This is all about fun facts about Spain. Some are real, some are just rumors and others are curious things that our visitors find weird. It’s true, we are one of a kind.
The following have been listed according to some books I’ve read, strange information that I found on the web, comments from my foreign friends and, of course, my own experience!
History interesting facts
- Historians believe that the name España (Spain), came from the word Ispania, which means rabbit. This name was given to the land in around 300 B.C. by the Carthaginians.
- The Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born in Spain.
- The second queen of Unified Spain, Juana la Loca, travelled around the country with her dead husband, Felipe el Hermoso in a glass coffin for several years. Loca means crazy, in fact…
- Nobody really knows where Christopher Columbus was born, grew up, or where he is buried, though he is supposedly buried in the Cathedral of Seville.
- Spain was once regarded as “the empire on which the sun never sets” due to the several territories that Spain conquered from the late 15th to the mid-20th centuries. Present-day countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and even the Philippine Archipelago were once Spanish territories. So at least one part of the empire was in daylight at any given time.
- Spain sold Florida to the US in 1819.
- Spain did not enter World War I, nor World War 2; it remained neutral.
- The Spanish national anthem, called “Marcha Real” (Royal March), is one of only four in the world that has no lyrics.
- Spain is that it has 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Only Italy and China have more. Probably the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona.
- The oldest building that you can find in Spain is the Palacio de Santa María del Naranco, an old palace built in 848 that became a church in the 12th century.
Fun facts about Spain… and Spaniards
- We talk a lot and very fast.
- Although Spanish is the majority language, Spain has 4 co-official languages. They are Catalan/Balearic/Valencian, Basque, Galician and Occintan (Aranese). There are other Romance minority languages, though not official, that have special recognition, such as the Astur-Leonese group (bable) and Aragonese (aragonés) in Aragón.
- We are nice people. If you ask for directions in the street, everyone helps you by thoroughly explaining the way, regardless of how busy or upset they might be.
- We kiss once on each cheek when meeting someone or when greeting and saying hello.
- In Spain, we have two surnames. The first is our father’s first surname and the second is our mother’s first surname.
- Football (soccer) is our second religion.
- Playing the lottery is a national hobby.
- We are not very good at learning other languages.
- Every English word is made into a Spanish one (freak turns into friki, iphone turns into ifon, DVD turns into deuvede) and we translate almost everything.
- True Madrileños (being born of pure Madrid descent) have the nickname gatos (yes, cats).
Curious Spanish food facts
- Having breakfast at home is not common.
- When you buy a coffee, the waiter always brings something that looks like an espresso, and then he/she adds a ton of milk in front of you.
- In Spain a tortilla is an omelette, not the corn bread they use to eat in Mexico.
- Spain produces 45.5% of the world’s olive oil. That’s 3x Italy’s production and 4x Greece’s production.
- In lots Spanish bars and taverns throwing dirty napkins, olive pits, and ham fat on the floor is common and acceptable.
- Spain is the only country in Europe that produces bananas.
- The oldest official restaurant in the world according to Guinness Book of Records is in Madrid. It has been running since 1725 and is called Sobrino de Botín.
Party fun facts
- Only Cyprus surpasses Spain in the highest number of bars per inhabitants (1 bar for 129 people).
- Spain has the highest number of bars, restaurants and coffee shops in the European Union, around 350,000.
- Young Spaniards do botellón before they go to a club (drinking much cheaper drinks in someone’s house or in a park rather than paying triple inside a bar or disco).
Random fun facts about Spain
- Well, it is in Spain, but not in the Iberian Peninsula. A fun fact about Spain is that the highest mountain in the country is Mount Teide (3,718 meters). This mountain is situated in the Canary Islands and is an active volcano.
- The national flower of Spain is the red carnation (clavel in Spanish) and it’s mostly grown in Andalucía and Aragón.
- The only monument to the devil in the world is located in Madrid, in the Retiro Park.
- Spain has been the biggest donor of organs in the world for 15 consecutive years.
- Spain ranks the 3rd country in the world, after the US and Brazil, in the prevalence of plastic surgery.
- The Spanish Christmas Lottery is the world’s largest lottery.
- Part of the ‘Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones’ movie was filmed in Spain. Actually it was in Seville, at the Plaza de España.