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35 Interesting Facts About Spain

Are you interested in facts about Spain? Then, you came to the right place.

In this post, I put together 35 interesting facts about Spain to help you learn more about this amazing country. 😊

Unlike most articles, here you will not find just a list. Instead, you will find a very informative list with reliable sources as references.

NOTICE: some of the links in this posts are affiliate links. If you purchase something, I will receive a commission. However, your purchase price will remain unchanged.

35 Facts About Spain

I divided the facts into:

  • Customs and traditions
  • Sports
  • The EU and Europe
  • The World
  • Others

Customs and Traditions

A BREAD EATING COUNTRY

Bread is an important part of a Spaniard’s diet. Therefore, most Spaniards eat bread with almost every meal. 🍞

Specifically, each Spaniard ate almost 32 kg (70.5 lbs) of bread in in 2018. Also, they spent on average around 76€ ($84.25) in bread the same year, according to ‘Informe del consumo alimentario en España 2018‘.

A UNIQUE NEW YEAR´S EVE CUSTOM

Spaniards celebrate New Year’s Eve by eating 12 grapes for each chime of the clock at midnight.

People either eat the grapes with their families at home or they go to plazas where there are big clocks. One popular plaza is ‘La puerta del sol‘ in Madrid.

Twelve Grapes. Facts About Spain
Twelve lucky grapes

A UNIQUE WAY OF GREETING

Spaniards have a unique manner of greeting someone. They are normally very close and friendly.

Usually, when two women, or a man and a woman meet, they give each other a kiss on each cheek. On the other hand, when two men meet, they commonly shake hands.

MARRIED WOMEN DON´T LOSE THEIR LAST NAMES

Unlike non-Hispanic cultures, married women in Spain don´t lose their last names. They keep their birth name throughout their entire life.

TRADITIONALLY SPANIARDS HAVE TWO LAST NAMES

It’s tradition in Spain to have two last names. Usually, the first one is the father´s last name and second one is the mother´s.

However, in June 30, 2017, Spain passed a law that made the paternal last name lose its priority.

Frecuency Spanish Last Names. Facts About Spain
Most common last names in Spain – Photo source: INE

Sports

A SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES HOST

The 1992 Summer Olympic Games were held in Barcelona. Consequently, the city was transformed and the local economy boosted.

Cobi was the mascot of the Games. The mascot represented a Pyrenean mountain dog that had human features.

Do you want a souvenir from these Olympic Games? Check out here some of Cobi´s products.

A WORLD CUP CHAMPION

The Spanish men’s national soccer team won their first FIFA World Cup title in 2010. ⚽

The best place they had ever placed before was 4th at the 1950 FIFA World Cup, as shown here: FIFA World Cup All-time Ranking.

A WORLD CUP HOST

Besides wining the World Cup, Spain also hosted the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Naranjito, was the official mascot of the World Cup. The mascot represented an orange, which is a typical fruit in Spain. The literal translation in English is ‘small orange’. 🍊

Click here if you want a Naranjito souvenir.

HOME TO CAMP NOU: A BIG STADIUM

Camp Nou (the Barça soccer stadium) is the largest stadium in Europe. Also, it is the third largest soccer stadium in the world, as stated in World Atlas.

In particular, the stadium can hold almost 100,000 spectators.

Photo source: World Atlas

HOME TO TWO OF THE WORLD´S MOST VALUABLE SOCCER TEAMS

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are among the world’s most valuable soccer teams, according to Forbes in 2019.

Barça in Camp Nou, Barcelona

The EU and Europe

A LOW ENGLISH PROFICIENCY COUNTRY

Spain has one of the lowest English proficiency in Europe, as shown by EF English Proficiency Index (EPI) 2018.

Whereas Sweden is in the lead with a EF EPI of 70.72 compared to Spain´s EF EPI of 55.85.

Photo source: MyGeography

FROM PESETAS TO EUROS

The former currency of Spain from 1868 until 2002 was the peseta. Then, Spaniards had to adapt to the new current currency, the euro.

Besides the confusion and excitement of having to use a different currency, people were also a little upset. In order to round out numbers, they raised some prices, as stated in ABC.

Watch here a documentary about the change from ‘peseta’ to ‘euro’.

Photo by iliana . from FreeImages

THE FIFTH MOST POPULATED COUNTRY IN THE EU

Spain is the fifth most populated country in the EU, according to Eurostat, with a population of 47 million people.

Additionally, Germany, with around 83 million people, is the most populated country in the EU. Then France, United Kingdom and Italy, are second, third and fourth, respectively.

Population of EU countries. Facts About Spain
Photo source: Eurostat

THE LEAST MARRIAGES IN THE EU

Spain is one of the countries with the least amount marriages in the EU. Specifically, Spain had 3.7 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants in 2017, according to Eurostat.

In addition, the country with the lowest marriage rate is Slovenia (3.1), followed by Italy (3.2), Luxembourg (3.2), Portugal (3.3) and France (3.5).

Photo source: Euronews

THE SECOND BIGGEST COUNTRY IN THE EU

Spain is the second largest country in the EU with almost 506,000 square kilometers, as stated by Eurostat.

The biggest country in the EU is France with around 633,000 square kilometers.

EUsizes. Facts about Spain
Photo source: MyGeography

THE SECOND HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THE EU

As of June 2019, Spain has the second highest unemployment rate in Europe with a rate of 14%, as noted by Eurostat.

Without a doubt, one of the saddest facts about Spain on this list. 😢

Similarly, the country with the highest unemployment was Greece with 17.6%.

Photo source: Eurostat
Photo source: Eurostat

SPANIARDS LEAVE HOME LATER IN LIFE

Spain has the seventh highest average age of young people leaving their parents’ house. On average, Spaniards leave home at the age of 29.5, according to Eurostat.

However, the European Union average is 26.

The reasons for this high average is not just economic, but also cultural, as found in El País. In Spain, as in other Mediterranean countries, family support is a very important in their lives.

Photo source: Eurostat

The World

HOME TO THE WORLD´S OLDEST RESTAURANT

‘Botin’ is in the Guinnes World Records for being the oldest restaurant in the world, which was opened in Madrid in 1725.

SPANISH IS THE WORLD´S SECOND MOST SPOKEN LANGUAGE

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world.

More than 577 million people speak Spanish, as stated by ‘El español: una lengua viva’ 2018 report. In other words, 7.6% of the world population speaks Spanish!

Isn’t this a good reason to learn Spanish? Find here more good reasons to learn this widely spoken language.

Photo source: MyGeography

THE HEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

Spain is the healthiest country in the world, as reported by Bloomberg.

The results show that Spain raised 5 positions compared to last year.

Spain’s universal healthcare and its Mediterranean diet seem to play a big role on this.

Photo source: Bloomberg

THE WORLD´S LARGEST PRODUCER OF OLIVE OIL

Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world.

This is one of the facts about Spain that may not surprise as much, since olive oil is such a big par of the Mediterranean diet.

Specifically, it produced on average 1,059,194 tons of olive oil every year from 1993-2014, as reported by FAOSTAT.

Photo source: World Atlas

THE WORLD´S LONGEST LIFE EXPECTANCY BY 2040

According to a study published in The Lancet journal, Spain will have the longest life expectancy by 2040.

Specifically, Spain’s life expectancy will be 85.8, which will surpass Japan’s life expectancy (85.7).

Life Expectancy in 2040, by country. Facts About Spain
Photo source: Euronews

THE WORLD´S ONLY ROMAN LIGHTHOUSE IN USE

La Torre de Hércules (A Coruña) is the only fully preserved Roman lighthouse in the world still in use, as they state in Unesco website.

In addition, it was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

Torre de Hércules, La Coruña. Facts about Spain
La Torre de Hércules, A Coruña, Galicia.

THE WORLD´S SECOND MOST VISITED COUNTRY

Spain was the second most visited country in the world in 2017, according to World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

Specifically, 81.8 million tourists visited Spain in 2017.

Lllegadas de turistas internacionales 2017. Facts about Spain
Photo source: UNWTO

THE WORLD’S THIRD MOST UNESCO HERITAGE SITES

Spain is the country with the third most Unesco sites in the world.

In particular, it has 48 UNESCO sites, including the Historic Center of Cordoba and the Old city of Salamanca.

‘Mezquita de Córdoba’. Photo by Heiko Sonntag from FreeImages

Others Facts About Spain

A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY

In regards to the form of government, Spain is a constitutional monarchy.

Felipe VI has been king of Spain since 2014, when Juan Carlos I abdicated the throne. 👑

Photo by Mark Csabai from FreeImages

A LGBT-FRIENDLY COUNTRY

Spain is among the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world, as reported by Spartacus Gay Travel Index.

Additionally, Spain became the third country in the world to legalize gay marriage, as they mention in El Mundo.

Precisely, Spain made gay marriage legal in July of 2005, as reported by the Boletín Oficial del Estado.

Photo source: Statista

A NON-PRACTICING CATHOLIC COUNTRY

Most of the population of Spain (67.4%) considers themselves Catholics, according to ‘Barómetro de julio 2019‘ from ‘Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS)‘. However, only 22.7% of that percentage are practicing Catholics.

On the other hand, the amount of atheists, agnostics and non-believers (29.1%) is higher than the amount of practicing Catholics (22.7%).

Additionally, Catalonia, Ceuta and Basque Country are the autonomous communities with the highest amount of atheists (26.4%, 20% and 18.9% respectively).

Spain Atheist. Facts about Spain
Photo source: MyGeography

DON QUIJOTE´S COUNTRY

The famous book ‘Don Quijote de la Mancha’ is a Spanish novel written by Miguel Cervantes.

Click here and get a copy of one of the most popular books in the world.

DIVIDED BY AUTONOMOUS REGIONS

Spain is divided by 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities in the north of Africa (Ceuta and Melilla).

In particular, these divisions are political and administrative divisions. They were established in accordance with the Spanish constitution of 1978.

In addition, Andalusia, Comunity of Madrid and Catalonia are the most populated autonomous communities in Spain, according to Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (INE).

Autonomous Comunities of Spain. Facts About Spain
Photo Source: INE

FROM A DICTATORSHIP TO A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY

Before the constitutional monarchy was established in Spain, Francisco Franco was ruler.

He was an absolute dictator from 1939, after the Spanish Civil War, until 1975.

HOME TO POPULAR CELEBRITIES

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are two of the most internationally known Spanish actors.

Javeir Bardem has been in movies such as, The Sea Inside (Mar adentro) and No Country for Old Men. Penelope Cruz has starred in movies like All About My Mother and Open your eyes.

SPANISH IS NOT THE ONLY LANGUAGE

Spain is a multilingual county.

According to the article 3 of the Spanish Constitution, Spanish is the official language of Spain. In addition, there are other official languages in the different autonomous communities in accordance with their statutes.

The other official languages in Spain are: Catalan, Euskera (Basque), Galician and Valencian.

Furthermore, there are some minority languages such as, ‘asturleonés’ or ‘aranes’, as reported by Europapress.

Photo source: Europapress

THE MOST POPULOUS CITIES ARE MADRID, BARCELONA AND VALENCIA

The most populous city in Spain is Madrid with around 3.2 million people, as reported by INE in 2018.

Additionally, Barcelona (around 1.6 million) and Valencia (around 800,000) are the second and third most populous.

Population of Spain cities. Facts About Spain
Photo source: INE

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM HAS NO LYRICS

Spain’s national anthem has no lyrics, as they mention in World Atlas.

Besides Spain, the other countries are: Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino, and Kosovo.

Moncloa’s official page (The official residence of the Spanish Prime Minister) states that the anthem of Spain originated from Marcha Granadera (the infantry parade song). Later, it became the Marcha Real as it was the song that would play during events that the royal house attended.

If you want to listen the official anthem, click here.

Facts About Spain – Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it helped you learn something new about Spain.

Now, I would love to hear from you. Have you ever heard these facts about Spain before? Do you know any other facts?

Share your answers in the comment section below!

Before you leave, are you interested in Spain and its language? Then, you may find online Spanish classes helpful. With these classes, you will practice your speaking and listening skills with a native speaker from Spain.


Hola and hi, I am Inés and I am the author of all the posts in the ConvoSpanish blog. My goal is to offer free content for people to practice their Spanish. Creating and maintaining the blog takes a lot of my free time however, due to my love of sharing Spanish with you, I will keep adding and updating the content in the blog. If you like the content of this post and believe that it helps you, please consider donating. I need coffee to keep me going while creating the posts. Aren´t they worth at least a cup of coffee? 😛 Any amount is appreciated. Donations will be used to support the free blog.


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