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40 Quick Facts About Spain That You Didn’t Know

Our full guide on Facts About Spain that you didn’t know for you to read before visiting Spain.

Spain is a country with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural wonders. Here are some lesser-known facts that can enrich your travel experience and understanding of this vibrant nation.

 Read here Spanish foodBiggest Mistakes when moving to Spain and best breakfast in Spain

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Practical Travel Tips

Public Holidays

Fact: Spain has numerous public holidays, many of which are regional. Plan your travel around these dates to experience local festivals or avoid closures.

Tipping Etiquette

Fact: Tipping is not obligatory but appreciated. In restaurants, rounding up the bill or leaving a small percentage (5-10%) is customary.

Efficient Transport

Fact: Major cities like Madrid and Barcelona have extensive metro systems. Purchase a travel card for convenient and cost-effective transportation.

Late-Night Dining

Fact: Spaniards eat late, with dinner often starting around 9 PM or later. Many restaurants may not open for dinner until 8 PM.

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Facts About Spain That You Didn’t Know

Historical and Cultural Facts

Oldest Restaurant in the World

40 Quick Facts About Spain That You Didn't Know
Image from Wikimedia

Fact: Sobrino de Botín in Madrid, established in 1725, is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world.

Multiple Official Languages

Fact: Besides Spanish (Castilian), Spain has several co-official languages including Catalan, Galician, and Basque, reflecting the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

Long Moorish Rule

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Fact: The Moors ruled large parts of Spain for over 700 years, profoundly influencing Spanish architecture, science, and culture. The Alhambra in Granada is a notable example.

Birthplace of the Modern Novel

Fact: “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, published in 1605, is considered the first modern novel and remains a cornerstone of Western literature.

Home to Numerous UNESCO Sites

40 Quick Facts About Spain That You Didn't Know

Fact: Spain has the third-highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including historic cities, remarkable landscapes, and unique cultural traditions.

Ancient Roman Influence

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Fact: Spain boasts many well-preserved Roman structures, such as the Aqueduct of Segovia and the Roman Theatre in Mérida, reflecting its ancient history as part of the Roman Empire.

Geographic and Natural Wonders

Highest Capital in Europe

40 Quick Facts About Spain That You Didn't Know

Fact: Madrid, located at 667 meters (2,188 feet) above sea level, is the highest capital city in Europe.

Mount Teide

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Fact: Mount Teide in Tenerife is Spain’s highest peak at 3,718 meters (12,198 feet) and is part of the Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Inland Beach

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Fact: Playa de Gulpiyuri in Asturias is a unique inland beach connected to the sea by underground tunnels, making it a beach without a coastline.

Bizarre Desert Landscapes

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Fact: The Bardenas Reales in Navarre is a semi-desert region with unique, almost Martian landscapes, popular for hiking and photography.

First National Park

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Fact: Picos de Europa, established in 1918, is Spain’s first national park, known for its rugged mountain terrain and rich biodiversity.

Unique Traditions and Festivals

World’s Largest Food Fight

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Fact: La Tomatina in Buñol, where participants throw tomatoes at each other, is the world’s largest food fight, attracting thousands of visitors each August.

Flamenco’s Deep Roots

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Fact: Flamenco music and dance, originating from Andalusia, is an integral part of Spanish culture and is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Running of the Bulls

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Fact: The San Fermín festival in Pamplona features the famous Running of the Bulls, a thrilling and dangerous event that draws global attention each July.

Human Towers

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Fact: In Catalonia, the tradition of building human towers, or “castells,” can reach up to 10 tiers high and is a UNESCO-recognized cultural practice.

Culinary Surprises

Oldest Wine Region

Fact: La Rioja is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine regions in Spain, producing renowned wines since Roman times.

Inventors of Modern Tapas

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Fact: The tradition of tapas, small savory dishes, originated in Andalusia as slices of bread used to cover drinks to keep flies away.

Chocolate’s European Entry

Fact: Spain was the first European country to bring chocolate from the New World, introduced by Hernán Cortés in the early 16th century.

Cold Soup Delight

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Fact: Gazpacho, a cold soup made from tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, originated in Andalusia and is a refreshing staple during summer.

Traditional Paella

40 Quick Facts About Spain That You Didn't Know

Fact: Paella, Spain’s iconic dish, originated in Valencia. The traditional recipe, Paella Valenciana, includes chicken, rabbit, and sometimes snails.

Architectural Marvels

Gaudí’s Masterpieces

40 Quick Facts About Spain That You Didn't Know

Fact: Antoni Gaudí, the renowned Catalan architect, designed iconic buildings in Barcelona, including the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló, characterized by their unique organic shapes and vibrant colors.

Futuristic Valencia

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Fact: The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, features futuristic architecture including a planetarium, an oceanographic park, and a science museum.

White Villages

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Fact: The Pueblos Blancos (White Villages) of Andalusia, such as Ronda and Mijas, are famous for their whitewashed buildings and picturesque hilltop settings.

Roman Aqueduct

Fact: The Aqueduct of Segovia, built in the 1st century AD, is one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts and a marvel of ancient engineering.

Modern Art Museum

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Fact: The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, is celebrated for its innovative architecture and houses a significant collection of modern and contemporary art.

Fun and Quirky Facts

Tooth Fairy Tradition

Fact: Instead of a tooth fairy, Spanish children have Ratoncito Pérez, a little mouse who leaves gifts in exchange for lost teeth.

Siesta Culture

Fact: The siesta, a traditional mid-afternoon nap, is still observed in many parts of Spain, especially in rural areas, with businesses often closing from around 2 PM to 5 PM.

Setenil de las Bodegas

Fact: The village of Setenil de las Bodegas is unique for its houses built into and under large rock formations, creating a street-less environment.

Dangerous Walkway

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Fact: El Caminito del Rey, once known as the world’s most dangerous walkway, is now a renovated trail offering stunning views of the surrounding gorge.

Modern Spain

Advanced Rail Network

Fact: Spain’s AVE high-speed rail network is one of the longest in the world, connecting major cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville with rapid transit times.

Renewable Energy

Fact: Spain is a leader in renewable energy, particularly wind power, which frequently covers a significant portion of the country’s electricity needs.

Gastronomic Innovators

Fact: Spain is home to numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and innovative chefs like Ferran Adrià and the Roca brothers, who are at the forefront of modern cuisine.

Orange Production

Fact: Valencia is known as the “Orange Blossom Coast” due to its extensive orange groves, making Spain one of the largest producers of oranges in the world.

Lesser-Known Destinations

Garrotxa Volcanic Zone

Garrotxa,

Fact: This natural park in Catalonia features extinct volcanoes and lush forests, offering excellent hiking trails and scenic views.

Delta de l’Ebre

Fact: A unique wetland area in Catalonia known for its diverse birdlife, rice fields, and beautiful delta landscapes.

Pallars Sobirà

Fact: A region in the Pyrenees known for its stunning mountain scenery, outdoor activities like rafting and skiing, and picturesque villages.

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