Flag of Spain

Language: Spanish

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Calling Code: 34


Description of Spain

Spain, officially Kingdom of Spain or Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a country mainly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Its territory also includes two archipelagos: The Canary Islands off the coast of Africa and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla make Spain the only European country to have a land border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. Mainland Spain is bounded to the south and East by the Mediterranean, except for a small land border with Gibraltar; to the North and Northeast by France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay; and to the West and Northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. With an area of 505 990 km2, Spain is the largest country in southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union (EU) and the fourth largest country on the entire European continent. It is also the sixth most populous country in Europe and the fourth in the EU. The capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, Bilbao and Granada.

Moderna humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula about 35 thousand years ago. Iberian cultures, along with ancient Phoenician, Greek, Celtic and Carthaginian settlements, developed on the peninsula until the beginning of Roman rule around 200 BC, when the region was called Hispania, based on the ancient Phoenician name Spania. With the collapse of the Western Roman empire, Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian Peninsula, and established relatively independent kingdoms in their western provinces, including the suebi, Alans, and vandals. By the end of the sixth century, the Visigoths had forcibly integrated all the remaining independent territories on the peninsula into the Kingdom of Toledo, including the Byzantine provinces, which in a certain way unified politically, ecclesiastically and legally all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of ancient Hispania.

In the early eighth century, the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors, who came to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726 (lasting up to seven centuries in the Nacerid Kingdom of Granada), leaving only a handful of small Christian kingdoms in the North. This led to many wars over a long period, which culminated in the creation of the kingdoms of León, Castile, Aragon and Navarre, which became the main Christian forces against the Muslims. After the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the "Reconquista", which at the end of the fifteenth century caused Spain to emerge as a unified country under the rule of the Catholic Monarchs. At the beginning of the Moderna era, the nation became the first world empire in history and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a great cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million hispanophones around the world, which made Spanish the second most spoken language in the world, after the Chinese language. During the Spanish Golden Age (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) there were also many advances in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez. The most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was also published during this period. The country is home to the third largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with King Philip VI serving as head of state. It is one of the leading developed countries and a high-income country, with 14.World's largest economy by nominal GDP and the 16.Higher by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Euro zone, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and many other international organizations. Although it is not an official member, Spain is also a "permanent guest" of the G20 summits, participating in all the group's meetings.


Travel Destinations in Spain


Spain has a lot of interesting tourist cities. Very important are, among others.:

Madrid - capital of the country, lively city with great museums and wild nights.
Barcelona - capital of Catalonia, a lively and cosmopolitan city. Famous for the architecture of Antoni Gaudi.
Valencia - this is where the paella was invented. Also very special is the Jardin del Turia and the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences)
Seville - has the third largest cathedral in the world.
Alicante - popular holiday resort on the Costa Blanca with the promenade of the Explanada de España.
Cádiz - seaside town in southern Spain, also popular for student exchange
Bilbao - former industrial city with Guggenheim Museum.
Córdoba - capital of the former Moorish Spain. The largest mosque in Western Europe. Ruined city of Medina Azahara (residence of the emir).
Granada - Moorish capital of the country until 1492 with the Alhambra. The third largest university after Madrid and Barcelona.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - capital of the Canary Islands.
Málaga - located in Andalusia by the sea, one of the most visited holiday destinations in Spain.
Palma de Mallorca - capital of Mallorca with a beautiful cityscape and the Gothic cathedral.
Pamplona - large city in the north of Spain, capital of the province of Navarra
Salamanca - a picturesque, old university town.
Santiago de Compostela - pilgrimage destination in Galicia.
Zaragoza - has to offer with the Basilica del Pilar the largest Baroque building in Spain.
Toledo - already in the Moorish times a cosmopolitan city with Christian, Jewish and Muslim features; also known by the painter El Greco.
See more cities in regionsarticles or in the list of places in Spain



Spain consists of 17 regions, some of which are very different. These are called autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas). The regions can be grouped as follows:

Costa Verde
Mountainous region and green coasts on the Atlantic.
Galicia · Asturias · Cantabria

Northern spain
Known for cuisine, wine and beaches.
Aragon · Basque Country · Navarre · La Rioja

Eastern spain
Well-known beaches and Mediterranean cities.
Catalonia Valencia Murcia

The capital of Spain.

Central Spain
Region located on the central Spanish plateau, origin of the Kingdom of Spain.
Castile-La Mancha Castile-Leon Extremadura

Southernmost region of Europe with famous coastlines along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic.

Balearic Islands
The well-known archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.
Mallorca Menorca Ibiza Formentera

Canary Islands
Well-developed tourist islands off the West African coast.
Tenerife Fuerteventura Gran Canaria Lanzarote La Palma La Gomera El Hierro

There are also two autonomous cities that are exclaves in North Africa: Ceuta in the Strait of Gibraltar and Melilla further east. Conversely, on the Spanish side is the British exclave of Gibraltar.


Other landmarks

El Arenosillo - is a launch site for sounding rockets near Huelva
Empuriabrava - Europe's largest marina on the northern Costa Brava. Long fine sandy beach.

Spanish coast
Along the Mediterranean Sea, from north to south, there are a continuous series of well-known coastal sections, many of which are very well developed for tourism, some of which are also completely built-up and a few still with quiet, original sections or nature reserves. The boundaries of the "costas" almost always coincide with those of the provinces:

Costa Brava (Wild coast) in the province of Girona in the north of Catalonia, from the French border to approximately to the Tordera estuary near Blanes (220 km)
Costa del Maresme, 60 km long strip in the province of Barcelona north of the metropolis
Costa del Garraf (after the Comarca of the same name), south of Barcelona in the same province, formerly also included in the Daurada
Costa Daurada (Golden Coast), 216 km from the province of Tarragona to the Ebro Delta
Costa del Azahar, also called Costa dels Tarongers (coast of the orange blossom or orange tree coast), along the provinces of Castellón and Valencia
Costa Blanca (White Coast), along the province of Alicante, the name refers to both the white houses and the sand
Costa Cálida (Hot/Warm Coast), about 200 km in the hottest province of Spain Murcia
Costa de Almería, about 200 km in the province of Almería, many almost uninhabited coastal sections and natural parks, but also kilometers of greenhouses for Europe's vegetables
Costa Tropical (tropical coast) in the province of Granada, well-protected by the adjacent mountain ranges, well-known holiday region
Costa del Sol (sunny coast), in the province of Málaga, pleasant temperatures all year round, many tourist strongholds
Costa Gaditana, named "Gaditano" after the inhabitants of the province of Cádiz, stretches from the Comarca of Campo de Gibraltar to Tarifa

The Atlantic Ocean is joined by the Costa de la Luz, which is the coastal strip of the two provinces of Cádiz and Huelva and ends at Portugal.

North of Portugal there is still the Atlantic Ocean
Rías Baixas (Lower Rías), fjord-like estuaries in Galicia, known for raising mussels
Costa da Morte (Death Coast), from the Cape of Darkness to Malpica de Bergantiños, difficult for seafaring because of the rocky sections
Costa Ártabra, 6 km wide bay with several estuaries
Rías Altas (Upper Rías), deep inland estuaries, also belongs to Galicia
Costa Verde (green coast), rainy and therefore deep green coastal strip in the Asturias region
Costa de Cantabria, located in Cantabria, this is also a well-known wine region
Costa Vasca (Basque Coast), is located in the Basque provinces of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, up to the French border at the Département Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Spanish Islands
The Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea with the main island of Mallorca, the little sister Menorca in the east and the islands of Ibiza and Formentera to the west.

The Canary Islands off the West African coast: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.

Castillo de los Mendoza-Mendoza Castle

El Escorial


Getting here

Requirements before travelling
Spain is part of the Schengen area: nationals from the participating countries must carry an identity document, whereby an identity card or passport is also accepted if it has not expired for more than 1 year. It is recommended, especially for air travel, that documents are valid. Citizens of the mentioned states can stay in the country indefinitely and pursue a job. In any case, other citizens need a valid passport and, if necessary, a visa or work permit.

By train
Due to the expansion of the high-speed rail networks in France and Spain, travel times by rail from Germany and Switzerland have been significantly reduced. But night train connections have been eliminated, so that the train journey has not really become more convenient. There are two relevant level crossings between France and Spain, respectively west and east of the Pyrenees.

The junction in the high-speed network east of the Pyrenees is at Perpignan and Figueres. There are several continuous high-speed trains (TGV) running from Paris to Barcelona via Valence, Nîmes and Montpellier. These are used for most connections from Germany to Spain: for example, it takes about 11 hours from Karlsruhe to Barcelona, a good 11½ hours from Frankfurt am Main or Stuttgart, just under 12 hours from Cologne (departure between 8.40 and 9.30, arrival in Barcelona around 20.35). In Paris, there is a change of stations from the Gare de l'est or Gare de l'est, respectively. Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon is required (Metro 5 direction "Place de Italie" to "Bastille", then Metro 1 direction "Chateau de Vincennes" to "Gare de Lyon"). In Barcelona there is then a connection to other parts of Spain. A trip to Madrid takes at least 14 hours from Germany.

There are various connections from Switzerland: via Paris-Gare de Lyon (no change of station required), via Lyon (and possibly Nîmes) or via Mulhouse and Valence. For example, the fastest connection from Basel to Barcelona takes 9 hours, from Bern 9½ hours, from Zurich 11 hours. Madrid can be reached from Basel in just over 12 hours.

An alternative route leads via Irun or the French neighbouring village of Hendaye, west of the Pyrenees. A transition from the French TGV to the Iberian broad-gauge network is possible there. This route is especially relevant for travelers with a destination in the north or west of Spain (and further towards Portugal). Hendaye can be reached by TGV from Paris-Gare Montparnasse via Bordeaux. The journey time from Basel is 9 hours, from Karlsruhe 9:30 hours, from Frankfurt a. m. 9:45 hours, from Bern or Cologne 10 hours. In Hendaye there is a connection to the night train to Lisbon. You can also take the Euskotren local train or a taxi between the two stations. In Irun there is a connection to Donostia/San Sebastián, Vitoria/Gasteiz, Burgos, Valladolid, Salamanca, Pamplona, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña.

Although connection options can be found on the website of the Spanish State Railway RENFE, there are only a handful of stations in the other European countries in addition to the Spanish stations. Alternatively, you can also use the travel information of the Deutsche Bahn for route planning, also within Spain.

In contrast to the Spanish pages, DB or SBB will provide you with a complete suggested route from the departure station to the destination station, even if this connection requires a change of trains. If you want to determine the travel price, you can manually click on the route once found on the Spanish pages and thus find out the cost and the train type.

Tip: Reservations are required for all long-distance trains. So book in time. At the station it can happen that you have to wait a long time at the counter. You pull a number on a vending machine and wait until it's your turn. In Madrid and Barcelona there can be up to 4 hours waiting time in the summer. Therefore, you should choose a connecting train that does not come too early.

By bus
There are intercity bus connections from major German cities to Spain, which can be found out with various train and bus connection search engines, e.g. . A variant of combining train and bus, and at the same time avoiding a change in Paris, is, for example: train trip to Lyon (France), for example from Karlsruhe, and from Lyon continue with a night bus connection to Barcelona.

By boat
A lot of information about ferry lines and the ships used to Spain as well as booking options and tips on how to get to the ship offers . On there are countless ferry connections to and from Spain. provides information on ferry routes from the UK to Spain. Ferry lines run from Portsmouth to Bilbao and from Plymouth to Santander.

On the street
No matter from which point in Germany, Austria or Switzerland you start - the journey to Spain can take a day or more. It is recommended that there are at least two drivers in the car. For route suggestions through France, please refer to France: Car. The use of most Spanish motorways costs a fee, except in Catalonia. The travelled routes are paid for with a ticket system. For a distance of about 100 km you have to plan about 10,- Euro for a car or a motorcycle. Individual city highways can be toll-free.

By plane
The largest airline in Spain today is Iberia. In addition, there are many other scheduled airlines and low-cost carriers. Spain's two major international hubs are Madrid and Barcelona. Virtually all airports in Spain are operated by the state-owned AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea). Their central customer hotline can be reached at 902 404 704.

Meanwhile, there are numerous offers from Germany to many cities in Spain:
Lufthansa also flies from many German cities to some Spanish destinations.
easyJet offers connections from Dortmund to Alicante as well as from Berlin to Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.
Germanwings offers cheap flights from Cologne/ Bonn and Stuttgart to Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga and Jerez.
Ryanair flies from Frankfurt-Hahn, Karlsruhe-Baden and Niederrhein/Weeze to Barcelona-Girona; furthermore from Frankfurt-Hahn to Barcelona-Reus, Granada, Barcelona-Girona, Valencia, Santander (northern Spain) and Jerez de la Frontera (Andalusia). From Bremen there are flights to Alicante, Girona, Palma de Mallorca (only in the high season) and Málaga.

Flight connections from Switzerland consist of:
From Zurich to Alicante, Barcelona, Tenerife, Ibiza, Jerez de la Frontera, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Fuerteventura, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia.
Basel-Mulhouse to Alicante, Barcelona, Tenerife, Ibiza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Málaga, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Fuerteventura and Santiago de Compostela.
Geneva with Alicante, Asturias/Oviedo, Barcelona, Bilbao, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia.
From Bern to Barcelona, Ibiza, Menorca and Palma de Mallorca.


Transport around the country

By train
The RENFE(Spanish) (State Railway of Spain) serves several high-speed lines (AVE). These are built in European standard gauge. The main ones are:
Madrid-Barcelona (2h 45'-3h 10')
Madrid-Seville (2h 30')
Madrid-Valencia (1h 40')
Madrid-Málaga (2h 30'-2h 50')

In addition, RENFE also offers rail connections to other major cities. By and large, the railway network has a centralized structure. The most frequent connections are to and from Madrid. On the Mediterranean coast, however, there is a direct train line (no direct trains) from Perpignan on the Spanish border via Barcelona - Valencia to Alicante, but it does not always run directly along the coast. There is also a railway line that runs from Bilbao to Barcelona via Zaragoza, but not via Madrid.

Since savings are currently being made in Spain, the RENFE also had to believe in it: many timetables have been thinned out, some connections have been canceled altogether. Of course, the high-speed lines of the AVE are not affected by this, these are also prestigious projects of the Spanish state. That's why when you want to travel by train in Spain, you have to plan ahead.

The FEVE (Spanish) (narrow gauge railway) operates some lines in northern Spain. So between Ferrol and Bilbao, which also serves Santander, and a line between Bilbao and Léon. However, there is only one connection per day on this route, which takes over 6 hours. In general, the connections of the FEVE are usually slower than those of the RENFE.

Euskotren (Spanish, Basque) operates a number of lines in the Basque Country. But above all between Bilbao and Donostia / San Sebastian and on to the French Hendaye.

The Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, abbreviated FGC, operates, in addition to parts of the suburban traffic of Barcelona, also some standard-gauge routes, which it has taken over from the RENFE. It is, so to speak, the Catalan State Railway and is a major provider of public transport services in Catalonia.

Long-distance buses
The long-distance bus network, in contrast to the star-shaped Madrid-oriented railway network, is well developed and efficiently organized. The line operators of certain routes are licensed and offer fixed (not necessarily cheap) prices, which allow small discounts for return trips. The largest company ALSA offers many long-distance lines and also cooperates with other companies. It is precisely this company that has used the corona epidemic to replace its counter staff with vending machines in many bus stations. Their cash acceptance often does not work, and customer data such as ID and telephone number are also requested for no good reason.

Bus stations in larger cities usually offer a café, not always well-maintained toilets (usually without paper or such is on a roll outside the cabins to take in) and lockers. For the latter, it should be noted that usually during the switch opening times (7:00/8:00-22:00/23:00) must buy a token (ficha) that is valid for the respective calendar day. If you only pick up the luggage the next day, you have to buy another brand to open the compartment. In smaller stations it may be that you buy the brand in the café or from the toilet lady.

Private transport
There are autopistas (motorways, AP xx), autovias (expressways, A xx), national roads (N xxx) and country roads in Spain (code letter depends on the respective municipality, e.g. CM in Castilla-La Mancha xxx).

The Autopistas and Autovias highways are only slightly different. The maximum speed on the autopistas is limited to 120 km / h, this speed limit also applies to the autovias.

The advantage of the usually private-sector toll-paying autopistas over the autovias is the usually lower traffic volume (fewer entrances / exits) and a consistently high quality of the roads, which are prohibited for slow traffic. There are certainly fluctuations in the state autovias here, especially on the older adapted national roads, entrances and exits are more frequent in built-up areas, single-lane routes are shorter, breakdown lanes may be missing and traffic may be impeded by slow vehicles.
The central government has exempted more and more state autovias from the motorway toll since 2020. The most important for tourism is the Mediterranean motorway toll-free from the French border to Alicante since September 2022. Here you have to be careful not to get on one of the privately operated city highways in the Barcelona area.

In Spain, a speed limit of 30 km / h applies in urban areas if the road has only one lane per direction, otherwise 50 km / h. On single-lane national roads, 90 km / h (otherwise 100 km / h) and on country roads, 90 km / h is also the speed limit.

It should be noted that in Spain private towing is punished. Only towing companies are entitled to do this.

The toll on motorways is about 10 € per 100 kilometers. Payment is made at toll stations on the motorway, similar to Italy or France, where motorways are also owned by private companies. In addition to cash, the usual credit cards are also accepted, but no Maestro cards. If you drive more often on motorways in Spain, you can also have the costs debited automatically and can then drive slowly through on a separate lane without waiting. The arrows on the road signs often point downwards instead of upwards, i.e. backwards.

A special feature is turning left in Spain. The tracks for it are usually located on the right side and then lead across the road at a right angle. You also have to be careful of the traffic lights, which are available in large cities in a variety, sometimes you can find four traffic lights within fifty meters.

Other important regulations in road traffic are:
Alcohol limit of 0.5‰,
Front and rear seatbelts are mandatory.
Using a mobile phone at the wheel is prohibited and can be very expensive in Spain with a € 600 fine. Making calls with a hands-free system is allowed.
a rental car or your own car must also be equipped with two warning triangles and a warning vest.
within the villages, the main road always has a right of way, even if there is not a right of way sign at every intersection.
helmets are mandatory on electric scooters, they are allowed on bicycle paths.

It should be noted that fines for violations can be high by German standards. This is checked less often. In general, if you transfer a ticket within 20 days, only half of the buses are due. You can also deposit money at all post offices.

In many travel guides and also at the ADAC it is reported that in Spain the law of the strongest applies on the road. It's not that bad anymore and red traffic lights are also respected nowadays. Nevertheless, the accident frequency is above average, and if you look around in a parking lot, you will find countless vehicles with severe scratches and also sheet metal damage.

It should also be mentioned the love of the Spaniards for roundabouts and speed limit signs. At busy intersections, roundabouts are always an occasion for accidents, as vehicles traveling from the inside to the outside are often cut, unfortunately, restrained driving does not protect here either. Signs with speed limits are not always used very consistently, so the driver wonders how fast he is allowed to drive. When in doubt, drive slowly for safety's sake.



Since tourism is one of the main sources of income in Spain, you can get along reasonably well with German and English in the larger tourist centers. In the rural areas it is recommended to master a few chunks of Spanish (Castilian). In addition to Galician, Catalan and Basque, Castilian is the official language throughout Spain and is spoken by almost every Spaniard, as it is taught as a compulsory subject at school. In the autonomous regions of Spain, in particular in Catalonia and the Basque Country, the Catalan (catalán) and Basque (Basque) languages prevail. Basque (vasco, euskera) as additional official languages. Road signs are also labeled in the regional language. During the time of the Franco dictatorship, these regional languages were suppressed, but since they continued to be used by the population in a private circle, they were able to survive and are spoken with great pride today. Some of the place names have been changed from Spanish to Catalan, e.g. Playa de Aro to Platja d'Aro, but the national Spanish press continues to use the Spanish names.

The language Spanish belongs to the Romance languages and has thus developed on the basis of Latin. Due to the centuries-long Moorish occupation of the country, Spanish has enjoyed a strong influence of Arabic and there are a variety of words that are of Arabic origin (alhambra, almohada [pillow], alfombra [carpet]). The Spanish spelling essentially follows the pronunciation, i.e. a word is usually written as it is spoken, in compliance with the Spanish pronunciation rules.

Learning Spanish is not only worth it for the trip. Since Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, mastering this language can also be useful at work. It opens up Central and South America as well as large parts of the USA, where Spanish is on the way to becoming the second official language. Even in some former Spanish colonies in Africa and Southeast Asia, you can still come across relics of Spanish.



Every Spaniard has two surnames (apellidos). The first comes from the father, and the second from the mother. When filling out documents, both names are always required. Both names are retained upon marriage. This law also applies in Latin America.



Beach holidays: focus on the Mediterranean coasts, on the Balearic Islands and on the Canary Islands.
Hiking: Popular activity in the Pyrenees and the Canary Islands
Winter sports: In the northern regions near the Bay of Biscay
Cultural tourism:cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada offer numerous buildings worth seeing
Historical itineraries:
Via de la Plata, the old Roman road on which gold was transported from the north-west of Spain to Seville.
The Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela.



Shopping or shopping has changed in recent years throughout Spain. Until not so long ago, there were actually only small shops, mostly family businesses, which brought goods of all kinds to men and women and which usually specialized in a very specific, small group of goods, shopping centers have moved in here today, which offer goods of all kinds on ample retail space. Unfortunately, this has changed the nice family atmosphere in the shops, on the other hand, it has also significantly expanded the range of goods and the shopping has been modernized.

Spain is a country of the eurozone. Card payments are widely used. Away from the tourist trails and the big cities, one should expect that only cash payment is possible and larger bills are not accepted for small amounts.



Spanish cuisine is very tasty and nutritious. Typical for Spain are tapas, small appetizers that you eat with wine or beer. The name comes from "lid". Quite earlier, a snack for food was put on the jar by the host, like a lid. In many bars there is a wide selection of different tapas, from fish to meat to vegetarian. The tortilla de patatas (potato omelette), the ensaladilla rusa (potato salad with mayonnaise) and the Pincho moruno (Moorish skewer) are quite well known.

The most famous dish of traditional cuisine is the paella Valenciana, a rice pan, which gets its characteristic yellow appearance due to the seasoning with saffron. In Spain, paella is traditionally prepared without fish or seafood, but only with rice, meat (chicken or rabbit) and vegetables.

The word bodega means "cellar" and used to refer to simple wine taverns in cellar vaults, where cheap wine was poured into mugs directly from large barrels. Now there are many quite normal wine bars that use this name, but without having any resemblance to their role models. Winemakers may also store their wine in bodegas.

Something quite delicious is chorizo, a sausage that is a little like a salami.

The price increase has also found its way into Spain; and so dishes in Spanish restaurants are not always cheap. An alternative is restaurants that offer "Raciones", "Platos combinados" or Menü del Dia."Raciones" are more or less half portions of quite delicious cuts; and those who choose among "Platos combinados" get a combination of different ingredients of Spanish cuisine;often there is also a drink and a dessert.A menu del Dia includes starter and main course, dessert and drink. And never forget: a passable tip – this is left on the plate with which the waiter brings the change.



Spain is famous for its vibrant nightlife, which is very important on the Balearic Islands and on the Costa de Sol in the summer months. If you are looking for peace and quiet, you can hardly sleep in the popular holiday resorts, because Ballermann hits can be heard until the early morning hours.



A special feature in Spain is the hotel chain of the Paradores, a state-owned hotel chain. About eighty hotels are spread all over Spain. A parador is a three- to five-star hotel, most of which is located in a historic building. Thus, the paradores stand on the one hand for the local history, on the other hand for the regional diversity of the country.

Wild camping is not prohibited in principle. On tourist beaches, the respective municipalities take the opposite approach.



There are two types of police in Spanish cities: the Policia Local, Traffic police and Ordnungsamt in one, as well as the Policia Nacional, formerly brown nowadays in dark blue uniforms, for real crimes. If these gentlemen wear scarves, it is the riot police, who used to be very violent, who strike at demos.

In the rural regions, the partially barracked Civil Guard is responsible for everything. She has a wide variety of tasks - you can ask pretty much every Spaniard what these are in detail, hardly anyone would know the right answer. So about the thumb it can be said that if there is no other police in charge, then it is the Civil Guard. Since the other police authorities are limited to cities such as the Policia National or localities such as the Policia Local, the Civil Guard is also responsible everywhere in between. In addition, there are all sorts of special tasks: customs, border protection, aviation security, terrorism, hunting and fishing supervision, etc. With this force, in Franco's time the elite in the fascist state, there are still problems with human rights violations in the 2010s. Sixty percent of the teams are former time soldiers. Since 2015, dark blue uniforms and baseball caps have been introduced for everyday use.

Catalonia and the Basque Country have their own police forces. Their competences have been taken over by the Policia Nacional or Guardia Civil, but they continue to perform certain tasks in the regions. The Policía Foral are the traffic police officers of the Navarra region.

From time to time, gangs on motorways try to entice tourists to stop by giving information about alleged damage to the vehicle. Therefore, you should only stop in parking lots in the presence of other drivers or next to emergency call stations to request help. There is also a lot of petty crime in the big cities. In recent years, gangs have been making a name for themselves, going on robberies in villa areas and often acting extremely brutally in the process.



Emergency Doctor ☎ 112
The European Health Insurance Card EHIC (Spanish: Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea, TSE) is also valid in Spain. It is also accepted without hesitation in all state hospitals (hospital) and medical centers (centro de salud). On the other hand, many established doctors (especially in tourist regions) insist on private treatment with prepayment, but it is also often claimed that the card does not apply in Spain. It should be noted here that then only the statutory German standard rates will be refunded by the German cashier and that only if the receipt lists accurate diagnoses (usually ICD 10 coding is required). If you need a specialist, it is best to go to a hospital immediately, Spaniards do the same.

Unlike in Germany, for example, the entire healthcare system in Spain is completely free of charge for all Spaniards. The income does not matter at all, every citizen gets exactly the same treatment. If a German emigrates to Malaga, he can submit the application and then, like a Spaniard, falls under this umbrella of medical care. The holidaymaker who needs medical care due to an emergency will also receive his treatment completely free of charge upon presentation of the European health insurance card (leaflet). Dental treatments are always chargeable. The provinces are divided into comarcas (they roughly correspond to the districts in Germany or the districts in Austria and Switzerland), each of which has its own hospital, which is responsible for the patient who falls ill in this district.

In Spain, holidaymakers are often visited by mosquitoes, which are still up to (at least) well into October. They usually strike at night, which is why in Spain you should also attach a mosquito net to the windows in autumn.



There are different areas in Spain in terms of climate. Three climatic zones can be distinguished. Andalusia up to the Sierra Morena, Granada, the southeastern half of Murcia and the southernmost part of Valencia belong to the African or subtropical zone. Most of the northern coast, the northern areas of the plateau of León and Castile and the plateau of Alava belong to the temperate climate zone. The rest of the country belongs to the southern European zone.

Spain is known for its warm climate, from April to October, heat waves, i.e. temperatures well above 30 ° C for several days, must be expected. In July and August, significantly more than 40 °C is also possible in Spain. In winter, Spain still reaches 15-16 degrees during the day, on some days even higher temperatures. What is pleasant for many people can also be annoying for others, because it stays bright for much longer in autumn than in most other European countries. In many Spanish cities, the sun sets at the beginning of October only after 20 o'clock (CEST), which is why it becomes noticeably cooler only after that.

In the temperate zone, the low-lying areas have a very comfortable climate, in which the temperature does not easily rise above +33 °C even in the hottest summer, hardly drops below -3 °C on the coldest winter days, and frost and snowfall occur only temporarily. The atmosphere is mostly humid, rains are frequent, especially in autumn and spring. The valleys of the north coast are among the healthiest areas in Europe. A completely different climate prevails on the plateaus of the old Castilian tableland; here, severe frosts and heavy snowfall are not uncommon already in late autumn, and during the winter, due to snow masses, all communication is often interrupted for weeks. In spring, cold fogs often cover the country for days, and in summer there is scorching heat, which is rarely tempered by rain. Storms are frequent in every season. Only the storms accompanied by downpours bring pleasant weather to the plateau country. From the end of September to November, the sky is almost always cloudy, and the corridors are covered with fresh greenery; but often already in October, early frosts put an end to this second spring.

A contrast to this climate, which is very detrimental to health, is provided by the coastal areas located within the southern European zone, namely the river valleys of southern Galicia, where there is a uniform, mild coastal climate, in which the average temperature of summer is about +20 ° C, that of winter is +16 ° C, and frost and snow are rare, rain and dew are frequent. The plains and valleys of the south-eastern and eastern coasts generally have a coastal climate similar to that of southern France, only warmer, but not without significant and frequent temperature fluctuations. The African zone of the peninsula is distinguished by the fact that snow and frost are almost unknown phenomena in its lowlands, coastal areas and deep valleys, as the temperature rarely drops to 3 ° C.

The hottest areas are the southeast coast to Alicante, as well as the adjacent plains, hilly terrain and plateaus of Murcia and eastern Granada. The coastal regions of Lower Andalusia are much more temperate. The red-hot Solano (Samum), which scorches all vegetation, most often haunts the southeastern coastal areas. By the way, the climate in the lower parts of the African zone is a pleasant coastal climate with an average temperature that does not easily rise above +24.5 °C or fall below +12 °C. The real spring begins here at the end of February and lasts on the coast until the middle of May, in the interior until the beginning of June. During the summer, the vegetation also dries up here, as well as the equinoctial rains conjure up a second spring. However, this second spring does not flow quickly as in Plateualand, but passes through the pleasantly mild winter into the actual spring. The plains and coastal areas of the African zone have seen eight months of spring and four months of summer in this way.

As for the actual mountainous regions, five regions can be distinguished here: the lower or warm (up to 800 m) with an average temperature of 27-17 ° C, the mountainous region (800-1600 m) with 16-9 ° C, the subalpine region (1600-2000 m) with about 8-4 ° C, the alpine region (2000-2500 m) with 3-0 ° C, the snow region ( 2500-3500 m) with an average annual temperature of probably below 0 °C. In the Pyrenees, eternal snow is found only in the central and eastern chain, where the border of the same on the Spanish side is at 2780 m. In the Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain range in Spain, the snow line is assumed on the northern slope at 3350 m, on the southern slope at 3500 m, which is why only the highest peaks, and even these sparingly, are covered with eternal snow here.

Winter: In winter, the daily highs in Spain are usually between 12 and 16 degrees. Snow is extremely rare at sea level, but snow must be expected at altitudes above 1500 meters in particular. The winters in Spain are also much sunnier than in Central Europe and there are many evergreen plants.

Spring: Spring in Spain brings similar temperatures as early summer in Germany. From the end of March, but at the latest at the beginning of April, you can take a bath in the south of Spain. In late spring, heat waves with temperatures above 35 °C over several days are already possible in the south of Spain.

Summer: In the Spanish summer, the temperatures are usually above the 30-degree mark in the midday and afternoon hours. Temperatures above 40 ° C must also be expected. It is much cooler only in the northwest of Spain on the Atlantic coast and in the high altitudes.

Autumn: Autumn in many parts of Spain is more like an extension of summer. September is usually still unbearably hot and even in October days with highs of less than 20 degrees are the exception rather than the rule. The autumn weather really only arrives in Spain when winter often begins in Central Europe - at the beginning to the middle of November.


Practical information

Mobile communication

Since Spain is a member of the EU, there are no more telephony roaming charges.

Especially if you want to stay in Spain a little longer and get in touch with locals, you might want to buy a Spanish SIM card (on a credit basis), called tarjeta prepago in Spanish. The cards are available for about 25 € and you can get them without ID in almost every store. Depending on the provider, you get more or less of the purchase costs immediately or after specifying the address data as a credit. (Example: Movistar card: 25 € cost, 19 € instant credit, 6 € when sending the address.) The use of data with a Spanish card is usually much cheaper than German tariffs.

In addition to a few discounters and smaller mobile service providers, there are the three major mobile service providers in Spain: Movistar, Vodafone and Orange.


Fixed phone

Telefónica (the "Spanish Telecom") charges a dial-in fee of 11.87 cents and a further 12 cents per minute for a call to Germany. However, it is cheaper to get away from call shops or with calling cards (to be found in supermarkets and call shops). There is no system of cheap dialing codes, at least not in competition.

For international calls, however, there is the possibility to dial the 902 999 007 first, then a "1" after the announcement and then the international number. The costs are significantly lower than those of Telefónica, but still always over 4 cents per minute. Further information can be found here (es, en, nl, de, fr).



For postcards to Germany you have to give up Correos with the Spanish Post. It is customary in post offices to pull a number at the entrance. In cities, it is often open until 20:30, but it is a typical lunch break in the country. However, there are also small "counters" in villages that only open for one to two hours 2-3 times a week, since one "official" serves several localities and is also the deliverer at the same time. For domestic letters (about 4 working days) it may be quite reasonable to send this urgent, for this delivery is guaranteed the next day. Determining Porti on the website is cumbersome, but there is a fee booklet with all prices. (As of: 2023)

There are also a number of private postal and parcel providers in Spain, which are usually more expensive but often faster.



The name Spain comes from Hispania, the name with which the Romans geographically designated the Iberian Peninsula. The name Iberia was what the Greeks gave to the peninsula although there were other designations given by the ancient peoples. The fact that the term Hispania does not have a Latin root has resulted in the formulation of various theories about its origin, some controversial. The most consensual option would be that the name Hispania comes from the Phoenician i-spn-ea. The Romans took this denomination from the vanquished Carthaginians, interpreting the prefix i as coast, island or land, and the suffix ea with the meaning of region. The SPN lexeme was translated as rabbits (in reality dasses, animals common in North Africa).

The toponym Spain, evolution of the designation of the Roman Empire Hispania was, until the eighteenth century, only descriptive of the Iberian Peninsula, not referring to a specific country or state, but to the whole of the Iberian territory and the countries that were included in it. Spain is unified during the Enlightenment, until then it was a set of legally and politically independent kingdoms ruled by the same monarchy. Until the date of unification the monarchy was formed by a set of kingdoms Associated by inheritance and dynastic union or by conquest. The form of government was known as the principaliter, the kingdoms were governed each independently, as if each kingdom had its own king, each Kingdom maintained its own legal system, its language, its forums and its privileges. The leyes de extranjeria determined that the native of any of the kingdoms was a foreigner in all the other Iberian Kingdoms. The Constitution of 1812 adopts the name the Spains for the new nation. The Constitution of 1876 adopts the name Spain for the first time.

The terms "the Spains" and "Spain" were not equivalent, and were used very accurately. The term the Spains referred to a set of Juridical-political units, that is, it referred to a set of independent kingdoms, first only to the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, then only to the kingdoms united under the same monarchy. The term Spain referred to a geographical and cultural space that encompassed several independent kingdoms. From Charles V the use of the title King of Spain referred to the part of Spain that did not include Portugal, but this designation was only a way of collectively designating an extensive number of kingdoms, an abbreviation, which had no legal validity, for a long list of royal titles whose official form was king of Castile, of León, of Aragon, of Navarre, of Granada, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Mallorca, of Menorca, of Seville, etc. (in the same way the title his Lusitanian Majesty was used for the king of Portugal, or Lusitanian King).

The use of the designation "kings of Spain" by Kings Ferdinand and Isabella was considered an offense by the king of Portugal who considered that the name designated the peninsula. The last time Portugal officially protested the use of the term "crown of Spain" or "monarchy of Spain" by the Madrid government was, it is assumed, during the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714.

Currently the name "Hispanic Peninsula" is not accepted by the Portuguese, and the designation used is the Iberian Peninsula. From 1640, with the restoration of independence from Portugal, the designation "King of Spain" remained, although the dynastic union no longer encompassed the entire peninsula.



Prehistory and antiquity

The first Moderna people arrived on the Iberian Peninsula on the territory of present-day Spain 35 thousand years ago. In the historical period the territory was invaded and colonized by Celts, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks and around 218 BC, most of the Iberian Peninsula began to form part of the Roman Empire, with the Ebro River being the border between Roman and Carthaginian Spain.

During the Second Punic War, an expanding Roman Empire captured Carthaginian trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast from about 210 to 205 B.C. It took the Romans nearly two centuries to complete their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, despite having controlled much of it for more than 600 years. Roman rule was bound together by Roman law, language, and roads.

The cultures of the Celtic and Iberian populations were gradually Romanized (Latinized) at different levels and in different parts of Hispania (the Roman name for the peninsula). Local leaders were admitted to the Roman aristocratic class. Hispania served as a granary for the Roman market and its ports exported gold, wool, olive oil and wine. Agricultural production increased with the introduction of irrigation projects, some of which remain in use. The emperors Trajan and Theodosius I and the philosopher Seneca were born in Hispania. Christianity was introduced to the province in the First Century AD. the term "Spain", languages, religion and the basis of the current laws of Spain originated from this period.


Middle Ages

Visigothic Kingdom

The weakening of the jurisdiction of the Western Roman Empire in Hispania began in 409, when the Germanic peoples suebi and vandals, together with the Sarmatian Alans, crossed the Rhine and devastated Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula. The Visigoths attacked Iberia in the same year. The suebi established a kingdom in what is now Moderna Galicia and northern Portugal. The Western Roman Empire was disintegrating, but its social and economic base continued, albeit in a modified form. Their successor regimes retained many of the Empire's institutions and laws, including Christianity.

The allies of the Alans, the asdingos vandals, established a kingdom in Gallaecia, occupying much of the region but going further south of the Douro River. The silingian vandals occupied the region that still bears their name — Vandalúsia, moderna Andalusia, in Spain. The Byzantines established an enclave, Spania, in the south, with the intention of reviving the Roman Empire along the Iberian Peninsula. Hispania was eventually united under Visigothic rule at the end of the sixth century.


Muslim Iberia

In the eighth century, almost the entire Iberian Peninsula was conquered (711-718) by armies of Muslim Moors coming mainly from North Africa. These conquests were part of the expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate. Only a small mountainous area in the northwest of the peninsula managed to resist the initial Muslim invasion.

Under Islamic law, Christians and Jews were given the subordinate status of dhimmi. This statute allowed Christians and Jews to practice their religions as "peoples of the book," but they were required to pay a special tax and were subject to certain discriminations. Conversion to Islam continued at an increasing rate. It is believed that the muladi (Muslims of Iberian ethnic origin) comprised the majority of the population of Al-Andalus until the end of the tenth century.

The Muslim community in the Iberian Peninsula was diverse and plagued by social tensions. The Berber peoples of North Africa, who had supplied most of the invading armies, clashed with the Arab leadership of the Middle East. Over time, large Arab populations settled, especially in the valley of the Guadalquivir River, in the coastal plain of Valencia, in the valley of the Ebro River (at the end of this period) and in the mountainous region of Granada.

Córdoba, the capital of the caliphate, was the largest, richest and most sophisticated city in Western Europe at the time. Trade and cultural exchange in the Mediterranean flourished. Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa. Muslim and Jewish scholars played an important role in the renewal and expansion of classical Greek learning in Western Europe. The Romanized cultures of the Iberian Peninsula interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, giving the region a distinct culture. In the eleventh century, Muslim territories fragmented into rival kingdoms (the so-called taifas), allowing small Christian States the opportunity to greatly expand their territories.

The arrival of the dominant Islamic sects of the Almoravids and Almohads from North Africa restored unity in Muslim Iberia, with a stricter and less tolerant application of Islam sparking a recovery in Muslim fortunes. This reunited Islamic State experienced more than a century of successes that partially reversed Christian victories.



The Reconquista was the centuries-long period in which Christian rule was gradually being reestablished over the Iberian Peninsula. The reconquest is seen as beginning at the Battle of Covadonga, won by Don Pelayo in 722, and coincides with the period of Muslim rule. The victory of the Christian army over the Muslim forces led to the creation of the Kingdom of Asturias along the northwestern coastal mountains. Shortly thereafter, in 739, Muslim forces were expelled from Galicia, which would later host one of the holiest sites in medieval Europe, Santiago de Compostela, and was incorporated into the new Christian kingdom. The Kingdom of Leo was the strongest Christian kingdom for centuries. The Kingdom of Castile, formed from the Leonese territory, was his successor as the strongest Kingdom.

Muslim armies also moved into the northern Pyrenees, but were defeated by Frankish forces at the Battle of Poitiers and driven from the southernmost region of the Frankish kingdom along the Sea coast in the 760s. Later, Frankish forces established Christian counties on the southern side of the Pyrenees. These areas were to grow into the kingdoms of Navarre and Aragon. When Ferdinand II of Aragon succeeded to the crown of Aragon in 1479, the Union of this kingdom with that of Castile finally took place, where his wife, Isabel I of Castile, reigned, giving rise to the Catholic monarchy, ruled by the Catholic Monarchs and their successors.



The unification of the crowns of Aragon and Castile laid the foundation for moderna Spain and the Spanish Empire. Spain was the largest power in Europe during the sixteenth century and most of the sixteenth century, a position reinforced by trade and the wealth of its colonial possessions. It reached its apogee during the reigns of the first two Spanish Habsburgs, Charles I (1516-1556) and Philip II (1556-1598). This period was marked by the Italian Wars, Revolt of The Communards, Dutch revolt, rebellion of the Alpujarras, conflicts with the Ottomans, the Anglo-Spanish War and the wars with France.

1492 also marked the arrival of Christopher Columbus to The New World, during a voyage financed by Isabella. His first voyage crossed the Atlantic and reached the Caribbean islands, beginning the European exploration and conquest of the Americas, although Columbus remained convinced that he had reached the East. A large number of Amerindians died in battle against the Spanish during the conquest, while others died from various other causes, such as epidemics of diseases brought by Europeans. Some scholars consider the early period of the Spanish conquest — from Columbus ' first landing in the Bahamas to the mid — sixteenth century-as one of the most notorious cases of genocide in human history. The death toll may have reached about 70 million indigenous people (out of a population of 80 million) in this period.

Through exploration, conquest, or dynastic alliances, the Spanish empire expanded to include vast areas in the Americas, islands in the Asia-Pacific region, areas of what is now Italy, cities in North Africa, and parts of what is now the territory of France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The first circumnavigation of the world was carried out in 1519-1521. It was the first empire in which it was said that the "sun never sets". It was a time of discovery, with daring sea and land explorations, the opening of new trade routes across the oceans, conquests and the beginning of European colonialism. Spanish explorers brought back precious metals, spices and previously unknown plants and played a leading role in transforming European understanding of the globe. The cultural efflorescence witnessed during this period is now called Spain's Golden Age.

The Protestant Reformation dragged the kingdom deeper and deeper into the chaos of religious wars. The result was a country forced to expand military efforts throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. In the intervening decades of the seventeenth century, in a Europe ravaged by war and the Black Death, The Spanish Habsburgs had entangled the country in political and religious conflicts across the continent. These conflicts depleted their resources and undermined the overall economy. Spain managed to keep most of the Empire dispersed and help Holy Roman imperial forces reverse much of the advances made by Protestant forces, but was eventually forced to recognize the separation of Portugal and the United Provinces, as well as suffering some serious military turnarounds in France in the latter stages of the immensely destructive thirty years ' war.

The war of the Spanish Succession was a broad international conflict combined with a civil war and would cost the kingdom its European assets and its position as one of the continent's leading powers. During this war, a new dynasty originating in France, the Bourbons, was installed. For a long time United only by The Crown, a true Spanish state was established when the first Bourbon King, Philip V, United the crowns of Castile and Aragon into a single state, abolishing many of the old regional privileges and laws.


Napoleonic rule and the Spanish-American War

In 1793, Spain went to war against the new revolutionary French Republic as a member of the First coalition. The subsequent Pyrenees war polarized the country into a backlash against the gallicized elites and after defeat on the field, a peace agreement was made with France in 1795 in the peace of Basel, in which Spain lost control over two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. Prime Minister Manuel Godoy ensured that Spain allied with France in the brief war of the third Coalition, which ended with the British naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. In 1807, a secret treaty between Napoleon and the unpopular prime minister led to a new declaration of war against Britain and Portugal. Napoleon's troops entered the country to invade Portugal, but occupied the main fortresses of Spain. The Spanish king abdicated in favor of Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte. However, further military actions of the Spanish armies, guerrillas and Luso-British forces of Wellington, combined with the disastrous invasion of Russia by Napoleon, led to the expulsion of the French imperial armies from Spain in 1814 and the return of King Ferdinand VII.

During the war, in 1810, a revolutionary body, the Cortes de Cádiz, was assembled to coordinate the effort against the Bonapartist regime and prepare a constitution. It met as a single body and its members represented the entire Spanish Empire. In 1812, a constitution for universal representation under a constitutional monarchy was declared, but after the fall of the Bonapartist regime, Ferdinand VII dismissed the Cortes Generales and was determined to rule as an absolute monarch. These events foreshadowed the conflict between conservatives and liberals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In the late nineteenth century, nationalist movements emerged in the Philippines and Cuba. In 1895 and 1896, the Cuban War of independence and The Philippine Revolution broke out, and finally the United States became involved. The Spanish-American War was fought in the spring of 1898 and resulted in Spain losing the last bastion of its vast colonial empire outside of North Africa. El Desastre (the disaster), as the war became known in Spain, gave an additional boost to the generation of ' 98 who were conducting an analysis of the country.

The first two decades of the twentieth century brought some peace; Spain played a minor role in the partition of Africa, colonizing Western Sahara, Spanish Morocco, and Equatorial Guinea. The heavy losses suffered during the Rif War in North Africa helped undermine the monarchy. A period of authoritarian rule by general Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-1931) ended with the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic. The Republic offered political autonomy to the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia and gave women the right to vote.


Civil war and dictatorship

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) broke out. Three years later, the Nationalist forces, led by general Francisco Franco, emerged victorious with the support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The governing Popular Front was supported by the Soviet Union, Mexico, and the International Brigades, but was not officially supported by the Western powers, due to the British, U.S.-led policy of non-interventionism.

The Civil War took the lives of more than 500 thousand people and caused the flight of about half a million Spanish citizens. Most of their descendants now live in Latin American countries, with about 300,000 in Argentina alone.

The Spanish state established by Francisco Franco after the Civil War was nominally neutral in World War II, although it was sympathetic to the Axis powers. The only legal party under Franco's post-civil War regime was the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las JONS, formed in 1937. The party emphasized anti-communism, Catholicism, and nationalism. Given the opposition to Franco from competing political parties, the party was renamed the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional) in 1949.

After World War II, Spain was isolated politically and economically and was kept out of the United Nations. This changed in 1955, during the Cold War period, when the country became strategically important for the United States to establish its military presence in the Iberian Peninsula as a base for any possible transfer by the Soviet Union to the Mediterranean basin. In the 1960s, Spain recorded an unprecedented rate of economic growth in what became known as the Spanish miracle, which resumed the much-interrupted transition to a moderna economy.


Restoration of democracy

On Franco's death in November 1975, Juan Carlos succeeded him as King of Spain and head of state, in accordance with the law. With the approval of the new Spanish Constitution of 1978 and the restoration of democracy, the State decentralized much of its authority to the regions with local government and created an internal organization based on autonomous communities.

In the Basque Country, moderate nationalism has coexisted with a radical nationalist movement led by the armed organisation Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA). The group was formed in 1959 during Franco's rule, but continued to wage its violent campaign even after the restoration of democracy and the return of a high degree of regional autonomy.

On February 23, 1981, rebel elements among the security forces seized Cortes in an attempt to impose a U.S.-backed military government. King Juan Carlos took personal command of the military and successfully ordered the coup plotters, through national television, to surrender. On 30 May 1982, Spain joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following a referendum. That year, the Spanish Socialist Workers ' Party (PSOE) came to power, the first left-wing government in 43 years. In 1986 Spain joined the European Community, which later became the European Union (EU). The PSOE was replaced in government by the people's party (PP) in 1996.

On 1 January 2002, Spain stopped using the peseta as its currency and replaced it with the euro, which it shares with 15 other eurozone countries. The country experienced strong economic growth, well above the EU average, but the concerns publicized and issued by many economic commentators at the height of the property price boom and high foreign trade deficits that the country was likely to undergo a painful economic collapse were confirmed by a severe recession that has plagued the country since 2008.

On March 11, 2004, a series of bombs exploded on trains in Madrid. After a five-month trial in 2007, it was concluded that the bombings were carried out by a local militant Islamic group inspired by the Al-Qaeda organization. The explosions killed 191 people and injured more than 1800, and the intention of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack may have been to influence the outcome of the Spanish general election, held three days later.

Although initial suspicions focused on the Basque group ETA, evidence soon emerged indicating a possible involvement of Islamic extremist groups. Due to the proximity of the election, the issue of responsibility quickly became a political controversy, with the main competing parties, PP and PSOE, trading accusations over the manipulation of the result.

In the elections of 14 March 2004, the PSOE, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, obtained a sufficient plurality to form a new cabinet, thus succeeding the previous PP administration.

In the elections of November 20, 2011 the party led by Mariano Rajoy obtained more than 10.8 million votes and elected 186 deputies, winning an absolute majority and the best result ever of the Popular Party, which returned to power.

A referendum on Catalan independence was held on October 1, 2017, and on October 27, the Catalan parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain to form a Catalan Republic on the day the Spanish Senate was discussing approving intervention in the autonomous region. Later that day, the Senate granted the power to impose direct rule from Madrid on Catalonia, while Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a new election.

No country has recognized Catalonia as a separate state. On 1 June 2018, the Congress of Deputies passed a motion of no confidence against Rajoy and replaced him with PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez, bringing the Socialists back to power after seven years.



Spain is known for its diverse cultural heritage, having been influenced by many nations and peoples throughout its history. Spanish culture has its origins in Iberian, Celtic, Celtiberian, Latin, Visigothic, Roman Catholic, and Islamic cultures. The definition of a Spanish national culture has been characterized by tension between the centralized state, dominated in recent centuries by Castile, and many minority regions and peoples. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment played important roles in shaping its culture. Spain has 47 World Heritage sites, which include the Monte Perdido landscape in the Pyrenees, which is shared with France, the prehistoric rock art sites of the Côa Valley and Siega Verde, which is shared with Portugal, The Mercury Heritage site, shared with Slovenia, and the primary beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe, shared with other countries in Europe. In addition, Spain also has 14 intangible cultural heritage, or "human treasures".



Artists from Spain have had a great influence on the development of various European and North American art movements. Due to the historical, geographical and generational diversity, Spanish art has known a large number of influences. The Mediterranean heritage with greco-Roman and some Moorish influences in Spain, especially in Andalusia, is still evident today. European influences include Italy, Germany and France, especially during the Renaissance, Spanish Baroque and neoclassical periods. There are many other indigenous styles, such as pre-Romanesque art and architecture, herrerian architecture or Elizabethan Gothic.

During the Golden Age, painters working in Spain included El Greco, Ribera, Murillo and Zurbarán. Also in the Baroque period, Diego Velázquez created some of the most famous Spanish portraits, such as Las Meninas and Las Hilanderas. Goya painted during a historical period that includes the Spanish War of Independence, the struggles between liberals and absolutists, and the rise of contemporary nation-states. Sorolla is a well-known Moderna Impressionist painter and there are many important Spanish painters belonging to the modernist art movement, including Picasso, Dalí, Gris and Miró.



The development of Spanish literature coincides and often intersects with that of other literary traditions of regions within the same territory, mainly Catalan literature; Galician also intersects with the Latin, Jewish and Arabic literary traditions of the Iberian Peninsula. Latin American literature is an important branch of Spanish literature, with its own particular characteristics dating back to the early years of the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

The Roman conquest and occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, beginning in the third century BC, brought a Latin culture to the Spanish territories. The arrival of Muslim invaders in 711 A.D. brought about the cultures of the middle and Far East. In medieval Spanish literature, the earliest recorded examples of a vernacular literature blend Muslim, Jewish, and Christian culture. One of the notable works is the epic poem Cantar De Mio Cid, written in 1140. Spanish prose gained popularity in the middle of the XIII century. Lyric poetry in the Middle Ages includes folk poems and the courtly poetry of the nobles. During the fifteenth century, the pre-renaissance took place and literary production increased greatly. In the Renaissance, the important topics were poetry, religious literature and prose. In the Baroque era of the seventeenth century, important works were the prose of Francisco de Quevedo and Baltasar Gracián. Miguel de Cervantes is probably Spain's most famous author, and his work Don Quixote is considered the most emblematic work in the canon of Spanish literature and a founding classic of Western literature.

In the Enlightenment era of the eighteenth century, notable works include the prose of Benito Jerónimo Feijoo, Gaspar Melchor De Jovellanos and José Cadalso; the lyrical poems of Juan Meléndez Valdés, Tomás de Iriarte and Félix María Samaniego and the theatre of Leandro Fernández de Moratín and Ramón de la Cruz. In romanticism (early nineteenth century), important topics are: the poetry of José de Espronceda and other poets and the theater, with Ángel de Saavedra (Duke of Rivas), José Zorrilla and other authors. In realism (late nineteenth century), mixed with naturalism, important themes are the novel, with Juan Valera, José Maria de Pereda, Benito Pérez Galdós, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Leopoldo Alas, Armando Palacio Valdés and Vicente Blasco Ibáñez.

In modernism, various currents appear: parnassianism, symbolism, futurism and creationism. The destruction of the Spanish fleet in Cuba by the United States in 1898 provoked a crisis in Spain. A group of younger writers, among them Miguel de Unamuno, Pío Baroja and José Martínez Ruiz, made changes to the form and content of literature. By the year 1914 — the year of the outbreak of World War I and the publication of the first major work of the leading voice of the generation, José Ortega y Gasset-several writers had established their own place in Spanish culture. Among the main voices are the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, the academics and essayists Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Gregorio Marañon, Manuel Azaña, Eugeni d'ors and Ortega y Gasset, the novelists Gabriel Miró, Ramón Pérez de Ayala, Ramón Gómez de Serna and the playwright Pedro Muñoz Seca. Around 1920, a younger group of writers — mostly poets — began publishing works that, from the outset, revealed the extent to which younger artists were absorbing the literary experimentation of the writers of 1898 and 1914. Poets were closely connected with the formal Academy. Novelists such as Rosa Chacel, Francisco Ayala, and Ramón J. Sender were equally experimental and academic.

The Spanish Civil War had a devastating impact on Spanish writing. Among the few poets and writers of the civil War, Miguel Hernández stands out. During the initial dictatorship (1939-1955), the literature followed dictator Francisco Franco's reactionary vision of a second Spanish Golden Age. By the mid-1950s, just as in the novel, a new generation that had only experienced the Spanish civil War in childhood was coming of age. In the early 1960s, Spanish authors moved towards restless literary experimentation. When Franco died in 1975, the important work of establishing democracy had an immediate literary impact. In the coming years, several young writers, among them Juan José Millás, Rosa Montero, Javier Marías, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Enrique Vila-Matas, Carme Riera and later Antonio Muñoz Molina and Almudena Grandes, would begin to gain a prominent place.



Spanish music is often considered abroad as synonymous with flamenco, a musical genre from Western Andalusia that, contrary to popular belief, is not very common outside this region. Various regional styles of folk music abound in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Castile, the Basque Country, Galicia and Asturias. Pop, rock, hip hop and heavy metal are also popular.

In the field of classical music, Spain has produced a number of notable composers such as Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla and Enrique Granados and singers and artists such as Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Alicia De Larrocha, Alfredo Kraus, Pablo Casals, Ricardo Viñes, José Iturbi, Pablo de Sarasate, Jordi Savall and Teresa Berganza. In Spain, there are more than 40 professional orchestras, including the Barcelona and National Symphony Orchestra of Catalonia, National Orchestra of Spain and the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. The most important opera houses include the Teatro Real, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Arriaga Theater, the Euskalduna Palace and the Queen Sofia Palace of Arts.

Thousands of music fans also travel to Spain each year for the internationally recognized music festival Sónar which often features upcoming pop and techno artists, and Benicàssim, which tends to feature alternative rock and dance acts. Both festivals mark an international music presence and reflect the taste of young people in the country. The most popular traditional musical instrument, the guitar, originates in Spain. Typical of the north are the gaiteros, especially in Asturias and Galicia.


Fashion and film

Madrid Fashion Week is one of the most important fashion weeks in Europe. The Spanish Zara is one of the largest prêt-à-porter fashion companies in the world. Fashion Designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga are among the most influential of the twentieth century.

Spanish cinema has achieved great international success, including Oscars for recent films such as Pan's Labyrinth and Volver. In the long history of Spanish cinema, the great filmmaker Luis Buñuel was the first to achieve worldwide recognition, followed by Pedro Almodóvar in the 1980s (La Movida Madrileña). Spanish cinema has also enjoyed international success over the years, with directors such as Segundo de Chomón, Florián Rey, Luis García Berlanga, Carlos Saura, Julio Medem, Isabel Coixet, Alejandro Amenábar, Icíar Bollaín and the brothers David Trueba and Fernando Trueba. Actresses Sara Montiel and Penelope Cruz or actor Antonio Banderas are among those who have become Hollywood stars. The Valladolid and San Sebastian International Film Festivals are the oldest and most relevant in Spain.



Spanish cuisine consists of a wide variety of dishes that result from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by the seafood available in the waters surrounding the country and reflects the nation's deep Mediterranean roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to a unique cuisine.

In the Mediterranean region, from Catalonia to Andalusia, there is heavy use of seafood such as pescaíto frito (fried fish); various cold soups such as gazpacho; and many rice-based dishes such as Valencian paella and Catalan black rice.

In the interior, it is the common consumption of hot and thick soups, such as Castilian soup based on bread and garlic, along with substantial stews, such as the Madrilenian stew. Foods are traditionally preserved with salting, such as Spanish ham, or immersed in olive oil, such as manchego cheese.

On the North Atlantic coast, including Asturian, Basque, Cantabrian and Galician cuisine-stews based on vegetables and fish such as caldo galego and marmitako. In addition, the ham lacón slightly cured. The best known cuisine of the northern countries is usually based on oceanic seafood, such as in Basque-style Cod, albacore or anchovy or in octopus-based polbo á feira and seafood dishes.



Due to its historical and geographical diversity, Spanish architecture has drawn from a number of influences. An important city of the province founded by the Romans and with an extensive infrastructure of the Roman era, Córdoba became the cultural capital, including an architecture in Arabic style, made during the time of the Umayyad Caliphate. Arab-style architecture later continued to be developed under successive Islamic dynasties, ending with the nacerids, who built their famous palace complex in Granada. Simultaneously, Christian kingdoms gradually emerged and developed their own styles, developing a pre-Romanesque style, when for a time isolated from the main European contemporary architectural influences during the early Middle Ages, which later integrated the Romanesque and gothic flows.

There was then an extraordinary flowering of the Gothic style, which resulted in numerous constructions of the type throughout the territory. The Mudejar style, from the 12th to 17th centuries, was developed by introducing Arabic-style motifs, patterns and elements into European architecture. An influential style in central Barcelona, known as Catalan Modernism, produced a number of important architects, of which Gaudí is one. The international style was spearheaded by groups such as GATEPAC. Spain is currently experiencing a revolution in contemporary architecture and Spanish architects such as Rafael Moneo, Santiago Calatrava, Ricardo Bofill, among others, have gained worldwide renown.



The tour of Spain (Spanish: Vuelta a España or simply Vuelta) is one of the main sporting events in the country, which together with the Giro d'italia and the Tour de France, is one of the three great tours of world cycling. The Vuelta had its first edition in 1935, but there were no editions during World War II. He made his comeback in 1955 to the present day. As of 2009, 63 editions of the Vuelta a España have been held.

Sports in Spain are dominated, mainly, by cycling, football (since the twentieth century), basketball, tennis, handball, and motor sports, especially motorcycling. Starting with the 1992 Olympic Games, held in the city of Barcelona, the country entered the world elite in various sports. His biggest idol in the sport is Alberto Contador, from the Nursultan Pro Cycling Team. Contador is the winner of the 2007 and 2009 Tour de France, as well as the 2008 Giro d'italia and the 2008 Vuelta a España, among other Tour victories. He is considered the best cyclist of today, and one of the greatest names in the sport of all time. In 2010 Spain became world football champions, having won the World Cup in South Africa and became the only football team to be world champion and two-time European champion, having won the 2008 European Championships, held in Switzerland and Austria, and 2012, in Poland and Ukraine.



Holidays celebrated in Spain include a mixture of religious (Roman Catholic), national and regional festivities. Each municipality can declare a maximum of 14 public holidays per year; up to nine of them are chosen by the national government and at least two are chosen locally. Spain's National Day (Fiesta Nacional de España) is October 12, the anniversary of the discovery of America and commemorates the feast of Our Lady of the pillar, patron saint of Aragon and all of Spain.

Some of the Spanish festivals are known all over the world, and every year millions of foreign tourists go to Spain to participate. One of the most famous are the Fiestas de San Firmino in Pamplona. Although its most famous event is the encierro', or the bull run, which takes place on the morning of July 14, the week-long celebration involves many other traditional and folkloric events. Its events were central to the plot of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, which brought it to the general attention of English-speaking people. As a result, it has become one of the internationally renowned fiestas in Spain, with over a million people attending every year. Other festivals include: the Tomato festival La Tomatina in Buñol, Valencia, the carnivals in the Canary Islands, the falls in Valencia or the Holy Week in Andalusia and Castile and León.



Situated in Western Europe, Spain occupies most of the Iberian Peninsula and, outside of it, two main archipelagos (Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea), two cities (Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa), the island of Alborão and a series of islands and islets that lie off the peninsular coasts, such as the Columbretes Islands. In addition, it consists of smaller continental possessions, such as the Chafarinas Islands, the islet of Vélez de La Gomera and the islet of Alhucemas, all of them off the African coast.

In territorial extension, it is the fourth largest country in Europe, behind only Russia (which is the largest country in the world, taking into account only the European part), Ukraine and France, and the second largest in the European Union, behind only France. The physical boundaries of Spain are as follows: Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean to the West; the Mediterranean Sea to the East; the Strait of Gibraltar, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the south; the Pyrenees to the Northeast and the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian Sea to the North.


Geomorphology and hydrography

The entire western half of the Iberian Peninsula, except the southern end, is made up of old (Hercynian) rocks; geologists often refer to this Hesperic Massif by the name of Meseta Central. The word meseta is also used by geographers and as a local toponym to name the relief that dominates the center of the Iberian Peninsula. The Pyrenees, a portion of the European Alps, constitute a large mountain range that runs between the Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay, 430 km away. Many mountain ranges tending from northwest to Southeast constitute the Iberian Cordillera, which divides the Ebro depression from the Meseta and rises higher with the Pico de Moncayo at 2,313 m.

The Iberian Peninsula has many streams, three of which are among the largest on the European continent: the Tagus, with 1 007 km long, the Ebro, with 909 km, and the Douro, with 895 km. The Guadiana and Guadalquivir are 818 km and 657 km, respectively. The Tagus, in the same way as the Douro and the Guadiana, comes to the Atlantic Ocean in Portuguese territory. In fact, all the most important Spanish Rivers, with the exception of the Ebro, flow into the Atlantic. The river network in the Mediterranean portion of the watershed has little development in contrast to the Atlantic systems, in part since it descends in the less humid portions in the opinion of climatologists specializing in Spain. However, the Iberian rivers, in their almost totality, have a reduced volume per year, irregular regimes, valleys with great depth and even Gorges. Floods are continually a heightened danger.

Soil erosion resulting from the degraded biome over 3,000 years had created areas that reduced the land cover, forming alluvium to the side where the river descends, and lately irrigation works and dams silted up other regions. One of the worst environmental issues in Spain today constitutes the danger of desertification, the impoverishment of arid, semi-arid and still humid ecosystems caused by the joint action of human activities and drought. Almost 50% of Spain is affected in a balanced or severe way by droughts, mainly in the sandy East (Almeria, Murcia), as well as in much of sub-arid Spain (Ebro Basin). Afforestation policies have been adopted by the executive branch, however, some authorities believe that naturally growing vegetation would have brought greater permanence of benefits.



Spain is characterized by an overlapping climatic division between humid, semi-arid, arid, Oceanic, Continental and temperate zones. This complexity is a result of the size of the peninsula, which is extensive enough to produce a very varied thermal regime, as well as the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and North Africa, which exposes the country to influences from the sea and the Sahara.

The Pyrenees and the Cantabrian mountain ranges play a key role in Spain's climate by maintaining the subtropical air masses in Spain in the summer months. Generally, the westerly winds of the North Atlantic dominate most of the year, while the warm, dry air mass of the Sahara blows strongly less frequently. Northern Spain, between Galicia and Catalonia, is characterized by a temperate maritime or humid climate.

The climate of the rest of the peninsula is Mediterranean with Continental tendencies. The climate of the Guadalquivir and Ebro valleys is also continental, the Guadalquivir colder and drier and the Ebro wetter and warmer. The Catalan, Valencian and Balearic autonomous communities have a more temperate climate, much rainier in Catalonia, while the climate of the Canaries is subtropical Atlantic.

Spain is a country especially affected by the phenomenon of drought: during the period 1880-2000, more than half of the years were classified as dry or very dry. Seven years in the 1980s and five in the 1990s were considered dry or very dry. Climate change is expected to bring serious environmental problems, aggravating the most extreme features of the local climate.



The natural vegetation covers almost 50%, half of the Spanish territory, however, only a small part (largely limited to the mountains) is classified as dense forest. The northern region has deciduous forests (oak, beech) and heaths. The vegetation of the rest of the Spanish territory is Mediterranean, which is characterized by Green Oak (Quercus ilex) and other plants that resist periods of drought.

Africa's proximity to Spain has provided the country with more species of African wildlife than are found on the other Mediterranean peninsulas, while the Pyrenees mountain range and the length of the nation motivate the amount of endemic species. The European wolf and brown bear often survive in the small wild regions of the northeastern part. Fallow deer, IBEX (wild goat), Red Deer and wild boar are often frequent. About 50% of European bird species are found in the Doñana National Park at the mouth of the Guadalquivir; the Iberian imperial eagle and other large birds, such as the Buzzard and several variations of pheasant, are endemic to the Pyrenees. Southern Spain and Northern Africa are also periodically invaded by desert locusts.

The waters of the country are home to various fish and shellfish, especially in the region in which the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet (the Alboran Sea). Species such as mullet, mackerel, tuna, octopus, swordfish, sardines (Sardinia pilchardus) and anchovies (Engraulis encrasicholus) are common. Among the demersal (bottom) species are hake and Whiting. The waters of south-eastern Spain are inhabited by the striped dolphin, whales and bottlenose dolphin.

Since 1996 the CO₂ emissions index has risen notably in Spain, failing to meet the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions and contributors to climate change. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, called on Spain for "more active leadership" in the fight against climate change. According to Al Gore, Spain is the European country most vulnerable to the greenhouse effect.



In 2019, the population of Spain officially reached 47 million people, as recorded by the Padrón municipal. The population density was 91 people per square mile./ km2, is smaller than that of most Western European countries and its distribution across the country is quite uneven. With the exception of the region around the capital, Madrid, the most populated areas are around the coast. Spain's population has more than doubled since 1900, when it stood at 18.6 million, mainly due to the spectacular demographic growth experienced by the country in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Spain is the most tolerant country towards homosexuality in the world. Only 6% of Spaniards say homosexuality is "morally unacceptable," while 55% consider it "morally acceptable" and 38% say homosexuality is "not a moral issue." Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2004.


Ethnic composition

Native Spaniards make up 88% of the total population of Spain. After the birth rate fell in the 1980s, Spain's population growth rate slowed, but the population again grew based initially on the return of many Spaniards who emigrated to other European countries during the 1970s and more recently fueled by large numbers of immigrants constituting 12% of the population. Immigrants originate mainly in Latin America (39%), North Africa (16%), Eastern Europe (15%) and sub-Saharan Africa (4%).

In 2008, the country granted citizenship to 84,170 people, mostly to people from Ecuador, Colombia and Morocco. A considerable part of foreign residents in Spain also come from other countries of Western and Central Europe. These are mostly British, French, Germans, Dutch and Norwegians. They reside mainly on the Mediterranean coast and in the Balearic Islands, where many choose to live their retirement.

Substantial populations descended from Spanish settlers and immigrants exist in other parts of the world, most notably Latin America. Beginning in the late fifteenth century, a large number of Iberian settlers settled in what became Latin America and at present the bulk of white Latin Americans (who make up about a third of Latin America's population) are of Spanish or Portuguese origin. In the 16th century, an estimated 240,000 Spaniards emigrated, mostly to Peru and Mexico. They were joined by 450,000 who emigrated in the following century. Between 1846 and 1932 it is estimated that about 5 million Spaniards emigrated to America, especially to Argentina, Cuba and Brazil about two million Spaniards migrated to other Western European countries between 1960 and 1975. During the same period, about 300,000 went to Latin America.


Immigration and migration

Migratory movements, both internal and External, have been determinant in the moderna demographic composition of Spain. Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was a significant immigration stream from Spain to ibero-American countries. Among the main destinations were Argentina, Cuba and Brazil. The population density of Spain is lower than that of most European countries. Rural populations are moving to cities. In recent years Spain has shown a considerable decrease in the net immigration rate, ceasing to have the highest immigration rate in Europe (in 2005 of 1.5% per year only surpassed in the EU by Cyprus) currently its net immigration rate reaches 0.99%, occupying the 15th position in the European Union. In addition, the 9th country with the highest percentage of immigrants within the EU, below countries such as Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria and Germany.

In 2005, Spain received 38.6% of immigration to the European Union, mainly from citizens of Latin American origin, from other countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Maghreb. The foreign population in Spain in 2007 was 4,144,166, an increase of 11.1% compared to the previous year. This figure represents 9.3% of the 44,708,964 inhabitants in Spain.



Spain is openly a multilingual country. The official language and the most spoken in Spain as a whole, by 98.9% of the population, is Castilian, the mother tongue of 89% of Spaniards, which can receive the alternative denomination of Spanish. The estimated number of speakers worldwide ranges from 450 to 500 million people, being the second most spoken mother tongue after Chinese. There are predictions that it will become the second language of international communication after English in the future, and, after this, it is the second most studied language.

The Spanish Constitution recognizes the linguistic richness of Spain as a cultural heritage subject to special respect and protection, and declares that the "rest of Spanish languages" are official in the autonomous communities according to their statutes of autonomy, although knowledge of Castilian is only a duty and obligation.

In Spain, the following languages enjoy the same protection as the Spanish language: Catalan (between 9% and 17% of the population); Galician (between 5% and 7% of the population); Basque (1% of the population); Asturian-Leonese; Aragonese; Occitan; Portuguese; tarifit (in Melilla); and Arabic (in Ceuta and Melilla). Spain ratified the European Charter of regional or minority languages of the European Council on 9 April 2001.



Article 16-3 of the current Spanish constitution defines the country as a state without confession: ‘no confession shall have a state character‘. However, the freedom of religion and worship of individuals is guaranteed and a cooperative relationship between the public authorities and all religious confessions is ensured. According to the Center for Sociological Research, the Spanish state statistics center, in its July 2019 study, about 67.4% of Spaniards classified themselves as Roman Catholics, although only 22.7% are practicing Catholics. On the other hand, atheists or non-religious add up to 21.6%, and agnostics reach 7.5%. Adherents of other religions (including Islam, Protestantism, Buddhism, etc.), about 2%.

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer survey, 59% of the Spanish population believes in the existence of some god. 20% of Spaniards believe in the existence of some kind of spirit or life force, while 19% do not believe that there is any kind of Spirit, God, or life force.

Most Spaniards do not attend religious temples regularly. The study pointed out that of Spaniards who say they are religious, 61% rarely attend Mass, 14% attend Mass a few times a year, 10% a few times a month and 14% every Sunday or several times a week. Although a majority of Spaniards are Catholic, most, especially young people, ignore conservative moral doctrines on issues such as premarital sex, sexual orientation and contraceptive methods.

The second religion in terms of number of members is Muslim. There are an estimated 800,000 worshippers, mainly from recent waves of immigration. There is also a growing number of Protestant churches, numbering about 400,000 faithful (the own statistics of Protestants in Spain indicates 1.2 million, of which 400,000 are Spaniards and the rest are foreigners residing in Spain for at least six months of the year).




Extraterritorial Spain, with a hereditary monarch who serves as head of State — The King of Spain, and a bi-cameral parliament, the Cortes Generales. The executive power was formed by a Council of Ministers chaired by the president of the government, who served as head of government, and the judicial power was formed by a set of judges and courts, composed of Judge and magistrates, who had a justi administration power on behalf of the King. Legislative power is established in the Cortes generales, which is the Supreme representative body of the Spanish people. Like the Cortes generales, the Congress of Deputies, the Congress of Deputies, the Congress of Deputies, the Senate.

The Congress of Deputies, consisting of 350 members elected by popular vote, on closed and delayed lists, representative, proportional, regional, provincial, to serve in four-year legislatures. The system is not absolutely proportional, as there is a minimum number of seats per constituency (3) and a slightly corrected proportional system is used to favour majority lists (the D'hondt system).

The Senate has a total of 259 members, of whom 208 are directly elected by popular vote, by provincial constituencies, in each of which 4 Senators are elected, following a majority System (3 for a majority list, 1 for the following), except in the Balearic Islands and The Canary Islands, where each constituency is an island. The other 51 S 0o designated by 51 S 0o for four years. On 2 June 2014, King Juan Carlos abdicated the throne in favour of his son, who became King Philip VI. It was the first time in more than fifty years that a king abdicated the throne in Spain.


International relations

After the return of democracy after Franco's death in 1975, Spain's foreign policy priorities were to break the diplomatic isolation of the years of the Francoist dictatorship and expand diplomatic relations, enter the European Community, and define security relations with the West. Spain held on against the Philippines. Its policy emphasizes the concept of the ibero-American community, essentially a renewal of the concept of "Hispanism", which seeks to link the Iberian Peninsula to Hispanic America in through language, commerce, history and culture. "Based on comparative values and recovery".


Claims extraterritorial

Spain claims Gibraltar, a British overseas territory of 6 km2, in the southernmost part of the Iberian Peninsula. A Spanish city, it was conquered by an anglo-Dutch society in 1704 during the war of success, a Spanish society on behalf of Archduke Charles, pretender to the Spanish throne. The legal situation concerning Gibraltar was resolved in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht, without which Spain ceded the territory in perpetuity to the British Crown, stating that if the British abandoned the site, it would be offered to Spain first. Since the 1940 Treaty, Spain has demanded the return of Gibraltar. The overwhelming majority of Gibraltarians in the following cases, as well as reject any proposal for shared sovereignty. The UN resolutions call on the UK and Spain to reach an agreement on the status of Gibraltar.

Another claims Spain over the savage islands, one claims Spain over Portugal. Spain claims it is on the rocks and islands, claiming it is on the disputed islands. On 5 July 2013, Spain sent a letter to the UN expressing these views.



As the Armed Forces of Spain, it has as commander-in-chief of the king of Spain, Felipe VI.they are responsible for guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spain, defender of its territorial integrity and constitutional order, in accordance with the functions entrusted to it in the Constitution of 1978. These are formations: Army, Air Force, the Spanish Armada, The Royal Guard and emergency military unit, as well as the so-called Common Corps.

As for the 21900 Spanish armadas, at 1770 in reserve. The pa has a 77,000-strong Civil Guard, which is under the control of the Ministry of Defence in times of national emergency. The or the extermination of the Spanish defense of about 5,7 billion euros (2015).

The Spanish army consists of 15 active brigades and 6 military regiments. Moderna infantry has diverse capabilities and this is reflected in the different roles, which are assigned. There are four roles that are operated by children that they can fulfill: assault, armored infantry, mechanized infantry, and Light Infantry.

The current flagship of the Spanish Navy the assault ship and the assault ship Juan Carlos I, which was also used as a carrier AVI. In addition, the fleet consists of: 2 amphibious transport docks, 11 frigates, 3 submarines, 6 mine countermeasures vessels, 23 patrol vessels and several auxiliary ships. The total displacement of the Spanish Navy 220 000 tons. In 2012, the Navy had 20,838 personnel.

Spain has ten squadrons, each with 18 to 24 AVI. The Air Force also has 15 operational air bases across the country and maintains about 450 aircraft in total, of which about 130 are combat aircraft, including several Eurofighter Typhoons.

Spain has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 1982. A decision that was ratified in a referendum in 1986 by the Spanish people. The conditions were the reduction of US military bases, no integration of Spain into the NATO military structure and the Prohibition of the introduction of nuclear weapons into the territory.



Since the Constitution of 1978, Spain has been divided into 17 autonomous communities and the two autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, which enjoy intermediate status between the municipality and the community. Of the 17 autonomous communities, eight of them (Galicia, Basque Country, Andalusia, Canary Islands, Catalonia, Aragon, Valencian Community and Balearic Islands) have the status of "historical nationalities" recognized in the Constitution, along with a "statute of autonomy", which reverts to a greater power and capacity for decision and sovereignty with respect to the other communities.


State of the Autonomies

Spain is currently what is called a" state of autonomies", a formally unitary country, but which functions as a decentralized Federation of autonomous communities, each of them with different levels of autonomy. The differences within this system are caused by the process of transferring responsibilities from the central government to the regions it was thought on a principle as a process, which guaranteed a greater degree of autonomy only to those communities that sought a more federalist type of relationship with the rest of Spain (the so-called autonomous communities of special regime: Andalusia, Canary Islands, Catalonia, Aragon, Valencian Community, Balearic Islands, Galicia and Basque Country). On the other hand, the rest of the autonomous communities (autonomous communities of common regime) would have a lower autonomy. However, it was expected that over the years, these communities would gradually acquire greater autonomy.

Nowadays, Spain is considered one of the most decentralized European countries, since all its different territories administer their health and education systems locally, as well as some aspects of the public budget; some of them, such as the Basque Country and Navarre, manage their budget practically without counting, except in some aspects, with the supervision of the Spanish central government. Catalonia, Navarre and the Basque Country have their own fully operational and completely autonomous police forces. With the exception of Navarre (whose police are called Policía Foral de Navarra), both the police of Catalonia (Mossos d'esquadra) and the police of the Basque Country (Ertzaintza) replace the functions of the National Police of Spain in their respective territories. Navarre is still in the process of transferring functions.


Separatist movements

There are in Spain several political movements of separatist position, linked to peripheral nationalisms, such as Basque nationalism, Galician nationalism, Catalan nationalism, which claim independence from Spain of the territories in which they are active.

These movements take place in Catalonia, Galicia, Navarre and the Basque Country, where there are explicitly separatist parties such as the "Union of the Galician people" (UPG), "Republican Left of Catalonia", "Aralar", the "Eusko Alkartasuna", as well as the followers of the so-called "abertzale left" who do not disassociate themselves from ETA (its last formal name is Batasuna, a party illegal in Spain, but legal in France). On the other hand, parties such as the "Galician nationalist bloc" (BNG), "Basque Nationalist Party" (PNV) and "Convergència I Unió" (CiU) oscillate between autonomist and openly separatist positions.



The capitalist mixed economy of Spain is the sixteenth largest economy in the world by GDP (PPP), the fourteenth largest by nominal GDP, and the fifth largest in the European Union, as well as the fourth largest in the Eurozone. The country is also the third largest investor in the world.

In exports, in 2020, the country was the 16th largest in the world ($337.2 billion in goods, 1.8% of the world total, or$ 486 billion if we consider exported goods and services). In 2019, it was the 14th largest importer in the world, with a value of$ 375.4 billion. Spain had the 14th most valuable industry in the world in 2019 ($155.4 billion), according to the World Bank.

The center-right government of former prime minister José María Aznar succeeded in being admitted to the group of countries that launched the euro in 1999. The unemployment rate stood at 7.6% in October 2006, a rate comparable to that of many other European countries and especially to the early 1990s when it stood at over 20%. The Spanish economy's perennial weaknesses include high inflation, a large informal economy and an education system that OECD reports rank among the worst among developed countries, along with the United States and the United Kingdom.

However, the housing bubble that began to form from 1997, fueled by historically low interest rates and an immense wave of immigration, imploded in 2008 and led the economy to a rapid weakening and a rise in unemployment. By the end of May 2009, unemployment reached 18.7% (37% for young people).

Before the current crisis, Spain's economy was credited with avoiding a virtual zero growth rate as some of its biggest partners in the European Union have put it. In fact, the country's economy created more than half of all new jobs in the European Union over the five years to 2005, a process that is rapidly being reversed. The Spanish economy, until recently, was considered one of the most dynamic in the European Union, attracting a significant amount of foreign investment. The latest economic growth has been greatly benefited by the global real estate boom, with the construction sector accounting for a staggering 16% of the country'S GDP and 12% of jobs in its last year.

According to calculations by the German newspaper Die Welt, Spain was on track to overtake countries like Germany in per capita income by 2011. However, Spain'S GDP per capita was still below the European Union average of USD 29,800 in 2010, making it the second lowest in Western Europe after Portugal.The downside of the now-defunct housing boom is also a corresponding rise in personal debt levels: the average household debt level has tripled in less than a decade. This put great pressure on lower incomes for middle-income groups; by 2005, the average level of indebtedness relative to income had grown to 125%, due mainly to the boom in expensive mortgages, which today often exceed the value of the property.

In 2008/2009, the credit crunch and the global recession manifested themselves in Spain through a huge recession in the real estate sector. However, Spain's banks and financial services have avoided the more serious problems of their counterparts in the US and UK, mainly because of a conservative and tightly regulated financial regime. The European Commission predicted that Spain would enter an economic recession by the end of 2008. According to Spain's Finance Minister, "Spain is facing its worst recession in half a century."



In 2017, Spain was the second most visited country in the world, registering 82 million tourists, which marked the fifth consecutive year of record numbers. The headquarters of the World Tourism Organization is located in Madrid.

Spain's geographical location, popular coastlines, diverse landscapes, historical legacy, vibrant culture and excellent infrastructure have made the country's international tourism industry one of the largest in the world. Over the past five decades, international tourism in Spain has grown to become the second largest in the world in terms of spending, worth approximately 40 billion euros or about 5% of the country'S GDP in 2006.




Spain was one of the world's leading countries in the development and production of renewable energy. In 2012, Spain was one of the world leaders in installed wind and solar power. At the time, only the US, China and Germany had more wind energy installed in their territory; in solar energy, only the US, China, Japan, Germany and Italy. In 2010, its wind turbines generated 42,976 GWh, accounting for 16.4% of all electricity produced in Spain. On November 9, 2010, wind energy reached an instant historical peak, covering 53% of continental electricity demand and generating an amount of energy equivalent to that of 14 nuclear reactors. In 2021, Spain had, in installed renewable electricity, 20,116 MW in hydroelectric power (12th largest in the world), 27,497 MW in wind power (5th largest in the world), 15,952 MW in solar power (10th largest in the world), and 1,003 MW in biomass.

The non-renewable energy sources used in Spain are nuclear (8 operating reactors), natural gas, coal and oil. Together, fossil fuels generated 58% of Spain's electricity in 2009, just below the OECD average of 61%. Nuclear power generated another 19% and wind and hydropower about 12% each.



The Spanish road system is mainly centralized, with six highways linking Madrid to the Basque Country, Catalonia, Valencia, Western Andalusia, Extremadura and Galicia. In addition, there are highways along the coasts of the Atlantic (Ferrol to Vigo), Cantabria (Oviedo to San Sebastián) and the Mediterranean (Girona to Cádiz). Spain has set a goal of putting one million electric cars on the roads by 2014 as part of the government's plan to save energy and increase energy efficiency. Former Industry Minister Miguel Sebastián said that "the electric vehicle is the future and the engine of an industrial revolution".

Spain has the most extensive high-speed rail network in Europe and the second most extensive in the world after China. In October 2010, the country had a total of 3 500 km of high-speed rail linking Malaga, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Valladolid, with trains with speeds up to 300 km/h.on average, the Spanish High-Speed Train is the fastest in the world, followed by the Japanese bullet train and the French TGV. Regarding punctuality, it is second in the world (98.54% of arrival on time) after the Japanese Shinkansen (99%). If the goals of the ambitious AVE (Spanish High-Speed Rail) programme are met, by 2020 Spain will have 7,000 km of bullet trains linking almost every provincial city to Madrid in less than three hours and Barcelona in four hours.

There are 47 public airports in Spain. The busiest is Madrid (Barajas) airport, with 50 million passengers in 2016, making it the 25th busiest airport in the world, as well as the fourth busiest in the European Union. Barcelona airport (El Prat) is also important, with 44 million passengers in 2016, being the 33rd.The world's busiest airport. Other major airports are located in Mallorca (23 million passengers), Malaga (13 million passengers), Las Palmas (11 million passengers), Alicante (ten million passengers) and smaller, with passenger numbers between four and ten million, such as Tenerife airport (two airports), Valencia, Seville, Bilbao, Ibiza, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. In addition, more than 30 airports with the number of passengers below four million.

The most important ports and harbors are Algeciras, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao others: Cádiz, Cartagena, Ceuta, Huelva, La Coruña, Las Palmas, Malaga, Melilla, Gijón, Palma de Mallorca, Sagunto, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Los Cristianos (Tenerife), Santander, Tarragona, Vigo, Motril, Almería, Seville, Castellón de la Plana, Alicante, Pasaia, Avilés and Ferrol.



The health system of Spain (national health system) is considered one of the best in the world, in the 7th position in the ranking prepared by the World Health Organization (who). Medical care is public, universal and free for any Spanish citizen.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), total health spending represented 9.4% of Spanish GDP in 2011, slightly above the OECD average of 9.3%. Spain is ranked 1st in the world in organ transplants.

The public sector is the main source of health financing. In the country, 73% of health spending was financed by public sources in 2011, very close to the average of 72% in OECD countries. Since 2010, long-term health spending has declined.


Education, Science and technology

State education in Spain is free and compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age. The current educational system was established by the educational law of 2006, the LOE (Ley Orgánica de Educación) or Organic Law of Education. In 2014, the LOE was partially modified by the newer and controversial LOMCE law (Ley Orgánica para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa), or Organic Law for the improvement of the educational system, commonly called Ley Wert. From 1970 to 2014, Spain had seven different educational laws (LGE, LOECE, LODE, LOGSE, LOPEG, LOE and LOMCE). The Institución Libre de Enseñanza was an educational project that developed in Spain for half a century, from 1876 to 1936, by Francisco Giner de los Ríos and Gumersindo De Azcárate. The institute was inspired by the philosophy of krausism. Concepción Arenal in feminism and Santiago Ramón y Cajal in neuroscience were in the movement.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, science in Spain was held back by severe political instability and consequent economic underdevelopment. Despite these conditions, some important scientists and engineers emerged. The most notable were Miguel Servet, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Narcís Monturiol, Celedonio Calatayud, Juan de La Cierva y Codorniu, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, Margarita Salas and Severo Ochoa. The Superior Council of scientific investigations (CSIC) is the main public body dedicated to scientific research in the country. It ranked as the 5th leading government scientific institution worldwide (and 32nd overall) in the 2018 SCImago institutions ranking.