Spain – The 20 Things You Never Knew About

Being one of the top tourism destinations in the travel world, receiving millions of visitors each year, Spain is a fascinating and diverse country – with something for everyone. So to help you learn more about Spain we have compiled this list of interesting facts that you may not have been aware about this country before.

Being one of the top tourism destinations in the travel world, receiving millions of visitors each year, Spain is a fascinating and diverse country – with something for everyone. So to help you learn more about Spain we have compiled this list of interesting facts that you may not have been aware about this country before.

1. Spain is officially known as the Kingdom of Spain, this is due to the presence of the King as the head of state. The current king of Spain is King Juan Carlos I and the Queen is Sofia. They have held the title since 1975.
2. Up until the late 15th century, Spain was a Muslim controlled country and gained independence from the Moors in Granada around 1490. The Moors left a wonderful architectural legacy, which can be seen, in the fantastic Alhambra Palace and the Alcazaba.
3. The national flag of Spain has the colours of red, yellow and red, with the Spanish coat of arms located on the left hand side of the yellow stripe. There is a theory that the yellow stands for the sandy ground of the bullfighting arena, and the reds for the blood of the bull!
4. Throughout the 16th century, Spain was one of the most powerful empires in the world, with land controlled in the Americas and Europe.
5. Boasting an area of over 500,000 square metres, Spain is the second largest country on mainland Europe after France.
6. The average altitude is 600 metres in Spain, which makes it the second highest country in Europe after Switzerland – quite a tall feat!
7. The population of Spain is approximately 44.7 million according to the 2006 census. The three biggest cities are the capital Madrid (5.9m), Barcelona (5.3m) and Valencia (1.6m)
8. The highest mountain point in Spain is Pico de Teide on the island of Tenerife at 3,719 metres.
9. Obviously the main language spoken is Spanish, but did you know that there are four regional dialects spoken in Spain which make up a large part of the identity of the peoples there (Catalan, Gallego, Euskera and Valencian). In Spain, the Spanish language is officially known as Castilian.
10. Spain is in eighth position in the list of the largest economies in the world with a GDP of over €1 Trillion.
11. The appeal of Spain knows no bounds – over 50 million tourists visit Spain every year, and as such making Spain one of the top 3 most visited countries worldwide.
12. A traditional Spanish recreational pastime up to the month of October is to attend a bull fight (Una Corrida de Toros). Bull fighting records in Spain date back to the early 12th century during the reign of King Alfonso VIII. The oldest Plaza de Toros (bull fight stadium) in Spain is located in Ronda, southern Spain and this was opened in 1785.
13. On a visit to Spain, you will see that Spanish people love their music – they love to partake in singing and dancing. The most popular genre of Spanish music is called the Flamenco, and this is most popular in the south of Spain. There are three parts of this genre of music – the song (el cante), the guitar parts (el toque) and el baile (the dance). Other types of Spanish music include fandago, bolero, paso doble and jota!
14. You may not be aware the the alcoholic drink called Sherry originates in Spain – from the town Jerez de la Frontera.
15. Natives of Spain eat their main meal of the day at lunchtime! Shops close during this time of the day for a few hours. After lunch many people will take a rest or have a nap, known as a siesta!
16. Even though the famous explorer Christopher Columbus was an Italian, he explored under the Spanish flag for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in the 15th century. Columbus has been credited for discovering the Americas, and proving that the world was not flat and actually is spherical. La Fiesta Nacional de Espãna is celebrated in Spain every year on the 14th of October in commemoration of the date in 1492 when Columbus landed on American soil.
17. The oldest known restaurant in the world is located in Madrid, this called Casa Botín and it was opened in 1725.
18. Spain is home to some of the most alluring dishes in the world – paella being the national dish – fresh fish is another delicacy, soaked in vinegar and herbs and fried with batter. Tapas dishes originated in Seville, in southern Spain and you will come across these when bars serve small dishes with drinks.
19. The coastline of Spain is divided into sections –
· Costa Brava (the rugged coast)
· Costa del Sol (coast of the sun)
· Costa Blanca (white coast)
· Costa de la Luz (coast of light)
· Costa Cálida (hot coast)
· Costa Rubicón (red coast)
· Costa Tropical (tropical coast)

20.  Spain is home to two of the most dangerous and wackiest festivals in the world! The village of Buñol which is near Valencia hosts La Tomatina, a festival which takes place on the last Wednesday of August each year, where for one hour people pelt each other with tomatoes! Annually from July 6th to the 14th in the northern town of Pamplona, the San Fermín Festival takes place. The running of the bulls takes place here, and plenty bull fights at the local arena.

Spain is a huge country and for sure you will need to avail of a good quality hire car to get to see the very best of it. For the very best deals in car rental, please check out our Car hire Spain page.

Have you been on holiday to Spain? If you have any queries please leave some comments in the comment section below. Thank you.



COMMENTS