April 26, 2015

49 Interesting Facts About Spain

Fun and interesting facts about Spain

Fun and interesting facts about Spain

49 Interesting Facts About Spain

Did YOU know that Spain has bars you can ride up to on horseback and order a cerveza without needing to dismount? Or that artistic genius Dali built a fairytale castle to house his work? Or that chefs from here regularly grace the "best in the world" lists? Find out this and more from this fun list of interesting facts about Spain. Then delve deeper to find out more about the country's rich heritage - and make some plans to travel there!

Did you know that..?

 1 – It rains. Especially in Asturias and the Basque Country in the north.

2 – There’s snow, too. In fact, you can ski in the Pyrenees and also take to the slopes down south near Granada.

3 – Not everyone eats paella. It’s a Valencia based dish (that, properly done, takes all day to make.)

4 – While we’re on the subject of food, Spain has some of the best restaurants in the world. According to Spaniards, of course, but influential outsiders tend to agree.

5 – It takes over 100 years to make fino sherry in the stacked black barrels of Andalucia.

6 – And the heart of the sherry region, Jerez, also specialises in dancing white horses.

5 – No one speaks Spanish. Castellano refers to what most of us think of as Spanish, while more than five other languages flourish across the rest of Spain.

6 – There’s no word for deadline in Castilian Spanish. There are plenty for relax and take it easy.

7- Come Christmas, children wait til January and the procession of the Three Kings (or Reyes Magos) to open their presents.

8 – While naughty children receive lumps of black coal (it’s a sugary treat called carbon dulcé)

8- Pointed hats and self-flagellation mark the run up to Easter in Seville; polka dot dresses and fiestas take place afterwards.

9 – Spain has a Royal Family.

10 – And also had a military dictatorship – Franco ruled as a dictator until his death in 1975. 

11 – People drink tinto de verano rather than sangria, especially in the summer

12 – And eat twelve grapes at midnight when New Year’s Eve rolls around (try it one day, it’s harder than it sounds.)

13 – You can find papier maché models the size of houses in Barcelona’s Festival de Gracia

14 – And aerial rotten tomatoes at the ludicrous Tomatina.

15 – The world’s "first true novel" hails from Spain, through Don Quixote written by Cervantes

16 – So too, does the first large scale civilian bombing, via Franco and the Nazis, embodied by the painting Guernica from Malaga born artist Pablo Picasso

17 – Hot chocolate comes thick enough to support a standing spoon. (It also comes with churros, as a late night kebab-equivalent snack.)

18 – Gustave Eiffel (of the tower of the same name) made his mark here in Girona before letting loose on the skyline of Paris.

19 – While an ex boxer has made it his mission to create the world’s most creative pizzeria.

20 – Students spot the frog in Salamanca to wish for good luck in their exams.

21 – And waiters pour cider from a great height in Asturias.

22 – Black sand and mystic stone pyramids wait on the island of Tenerife.

24 – And the world’s largest olive oil region still gathers its produce by hand.

25 – Spain has more festivals than there are days in the year.

26 – And specialises in innovative architecture like the lollipop building in Avilés.

27 – And the shark fins in Valencia.

28 – You can stay in a castle.

29 – Or on a vintage-inspired train

30 – When the Christians defeated the Moors at the Alhambra, the defeated Sultan's mother responded with the words “Do not weep like a woman for what you could not defend as a man.” Ouch.

31 – A deserted Wild West film set lives in the sands of Andalucia

32 – Along with a bandit museum

33 – And the original cigar factory building that inspired the opera Carmen

34 – In Spain, it's traditional to rub garlic and tomato on bread in the morning instead of butter or margarine

35 – And talk on mobile phones during solemn religious processions

36 – There’s an outpost of Spain on mainland Africa

37 – And a diverted riverbed in the heart of Valencia (it’s now a park you can walk though – or Segway if you’re feeling brave.)

38 – Siestas are real. At least in the south.

39 – So are the late nights, late lunches and flamenco

40 Bullfighting, too, though it’s a pastime that splits the nation

41 While flamingoes flock to the water’s edge at the Doñana National Park.

42 El Rocio has a bar you can ride up to on horseback. Drink cerveza at the table without needing to dismount.

43 – Salvador Dali built a fantasy castle in Figueres to showcase his eccentric taste (look out for melting clocks and a golden statuettes looming overhead.)

44 – Bull heads without an ear mark the sign of a good fight (traditionally, the victorious matador slices it off and offers it to a beautiful woman as a token of romance.)

45 – On the night before marriage, the groom must serenade his bride at her window

46 – People live in caves in the foothills of the Alpujarras

47 – And tapas comes for free in the bars around Granada

Look out for

Sargadelos ceramics, in deep blue and white, are popular in northern Galicia.

48 – A river flows gold in Andalucia in the Alpujarras mountains (well, bronze, at least.)

49 - That Tenerife has not one, not two, but three UNESCO approved sights.

That's about it for now. But, trust me, I could keep on going!


I’ve visited Spain many times and lived there for years as well. Some of my time there was hosted, most of it was not. Either way, it really doesn’t matter when it came to writing this list. I write what I like here. As ever, as always. Even when it comes to interesting facts about Spain*

What other interesting facts about Spain do you know?


  • Great list, but some facts are wrong…

    -We don´t rub garlic and tomato on our bread for breakfast, most of us use butter or margarine.
    -The groom must serenade the bride? Maybe that was a thing centuries ago, but not now.

    I´m not saying that some people don´t do these things, but it isn´t common.

    And yeah, you are right, bullfighting splits the nation, some of us don´t like the fact that a dude with a matador sword (estoque) totures an animal to death just for the sake of fun. In fact a lot of animal rights platamors are fighting to make bullfighting illegal in the whole country. So if you are foreing and you are going to visit Spain make sure you know how violents, bloody and disgusting the bullfiths are, it isn´t the first time I see a group foriengers crying or in shock because the didn´t know it was like that.

    • Hey Maria – I wonder where in Spain you’re from? I’d guess it’s not Andalucia ;-) To be fair, I only went to one wedding and was told that the serenade was a sweet tradition (and the groom did do it.) On the other hand, everyone I met used tomato and garlic instead of butter! So perhaps it’s a regional thing? Ah, the bullfighting. I was surprised it still existed at all – in the UK, the view of the event from an animal rights point of view is very well known; it came as a shock that it is still so popular in certain places. And yes, the first one I saw (in France, as it happens, and the only one I ever want to see) was as bloody and violent as you describe. I shan’t be going back…

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