20 Fun & Interesting Facts About Spain | Spanish Culture & More

August 17, 2023

Going on a trip to Spain? Before you get there, it’s essential to learn a few interesting things about Spain and Spanish culture facts. These 20 interesting facts about Spain will give you a snippet of what this lovely country has to offer.

Spain is a fascinating country jam-packed with attractions for every type of traveler. Whether you’ll be soaking up the sun in the Iberian Peninsula at the top luxury hotels in Ibiza or immersing yourself in Barcelona’s food scene, you’re guaranteed a good time.

Here are a few interesting Spain facts that’ll put you at the top of the leaderboard in Spain trivia.

1. Spain Is a Constitutional Monarchy, Similar to the UK

Unbeknown to most, Spain is a constitutional monarchy. This means there is a Spanish royal family that operates similarly to the British royals. The King of Spain acts in accordance with the constitution and cannot make decisions on his own, as it was in the past.

Today, the Spanish royal family consists of King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia, Leonor – Princess of Asturias (next in line to the throne), and Her Royal Highness Sofia, Infanta of Spain. This beloved royal family is known to be much more easygoing than the royals of the British Empire.

2. Spaniards Were the First Civilization to Formally Discover the Americas

There are many interesting facts about the history of Spain, however, this one is very prevalent. For a large amount of time, Spain was one of the most affluent and powerful countries in the world. One of their most prestigious achievements was the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, an explorer who convinced the Royalty at the time to fund his voyage and expedition.

This risk paid off as the discovery of South and North America created a whole new opportunity for settlers and trade. However, this period of time was also particularly violent. The native Aztec and Inca populations of Central and South America had many golden items and trinkets that the ruthless Spanish conquistadors at the time would fight for to take back to their home country. Unfortunately, this is one of the lesser-known things about Spain and its history.

During this period of time, Spain amassed enormous quantities of gold and wealth. However, over the centuries that passed, much of it was spent, traded, or lost to the test of time. Much of the gold that was taken from the Americas was also lost to the sea as the voyages took place over the Atlantic Ocean, which is infamous for its rough waters and storms.

3. Spain Has a Terrific Art World

One of Spain’s important facts is that Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, who were both incredibly influential artists of the 20th century, were both Spanish. Even in modern times, their art is held in high esteem by many around the world.

There have been other Spanish artists that have also been seen as pioneers in their field. Such as the contemporary artist Juan Miro who was both a renowned painter and sculptor.

To experience an incredible art collection, get a skip-the-line ticket to the Prado Museum in Madrid.

4. Ibiza Is Spain’s Most Popular Tourist Destination

The island of Ibiza is located in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s part of an island chain known as the Balearic Islands, an incredibly popular party destination for those looking to have fun and enjoy the warm ocean waters. Popular DJs such as Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta play at this destination often, attracting party-goers from all over the world.

Read more about the best Spanish party islands and stunning Ibiza boat trips.

5. Soccer Is the Most Popular Sport in Spain

Another of Spain’s fun facts is that soccer is by far their most popular sport. The Spanish football team Real Madrid is the most valuable sports team in the world, with a brand value of $6 Billion.

In fact, soccer is so popular in the country that this might just count as one of the cultural facts about Spain. Soccer culture is so big in Spain that it generated around $3.6 billion in the 2024/23 season.

Spain is also incredibly well known for the Formula 1 racing that takes place here, as well as the cycling marathons that pass through it.

6. Spain Adopted Democracy in 1975

One of the most important facts about Spain is that it has become a thriving country now that the people are free to vote for their leaders as democracy allows. General Francisco Franco led a coup d’etat in July 1936 against the elected government at the time. This sparked the Spanish Civil War. Ultimately he won and was powerful enough to instill his own regime,  ruling the country as a dictator until he passed in 1975.

After the end of Francisco Franco’s rule, the country shifted to a constitutional monarchy under King Juan Carlos. He was crowned King of Spain in November 1975. Soon after, the country flourished under a new and stable democratic rule.  This has been the norm up until today.

Spain also joined the European Union in 1986 along with Portugal. These political moves truly changed the country for the better as the GDP and foreign trade have improved significantly under democracy.

7. Spanish Children Traditionally Receive Two Surnames

There are some customs that may seem strange to others, like this fun fact about Spain. However, all the different practices and cultures that are found in the world are what adds to the excitement of learning new things!

Traditionally, a person receives two surnames in Spain, one from their mother and the other from their father, which are combined to make their own surname.

8. Spain’s Architecture Was Built to Last

There are many examples of ancient and grand architecture in Spain that have withstood the test of time. The Aqueduct of Segovia is an ancient Roman aqueduct in Segovia, one of Spain’s historic cities, that was built more than 2000 years ago and is still functioning and supplying fresh water to the city.

The Alhambra is another marvel, an ancient fortress in Granada built into the rolling hills. It contains beautiful gardens and halls within and is a glorious sight even to this day.

Tip: Take a day trip to Segovia to explore the ancient wonders of the medieval city.

9. Rome Ruled Over Spain for Centuries

For a large period of time, Spain was occupied by the Romans (way back in 600-700 BC). This led to the creation of roads and aqueducts, theaters, and baths. As well as the development of a common language to be spoken among all the rivaling tribes that occupied Spain at the time (which was known as Hispania back in 600 BC).

There are still a few temples and examples of Roman architecture that have withstood the test of time. You can find these in some Spanish cities today, the most notable of which is likely the Temple of Diana, one of Spain’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites, which can be found in the city of Merida.

10. Spaniards Have Festivals That Last for Days

Want more Spain culture facts? Festivals are an integral part of Spain’s culture. Spaniards are well known for some of the larger festivals and their love of dance, music, and celebration. These are known to the locals as “fiestas”.

Arguably the largest and most important of these events is “Las Fallas”, which takes place in the month of March. The biggest celebrations of Las Fallas can be found in the city of Valencia at this time, and it includes fireworks, drinking, dancing, and parades throughout the city streets. This particular celebration lasts for days and also involves the burning of wooden structures, as tradition dictates. If you’re visiting Valencia around March, you shouldn’t miss it.

Another famous festival is the Carnival which happens about 40 days before Easter. The celebration and parade are the largest in the city of Cadiz and also involve music, dancing, and general revelry.

This European country is also known for the Spanish Christmas Lottery. Every year on December 22nd, the largest lottery in the world is paid out, and it’s quite the celebration.

11. Flamenco Music Was Born in Spain

One of the most unique and amazing facts about Spanish culture is that it is the birthplace of Flamenco music. In fact, to most foreigners, Flamenco is synonymous with the spirit of the country.

Flamenco involves playing the guitar in a fast yet beautifully rhythmic manner. Most couldn’t imagine a visit to Spain without dancing the night away to the sound of Flamenco.

However, oddly enough, that particular genre has only been around since the 19th century. Before flamenco, there was classical music that was most popular in the Renaissance era. Only in the Baroque era of music did the rise of softer traditional folk music start, as well as more experimental musical arts.

12. Spain Is the Largest Producer of Olives in the World

Many agree that Spanish cuisine is a close parallel to Mediterranean dishes. However, their rich cultural background has added a unique flair over the years. One direct similarity is the use of olive oil in many of the dishes! This is mainly due to Spain being one of the largest producers of the world’s olive oil.

Demographics have shown that the average Spaniard will consume about 1.4 liters of olive oil a year.

13. Spanish Is the Second Most Spoken Language in the World

The Spanish language is the second most spoken in the world, falling behind Mandarin. With over 437 million speakers of the language worldwide, it comes as no surprise. Spanish is recognized as an official language in around 20 countries, most of these countries are located in Latin America.

It may even be interesting to attempt to learn a few phrases in Spanish and use them to communicate while visiting. Spaniards are happy to converse with you, especially if the effort has been made to try to speak in their home tongue.

14. Spain’s History Is a Combination of Many Cultures

Spain ranks as one of the most diverse countries in the world. Over the centuries, the Spaniards have had rulers from many different civilizations and mingled with the cultures of many other countries across the globe.

They’ve adopted many of their practices from other ancient civilizations, such as the Romans, Greeks, and Celts, and even civilizations from North Africa. However, they also have Arabic and Visigothic practices and architecture from the time of the Umayyad Dynasty ruling the country in the early 11th century.

It has a lot to offer to those wanting to explore its rich culture and Spain’s history. There are many medieval castles and UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be toured while visiting the country, remnants of Spain’s exciting past.

15. Spain Is Home to the World’s Oldest Restaurant

According to the Guinness World Records, Spain is home to the world’s oldest restaurant. The iconic eatery, Restaurante Botín, was founded in 1725, making it almost 300 years old.

Spain is home to many world-renowned restaurants. In some cases, the more famous restaurants can require reservations made months or even up to an entire year in advance. However, the food at these restaurants is incredibly expensive, and one could find equally fantastic traditional Spanish food in the local and traditional restaurants as well.

16. Tapas Is One of Spain’s Most Famous Dishes

The people of Spain love their food, and it echoes in their unique dishes. One of the most famous is Tapas, which is, in effect, a meal made of small dishes and things to snack on.

They are pleasantly simple but allow the person eating to taste many different styles of traditional Spanish food in bite-sized portions. They are available as appetizers in restaurants and bars alike. You’re also able to get warm and cold tapas, which change up the food you can find on the dish itself.

Tapas can contain meatballs, olives, and cheese, as well as more complex dishes like paella, the Spanish national dish, and chopitos. Chopitos are a variation of fried squid, whereas paella is a meat and rice dish that can contain seafood or chicken.

Tip: You can take a tapas tour in Barcelona or a Madrid wine and tapas tour. This is a great way to learn about the food culture of Spain while eating everything in sight. If you’re in southern Spain, book a Seville tapas tour for a cultural immersion.

17. Spaniards Are Very Respectful

Another one of the cool facts about Spain is that the locals are incredibly respectful to their elders and each other and will often shake hands upon meeting and departing.

Spaniards are friendly and helpful to tourists if they need help or just seek to make casual conversation to learn more about the country and its practices. Remember that if you’re visiting the country, feel free to strike up a conversation with a local.

18. The Spanish Siesta Is Largely a Myth

You heard that correctly. Despite the generally laid-back demeanor of Spanish people and contrary to many lists of fun facts about Spain, 60% of Spaniards have never taken siestas. Spanish people are actually very hard-working and don’t enjoy filling their days with meaningless activities.

19. Basque Country Is a Part of Spain

Although Basque Country borders both Spain and France, the autonomous community is officially part of Spanish territory, like the Canary Islands. The Basque people are one of Europe’s oldest cultures and have been known to be strong people with an intriguing history of befriending giants.

Basque also has its own official language called Euskera, which is one of the oldest languages and among the hardest to learn.

20. The Spanish National Anthem Has No Words

While most national anthems have official lyrics, Spain’s national anthem is purely instrumental. The anthem used to have lyrics, but they are no longer used today. Spain is one of few countries, along with Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and San Marino, with instrumental national anthems.

Final Word on Fun Facts About Spain

After reading these important facts about Spain, you’ll realize that this is a truly wonderful place to visit with friends and family. Now that you know a few Spain fun facts, you’re ready to plan your next vacation.

If you’d like to experience Europe at its finest, be sure to spend your next holiday on the Spanish beaches enjoying tapas and dancing the nights away to Flamenco. Or relaxing in the Spanish countryside.

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