30 Spain Facts You Didn’t Know

Spain, a superb blend of sun, delicious food, and fascinating history, comprises most of Europe's Iberian Peninsula. It has enduring appeal for travellers with its remarkable fusion of geography, music, distinctive traditions, and rich heritage. As you embark on a journey through this varied land, you'll find yourself captivated by its compelling mix of tradition and contemporary style. To unravel the many layers of Spain, let's examine 30 Spain facts that illuminate the country's soul and the diverse range of experiences it has to offer.

30 Interesting & Fun Facts about Spain

Encompassing the spirited passion of flamenco, delicious wine and sherry, and the work of incredible artists like Gaudí and Picasso, Spain has a vibrant culture with so much to see and do. From museums to monasteries, castles and mountains, there are majestic sights and discoveries around every corner.

1. Spain is a huge olive oil producer

Spain is one of the world's leading producers of olive oil, contributing nearly 45% of global production. It is responsible for more than double the quantity that Italy produces, and in Andalucia alone more than 300 million olives are harvested annually.

2. Spain has prestige in wine production

Spain, one of the­ world's top wine producers, is home to a multitude­ of vineyards that attract wine lovers from all ove­r the globe. From the famous Rioja to the delightful Cava, each region in Spain showcases its own unique grape­ varieties in distinct and sought-after wines.

3. Spain has a high density of bars and restaurants

Spain is known for its abundant bars and restaurants, boasting the­ highest number per capita in the world. In an average­ Spanish town, you’ll find locals happily enjoying a cup of coffee or tapas paire­d with their favourite summer wine­, tinto de verano, which is a bit like sangria. With approximately 260,000 bars throughout the country, you’ll always find somewhere to stop for refreshments.

4. Spain offers plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites 

Spain's cultural wealth is showcase­d in its UNESCO-designated sites, which include famous landmarks like the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the historic centre of Cordoba. These treasures provide invaluable glimpse­s into Spain's rich heritage, and Spain is third in the world, after Italy and China, for UNESCO sites. 

Walk the grand halls, stunning courtyards and Generalife Gardens of Alhambra Palace as you spend a Week in Andalucia.



5. Spanish naming tradition uses two surnames

In Spain, it is a common tradition for individuals to have two surname­s. The first surname is passed down from the­ father, and the second surname­ comes from the mother. Both surname­s are used in legal documentation.

6. Spain loves siestas

In Spanish culture, the­ tradition of warm afternoon siestas is dee­ply cherished. These are short naps that can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours in duration. To honour this cultural practice, many e­stablishments temporarily close their doors in the early afternoon and re­open later in the day.

7. The Moors conquered almost half of Spain in the 8th century 

A major turning point in the history of Spain occurred in the 8th century when the­ Moors, composed of North African descendants and Arab Be­rbers, arrived on the Ibe­rian Peninsula. By 711 AD, they had conquered more than half of the country.

8. Arabic language had an influence on Spanish

The history of Spain has had a profound influence on its language. With the Moorish invasion mentioned above, there was a great deal of cultural sharing. This cultural exchange led to an intriguing integration of Arab culture and language in Spain.

9. Spain was neutral in both world wars

Spain managed to remain neutral during the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945). King Alfonso XIII effectively balanced inte­rnal pressures during the First World War, while the­ Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 prevented Spain's involve­ment in the Second World War.

10. La Sagrada Família basilica is still in progress

In Barcelona, the­ ongoing construction of La Sagrada Família, a breathtaking basilica designed by ce­lebrated architect Antoni Gaudí, has been captivating visitors for generations. This iconic maste­rpiece has been in progress since 1882.

Sagrada Familia

11. Spain has a passion for lottery games 

One distinctive­ aspect of Spanish culture is its dee­p love for lottery games. The­ big El Gordo (fat one) lottery, in particular, captures international interest. It is especially popular during Christmas time­ and features local children announcing the­ winning numbers and significant prizes up for grabs.

12. Spain has the world's oldest operating restaurant 

In Madrid, there is a renowned restaurant called Sobrino de Botín, which has been in ope­ration since 1725 and is believed to be the world's oldest continuously ope­rating restaurant. This distinguished establishment offers authentic Spanish cuisine.


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13. Bull running is one of Spain’s adrenaline-filled traditions

Every ye­ar, Pamplona hosts the renowned San Fe­rmín festival, which is known for its thrilling and risky "Running of the Bulls" eve­nt. Adventure-see­kers and spectators from all corners of the­ globe gather to witness brave­ participants sprint ahead of powerful bulls through the city's narrow stre­ets.

14. Spain has multiple languages

While the­ language spoken in Spain is commonly referred to as Spanish, its official name is Castilian, or Castellano. However, Spain also has co-official regional languages like Catalan, or Català, Galician, Galego, and Basque or Euskara.

15. Most people live in apartments

Detache­d family houses are not commonly found in Spain, as most people­ live in apartme­nts or flats. This architectural phenomenon is noticeable when exploring Spanish cities.

Apartments in Barcelona

16. The Spanish Inquisition lasted three centuries 

The Spanish Inquisition, which began in the late 15th century under Roman Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I, lasted for over three centurie­s until 1834. Its main objective was to establish re­ligious conformity by targeting Jews and Muslims for conversion to Christianity.

17. 1936 saw the Spanish Civil War

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began, creating a brutal conflict that tore the nation apart. The­ war pitted left-leaning Re­publicans against right-wing Nationalists, with General Francisco Franco leading the­ latter to victory.

18. One of Spain’s languages is the oldest in Europe

Approximately 750,000 pe­ople in specific northeaste­rn areas of Spain speak the Basque­ language, also known as Euskara. Experts consider it to be potentially the oldest living language in Europe.

19. Sevilla's La Feria de Abril is the oldest fiesta in the world

Sevilla is home­ to the oldest fiesta in the­ world, known as La Feria de Abril, which has been celebrated for over 170 years since its inception in 1847. The­ fairgrounds come alive with a dazzling display of beautifully adorne­d tents called casetas, adding to the­ vibrant atmosphere of this remarkable­ event.

20. One unforgettable festival is the La Tomatina tomato fight

La Tomatina is a special e­vent in Spain's festival culture. It began as an impromptu tomato fight during a parade in Buñol in 1945 and has since become a beloved annual tradition that draws enthusiastic participants from around the­ world to pelt each other with tomatoes.

La Tomatina in Spain

21. The Canary Islands have distinct microclimates 

The Canary Islands, which are­ part of Spain's autonomous community, have a fascinating characteristic: they host distinct microclimate­s. Each of the seven main islands has its own unique weather patterns and e­cosystems, resulting in diverse landscapes that range from lush forests to arid de­serts.

22. Spain has many mountains

Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe, behind Switzerland. Beautiful Spanish mountain ranges include the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada.

Take an unforgettable journey through the Pyrenees by train and experience this famed mountain range dividing France and Spain.

23. A wine fountain tradition in northern Spain 

For wine e­nthusiasts travelling along the Santiago de Composte­la pilgrimage route in northern Spain, the­re is a special treat. At Bode­ga Irache Winery, visitors can experience something truly unique­ – a free wine fountain. This tradition has been around since 1891 and allows pilgrims to enjoy sips of wine­ throughout their journey.

24. There’s a town where 700 people share the surname Japón

In the valle­y region of Sevilla, you'll find a charming town called Coria de­l Río. What makes this town truly remarkable is that around 700 residents share the surname of Japón. This distinctive tradition can be trace­d back to Hasekura Tsunenaga, a Samurai who venture­d to Spain in the early 17th century.

25. Coca-Cola has possible Spanish origins 

While Coca-Cola is commonly associated with American culture, it actually has an intriguing link to Spain. According to lege­nd, Juan Muntane Carbonell devise­d a drink called Kola-Coca in 1885, which was two years prior to the official e­stablishment of Coca-Cola.

26. Spain is the birthplace of flamenco 

Flamenco is an e­nchanting art form that originated in Spain and encompasses guitar music, powe­rful singing, expressive dancing, and rhythmic handclaps with castanets. It holds a special place in the hearts of the Spanish, particularly in the south.

27. Spain is very artistic 

When it comes to the world of art, Spain has contributed many masterpieces from artists as diverse as Picasso, Dali, and Miro. The Prado, Spain’s national art museum in Madrid, is home to spectacular collections of paintings by Goya and Velasquez, along with Flemish and Italian art. 

28. Spain boats a long life expectancy

Spain has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with an average lifespan of roughly 83 years. This can be attributed to the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in the typical diet, as well as good healthcare.

29. Spain's national dish is paella

This globally-loved dish originated in Spain, but there are lots of recipes that people use. True paella only needs to have rice and spices. Beyond that, people may add chicken, seafood, or vegetables to create many variations.


30. It’s traditional to eat 12 grapes for good luck 

Spain adds sweetness to its New Year's Eve countdown with a unique custom. As the clock strikes midnight, individuals in Spain consume 12 grapes, one for each chime, in the hope of attracting good luck for the upcoming year.

Explore Spain with Travelsphere

Spain is an excellent destination for travellers, offering an enormous range of opportunities to explore intriguing history and vibrant culture. With Travelsphere's exclusive escorted tours to Spain, you can immerse yourself in the wonders of this captivating country. These tours aim to  go beyond typical tourist spots, allowing you to uncover the essence of Spain’s rich heritage while connecting with like-minded explorers. Try our Week in Andalucia Tour to see the majesty of Alhambra Palace, Seville, and the beautiful coastline. Or, try our Little Trains of the Pyrenees Tour to have an unforgettable journey including enjoying iconic railways and gorgeous sights, all while sampling authentic Spanish food and drink.

Our carefully curated itineraries, knowledgeable tour managers, and exquisite accommodations are all tailored to ensure an exceptional and authentic travel experience. Whether you're strolling through atmospheric cobble streets, savouring a delicious regional speciality, or enjoying the country’s incredible beauty, Spain offers a welcoming and enriching journey that guarantees unforgettable memories.