84 Interesting Facts About Spain That You Should Know

Last updated on November 6th, 2022

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. It has a total area of 505,370 square km. Madrid is its capital and largest city. Spanish is the official language of Spain. Euro (€) (EUR) is its official currency. Its four land bordering countries are Andorra, France, Portugal, and Gibraltar. Here are 84 interesting facts about Spain that tend to be either unknown or are ignored by many.

Historical Facts

1. Constitutional Monarchy: As history would dictate it, Spain is one of the oldest constitutional monarchies in the world. Spain’s former king, King Juan Carlos I came to power after General Franco – a ruthless dictator, died in 1975. Presently, former King Juan Carlos I abdicated his throne to his son. As of 2014, King Felipe VI is the new king of Spain.

2. The first ‘novel’ is attributed to a Spaniard: Spanish author, Cervantes’ is known for his Don Quixote novel which was written in 1605. Don Quixote is considered to be one of the first modern novels.

3. Spain has 47 World Heritage Sites: all throughout Spain, there are several pre-historic rock art, historic cities, and buildings. Additionally, there are also bridges, national parks and landscapes. Originally, Spain was known as Iber.

4. Spain’s connection to the modern stapler: According to records, the first known stapler was made in the 18th century in the Basque country for the French King Louis XV.

A spring loaded stapler.
A spring loaded stapler. Image via Wikipedia.org

5. Contribution to modern society: Spain is responsible for giving the world the mop and bucket. This occurred in 1856.

6. Developed cigarettes: the precedent to the modern cigarettes, which was developed around the 17th century was first developed in Spain.

An illustrative image of two Astronauts in Space Suits.

7. Spain’s contribution to space exploration: The first astronaut’s space suit was developed in Spain in 1935.

8. Wind power and electricity: Red Eléctrica de España (REE), is one of the main operators of the electrical system in Spain.

9. Spain’s contribution to the arts: Some of the most renowned artist that have impacted today’s knowledge in the arts include Valázquez from the 17th century, Goya from the 18th and 19th centuries to Picasso, Miró and Dali throughout the 20th century.

Sobrino de Botin (Calle de los Cuchilleros, 17) – is oldest restaurant in world (1725), was founded by a french man Jean Botin. Artist Goya worked there as a waiter. Photo: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com

10. Spain attraction to old cuisine: Guinness World Records awarded the title of oldest restaurant to El Restaurante Botín, which originally opened in 1725 and continues to be open today.

11. The Spanish civil war (1936-1939)–was an armed conflict between the Republicans and Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco–killed over 500,000 people.

12.  In A.D. 711 Muslims from Africa invaded Spain.

13. Valencia – the third-largest city in Spain, was once under Muslim control for five centuries.

Spain on the map

Spanish Culture

14. Nudity is legal in Spain: unlike other countries in the Mediterranean coast, Spain is known for providing nude beaches for those who do not want to wear bathing suits or bikinis while attending the beach on hot summer days.

15. Spain’s high life expectancy: those who live in Spain are said to have a life expectancy of 82.5 years. Overall Spain ranks 6th in the world for longest life expectancy. Additionally, Spanish women are said to live longer than men: 86.3 compared to 80.9 years.

16. Will Spain be the world’s oldest country by 2050? According to some statistics, Spain has 20 percent of the population aged over 65 years.

Grandparents and kids play outside Plaza Espana on Aug 2, 2013 in Seville, Spain. It is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture. Photo: evantravels / Shutterstock.com

17. Limited after-school care: in Spain, about 25% of all grandparents are known to take care of their grandchildren every day since there are not that many after-school care opportunities.

18. Spaniards love to hang out: on average, Spaniards are known to spend approximately 16 out of every 24 hours laying around, eating, drinking (including alcoholic beverages) and sleeping. There is nothing better than taking a Siesta! After lunch.

19. No tooth fairy in Spain: just as any other child in the world, Spanish kids place their fallen teeth under their pillow right before they go to sleep. However, unlike American children who are visited by the tooth fairy, Spanish children are visited by El Ratoncito Perez, who brings them a gift in exchange for their tooth. In Spain, kids typically have their father’s and mother’s last names.

20. Age of consent lowest in the world: back in the day, Spanish law claimed that the age of consent for sexual intercourse was 13 while the legal age for marriage was 14. As of today, Spanish law has changed. That being said, the age of consent and legal marriage age have been changed to 16.

21. The Spanish and their views on same sex marriage: As of 2010, 80 percent of Spanish citizens claimed that gay, lesbian, and any other individual who does not fall under the “norm” when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation, has the right to live their lives as they please without being controlled by those in power.

22. The Spanish national football team: La Roja, La Furia Roja, La Furia Española, or La Furia, are some of the many names awarded to the Spanish National Team. From 2008 to 2013, Spain holds a total of 28 wins, which makes it the longest world record for winning the most consecutive competitive matches.

23. The ‘Tomatina’ (the world’s biggest food fight) and the ‘Running of the Bulls’ (six bulls chase people) are two of the most famous Spanish festivals.

People during ‘Tomatina’ festival in Spain.

Fun Facts

24. The Puerta del Sol “Gate of the Sun” located in Madrid, is directly in the center of the country.

25. The national anthem of Spain has no words.

26. Would you believe that a 47-story skyscraper in Spain has no elevator?

27. Spanish rice is unknown in Spain.

28. Roman walls surround the old Spanish city of Tarragona on three of its four sides.

29. Spain was accidentally invaded by Britain in 2002 when the British marines disembarked in Spain instead of Gibraltar. However, the invasion happened briefly for a period of 5 minutes and no harm was done.

30. Prostitution in Spain is not illegal but profiting from the sale of sex by another is. Moreover, prostitutes in Spain were ordered to wear florescent vests for their safety on the road while touting for customers.

31. During the New Year, Spaniards typically eat twelve grapes as the bell is going down on the midnight of December 31. Some believe that this leads to a year of prosperity while others say that the tradition wards away witches and general evil.

32. In 2000, Spain’s Paralympic basketball team had to return their gold medals after it was found that 10 of the 12-strong squad suffered no handicap.

33. Almost 700 people in a town of Spain share their surname “Japon”.

34. There are two names given in Spanish to the Spanish language: español (“Spanish”) and castellano (“Castilian”).

35. The U.S. has more Spanish speakers than Spain.

36. Did you know that Spain did not participate in either the first or second world war?

37. A Zipline connects Spain and Portugal. It only takes 60 seconds to cross the border on this Zipline. It is built on a river, 150 meters wide, between the two countries.

View of the Zipline connecting Spain and Portugal.

38. Remember that there are at least 43 million native Spanish speaking people in Spain.

39. It is illegal in Spain to name a kid: Judas, Cain or Mandarina. These are the names of fruits and hence not suitable for a human being.

40. Anyone daring to walk the streets of downtown Palma de Mallorca without a shirt can be slapped with a fine of €600.

41. It is illegal to dog walk in the streets of Madrid with more than 8 dogs.

Madrid facts for kids

42. Madrid is one of the most environmentally friendly places in the world.

43. The official symbol or mascot is the bear.

44. People who live in Madrid are often called “gatos” meaning cats because they sleep all day and are out all night.

45. One of the most famous art museums is located in Madrid. It is known as Museo del Prado.

46. Madrid is located on a plateau 650 meters above sea level.

47. The Madrid subway is the second largest underground system in Europe

Spain’s Economy

48. It is the 14th largest economy in the world.

49. France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the U.K. are Spain’s major export partners.

50. Spain’s original monetary unit was the pesetas.

51. Currently, just like the majority of European countries, Spain uses the Euro.

Tourism in Spain

52. The Sagrada familia, a cathedral that is still under construction is one of the most visited buildings in Spain. It is under construction for over 130 years. 

The Sagrada familia
The Sagrada familia, viewed from Parc Guell, Barcelona. Image credit – David Merrett

53. Spain was the 3rd most visited country in the world in 2013.

54. Gaudi’s architectural places are some of the most visited.

55. Spain has the second highest number of bars per inhabitants in the world. Cyprus leads the tally. 

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