Spain Key Facts
504, 645 km²
46, 704, 314
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International Calling Codes
26% No religion
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In Spain they drive on the right side of the road
When is the best time to visit?
The best time in Spain depends on what you want to do. Generally most people come to experience sunshine, and the months to do that are spring, summer and early autumn. The months from March until late October usually have the best weather, be aware that vacation time in Europe is in July and August though and there will be crowds everywhere.
Airports (31 international, 16 domestic ), highways, trains, ports and harbors, tram, bus, metros.
World Heritage Sites
- Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada, the former residence of the Generalife in the 13th and 14th centuries.
- Aranjuez Cultural Landscape, an important location in the development of landscape design.
- Archaeological Ensemble Mérida, which are the ruins of the old capital of Lusitania which was founded in 25 BC.
- Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco, which was an important administrative and mercantile city under Roman rule.
- Archaeological Site of Atapuerca, which contain a rich fossil record of the earliest human beings in Europe.
- Burgos Cathedral, a stunning Gothic cathedral built over the span of 300 years.
- Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí, a wonderful example of pure Romanesque art in a rural setting.
- Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville, which form the heart of Seville and epitomize Spain's 'Golden Age'.
- Cave Altamirs and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain, containing art created from 35,000 to 11,000 BC.
- Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana, a stunning example of a Mediterranean cultural landscape developed over millennia.
- Heritage of mercury. Almadeen and Idrija, which together are the two largest mercury mines in the world.
- Historic Centre of Cordoba, a truly unique expression of the meeting of two cultures.
- Historic City of Toledo, with more than 2,000 years of history and masterpieces from the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
- Historic Walled Town of Cuenca, a fortified medieval city built by Moors.
- La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia, which was where silk was traded between 1482 and 1533
- Las Médulas, which are the remains of a Roman gold mining site dating back to the 1st century AD.
- Monastery and Site of Escurial, Madrid, an important architectural and cultural monument and the seat of power during the reign of Philip II.
- Monuments of Ovieda and the Kingdom of the Asturias, a stronghold of Christianity during the time of the Emirate of Cordoba.
- Mudejar Architecture of Aragon, which is a mix of European styles with Islamic traditions developed in the 12th century.
- Old City of Salamanca, a city that bears witness to thousands of years of history and to the many cultures that passed through it.
- Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches, which is the famous 'City of Saints and Stones' built in the 11th century to protect Spain from the Moors.
- Old Town of Cáceres, a beautiful blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles.
- Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct, a melting pot of cultures with Roman, Christian, Jewish and Moorish architecture.
- Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona, the two finest contributions of art nouveau architect Lluís Domènech i Monatner to Barcelona's architecture.
- Palmeral of Elche, a beautiful example of transferring a culture from one place to another created in the 10th century AD.
- Poblet Monastery, one the largest Cistercian abbeys in Spain dating back to the 12th century.
- Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde, unique sites of the prehistoric era featuring thousands of rock art panels.
- Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza, an important site for the integration of Renaissance ideas into Spain.
- Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula, a unique site depicting the human way of life during a critical phase of our development.
- Roman Walls of Lugo, a fine example of late Roman fortification in Western Europe dating back to the 3rd century.
- Route of Santiago de Compostela, an enduring symbol of the power of Christian faith in Europe.
- Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, an amazing repository of four centuries of Spanish religious architecture and design.
- San Cristóbal de La Laguna, the first non-fortified colonial town and model to many later towns.
- San Milán Yuso and Suso Monasteries, which are the birthplace of the modern written and Spoken Spanish.
- Santiago de Compostela (Old Town), featuring Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic buildings and one of the world's most beautiful urban areas.
- Tower of Hercules, La Coruña's famous lighthouse built in the late 1st century AD by the Romans.
- University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares, which was the world's first planned university city built in the early 16th century.
- Vizcaya Bridge, an outstanding architectural iron construction completed in 1893.
- Works of Antoni Gaudí, which are seven of the most famous buildings in Spain, including La Sagrada Familia and Casa Battló.
- Doñana National Park, which has a great diversity of biotopes, especially lagoons, marshlands, and fixed and mobile dunes, scrub woodland and maquis as well as being one of the largest heronries in the Mediterranean.
- Garajonay National Park, a beautiful Laurel forest containing a stunning ecosystem.
- Teide National Park, an important volcanic site for the study of geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands.
- Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture, a stunning site showing the interactions between marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as offering beautiful examples of Renaissance military architecture.
- Pyrénées - Mont Perdu, which provides unique insights in Europe's cultural past.
Average Annual Temperature
Average Annual Rainfall
Spain has three main climate zones. Central and northern-central Spain have a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers, and cold winters. The southeast of the country has a semiarid climate with dry seasons extending beyond the summer. The Basque country and surrounding areas have an oceanic climate, with the overall weather being heavily influenced by the ocean and no seasonal drought. Additionally, the Canary Islands offer a subtropical climate, and you will find an alpine climate in the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada.
- January 1 - New Year's Day
- January 6 - Epiphany
- March | April - Good Friday
- May 1 - Labor Day
- August 15 - Assumption of Mary
- October 12 - Hispanic Day
- November 1 - All Saints' Day
- December 6 - Constitution Day
- December 8 - Immaculate Conception
- December 25 - Christmas Day
Additionally, each region has their own local holidays.
Why Visit Spain?
Spain has a large offering in terms of culture, landscapes, and locations. With such a high diversity of possible experiences, Spain is attractive for travellers of all ages and more importantly all budgets.
Things To Do In Spain
- See La Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi buildings in Barcelona.
- Eat tapas.
- Visit the Dali Museum in Roses.
- Visit the Alhambra and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Try the famous jamon.
- Get plenary indulgence in Santiago de Compostela.
- Visit amazing Cordoba.
- Relax on a beach in San Sebastian.
- Party in Ibiza or Mallorca.
- See Valencia's amazing modern architecture.
Travel Tips For Spain
- Many places in Spain still work on a siesta timetable, meaning they will close in the early afternoon and then open again later.
Spanish cuisine reflects the country's deep connection to the Mediterranean, and many different influences have led to the creation of a fairly unique cuisine. Most of Spanish cooking is simple and tries to make the most of fairly cheap ingredients. Generally speaking, Spanish cuisine can be split into 3 distinct geographic regions: the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and inland. The area around the Basque countries and Galicia relies heavily on seafood, and you will find pulpo, octopus, prepared in various ways. The inland regions are where you will find Spain's famous Manchego goat cheese and generally the diet is very bread and garlic based. Mediterranean Spain around Barcelona and Catalonia offer more rice based dishes and a cuisines that relies more on seafood. Notable dishes to try include the world famous jamon, which is cured ham, paella, a rich fish stew made with a variety of seafood, tapas, which are finger foods served in bars, and tortilla patatas, a Spanish egg omelet with potatoes.
Spain Travel Safety and Warnings
Theft and petty crimes can be a problem in bigger cities, so make sure to keep an eye on your belongings. Ensure you have travel insurance for Spain before embarking on your journey.
With 65 million tourists visiting in 2015, Spain is the 3rd most popular tourist destination in the world, and with its rich cultural and historical heritage, beautiful cities, and stunning beaches this is no surprise.
Perched on the southern tip of Europe, Spain offers excellent weather almost year-round, with the option of even going skiing in the north. Barcelona and Madrid are also among the top city destinations for a quick weekend getaway in Europe. Get your passport ready, buy travel insurance for Spain, and discover what all the fuss is about.
Barcelona is definitely Spain's most popular city, both for tourists and locals alike.
Downtown Barcelona is conveniently organized around its iconic central square, Plaça Catalunya. From here most of the city radiates out in all directions.
Ramblas de Barcelona:
Walking towards the harbor you encounter Barcelona's main drag, the famous Ramblas de Barcelona. The Ramblas is a wonderful mix of old and new, of tourist trap and local favorite, so it definitely is quite a sight to behold. You can buy anything from newspapers to exotic lizards, there are many iconic buildings on the way, and there are many possibilities to turn right or left and start exploring.
Alongside the Ramblas run some of Barcelona's most famous areas - the old town (Barrio Gotico) and the arty modern hub (El Raval). Both are well worth exploring, and could not be more different from one another.
Paseo de Gracia:
If you head towards the mountains from Placa Cataluyna you will end up on Paseo de Gracia, the best shopping street in town.
You will also pass by the 2 amazing and must see houses of the famous architect Antoni Gaudi: la Pedreira and Casa Batllo.
But Barcelona is not just about sightseeing.
If you wait until the evening, this city really starts pulsating and there will be parties and people hanging out everywhere. There is a plethora of clubs and bars throughout every neighborhood, and the best way to find out more is to speak to the people standing around - the Spanish are very friendly and helpful.
A must see for any visitor to Barcelona is the famous Sagrada Familia.
Initially planned by Antoni Gaudi, the story of this church alone is amazing.
A new architect was recently hired to finish this iconic building, and it is estimated that by around 2030 the Cathedral should be completed.
With its artwork and amazing curving towers, it is truly spectacular!
The hardest part about coming to Barcelona definitely is leaving again! However, there is more to Spain than just Barcelona.
If you travel north from Barcelona you arrive in the heartland of Catalunya, where you can visit the house and now museum of Salavdor Dali, the famous surrealist artist.
Close to Roses (where the museum is), is also one of the most hidden gems of Spain: Cadaqués, which is an old pirate city that is absolutely breathtaking to explore.
The city was designed at odd angles and on multiple levels, to allow pirates to escape.
This makes walking around wonderfully exciting, as you never know where the roads actually lead.
Cadaqués also has some great restaurants once you are done walking around, but as with all travel, before you go exploring anywhere, buy travel insurance for Spain.
The Basque country is on the northwest coast, around the cities of San Sebastian.
The Basque country is a beautiful region to explore and it extends well into Southern France, so you may be forced to hop over the border and explore over there as well.
Life is tough sometimes!
Southern Spain – Mallorca and Ibiza:
The South of Spain with its subtropical climate and endless beach resorts is a favorite summer destination for half of Europe, and that is just the mainland.
The islands of Mallorca and Ibiza, which are usually quiet and cozy, turn into international party capitals during the summer months. Ibiza has some of the biggest clubs on the planet, and if you come around July or August you will see the party season in full swing.
Mallorca and Ibiza are definitely well worth visiting, but takes quite a bit of planning as accommodation is limited on the islands.
Spain is very safe for travellers. Bigger cities do give rise to petty crime and occasional bag snatchers and pickpockets, but generally those are the biggest problems. While exploring the cities by night is beautiful, and the light displays in Barcelona are definitely among the best in the world, avoid walking down small alleyways on your own. Before embarking on your journey, take out travel insurance for Spain.
For more information on Spain, visit the Spain Tourism Website.
City Profile: Barcelona
Barcelona is situated between the sea and the mountains, and is the perfect city for walking because the tree-lined main street – La Rambla - that cuts through the city is reserved for foot traffic only! Car traffic is restricted to 2 narrow one-way roads on either side of La Rambla, and the larger roads skirt the periphery. There are restaurants, shops and street performers to occupy your time whilst you walk, and many of Barcelona’s sites are within a short walking distance away, such as the Gothic Quarter (historic quarter), where you can visit the places where Picasso and Miro grew up, Catalan Gothic architecture and historic plazas. And for football fans, need we mention the Barcelona Football Stadium?!