What do you know about Spain? Here’s a list of 25 Interesting Facts about Spain, and further down you can also read some more general information about Spain that might be good to know!
To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you. How many of these Spain facts did you already know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section! Or why not challenge some Spanish friends?
1. It’s the World’s largest producer of Olive Oil
When you think of Olive Oil, Italy probably comes to your mind at first, but in reality, Spain is producing about 44% of the total amount of Olive Oil in the world! Andalusia is the region that produces the most Olive Oil.
This is definitely one of those facts about Spain that not many tourists know about!
2. The highest amount of bars in all of Europe
Are you longing for that refreshing “cerveza”? You will not have any problem at all to find a nice bar. The fact is, Spain has the highest amount of bars in all of Europe, and there are cafées and bars open both during the day and evening/night.
3. More than 8000 Kilometers of beaches
If you combine all Spanish beaches into one stretch, it would be 8000 kilometers long (approx. 4 970 miles). So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is one of the most popular destinations for a sunny vacation!
Several of the best beaches in Europe can be found on the coasts of the Spanish mainland as well as the Spanish islands, such as Balearic Island, and the Canary Islands.
4. Home to the World’s Oldest Restaurant
The restaurant called Botin has been opened since 1725, which is a world record in terms of a restaurant that’s still operating. If you come to Madrid, you gotta try the cuisine at this ancient restaurant. It’s a great place to eat traditional food from Spain.
Address: Calle Cuchilleros, 17
5. Enjoying life is a big part of the Spanish culture
The expression Mañana Mañana literally means “tomorrow tomorrow” but is commonly used as “no stress” or to express that there’s no need to worry because things will work out just fine.
It’s an expression that you can feel and experience throughout the Spanish culture, where you enjoy life and relax whenever possible. It’s perhaps also why both food and wine are very important as well as the family.
Spaniards value their free time and breaks, and will not work to death as in many other countries, both for the good and worse. However, it’s slowly changing and people work more overtime here nowadays as well.
And of course, this doesn’t mean that Spanish people aren’t hardworking, it just means that they try to live life to the fullest. You can still experience the Mañana Mañana mentality from time to time.
6. The second biggest country in the EU
Only France is bigger when it comes to countries that are members of the European Union. If you count Russia and Ukraine, Spain comes in fourth place in terms of Europe’s largest countries overall.
7. There’s a Spanish New Year’s custom where you eat 12 grapes
A pretty unusual but fun tradition that aims to eat 12 grapes with one’s family when the clock turns 12. The goal is to eat 1 grape each time the clock hits a beat. If you succeed, it’s said that you’ll get lucky for the rest of the year.
The tradition was made popular by the wineries, who wanted to get rid of excess grapes.
8. Spanish is the world’s second most spoken mother tongue
English is the most widely spoken language in the world overall, but most people have English as their second language. In terms of Mother Tongue, the Chinese language trumps the first place, and Spanish comes in at second.
The Spaniard’s travels and conquerings around the world have spread the Spanish language worldwide! And that’s certainly one of the most interesting facts about Spain and the country’s history.
9. Despite being one of the world’s most powerful countries, Spain didn’t officially participate in the world wars.
Just as Sweden and other countries, the official position was neutral, even if some situations, of course, can be discussed in retrospect. With that said, a few Spanish inhabitants were sent in exile to battle the Axis powers.
10. One of the world’s most diverse cultures
Another interesting fact about Spain is the fact that the culture is so diverse and divided between different regions. Every region has its own specialties and traditions. Going back in time, the Spaniards come from several different folk groups that have been united into one nation.
Some of them even have their own language and is now wanting their own independence, such as Catalonia and the Basque country. Visitors can enjoy traditional Spanish dances, or why not try some Spanish cheese, such as Manchego.
11. Personal consumption of Cannabis is legal in Spain
Spain is one of the few countries in Europe where it’s legal to consume cannabis. Cultivation is also allowed as long as it’s for personal use. However, it’s not legal to smoke cannabis in public, even if it has been decriminalized.
12. Spain has 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Only Italy and China has more UNESCO world heritage sites. Some of the most famous historic sites in Spain include Alhambra, Sagrada Familia, Real Alcazar, Mosque of Cordoba, Burgos Cathedral, and Tower of Hercules just to mention a few.
Additionally, there are several natural world heritage sites as well, such as Teide National Park, Palmeral of Elche, Pirineos (Monte Perdido), and Las Medulas just to mention some of them.
13. Traditionally each person has two surnames
There is a Spanish tradition to have two surnames. The first one is the father’s surname and the second one is the mother’s surname. As an example, it would be possible to be named Juan Gonzales Lopez or Carmen Garcia Sanchez.
14. Spain still has a king
Just like Sweden and the United Kingdom, Spain has a king, which is still the head of state, but with little to no actual power over the country’s laws and regulations. The current King of Spain is Felipe VI.
15. More than 1 million hectares are dedicated to wine
There’s no shortage of wine when it comes to Spanish wines, and there are lots of variations. Besides regular white and red wine, vineyards are also producing Cava, which is the Spanish equivalent to Champagne.
Worldwide, it’s the red wines from Spain that have become most famous, especially Rioja wines and Ribera del Duero.
5 x Fun Facts about Spain
- There is no national law against public nudity
- The national anthem of Spain has no words
- Spain’s Christmas lottery has the world’s biggest payout – It’s called El Gordo (which translates to the fat one)
- It’s the only European country with cities on African soil – Ceuta and Melilla.
- La Tomatina is an annual festival held in Spain where people throw thousands of tomatoes at each other
5 x Spain Facts for Kids
- The name “España” comes from the word Hispania, which was the adopted name by the Romans, originally from the name Ispania, which means the land of the rabbits in Carthaginian. Ispania was the name used by the Carthaginians, who came around 300 b.c.
- The Spanish equivalent to the tooth fairy is a mouse, better known as Ratoncito Pérez.
- The national anthem of Spain has no words
- The Bull is the national animal of Spain
- The Official name of the country is the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España)
Bonus Facts about Spain
Can’t get enough? Here is some additional information about Spain!
- In 2017, the country had more than 82 million tourists from abroad
- They produce the second-highest amount of saffron in the world, after Iran.
- There are more than 8000 beaches in Spain
- It was one of the first countries to ban smoking in bars and workplaces (2006)
- There’s a cable car where you can cross the Spanish-Portuguese border.
- Several artists are of Spanish origins, such as Picasso, Gaudi, Valasquez, and Salvador Dali
- Don Quixote, written in 1605, is considered to be the first modern novel.
- Only 13.6% of Spain’s population actually goes to church on Sundays
General Facts about Spain
Below is some general information such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other facts about Spain that might be interesting to know.
- Total Population: 46,5 million
- Capital: Madrid
- Life expectancy: 83.2 years.
- Highest Mountain: Mount Teide – 3 718 meters above the sea
- Land area: 505,990 km2 (195,360 square miles)
- Largest Lake: Lago de Sanabria
- National Day: 12th October
- Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- Prime Minister: Pedro Sanchez
- Monarch: King Felipe VI
- Currency: Euro
- Official language: Spanish
- Co-official languages: Catalan, Galician, Basque, Occitan
- Religion: 68% Roman Catholic
- Member of Nato: Yes
- Member of EU: Yes
- National song: Marcha Real
- Time zone: CET +1, CEST +2
- Country Number/Prefix: +34
- Country Code: ES
The Biggest Cities in Spain
If you’re looking for facts about Spain, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest cities. Here’s a list of the top 10 largest Spanish cities ranked after population.
- Madrid – 3,166.000
- Barcelona – 1,609.000
- Valencia – 790 200
- Sevilla – 690 566
- Zaragoza – 661 108
- Malaga – 569 009
- Murcia – 441 003
- Palma de Mallorca – 402 949
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – 378 998
- Bilbao – 345 122
The Spanish Flag
The flag of Spain is characterized by two red horizontal stripes on each side and yellow in the middle.
Map of Spain
Below is a map of the various Spanish regions, including the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
How many of these Facts about Spain did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!