45 Fun Facts about Spain

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Spain is a country with cultural and historical richness, known for its beaches, food and stunning architecture. Everybody knows about the famous tomato festival of the country or the delicacies like churros and paella the country has given. However, the country has more to offer than just food and festivals. From the world’s oldest restaurant to the highest volcano, Spain is full of fascinating places and facts that are mesmerizing. With the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, its love for bars and clear coastline, let’s know some interesting facts about this wonderful country.  

1. Home to the Fourth-highest Number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Basilica and Expiatory Church of Holy Family
Spain is popular for being the country with the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide. With 48 sites including Alhambra, Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, etc. Italy and China top the list with more than 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

2. Spain is the Largest Producer of Olive Oil

Olive Oil in Spain
Spain being the largest producer of olive oil produces more than 1.5 million tonnes of olive oil every year, which is 45% more than the total production in the world. 

3. The Oldest Restaurant in the World is in Spain

Sobrino de Botin
Located in Madrid, the oldest restaurant in the world as per the Guinness Book of Records, Sobrino de Botin has been operational since 1725. 

4. Spain has the Third Longest Coastline in Europe

Aerial view of Spain's coastline
Sprawled over an area of 4,964 kilometres, Spain has the third longest coastline in Europe that covers most of the beautiful beaches of the country. Norway and Greece top the list. 

5. Spain Hosts the Most Prominent Food Fight Festival in the World. 

La Tomatina
La Tomatina is an annual festival that is hosted in Bunol where people throw tomatoes at each other. The festival attracts more than 20,000 visitors every year and consumes 1,50,000 tomatoes during the entire festival. 

6. Spain has the Second-highest Life Expectancy in the World

Life Expectancy in Spain
The average age of the Spanish people is 82.4 years, which is the second highest after Japan in the world. 

7. Spain is a Country with 4 Co-official Languages

Spain Languages
Apart from Spanish, some autonomous communities of Spain have co-official languages that are Catalan, Basque, Aranese, and Galician.

8. Spanish Culture has a Custom of Having Two Surnames. 

Spanish Surnames
In Spain, people generally have two surnames, one from the paternal side and the other from the maternal side. This is a part of Spanish culture. 

9. Spain Has Been the Birthplace of the World's Greatest Artists. 

Portrait of Pablo Picasso
Notable artists like Diego Velaques, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, El Greco, Joan Miro and Francisco Goya were originally from Spain. 

10. The Spanish National Anthem Has no Words

National Anthem of Spain
The Spanish national anthem, “La Marcha Real” does not have any lyrics but only a tune. This is also one of the oldest national anthems in the world. 

11. Spain is the Country with the Highest Number of Bars per Capita.

Bars in Spain
Housing more than 3,00,000 bars and restaurants, Spain has more bars per inhabitant as compared to other European Union countries. With roughly one bar for every 175 people, Spain stands in the top 10 in the list of highest numbers of bars per capita in the world. 

12. Spain is the World’s Biggest Exporter of Strawberries.

Strawberries in Spain
With around 300 million kilograms of strawberry production per year, Spain exports 90% of the total produce. The majority of the crops are cultivated in Huelva in Andalusia for Spain. 

13. World’s First Modern Novel was Written in Spanish

Don Quixote
Written in 1605, Don Quixote is the first modern novel in the world that was written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes in Spanish. Since then, the novel has been translated into 140 different languages and is known to be the 8th most translated book in the world. 

14. Two of the World’s Biggest Football Clubs are Spanish

Football clubs of Spain
Spain is the home ground for the biggest football clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid that are even competitors. The two clubs have a large fan following and share a huge rivalry in the football world. 

15. Spain is the Second-largest Producer of Wine in the World

Wine Barrels in Spain
Known for producing delicious wine, Spain produces over 3.3 million tonnes of wine per year which makes it the second largest producer in the world after Italy. Rioja, Priorat and Ribera are the countries that top the list of wine production in Spain. 

16. The Largest Royal Palace in Europe is in Spain

Spanish Royal Palace
Located in Madrid, the Spanish Royal Palace is the largest royal palace in Europe sprawling over an area of 1,35,000 square meters. 

17. Flamenco Music and Dance Originated in Spain

Flamenco Dance
Originated in Andalusia of Southern Spain, the iconic Flamenco music and dance was started in Spain. 

18. The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Has Been Under Construction for 135 Years

Sagrada Familia
The famous cathedral in Barcelona, Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882. The construction of the building is not expected to be completed until 2026. 

19. Spain Has a Popular Culture of ‘Siesta’. 

The concept of siesta that involves a midday nap is a popular tradition in Spain that originated from the need to escape the sun in the hot afternoon. 

20. Spain Has Been Given Second Most Number of Nobel Laureates in Literature

Nobel Laureates
After the United States of America, Spain is a country that has produced 7 Nobel laureates in literature. 

21. The Basque Language of Spain is One of the Oldest Languages in Europe

Basque flag
Also referred to as Euskara, the Basque language spoken in the Basque region of Spain is considered to be one of the oldest languages in Europe. 

22. Spain is the Third-largest Producer of Saffron

Saffron in Spain
With the saffron cultivation in La Mancha, Spain grows Creme and Spanish superior varieties of saffron that are mild in flavour and aroma. 

23. Spain Follows a Strong Tradition of Bullfighting

Bullfighting in Spain
Bullfighting is a tradition in Spain that is legal in most parts of the country and is followed in a lot of Spanish cultures. The most popular event of bullfighting in Spain is the Running of Bulls hosted in Pamplona where people run in front of a group of bulls through the streets of the city. 

24. Spain Has the Most Number of Blue Flag Beaches in the World. 

Blue flag beaches in Spain
With 612 blue flag beaches, Spain has the most blue flag beaches that meet the strict environmental and water quality standard. These beaches are considered the cleanest and most beautiful beaches out of all. 

25. Spain Follows a Unique Tradition of Building Human Towers

Human towers, called Castells in Spanish, are built as a tradition in Catalonia of Spain. This involves a team of people standing on each other’s shoulders to create a 10-level high tower. This is done as a procession during festivals and celebrations. 

26. Spain Houses a Museum Dedicated to Ham

Museum of Hams
Museo del Jamon or Ham Museum in Madrid is a unique museum of Spain that is dedicated to popular cured ham that is a popular delicacy in the country. Exhibiting the production and history of ham, this museum has various exhibits and shops where visitors can even buy various types of hams. 

27. There is a “City of Ghosts” in Spain

Belchite Town
A town located in the Aragon region of Spain is known as the “City of Ghosts” for its history. Belchite town was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and there are still ruins of the destruction making it historically rich. 

28. Spain is Home to the World’s Largest Gothic Cathedral

Seville Cathedral
World’s largest gothic cathedral, Seville Cathedral, is situated in Seville town of Spain. This cathedral is also recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site and is popular as the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. 

29. Spain Follows a Unique Tradition on New Year’s Eve. 

Spanish tradition
Spain has a tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve, with one grape dedicated to each stroke of the clock. This unique tradition is believed to bring good luck and charm in the coming year for people. 

30. Spain Has a Unique Festival Called “La Rapa das Bestas”

La Rapa des Bestas, which translates into “shearing of the beasts'', is a Spanish festival that is hosted in the Galician region of Spain. This festival is celebrated by rounding up wild horses from the mountains, herding them into a coral and shearing their manes and tails. This is a 400-year-old festival and is a significant cultural event in Spain. 

31. The Unique Blue Wine was Invented in Spain

Blue Wine
Gik Live, a blue wine that is made from a blend of red and white grapes, was invented in Spain and is a novelty drink now. 

32. ‘Jamon Iberico’, a Unique Ham is Produced in Spain

Caganer figurines
Iberian Ham that is produced by curing the meat of a special breed of black Iberian pigs that are raised in a certain region of Spain. This type of ham is popular for its rich flavour. 

33. Spain Follows a Unique Tradition of “Caganer” Figurines. 

Caganer figurines
The “Caganer” figurines of Spain which depict a person defecating are used for decoration in Catalonia of Spain. 

34. Spain Has a Town That’s Entirely Built Out of Salt

The town of Cardona in Catalonia of Spain is entirely built on top of a salt mountain. This town is a popular tourist destination and holds a long history of salt mining. 

35. The Spanish Language Has Over 3,000 Words of Arabic Origin

Spanish Language
With the rich historical connection of Spain with Arabia, the Spanish language has various Arabic words in their language like ‘azul’, ‘aceituna’, ‘almohada’, etc. 

36. World’s Third Tallest Volcano is in Spain

Mount Teide
The highest mountain in Spain is Mount Teide which is also the third tallest volcanic structure in the world. It is located on the island of Tenerife and is 3,718 meters tall. 

37. Spain Has the World’s Oldest Existing Lighthouse

Tower of Hercules
The tower of Hercules, located in the city of A Coruna of Spain was built by the Romans in the 2nd century and is the oldest existing lighthouse in the world. 

38. Spain Has the Third-highest Number of International Tourists in the World

Popular tourist destination
Attracting over 83 million visitors every year, Spain is one of the most popular destinations in the world after France and the United States. 

39. A Country with the Highest Number of Organ Donors in the World

Organ Donation in Spain

Spain has the highest rate of organ donation in the world with over 49 donors per million people per year. The country’s opt-out system where everyone is considered an organ donor unless they take their name off the list has made this happen. 

40. Spain has a Village with Only 13 Inhabitants

Llanes de Luna
The village of Llanes de Luna in northern Spain has only 13 inhabitants and is the smallest village in the country. 

41. The Spanish Royal Palace is the Largest Royal Palace in Europe

Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area and houses 3000 rooms. The palace is also the residence of the Spanish royal family. 

42. The Longest Railway Tunnel in Spain is 28 km Long. 

Guadarrama railway tunnel
Located in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, the Guadarrama railway tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in Spain that covers an area of 28 km. 

43. The Spanish Language Has Over 3,000 Idioms

Spanish idioms
Rich in expressions and idioms, the Spanish language has an estimated 3,000 idioms that are used worldwide. 

44. Spain Has a High-speed Train That Can Travel at a Speed of 310 mph

High speed train
The AVE is the seventh fastest train in the world and the fastest in Spain. It runs with a speed of 310 mph and runs on a network of high-speed railway lines connecting major cities across the country. 

45. Spain Has the Highest Speed Limit in Europe

Spanish highest speed limit
Spanish highways allow a speed of 120 km/hour while driving. This is the highest speed limit in any country on the European continent. 

Be it for a history buff or a foodie or just an explorer, Spain is a country that leaves no stone unturned to amaze with its cultural, geographical and travel offerings. No doubt, the country is one of the most travelled destinations as it has spellbinding facts and stories attached to each of its nooks making it a must-visit.

This post was published by Kadambini Sharma

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