Spain is well known for its warm climate, beautiful beaches and vibrant culture – but there is much more to discover within this enchanting nation!
From Don Quixote author Carlo Carcano to one of the oldest continuously operating lighthouses, Spain holds plenty of surprising facts that might take your breath away. Here are a few such interesting details!
1. The country is the second largest in Europe.
Spain is not only an idyllic travel destination for food and the arts, but it offers world-class infrastructure, transportation and logistics, energy production and banking as well as fashion. Spain boasts the second-largest economy in the eurozone and holds the highest household net wealth (the total value of all of a person’s assets such as money or shares held in bank accounts, real estate properties owned, vehicles and valuables held).
Spain is one of Europe’s most historically significant nations due to its natural beauty, climate and resources. Commonly referred to as Iberia, Hesperia or Hispania throughout history, its mineral wealth attracted conquering empires to control this region and fuelled numerous wars fought over control of it.
Spain boasts an enviable economic landscape, with GDP growth consistently above European average and unemployment declining. Yet recent domestic unrest related to Catalonia’s independence movement has compounded Spain’s economic difficulties further.
On the social front, Spain boasts an outstanding sense of community and high levels of civic participation; approximately 93% of Spaniards believe they know someone they could turn to for assistance and its voter turnout is among the highest in OECD countries.
Environmentally speaking, human activity over the last 3,000 years has had a detrimental impact on arid ecosystems, leading to widespread badlands and reduced soil cover, downstream alluviation, silting dams and irrigation works and drought caused by climate change and other factors. This trend only worsened.
Spain boasts 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making up one third of all World Heritage sites after Italy and China. Some of Spain’s iconic landmarks include Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished La Sagrada Familia church which still remains iconic today.
2. It has the second highest average life expectancy in the world.
Spain is known for its historic cities and beautiful beaches, but this fascinating nation also boasts an extensive cultural legacy evident through food, music and art.
Spain boasts 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making them the third highest number among all countries. These historic cities and monumental churches comprised 47 of Spain’s 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites – with the Alhambra in Granada being most notable of these World Heritage sites, having been constructed between 14th and 15th centuries; other noteworthy ones include Tower of Hercules that dates back to 2nd century BC as one of the oldest lighthouses worldwide.
Spain’s economy is flourishing, boasting high employment and productivity rates as well as an outstanding voter turnout rate – an indicator of trust between citizens and their government.
Though Spain boasts a rich cultural history, it has also produced numerous modern inventions like staplers. One such modern invention came about thanks to Spain: in 17th-century Spain was where staplers first appeared. Don Quixote written by Miguel Cervantes in 1605 is widely considered as the first modern novel written in any language.
Spain is home to many festivals and traditions, which is evident through their many annual festivities and traditions. Some of the most notable are Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls – made popular internationally thanks to Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises; Bunol hosts Tomatina Festival as its biggest tomato fight each August where locals throw over 100 tons of tomatoes at each other!
3. It has the most bars per capita in the EU.
Spain boasts the highest bar density per capita in Europe, which is great news for people who love drinking and partying; but it may have adverse health impacts; according to INE – Spain’s national statistics institute – more bars exist in Spain than hospital beds! That is definitely scary!
Important to keep in mind is the fact that most bars in Spain do not reside within major cities; rather, they tend to cluster in places popular among tourists – this makes sense considering tourism’s significance as part of Spain’s economy.
As Spain becomes more popular, many Spanish bar owners are expanding their businesses by opening new locations. This trend will likely continue.
Spain is also famously home to La Tomatina, the world’s largest tomato fight! Held annually in Valencia’s small towns, this event provides both fun and physical exercise!
For an enjoyable yet relaxing experience, visit one of Spain’s picturesque national parks. These parks provide a wonderful opportunity to admire nature while breathing fresh air and relaxing.
Spain is the fourth-largest nation in Europe and home to 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Anton Gaudi’s works, Ibiza’s fortified old town and Sagrada Familia church – each having special significance for humanity and recognized by UNESCO. If you want to learn more about Spain’s culture and history, check out these sites!
4. It has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Spain boasts a rich collection of cultural and natural heritage sites recognized by UNESCO, from civil constructions like Segovia’s Aqueduct and Roman Theatre, religious structures like Real Alcazar or El Escorial Monastery as well as historic cities like Toledo or Avila and cultural landscapes and archaeological sites like Elche’s Arid Landscape or Atapuerca Site.
Spain has long been known for being home to some of the world’s greatest artists such as Diego Velazquez, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. Additionally, its turbulent history has contributed to an expansive culture; Spanish people are widely recognized for their love of food and drink – from tapas and pintxos to regional music and dance performances as well as football as their national sport!
UNESCO World Heritage sites are widely acclaimed as being of exceptional global value, transcending borders and representing an irreplaceable part of humanity’s cultural legacy. Unfortunately, they require immediate care and protection so as to be preserved for future generations.
Spain boasts 73 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include cultural locations such as Alhambra and Cathedral of Burgos and natural sites like Atapuerca archaeological site and Garajonay and Donana national parks.
Spain is home to an extremely vibrant culture influenced by an array of ethnicities and cultures, such as those who first settled the Iberian Peninsula, Celts from Northern Europe, Romans from central Europe and Visigoths from Germany. All these influences have created a vibrant and dynamic society; its vibrant culture can be seen in its cuisine (the world-famous paella!), traditional dance forms like flamenco and fandango as well as architecture such as its annual bull fighting festival or its Feria de San Miguel fair held annually by Seville residents.
5. It has the second largest number of museums in the world.
Spain is famed for its abundant collection of museums, from La Sagrada Familia to world-class art galleries – which contribute significantly to its immense appeal among travelers. But this vibrant nation offers so much more than its iconic cities and Mediterranean shores!
As soon as you step inside one of Spain’s many museums – like Reina Sofia Museum which ranks consistently among the world’s most visited – its astonishing cultural legacy becomes immediately evident. Collections span from primitive Iberian societies through Greek colonization, Romanization, Visigothic rule medieval and Moorish Spain Renaissance periods as well as Baroque eras.
Some museums in Spain hold some of the world’s finest art works by luminaries such as Velazquez and Goya, Picasso and Salvador Dali – but don’t overlook some lesser-known but equally stunning museums!
Toledo’s Sculpture Museum provides an ideal example of painted sculpture from Renaissance and Baroque periods; particularly, Alonso Berruguete who produced work characterized by transcendence of volume, devotional nature, polychromy virtuosity and its use.
Other museum-like venues in Spain are dedicated to preserving artifacts of traditional industries like agriculture and food production (the humble stapler was invented here for King Louis XV!), wickerwork, weaving, lacemaking, chocolate making and bullfighting – traditions which span generations and continue today. Although these locations may lack the grandeur of an exhibition hall or museum, their contributions towards preserving Spain’s heritage and culture should not be discounted.