Spain – the most detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of Spain, climate, geography, population and culture.
Spain is a country in southwestern Europe. It is one of the largest countries of the European Union, located on the Iberian Peninsula, which covers more than two-thirds of its territory. Spain shares borders with Portugal in the west, France and Andorra in the north, and Gibraltar and Morocco in the south. The state consists of 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities and is a constitutional monarchy.
Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The country is famous for its beaches and sea, cuisine and nightlife, a special atmosphere and friendliness of the locals. Interestingly, Spain is second only to Italy and China in the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition, this is a country with great geographical and cultural diversity. Here you can find almost everything: from lush meadows and snowy mountains to swamps and deserts.
Useful information about Spain
- The population is 46.7 million people.
- The area is 505 370 square kilometers.
- Official language is Spanish (in some autonomous communities the local dialect is also considered an official language).
- Currency is the euro.
- Visa is Schengen.
- Time is Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
- Spain is one of the 30 most developed countries in the world.
- In Spain, during the daytime, some stores and institutions may be closed (siesta). Some restaurants and cafes do not serve dinner earlier than 8-9 pm.
- Tips are included in the bill. If you like the food or service you can set aside 5-10% of the bill.
Geography and Nature
Spain occupies 80% of the Iberian Peninsula. It also includes the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and a very tiny part of the North African coast. The Iberian Peninsula is located in the extreme south-west of Europe.
The topography of Spain is extremely diverse. Mountains and plateaus play the main role. The country is one of the most mountainous in Europe. The largest mountain systems are the Pyrenees, the Cordillera-Betica, the Iberian, Catalan and Cantabrian mountains. The largest plain is the Andalusian Lowland, located in the south. In the northeast is the Aragonese plain. The highest peak of continental Spain is Mount Mulhacen (3,478 and). The highest peak is located on the island of Tenerife – volcano Teide (3718 m).
The largest rivers are Guadalquivir, Tahoe, Duero, Ebro. Spain is known for its long coastline. There are several thousand beaches along the coast. The largest resorts are Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz, Costa Blanca, Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
Geographical features are very diverse in flora and fauna of Spain. The north of the country is similar to Central Europe, and the south resembles North Africa. In the north-west, there are broad-leaved forests, in the south – deserts and semi-deserts, and the coast is characterized by Mediterranean flora.
Spain is one of the warmest, even hot countries in Europe. Although, thanks to the topography here can be found several climatic zones. The Mediterranean climate prevails, which is maritime on the coast, and in the central part is arid. In most parts of the country summers are dry and hot, winters are warm and wet. In central areas in the cold season frosts are not uncommon.
Mountains in Spain
The best time to visit
The best time to visit Spain is in April-May and September-October. July and August are very hot in most areas. During the cold season it can be quite rainy.
In the third millennium BC on the territory of the modern Iberian Peninsula there was a civilization of the Tartesses. But already in the second millennium BC the Iberian tribes came here, who later mingled with the Celts. In ancient times the Pyrenees were called Iberia. The Iberians quickly settled in Castile and built fortified settlements. Around the same millennium, Phoenician and Greek colonies were founded on the coast.
According to the most popular theory, the name of the country comes from the Phoenician “i-spanim”, which translates as “shore of the darmans”. The Romans used the word to refer to the territory of the entire peninsula.
In the 3rd century, almost the entire Iberian Peninsula was subjugated by Carthage. In 206 Carthage lost control of the Pyrenees. Since that period, for nearly two centuries, the Romans have tried to subdue these lands. The last free tribes were conquered by Rome in 19 BC under Emperor Augustus. Spain was one of the most prosperous and important Roman provinces. The Romans built roads and fortresses here. By the end of the 1st century more than 300 cities were founded here, trade and crafts flourished.
Toledo is one of the oldest cities in Spain.
In the 4-5 century the Germanic tribes entered the territory of Spain and were soon completely displaced by the Visigoths. Even earlier the first Christians appeared here. The Visigoths founded their kingdom here, with its capital in Barcelona, and later in Toledo. In the 6th century, the Byzantine emperor Justinian tried to bring Spain back under his empire.
In 711, Arabs and Berbers from North Africa, later called Moors, came to the territory of the Iberian Peninsula. Interestingly, the Visigoths themselves (or rather one of their factions) called for their help. In just a few years the Moors conquered almost all the Pyrenees and formed the Umayyad Caliphate. It should be noted that the Arabs were quite merciful, preserving the property of the people, language and religion of the conquered territories.
Around the same time the Reconquista movement arose, whose goal was to liberate the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslims. In 718 the Moors were stopped in the mountains of Asturias. By 914 the kingdom of Asturias included the territories of Galicia and Northern Portugal. After the Umayyad dynasty ended in 1031, the caliphate collapsed. At the end of the 11th century the Christians took over Toledo, Madrid and some other cities. In the 12th century the Spanish Empire was proclaimed, which emerged after the unification of Castile and Aragon and existed until 1157. Thereafter, despite their separation, the kingdoms fought the Moors together. By the 13th century, only the emirate of Granada remained on the Iberian Peninsula.
Despite the power of the Kingdom of Castile, the country was plagued by turmoil and disorder. It was dominated by knightly orders and powerful nobles. In Aragon, by contrast, there were many concessions to the estates. In 1469 the dynastic marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile contributed to the unification of the two kingdoms. In 1478 the Inquisition was established, prompting the persecution of Muslims and Jews. The year 1492 saw the conquest of Granada and the end of the Reconquista.
Ancient city in Spain
In 1519 the Habsburg dynasty came to power. In the 16th century Spain became one of the strongest powers in Europe. An absolute monarchy was established as a form of government. The Spanish kingdom took over Portugal and numerous colonies in South and Central America. Already by the middle of the 16th century constant wars and high taxes led to economic decline. During this period the capital of the kingdom was moved from Toledo to Madrid.
In the early 18th century, with the death of Charles II, a war for the “Spanish Succession” broke out. As a result, the Bourbon dynasty reigned, and Spain became “pro-French. In 1808, a popular uprising broke out, leading to the abdication of the king. Subsequently, the French were expelled from the country and the Bourbon restoration took place. In the 19th century, Spain was plagued by turmoil and unrest. The state lost all of its American colonies. In 1931 the monarchy was overthrown and the civil war began, which was won by Franco. Francisco Franco established a dictatorship that lasted until 1975. Juan Carlos I of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty was crowned in that year.
Spain consists of 17 autonomous regions, two so-called autonomous cities, and 50 provinces.
- Balearic Islands
- Basque Country
- Canary Islands
- Castile-La Mancha
- Castile and Leon
The indigenous population is Spanish (Castilians), Catalans, Basques, Galicians, etc. Spanish is considered the official language. In the autonomies are often spoken in the language of the ethnic group or dialect. Almost 80% of the population is Christian, of which 75% are Catholics. Interestingly, the average life expectancy in Spain is one of the highest in the world. It is 83 years. Spaniards themselves are quite friendly, open and emotional. They are noisy and temperamental people. They are often unpunctual, a little lazy and irresponsible.
Tips for dealing with Spaniards:
- Spaniards are very patriotic about their country or autonomy. Do not bring up topics such as “is Catalonia Spain,” etc.
- The vast majority of the population is Catholic, so words and actions that might offend the feelings of believers should be avoided.
- Avoid talking about the colonial past and the Franco regime.
- At lunch or dinner, Spaniards do not eat until all guests are seated. Nor do they leave until everyone has finished eating.
- Close friends or good friends hug or kiss each other on the cheek when they meet. Otherwise they shake hands only.
Information about transportation in Spain.
- Palma de Mallorca / Costa del Sol
- Gran Canaria / Elche
- Tenerife South
Spain has an extensive network of high-speed trains that connect major cities. Rail service also includes long-distance trains and a network of commuter trains. There are regular bus services between many cities. The largest cities are connected by expressways. Highways here are toll roads.
- 120 km/h on highways and freeways,
- 100 km/h on ordinary roads,
- 90 km/h on the rest of the roads,
- 50 km/h in built-up areas.
The blood alcohol level must not exceed 0.5 g/l. Seatbelts must be worn by the driver and all passengers.
Beaches of Alicante
Spain is Europe’s second most visited country by cruise ships. Spain’s main ports:
- Palma de Mallorca
- Las Palmas
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Cities of Spain
There are hundreds of old and interesting cities in Spain. But the most popular are:
– The bustling and vibrant capital, which will impress you with its modernist architecture, wide streets and squares, museums and vibrant nightlife. – The second largest city in Spain, the capital of Catalonia. It concentrates famous sights, masterpieces of Art Nouveau architecture of Gaudi. – It is a large industrial city.
- Cadiz is considered the oldest city in Western Europe.
- Granada – a stunning city in the south, surrounded by the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
- Cordoba – An ancient city with a rich Moorish heritage.
- Toledo is an ancient capital with sights from many different periods. – The capital of Andalusia and one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.
- Valencia is one of the largest cities in the country. The place where paella was invented.
- Alicante is the resort capital of the east coast and the Costa Blanca region.
In the south of Spain in Andalusia you can find a lot of evidence of antiquity. Here is located Cadiz – one of the oldest permanently inhabited cities in Western Europe with the remains of a Roman settlement. Nearby is Ronda, a beautiful city situated on steep cliffs. The cities of Cordoba and Granada retain a rich Moorish heritage. Seville, the cultural center of Andalusia and all of southern Spain, has a dazzling collection of sites and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
Crossing north through the plains of La Mancha into Central Spain is worth a visit to picturesque Toledo. It is the ancient Spanish capital and a beautiful ancient city located on a hill. Not far from the Portuguese border is Merida with its impressive Roman heritage. If you are interested in leisure and beaches, you should go to Alicante, Malaga, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
Popular tourist destinations:
- Costa Blanca – 200 km of coast, beaches and charming seaside towns.
- Costa Brava – a coast with a variety of seaside resorts.
- Costa del Sol is a sunny coast in southern Spain.
- Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, famous for its clubs and discos.
- Mallorca is the largest among the Balearic Islands.
- Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain range of the Iberian Peninsula with ski slopes.
- Tenerife – Lush nature, volcanoes and excellent beaches.
Historically Spain has been an important crossroads between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, North Africa and Europe. Thus, here you can find a fantastic collection of unique attractions. The country amazes with the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, historical and cultural monuments.
Tourist map – the most famous sights
The most famous sights of Spain
- Toledo Old Town.
- The historic center of Salamanca.
- Burgos Cathedral in the city of the same name.
- The Moorish heritage of Granada and Cordoba.
- Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in Barcelona.
- The Gothic cathedral in Seville and Mudejar architecture.
- Rock carvings in Altamira Cave
- Historic centers of Cuenca, Merida, Caceres, Zaragoza, Ávila and Segovia.
- The Romanesque churches of Lerida.
- The ancient Roman walls in the town of Lugo.
- Feria de Abril is the best fair in the Pyrenees. If you like folklore, flamenco and wine, you will definitely enjoy this event. It takes place in April and May.
- Fallas is a festival in Valencia.
- Dia de Sant Jordi – Catalan holiday.
Spain is an extremely popular tourist destination, so you need to look for accommodation in advance. When traveling here in high season, accommodation will cost more. Many cities, even small, are tourist-oriented. Therefore it is not a problem to find accommodations for all groups of tourists and financial capabilities.
The Spanish love to eat, drink wine and are very proud of their cuisine. Spanish cuisine can be described as quite light with lots of vegetables and a huge variety of meat and fish. It’s interesting that traditional cuisine doesn’t use a lot of spices, but relies entirely on the use of high quality ingredients and their taste. Meals of Spaniards are slightly different from ours. Their breakfast is light. Lunch is served at 13:00-15:00. Lunch is followed by a siesta. Dinner is late.
Traditional food and products: Paella, jamón, tapas, Chorizo (spicy sausage), Bocadillo de Calamares (fried squid), Boquerones en vinagre (anchovies with garlic), Churros (Spanish donuts), Empanadas Gallegas (meat pies), Fabada asturiana (stewed meat), various versions of gazpacho (soups), Tortilla de patatas (egg omelet with fried potatoes). The main alcoholic drink is wine, which is of very good quality here. The most popular non-alcoholic drink is coffee.
€150 per excursion
Málaga Roman, Moorish, Catholic
See the symbols of the city and get to know the local cuisine on a historical and gastronomic walk
Eco-tour in the Catalan Mountains
Walking in the mountains of the Montseni to the waterfalls and the 11th century church of Aiguafreda de Dalt
More information about Spain
Going to Spain for a vacation, work or even for a permanent residence? An overview of the country, everything everyone visiting Spain needs to know to get the most out of Spanish hospitality. Photos and maps are included.
Spain is one of the most beautiful and alluring countries in the world. I guess almost everyone associates it with sunny beaches and warm sea, homeland of paella, bullfighting, castanets and flamenco. The country with its rich history and culture has been one of the cultural centers of Europe for many thousands of years.
Spain itself is a special country, summarizing it both geographically and culturally becomes an impossible task. Millions of people visit Spain and often once they come back again. After all, now Spain has a lot of modern resorts.An interesting fact is that Spain is the second highest country in Europe after Switzerland.
Spain is constantly among the four world tourist destinations and it is no wonder because it does not leave anyone indifferent
Spain (officially the Kingdom of Spain) is located in Southwestern Europe, covering an area of 504,782 km², making it one of the fifty largest countries in the world. The largest part of Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula, the remaining 12,500 km² are islands, plus 32 km² of sovereign territories of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the coast of Africa.
The capital, cities.
Madrid. Major cities: Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Malaga.
Given the size of Spain, the climate varies greatly from one region to another. For example, the south is hot (except for the mountainous areas), the northern coastal area is rainy, but also quite warm, and the center, due to its location on the plateau of Old and New Castile located at high altitude, has extreme temperatures, ie very cold in winter and very hot in summer. In the Mediterranean coastal zone is warm and pleasant throughout the winter, and not too hot in summer due to the influence of the sea.
The number of sunny days in Spain is 260-285
There are about 48 million people in Spain. Most of them are Basques, Catalans and Andulusians.
Official language: Spanish. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with over 427 million Spanish speakers. But Catalan, Basque and Galician are also popular languages in some areas.
Form of government
It is a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the king. The head of government is the prime minister.
Most Spaniards are Catholic (75%), but it should be remembered that Spain is a secular state, so freedom of religion is guaranteed.
In Spain, as in other countries of the European Union, the Euro is used.
Each euro is divided into 100 cents. 8 different coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, as well as 1 and 2 euros. 7 different banknotes in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.
Where to exchange money?
- You can exchange rubles for euros, at exchange offices, ATMs and some banks.
- The service is also offered in most hotels and travel agencies.
Always remember that in local banks, as a rule, will be the most unprofitable rate and most likely additional fee. Also do not hurry to exchange money at exchange offices and ATMs at airports and train stations, here, too, in most cases, there is a probability to run into an unfavorable rate. Try to exchange currency in the city at ATMs, or at least in banks, it will be the most reliable way not to run into counterfeit bills, let you overpay a little, but your vacation will not be spoiled.
|Spanish Red Cross||222-222|
Russian Embassy and Consulate in Spain
Address: 28002, Madrid, ul. Joaquin Costa (Joaquin Costa), 33
Phone: Tel. (+34)-91-411-29-57, fax: (+34)-91-562-78-30, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emergency calls : tel : (+34)-670-848-773 – telephone number for Russian citizens around the clock – only in case of emergency situations (life, health or loss of documents).
Opening Hours : Monday to Friday (9:00 to 14:00 // 16:00 to 19:00)
Traditional Spanish Cuisine
Probably many people know that some of the most famous and sought-after chefs around the world come from Spain. In the Basque Country and Catalonia itself, there are restaurants that you have to book not a week or even a month in advance, but a year in advance. This suggests that the Spanish cuisine is so delicious and varied that it is definitely worth a try.
And now let’s take a closer look at the most popular and traditional Spanish dishes. Probably it will be correct if we begin the list of traditional Spanish cuisine with paella. This dish is mentioned since the middle of the 19th century, it is believed that it began on the shores of Lake Albufera, so to try paella we recommend you to go to Valencia. The main ingredients are rabbit and chicken, although the seafood version is considered more traditional in coastal areas.
The next dish will be relevant if you are tired from walking under the scorching sun and want to snack on something light. A great option would be a chilled Gazpacho. This dish is very popular in the southern region of Spain, Andalusia. Gazpacho has a lot of ingredients but at the same time they are so simple that you will probably appreciate it and will order it again.
If you can’t imagine your life without meat, don’t get upset and Spain has a huge gift for you. Walking into any bar, not to mention restaurants, you will always see a raw pork ham or Jamon in front of you.
There are two types of jamon:
- jamón seranno;
- Jamon Iberico (more expensive).
They differ in how and how long they are cooked, and most importantly, the breed of pig. At your request, one of the waiters at the bar cuts the ham into juicy slices so you can fully enjoy the flavor of jamon and feel Spain from the inside.
Spain produces up to 4 million hams every year.
Of course Spanish cuisine is not limited to paella, gazpacho and jamon. Typically, from region to region there are their own unique dishes.