Facts

  • Population: About 48 million
  • Languages: Spanish (known as Castilian) is the official language.
    • There are several regional languages, such as Catalan, and English is widely spoken and understood.
  • Religions: Catholicism. Other religions include Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and other Christian denominations.
  • Electricity: 220 or 225 volts, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
  • Life expectancy: 79 years (men), 85 years (women)
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • International dialing code: +34
  • Internet domain: .es
  • Emergency numbers: 112 (general emergencies)

Geography

Notes

  • Spain is the fifth largest economy in the EU.
    • Tourism and automotive industries are among the biggest employers.
    • Spain was hit hard by the global financial crisis, but the situation is steadily improving. Unemployment rates remain high and jobs are hard to come by.
    • The economic downturn means public services may be lacking.
  • Education is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 16. The school year runs from mid-September to the end of June. Spain’s public schools have good standard.
  • The cost of living in Spain is low compared to other advanced destinations in Europe.
  • The various regions of Spain are very diverse.
  • Ibiza, the Spanish island in the Mediterranean, has a reputation for very rowdy, hedonistic nightlife, where party-goers often over-indulge and become aggressive.

Tourism

  • Overtourism: Barcelona
  • Spain is the second most visited country in the world after France.
    • With its bright blue skies and long coastline with sandy beaches, Spain is a popular destination, despite suffering a harsh economic decline in 2009.
  • Locals have a vivacious spirit and have a simple and relaxed lifestyle. Be prepared to slow down.
    • If it doesn’t get done today, it’ll get done tomorrow, or maybe the day after. Stressing about it will not get it done any faster.
    • Don’t let the overly bureaucratic systems get you down which can be especially prevalent in rural areas.
  • Formula 1 winter testing and spring race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona.
  • Hike: Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela (Map)

Overland

  • Road Traffic: Drives on the right
  • Unlawful to use a mobile phone, walkie-talkie, or other handheld communication device while driving
  • Shares borders with France, GibraltarAndorra, as well as its Iberian Peninsula neighbour, Portugal, with whom they share the longest uninterrupted border within the EU, measuring 754 miles.
  • Isla de las Palomas is the most southern point on mainland Europe.
    • Morocco can be seen from here

Climate

  • Spain is a large country and the climate varies across the different regions.
    • The north coast is the coolest and wettest region with an average annual temperature of 14°C (57°F).
    • The central plateau has seasonal extremes with temperatures ranging from 8°C (46°F) in winter to 23 C (73° F) in summer.
    • The south has the most hours of sunshine. Its summers can be uncomfortably hot, but winters tend to be pleasantly mild.

News

This page was last updated on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 by Robert Vinet