Population: 47.1 million
Official Language: Spanish
Religions: Roman Catholic, Muslim and Protestant
Motto: Plus Ultra (Further beyond)
National Anthem: La Marcha Real
Size: 504,030 square meters / 195,364 square miles (Spain is the 2nd largest country in Europe after France)
Spain is a wonderful country that has much to offer the visitor. Spain remains one of the most popular study destinations in Europe, according to the Institute of Higher Education. We all know Spain is one of the strongest cultures and economies of the old continent, let’s not mention the unemployment rate which is a no-cool fact for Spain. There are plenty of inspirational curiosities about this country. It is the birthplace of the Spanish language, Pablo Picasso and Miguel Cervantes, and attracts millions of people every year. Spain has tons to offer, from chorizos and matadors to flamenco dance and Spanish guitar.
The Kingdom of Spain, is the second largest country in the EU
Spain occupies an area of 505,992 km² making it the fourth largest country in Europe, and the second largest in western Europe. Compared it is twice the size of the United Kingdom, or slightly more than twice the size of the US state of Oregon. The capital and largest city in Spain is Madrid, while the second largest city is Barcelona.
An about 400 million people in the world speak Spanish
Spanish was highlighted as the most important language for people in the UK to learn. There are many Spanish speaking countries in the world, as Spanish is the official language of the following 20 countries, as well as Puerto Rico: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spanish is the third most studied language in the world, after English and French.
Different languages are spoken in Spain
Spain has 3 co-official languages. They are Catalan, Basque, and Galician.
Catalan is a Romance language spoken by 9.5 million people. It is the co-official language of Barcelona, the autonomous community of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands as well as Andorra. It is also spoken in parts of France and Sardinia.
In Galicia many people speak Galician, with a variant called Eonavian spoken in Asturias. Approximately three million people speak the language. It is the closest to Spanish of the three regional languages in Spain – if you also speak a little Portuguese, you should have no problem understanding the language.
Balearic is the collective name for the dialects of Catalan spoken in the Balearic Islands and it is spoken by 600.000 people on Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Distinctive features of Catalan in the Balearic Islands differ according to the specific variant being spoken on the different islands.
There is other Romance minority languages, though not official, that have special recognition, such as the Astur-Leonese group (bable) and Aragonese (aragonés) in Aragon.
The Spanish name for Spain is España
Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil
Spain produced an average of 1,059,194 tons of olive oil from 1994-2013 according to data by FAOSTAT which makes it the world’s leading olive producer. Production of olive in Spain is mainly concentrated around the Andalucian region where about 75% of the total olive production in Spain is obtained. Olive oil is extracted from olives, and it is widely used for cooking purposes such as frying, baking and steaming in Spain. Deoleo is a Spanish multinational company and is a world leader in sales of bottled olive oil. The company sells its product in over 60 countries and has a product portfolio with 40 brands including Carbonell, Carapelli, Bertolli, And Sasso.
There are more than 8,000km of beaches in Spain
With more than 8,000 km of coastline, Spain has long been a primary destination for European sun and surf seekers. Several of the best beaches in Europe can be found at the coasts of the Spanish mainland, Balearic Island, and the Canary Islands.
One of the most world’s famous festivals
Cascamorras festival in the towns of Guadix and Baza has been declared Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional (Festival of International Tourism interest) due to its intriguing history. This tradition is believed to date back to the late 15th century, when a farmer from the village of Guadix found an image of the virgin while working in a field located in Baza. Now Cascamorras festival has become an important tourist attraction, in Baza it is celebrated every year on the 6th September and it is the start of the fair and festival in honour of our lady of piety that takes place from the 6th to 15th September each year. Every year hundreds of Spaniards cover themselves in grease to reenact the stealing of a famous statue of the “Virgen de la Piedad,” which took place over 500 years ago.
Bullfight is the most popular sport in Spain
Spain has always been famous for its bull-fights as have other countries all over the world.. In Spain the bullfight is called the Fiesta Nacional (The national Sport). There are few places in Spain where a bull-ring can’t be found within a short drive. In spain, the type of bullfighting that takes place is usually fatal for either the matador or the bull. The goal of bullfighting is for the matadors to stab the bulls, especially in the head, between the horns. This often leads to a slow, painful death for the bulls. Bullfighting season in Spain lasts from spring through autumn, with Sundays typically the biggest day. Visitors can purchase three kinds of tickets: “Sol” tickets are the cheapest because your seats are in the sun, “sol y sombra” tickets are mid-range seats that have a combination of sun and shade, and “sombra” tickets are the most expensive tickets because you get to sit in the shade.
Sodeto – The luckiest village
A village where everyone knew everyone and nearly all struggled to make ends meet. But then, a few days before Christmas, they won the largest lottery in the history of Spain. The entire town. All of them. (Well, almost all of them.) Instantly, Sodeto became known as the luckiest place on earth. The only resident who did not win was Costis Mitsotakis, a Greek filmmaker, who moved to the village for love of a woman. It did not work out. But he still lives here in a barn he is restoring about half a mile outside the village.
World’s Biggest Food Fight
La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. At the end of August, thousands gather in the Valencian town of Buñol, in nothing but their underpants and snorkelling masks, to pelt strangers with near-rotten tomatoes. A fire cracker signal marked the start of the massive food fight at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) and during the next hour, six trucks loaded with over-ripe tomatoes drove through the small town’s main street providing ammunition for festival-goers. The tomato fight (or La Tomatina) has been a strong tradition in Buñol since 1944 or 1945. It was created after two men, in political protest, began throwing tomatoes at many people and places, and continues to this day, though more for enjoyment than protest.
Spanish food is often recognized as one of the top cuisines in the world, and some traditional Spanish dishes and recipes date hundreds of years. Each regional speciality in Spain is worth trying, and many of the top Spanish restaurants are known by the different regions they come from. To define Spain in terms of food items is pretty easy, take some olives, extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables, sherry, wine, garlic, chicken, fresh fish, seafood and Iberian cured meats, and you are summing up the essence of the main gastronomic ingredients of Spain. Some of the most famous chefs in the world hail from Spain. In 2017, the Michelin guide recommended as many as 412 restaurants where you can eat for less than €35. From tasty tapas to superb seafood and traditional roasts, food in Spain is all about making the most of the best local produce.
The world’s oldest restaurant
Sobrino de Botin’s claim to fame is that the restaurant holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest restaurant in the world. The restaurant, which was originally named Casa Botin, was opened by a French cook name Jean Botin and his Austrian wife. Later, a nephew took over the restaurant, giving it its present name Sobrino de Botín – nephew of Botin. Restaurante Botín in Calle de Cuchilleros, Madrid, Spain was opened in 1725. Today, the restaurant is a must-visit attraction for visitors to Madrid, but it’s also very popular among locals.
Spain and Portugal have been linked by a zip wire
Along the 720 metres joining the two countries users cross over the river at speeds between 70 and 80 kilometres per hour, literally flying through time and gaining one hour because of the time zone change between both countries. A privately funded passion project of Englishman David Jarman, the 2,362-foot-long zipline (called “la tirolina” in Spain) crosses the Guadiana River at 50 feet above sea level. The time zones of Spain and Portugal are different. If you start your journey on the coast of Spain at 4 pm, you will arrive in Portugal at 3 pm.