10 FUN FACTS ABOUT SPAIN YOU DIDN’T KNOW
The centre of Spain
The kilometre 0 of all Spanish roads, at Puerta del Sol in Madrid.
The first of our fun facts about Spain is that Madrid is not only the capital of Spain. It is also the geographical centre of the country. And in the centre of Madrid you can find the Puerta del Sol (“The Sun Gate”), which is the centre of the country and the Spanish radial road system.
The first modern novel is Spanish
The fun fact about Spain is that the first “modern” novel, the book translated into more languages after the Bible, and the one that holds the title of best book in history, was written by a Spaniard, Miguel de Cervantes. It is “Don Quixote” and was written in 1605.
The highest Spanish mountain is not in 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 (3718 meters). This mountain is situated in the Canary Islands and is an active volcano. As a consequence of its eruptions, the beaches of the island of Tenerife are of black sand instead of white.
UNESCO’s third largest heritage country
Another fun fact about Spain is that it has 44 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. This building was begun to build in 1882 and is believed to be finished in 2026.
The Sistine Chapel of Prehistory is in Spain
Near Santander lies the Altamira cave. In this cave a lot of prehistoric drawings have been discovered of very varied shape and meaning. The fun fact about Spain is that this cave is so impressive and of historical importance that people began to call it the Sistine Chapel of Prehistory.
Around 406 million people in the world speak Spanish.
A fun fact about Spanish is the second language in the world with more native speakers. It comes right after Chinese and right before English. Spanish was born in Spain, but today it is spoken throughout the American continent and in some places in Africa and Asia.
In Spain, different languages are spoken.
Another fun fact about Spain is that although Spanish is the majority language, Spain has 4 co-official languages. They are Catalan, Basque, Galician and 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 Aragon. You can think of it as English and French in Canada.
We have chocolate thanks to the Spanish
A fun fact about Spain is that thanks to the colonies that the Spaniards established in the American continent and their relations with North Africa, today we can all enjoy oranges, avocados, cacao, potatoes or sugar. The Europeans did not know any of these things until the fifteenth century.
Christmas is very special in Spain
The Three Wise Men, who are believed to give presents to Spanish children on the evening of January 5th.
The Spaniards celebrate Christmas, the New Year and also the feast of the Three Wise Men during the winter holidays. This time of the year is very special, and they live it very intensely. A fun fact about Spain is that it is traditional to eat twelve grapes at a time to receive the new year. It is more difficult than it seems, but the Spaniards swear that achieving that gives good luck for the rest of the year.
And number 10!
When the Greeks arrived on Spanish soil around 600 bc they referred to the peninsula as Hesperia, meaning “land of the setting sun.” When the Carthaginians came around 300 bc they called the country Ispania (from Sphan, “rabbit”) which means “land of the rabbits.”