco Franco, who was in office from 1939 to 1975. He tried to rid the regions of their cultural identity. Due to the regional differences across Spain, many do not want to aid in his praise. 

Valencia is home to the largest fresh food market in Europe 

Located on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia has an 8,000 square metered market. There are more than 900 stands selling foods like meats, fish, spices, and olives. It is designed in the art nouveau style and is a famous spot for visitors.  

The national dish of Spain is Paelle

That said, one of the essential Spain facts to know for foodie travelers is the Spanish national dish.

Paella is a Valencian dish that originated in the region of Valencia. The traditional dish is made with rice, saffron, chicken, rabbit, and shellfish.

You might have seen this dish in different countries, but yes, it is the Spanish national dish.

READ NEXT: 17 TYPICAL BREAKFASTS IN SPAIN: A LOOK AT MODERN SPANISH BREAKFASTS

Spain produces about 44% of the world’s olive oil supply

One of the more impressive facts about Spain is that they produce about 1.2 million tonnes of Olive oil every year.

They are actually the largest producer of Olive oil globally, contributing almost half of the world’s olive oil supply.

You will never be too far from a bar 

There are more bars in Spain than in any other European Union country. Casual drinking with friends is very ingrained in Spanish culture. It makes sense that people would want options. 

Lottery winners get lucky in Spain

Here’s an interesting fact of Spain to know for a chance at getting rich quick. 

Every year around Christmas, Spain has a lottery that gives away a whopping 2.24 billion euros! It is the largest payout of any lotto in the world. 

Fun Facts about Spanish Culture 

To best enjoy a trip to Spain, learn some facts about Spanish people and get ready to enjoy your siesta and tapas with new friends.

Spanish dances are known for their love and passion 

One of the more interesting facts about Spain is the people’s passion for fun and life.

Expect to see dancers in brightly colored costumes and to dance with a lot of passion for each other. Dances that you’re probably familiar with are the Paso Doble, the Flamenco, or the Copla. 

Spain is still mainly a Roman Catholic country but…

The Roman Catholic religion is the predominant religion in Spain. However, as the world globalizes, not as much of Spain’s population continue to attend mass or church religiously.

There are no public nudity laws 

This can be one of the more alarming Spain facts, that also reflects their open culture.

Legally, you do not have to wear any clothing while in Spain. You could walk down the streets completely in your birthday suit! Don’t be surprised to see one but it is uncommon. Most people will still choose to be naked only at the nude beaches. 

Be prepared for a different meal schedule 

This is an essential fact about Spain to note, especially if you are used to having dinner around 6pm.

The Spanish usually only have lunch at around 2pm, which is on the later spectrum when it comes to lunchtime around the world. Then the important siesta follows. This means most families don’t sit down for dinner until after 9 pm! 

In some Spanish cities and towns, you won’t find any restaurants open for dinner service until 8pm. Be sure to time your meals correctly so you won’t starve.

The rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has lasted centuries 

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are known as two of the most popular futbol teams in the world. 

Both teams have been playing for nearly 120 years, with their rivalry being just as long! 

If you can’t get a match day ticket, there are stadium tours for both Camp Nou and the Santiago Bernabeu.

Spanish dialects are found across the country 

One of the cultural facts about Spain, 99% of the population can speak and understand the Spanish language.

You might think that is the only official language. However, there are actually five official languages in Spain, and these are also regional languages.

This means that each official language correlates to a region in the country–Catalan, Valencian, Galician, Basque, and Aranese. Each region has its own language of historical origins.

Spanish children look forward to a mouse, not the tooth fairy

Instead of a tooth fairy, young Spanish children will hope that they are visited by the mouse El Raton Perez. He pops up in most Spanish-speaking cultures around the world. El Raton Perez leaves a little gift under your pillow if you leave him your tooth. 

Therefore, the tooth fairy character might not be familiar to your Spanish friends. Such interesting facts about Spain make you realize that seemingly obvious practices and icons from your home country are not universal.

“La Tomatina” is a messy but fun tradition 

Celebrated in Bunol, near Valencia, La Tomatina is also known as the world’s biggest food fight. Towards the end of August, people will throw tomatoes at each other! 

The tradition is said to have started to merely beat boredom, and it certainly does. This fiesta is one of things that Spain is famous for.

Make sure you don’t have bulls chasing you… 

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Held in Pamplona every year, men will dress in white and will run in front of bulls through the streets. Known as the “Chasing of the Bulls” it can turn dangerous but is still good fun for those that go. 

Find out more Facts about Spain and Spanish Culture

As a fascinating country with centuries of history, there are tons of facts on Spain that will keep you interested on your entire trip. 

As you traverse through the country, I am sure you will learn and discover more fun facts about Spain. However, this will give you a good start to better plan your trip and appreciate the Spanish culture.

There are always interesting Spain facts that you can share with your travel companions. Make sure you check out the festivals that will be happening while you’re in Spain and prepare for your daily siestas. 


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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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