Do you love Spain, or just want to learn more about this amazing country? In this guide I will tell you some interesting facts about Spain, list some must-see highlights of Spain, and where to stay in each city. Basically this is a guide to everything you need to know about Spain to make sure you get the most out of your visit!
First, Some interesting facts about Spain!
1. Did you know that there is no tooth fairy in Spain? Rather there’s a tooth mouse called Ratoncito Perez, originating in Madrid in 1894.
2. Many claim that Coca Cola was invented in Spain, not Atalanta. The citizens of Ayelo de Malferit, near Valencia, say it actually originated there. Who knows if its true, but there is some photo evidence.
3. The name Spain comes from the word Ispania, which means the land of rabbits.
4. On May 15th many of the single women in Madrid visit the chapel called Ermita de San Isidro to prick their fingers with pins and put it in a vessel, in order to find a husband.
5. According to some sources, modern chess might have been invented in Spain in the 15th century. But who really knows?
6. They also have highest number of bars out of all the countries in the EU.
7. Spain is the only country in Europe that produces bananas, besides a few small Portuguese islands.
8. Spain is a monarchy. The King of Spain is Juan Carlos I, who inherited the throne from General Franco, the dictator who ruled Spain from 1939 until 1975.
9. Fact or legend? Some sources claim that Christopher Columbus was actually born in Ibiza, Spain, not Genoa. Not one can really say for sure, but many claim that his family coat of arms is Catalan.
10. Sherry might be very prevelent in English culture, and its probably in every granny’s house in Bristol, but Sherry actually comes from the Spanish town of Jerez, near Cadiz, in Andalusia.
11. In Barcelona, on St George’s Day (23 April) it use to be custom to exchange a book and a rose with the person they loved.
12. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with 329 million native speakers worldwide.
13. In Ibiza, tourists spend about 143 million euros each year.
14. Emilio Herrera Linares of Spain invented the space suit in 1935, called the escafrandra estratonáutica and originally designed for high altitude balloon flights.
15. Spain was one of the first European countries to ban smoking in workplaces and bars
16. 90% of prostitutes in Spain are illegal immigrants.
17. Same sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005
18. Soccer is the most important sport. It’s also pretty much like a religion.
19. Real Madrid is the most popular soccer club in the world with over 228 million supporters
20. Fans of FC Barcelona (national soccer team) are known as culés, The Catalan word for ‘ass’.
21. The name Madrid comes from the Arabic “magerit” which means ‘place of many streams’.
22. Teenagers in Spain normally start dating in groups when they’re 14.
23. Tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, tobacco, and cacao, were all brought to Europe (then spread around the world) by the Spaniards from their American colonies.
24. Over 98% of the population used to be roman catholic… presently it is around 76%
25. The 1992 Summer Olympics were held in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
26. Molotov cocktails were first used during the Spanish Civil War when General Franco ordered Spanish Nationalists to use the incendiary devices against Soviet T-26 tanks supporting the Spanish Republicans. The name was coined by the Finns during the Winter War as an insulting reference to Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov, responsible for the partition of Finland.
27. Spain has 4,964 km of coastline and 8000 km of beaches.
28. Spain produces 44% of all the earth’s olive oil.
5 Highlights of Spain, and places not to miss!
There are so many places to see and experience in Spain, but right here I will highlight the very best, must-see things, so you can just get right to it and plan accordingly!
1. San Sebastian
Once a fishing village, this Basque city-by-the-sea of 183,000 people became a royal hangout more than a century ago when Queen Isabella II and her court started to summer here. Today, it retains an elegant air, with its belle époque buildings and scalloped beach on the Bay of Biscay. Head north from Madrid and arrive in a whole new feel of Spain. Definitely worth a visit. Book a stay now!
Ya ya, no surprise here. Barcelona is nothing new, but lets face it, there’s a good reason its such a popular destination to visit. Sure the Catalan people are friendly and spirited, the architecture of the city is beautiful, and the weather perfect nearly all year round. But to me, the main highlight is of course the Gaudi parts of Barcelona. That amazing art work, at the Cathedral, the Gruel park and more, is one thing that is truly both world-class and also unique to Barcelona. Book a night here!
Granada is stunning, the Moorish architecture the Arab influences are everywhere, its amazing architecture with the Spanish-Muslim influence might be best experienced by visiting the compound of the Alhambra and the Generalife. None of the places on this list will leave you with visitors-remorse, and certainly not Granada! Book your stay here!
Seville is the cultural heart of Spain in terms of music and dance. The women still wear their traditional dresses and Seville is where the gypsy community lives mostly, so the music and dance is really big as well as the nightlife. The Sevillanos are the most friendly people in Spain, and according to some, the guys are hot and the women are sexy in this favorite of a city! Book you stay now!
Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, is one of the most spectacular and remote destinations in Europe. Lanzarote is a biosphere and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as an amazing place to visit. Take a tour of the Timanfaya National Park, lounge on some awesone beaches or just check out the dramatic volcanic landscapes. Whatever you do, you will be glad to have checked out the island! Book you nights here!
Also worth checking out in Spain:
Where to stay in Spain if you’re going.
San Sebastian – The Okako Hotel
Barcelona – Royal Passeig De Gracia
Granada – Vincci Albayzin Hotel
Seville – Gran Melia Colon Hotel
Lanzarote – Hesperia Lanzarote Hotel
Also check out my pick for the best beaches in Costa Rica!