Hopefully this section of Spain facts will help you organize your travel. These should be handy, especially while planning your trip to Spain.
It includes lots of practical infos and some of the information is summarized. But you can explore further on your own if you are interested in a particular subject or want to read some curiosities as well.
Facts on Spain: practical information
Official name: The Kingdom of Spain.
Capital of Spain: Madrid.
Flag of Spain:
Time zone: +1 CET, except Canary Islands (CET).
Measures: Weight is measured in kilograms, distances are measured by the metric system, and temperature is measured in degrees Celsius.
Weather: Have a look at the Spanish weather so you know what to pack.
Telephone country code: +34
Emergency numbers: They are all free.
- General emergency services: 112.
- Ambulance: 061.
- Fire service: 080.
- National police: 091.
- Municipal police: 092.
- Civil guard: 062.
Electricity: 220 volts.
Population: 47.3 million in 2020
Top 3 Largest cities in Spain: Madrid (3.2 million inhabitants), Barcelona (1.6), Valencia (0.8). Suburban areas are not included.
Life expectancy: 83 years (Spain has the 2nd longest life expectancy after Japan).
Size: 504,030 square meters / 195,364 square miles (Spain is the 2nd largest country in Europe after France).
Mean Altitude: 600 meters / 1,970 feet (which makes Spain the 2nd highest country in Europe after Switzerland).
Highest Point: 3,719 meters / 12,200 feet (Pico del Teide in Tenerife).
Coastline: If you combine all Spanish beaches into one stretch, it would be 8,000 kilometers long (4,970 miles).
Tourism: Over 55 million tourists visit Spain every year. Spain is among the top 3 most visited countries in the world (France and the USA are the other two).
Foreigners Living in Spain: Officially there are around 4.5 million foreign residents.
Political Structure: Parliamentary monarchy (since 1978).
Regions: Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions.
Language: Spanish, Catalan (spoken in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands), Valencian (spoken in Valencia), Gallego (spoken in Galicia), and Euskera (spoken in the Basque Country and Navarra).
Embassies and Consulates: Here is the list of all the foreign Embassies and Consulates in Spain.
Currency: The Euro is the current Spanish currency. Its introduction in 2002 replaced the former Spanish currency, – the Peseta.
ATMs: All major banks have ATMs and most ATMs accept cards issued outside Spain. ATMs are plentiful almost everywhere, even the smallest town.
Credit and debit cards: Credit cards, especially VISA and MasterCard are widely accepted in Spain. You will be able to use them almost everywhere (restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels, car rental offices, gas stations, pharmacies, airports, train and bus stations…
Money changers: For the best rates, change money at banks rather than money changers.
Tipping: Spanish people aren’t used to big tips so you should have a look at this practical guide for tipping in Spain.
Holidays and festivals
Below is a list of national, regional and local holidays. In Spain national holidays (such as New Year’s Day, 1st of May, the Spanish National Day and Christmas Day) are the same all over the country. However each region (comunidad autónoma) enjoys 10 days a year to celebrate its own festivals. Each city or town enjoys 2 days for local holidays.
Usually, on these days almost everything closes (banks, shops, official institutions). Sometimes, some of the holidays end up in what we call puentes (long weekends). It will be more difficult to find accommodation, the city will be packed with national tourists and prices might rise (especially for lodging and eating).
Although it’s not everywhere, it is very common in many regions to have a holiday on Monday if the real holiday was the Sunday before.
One last thing, the Semana Santa (Easter) dates are not fixed… They change every year, so make sure you know the dates. It’s the busiest period of the year in Spain!
- January 1st: New Year’s Day
- January 6th: Three Kings’ Day (Reyes Magos)
- May 1st: Labor Day
- August 15th: Assumption Day
- October 12th: Spanish National Day
- November 1st: All Saints Day
- December 6th: Constitution Day
- December 8th: Immaculate Conception
- December 25th: Christmas Day
Opening hours: In most of Spain the lunch break is respected, but the hours differ between regions. Family run and traditional stores open around 10:00 and close around 14:00, then open again around 17:00. More to the south and especially in summer, the stores open later (sometimes 18:00 or 19:00). Big chains do not close at lunch time.
Opening hours (banks): In general banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 14:15.