Spain is located in southwestern Europe, bordering France, Portugal, Andorra and Morocco. Spain also includes the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. As a very popular holiday destination, the Mediterranean state has a lot to offer – beautiful landscapes, exciting cities and of course lots of sun.
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Source: Destination Explorer
Fast facts to know
- Mallorca is the largest Spanish island.
- Spaniards are not particularly punctual.
- Spain is the fastest spoken language in the world.
- Around 125,000 tomatoes are thrown at the annual Tomatina festival.
- Spain is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.
- Unfortunately, bullfighting is still very popular in Spain today.
- Spain means “land of rabbits”.
- In Spain it is customary to greet each other with two kisses on the left and right cheeks.
- Spain is the world’s largest olive oil producer and exporter.
- Spaniards love their tapas.
- Spain is rich in impressive landscapes and special ecosystems.
- The Spaniards are a happy people who like to party.
- Crafts play an important role in Spain.
Exciting cities in Spain
- San Sebastian
History of Spain
- Prehistoric and Early Historical Periods: Settlement by Iberians, Celts and Basques.
- 11th century BC BC: Settlement of the Phoenicians on the south coast.
- Roman troops entered the peninsula during the Second Punic War and completely occupied it over the next 200 years.
- 8th Century: Destruction of the Visigoth Empire by the Moors with concomitant conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.
- The country was shaped by the centuries of Moorish rule that followed.
- 722-1492 gradual reconquest by the Christians and persecution of religious minorities by them.
- 1478 Establishment of the Spanish Inquisition.
- 15th Century: Unification of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.
- 1492 Columbus discovers America and Spain temporarily rises to become a Christian world and colonial power.
- 15-17 Century by the Habsburgs.
- Early 19th century: most of the colonies gain independence from Spain.
- At the beginning of the 20th century, Spain is largely an underdeveloped agricultural country.
- 1923 General Miguel Primo de Rivera takes power and installs a military dictatorship.
- 1931 Spain becomes a republic.
- 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.
- World War II: Franco can keep the country out.
- 1947 Franco restores the monarchy and appoints Juan Carlos I as his successor as head of state in 1969.
- After the death of the dictator on November 20, 1975, a process of democratization begins.
- 1978 Spain becomes a parliamentary monarchy.
Climate & travel weather in Spain
- Mountains: typical mountain climate.
- North coast: cool, temperate summers, mild winters, lots of precipitation.
- Northern regions: continental climate, large temperature differences between summer and winter.
- Southern regions: Mediterranean climate.
- Canary Islands: subtropical with pleasant temperatures all year round, rain mainly between October and February.
- Recommended travel time:
- Mainland & islands: suitable for bathing holidays all year round.
- spring most pleasant.
- Winter sports in the mountains: December to early/mid-April.
Ideas for trips in Spain
- Aqueduct of Segovia
- Real Palace in Madrid
- La Seu Cathedral in Mallorca
- Altamira Cave
- Alhambra near Granada
- Maria de la Sede Cathedral in Seville
- Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
- Old town of Valencia
- Cala Mitjana and Cala Mitjaneta in Menorca
- Sagrada Família in Barcelona
- Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
- Gothic Quarter in Barcelona
- Biscay Suspension Bridge near Bilbao
- Church of Nuestra Señora de Regla in Fuerteventura
- Monastery of Montserrat
- Alcazaba and Roman Theater in Malaga
- Torre d’es Savinar in Ibiza
Eating & drinking in Spain
- Spaniards are people of pleasure.
- Origin in the simple peasant kitchen.
- Influenced by many different cultures.
- Today, Spain’s cuisine is one of the top restaurants in the world.
- Modest breakfast around 8 or 9am.
- At lunchtime I like tapas of any kind.
- Sumptuous lunch around 2/2.30 p.m.
- Sumptuous dinner around 9/10 p.m., preferably started with tapas.
- Classic three-course menu: starter, main course, dessert.
- Lots of fish and seafood is served on the coast, meat is often offered inland.
- Vegetables, meat, sausage, fish and rice dishes are the main meals of the Spaniards.
- Meat/steaks in restaurants are usually served bloody.
- Spanish regional cuisines:
- Andalusian cuisine
- Galician cuisine
- Basque cuisine
- Catalan cuisine
- Valencian cuisine
- Cuisine of the Spanish islands
- Typical dishes:
- Botifarra (Catalan pork sausage).
- Chipirones en su tinta (squids cooked in their own ink).
- Cocido madrileño (Madrid style stew with chickpeas, potatoes, sausage, bacon, vegetables).
- Fabada (Asturian bean stew with bacon and black pudding).
- Gazpacho (cold Andalusian soup with white bread, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onions, garlic, vinegar and oil).
- Marmitako (Basque fish stew with fresh tuna, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic and chili).
- Paella (rice plate in numerous variations (fish, seafood, vegetarian, etc.)).
- Suquet de peix (Catalan fish soup).
- Tortilla de patata (potato omelet).
- Conejo al Romero (Rabbit Seasoned with Rosemary).
- Crema Catalana (Cream from Catalonia).
- Bean Stew Fabada (Braised Lamb)
- Merluza a la romana (breaded, fried hake).
- Cazón en adobo (dog shark).
- Zarzuela (pan of various game fish and seafood).
- Pico del Teide in Tenerife
- Puig Major in Majorca
- Timanfaya National Park in Lanzerote
- Caldera de Taburiente National Park on La Palma
- Los Organos basalt columns on La Gomera
- Corralejo Natural Park