About Spain, The Quick Tourist's Guide
Holiday information, facts and video about Spain
QUICK FACTS: Spain has a population of about 46 million people and its capital is Madrid. They do have a parliament and regional governments. Spain also has Royalty: the King is Juan Carlos 1. As part of the Euro zone the currency is the Euro. And they are 1 hour in front of GMT.
Text adapted from Simply Spain (©2013):
Spain is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the World. "Spain is different, Spain is special". This country is geographically and culturally diverse. Its uniqueness is what makes Spain so special. It’s what keeps millions and millions of people coming back year after year. Spain is consistently in the World’s top four tourist destinations. It is not hard to understand why. A melting pot of cultures, history and natural beauty. Spain captivates all who see it.
Geography: Spain-holiday.com says Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe and covers some 504,782 km2. Consisting of the Spanish mainland, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic. Spain occupies 84% of the Iberian Peninsula, with extensive Coastal borders stretching along both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland. This geographical diversity offers a wide variety of activity holidays. Most commonly associated with beaches holidays, sun and sangria, but Spain has a lot more to offer.
Spain has many National Parks. They are second to none and the country prides itself on protecting these. Indeed, 9.1% of Spain’s surface area is protected. Andalusia being the second largest autonomous region in Spain actually accounts for 36% of Spain’s total protected area. These protected areas provide a wonderful habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Culture: Spain was occupied by the Moors for over 700 years. They left a rich heritage of building and agricultural advances, some of the terracing and irrigation channels seen on present day landscapes are a legacy of those times. Many of the great cities owe their monuments and historic attractions to the Moors. The large cities of Madrid and Barcelona are well known city break destinations but so many other cities are worth a visit. Seville, Burgos, Valencia, Malaga, San Sebastian, Granada, Cordoba to name but a few...and every village will have something of interest to discover.
People: The Spanish are very distinct. With their vibrancy, their zest for life, Spanish people often bear little resemblance to their European neighbours. With a population of just under 45 million, of whom 74% speak Castilian Spanish, 17% Catalan, 7% Galician and 2% Basque. Each region has its own particular identity. Approximately 11% of Spain’s population are foreign nationals. 96% of Spain’s population is Roman Catholic with the remaining 4% mainly Christian or Muslim.
Food: Spaniards love their food! In fact, the typical Spaniard probably eats more food than most, but they take their time eating, spread their meals throughout the day, and walk between meals. Spanish meals, from breakfast to dinner are usually a social affair, particularly the lunch siesta and special holidays (of which they have many).
Spaniards take meals a lot later than northern Europeans. El Desayuno (Breakfast) is usually around 10am and for workers is their morning break. Lunch (La Comida) anytime between 2pm to 5pm. And dinner (La Cena) as late as possible.
The very popular Tapas sums up the Spaniards attitude, slowly one thing a time. They are eaten well after breakfast, but before lunch, the large mid-afternoon meal! They are small plates, canapés or finger food, may be warm or cold dishes, and vary greatly from region to region - season to season.
Tapas-Time is generally a bar-hopping adventure to wine-taste and chat, each time having the house special or often free Tapa. It can be as much about socializing as it is about the quality of the tapas. You may hear the phrase Vamos a tapear! which means “Let’s go eat tapas!” There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of tapas and more often than not eaten in open-air bars or plaza terraces... just watching the world go by!