A map of Spain.

10 Interesting Facts About Spain We Bet You Didn’t Know…

Tom Welbourne Battersea Spanish

10 Interesting Facts About Spain We Bet You Didn’t Know…

In 2018, a survey by the World Tourism Organisation found that Spain was found to be the second most visited European Nation. Second only to France, Espagna attracted over 81 million visitors that year alone. 

Why? Spain is blessed with sunshine, amazing food, culture and natural richness as well as a long-standing history. 

So whether you’re looking for a sandy beach break or strolls around historic sights, Spain has something for you. 

But under the radar, there are a number of weird and wonderful facts that might attract one to Spain – even if just out of mere curiosity! 

Here are ten interesting facts that we bet you didn’t know…

 

1. Spain is the least densely populated country in Europe.

It’s not all the hustle and bustle like in Madrid or Barcelona. In fact, only 13% of Spain’s 50500 square km territory is habited. So, if you’re a fan of open spaces then Spain might be the perfect place for you. 

A map of Spain.

2. Many people in Spain have two surnames.

In a tradition that honours both parents, children born in Spain carry the surname of both their mother and their father. 

It is also not a tradition for women to take their husband’s name after marriage, instead, the names are combined and carried together by each partner and any future children. 

 

3. People in Spain don’t believe in fairies

They don’t believe in fairies… they don’t, they don’t! 

Children in Spain do not join those in the UK in their belief of the tooth fairy, instead, there is a rodent. When you lose your tooth as a child in Spain your visit is from a rat named Ratoncito Perez… but we’d rather a fairy! 

In nicer news… 

 

4. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005.

Almost a decade before it was legalised in the UK, same-sex marriage was made legal throughout Spain, despite heavy opposition from the Catholic Church. 

The initial ruling stated that a Spanish citizen could only marry a non-Spanish citizen who’s country of origin had also legalised same-sex marriage, but this was short-lived. The current ruling is that a Spanish citizen may marry any non-Spanish citizen, regardless of the law in that person’s home country. The only necessary rule is that one person in the partnership is a Spanish citizen. 

Good job, Spain! 

A photo of someone waving the LGBTQ pride flag.

5. Nudity is legal in Spain.

And from same-sex marriage to public nudity, throughout Spain, it is not a criminal offence to get your kit off. 

While there is nowhere near the sort of taboo surrounding the human form that there is in Britain, it is still frowned upon to enter most public settings without your clothes… no pants, no service! 

And from nudity to neutrality! 

 

6. Spain was the pioneer of neutrality.

Forget Switzerland, Spain was the pioneer of neutrality when it came to war, remaining neutral in WW1 and abstained during WW2. 

Although there was technically still involvement from many people who travelled from Spain to France to volunteer and fight under the French banner. 

And you’ll never guess what else Spain was the pioneer of…

 

7. Hola! Magazin

The Spanish parent of Hello! Magazine, launched in 1944, was published to give a glimpse into the life of the rich and famous and sold 4000 copies in its first week. 

Still in issue, the Hola! Magazine is still a predominantly family-run business and continues to grow, year on year. 

 

8. Liquid Gold…

Another surprising Spanish origin story is that of olive oil. 

Just shy of half the olive oil in the world is produced in Spain. That’s over 1.2 million tons per year. 

Although we might be easily tricked into believing that most olive oil comes from Italy, even the “Italian olive oil” that we buy in our supermarkets is likely produced in Spain. 

In older generations of Spain, olive oil is still referred to as ‘liquid gold’ as it was used to light the first Spanish Olympic Torch! 

A photo of a dinner table with a bottle of olive oil.

9. Spain has the most bars per inhabitant than any other country in the EU.

It’s not just an abundance of wide-open spaces, oh no. Spain also has an abundance of pubs and bars. According to a recent survey, there are 279,243 bars across the whole of Spain – that means one for every 169 residents. 

So when you’re bored of having picnics in the middle of all that open space, you can head down to your local for a drink and a dance… along with 168 others. 

Speaking of a drink and a dance… 

 

10. Spain is known for hosting the weirdest parties and festivals in the world.

Nothing says Spain like Fiesta! 

Spain is known for its bizarre festivals, from jumping over babies in the El Colacho festival (a festival where men in devil costumes jump over babies born in the last 12 months to rid them of original sin) to La Tomatina, the world’s biggest food fight that centres around throwing over 150,000 over-ripe tomatoes at one another. 

Legend has it, there’s a festival going on in Spain every day of the year… sounds like a challenge! 

Although these 10 facts aren’t likely the reason for Spain being the second most visited country in the world, we can’t say we’re not intrigued. 

If at least some of these interesting facts have got you chomping at the bit, why not enrich your experience of Spain and look into taking a language course in London?