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!
Historical Facts About Spain
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.
Some Say The First Modern Novel Was Written By A Spaniard
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.
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.
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.
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.
Facts About Spain And 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.
Siesta Is An Important Part Of The Culture
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.
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 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.
“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.
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.
Simple And Fun Facts About Spain For Kids
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. Nevertheless, it is one of the convenient facts about Madrid, since it serves as a good base to explore the country from. The Plaza Puerta del Sol in Madrid is often considered the exact center of the country.
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.
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.
Useful Facts About Spain For Travelers
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 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.
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.
Religious Pilgrims And Adventurers 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.
Common Facts About 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Make Sure You Don’t Have Bulls Chasing You…
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.
Other Interesting Facts About Spain
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.
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.
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Discovering More Fun Facts About Spain
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.