Are you interested in visiting Spain or are you curious to discover the secrets that the country hides? If so, keep reading and learn 15 perspective-changing facts that you probably don’t know and which will surely make you go visit Spain as soon as possible!
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1. Spanish is regarded as the happiest language in the world due to its plethora of cheerful terms
It’s a fact that Spanish sounds attractive to foreign ears but a study conducted by “Science” points out that the language has been awarded the first place as the least tense language. So, what are you waiting for to learn it and immerse yourself in its sweet words?
2. The Canary Islands are named after dogs, not birds
The famous Canary Islands are considered a very popular place among tourists visiting Spain thanks to its warm beaches and flourishing nature. Although many people may think that the name of the islands is related to the name of the friendly and feathered bird, the reality is quite different as the islands are named after another animal: the dog! Although the origin is not clear, it is believed to have been established by the Romans when they saw that the islands had many inhabitants with furry companions.
3. The basilica of Antoni Gaudi La Sagrada Familia is taking longer to build than the pyramids
Antoni Gaudi’s enchanting La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is a true architectural masterpiece… which explains why it’s taking forever to complete! While the wonderful ancient pyramids of Egypt were constructed in 85 years, La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for the past 138 years. Barcelona is aiming to finalize it by 2026, for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
4. Spain is the third nation in the world with the most world heritage sites
Spain is the third country in the world (after Italy and China) with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In total, there are 47, with the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Alhambra in Granada being the two most visited.
5. Cadiz is the oldest city in Spain… And in all of Europe
Cadiz is the oldest populated city in Europe: the Spanish city was founded by the Phoenicians around 1,100 BC.
6. Spaniards have a long life expectancy
Spanish life expectancy is over 80 years for men and 85 for women, maybe because of the gastronomy, maybe because of the good climate and the beaches? We invite you to find out for yourself by visiting the country.
7. Spain is one of the most visited countries every year
Tourism is one of the country’s largest sources of income, and in 2019 it was the second most visited country in the world with more than 82.7 million visitors, behind only France.
8. The second most spoken language
Another consequence of colonization was the spread of the language to almost everywhere. Today around 400 million people speak Spanish, in 20 different countries.
9. The Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was accused of stealing the Mona Lisa
It’s not clickbait! In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from Paris’s Louvre Museum. At that time the security of the museum was very precarious, so much that people slept in the sarcophagus to prove it. The French police discovered that Picasso had previously bought stolen works from the Louvre and listed him as a suspect.
10. The oldest living language in Europe is the Basque language
Euskera, the language of the Basques (an area in northern Spain), is the oldest living language in Europe. This affirmation is ratified by most linguists, experts, and researchers. It is a living and very ancient language whose origin is still unknown today. Important linguists and historians defend the belief that Basque may be the direct heir of the language spoken 15,000 years ago by the inhabitants of the caves of Altamira, Ekain, or Lascaux.
11. Spain: largest country with organ donors
A record of which the Spanish should be very proud is that it is the country with the highest rate of organ donors in the world (Spain has been the leader in this sector for more than 20 years!).
12. There are more bars in Spain than in the entire United States of America
There are 260,000 establishments in Spain. One bar per 175 people on average, resulting in the highest density in the world. More than in the whole of the United States, Spain is the world’s leading country in terms of bars.
13. The only desert in Europe
Did you know that Spain is home to the only desert in Europe? It is the Tabernas Desert (Almeria), which is also known for having been the set of numerous films, especially Spaghetti Westerns.
14. Festivals in Spain are very original
In Spain, there is no shortage of curious festivals: from the famous Tomatina to the Fallas. But, undoubtedly, one of the strangest is the Pilgrimage of Santa Maria de Ribarteme during which there is a curious parade of coffins… with “living-dead”. It is said that whoever has a serious illness or escaped death in some way, entrusts himself to this Saint to pray for his life or to show his gratitude.
15. Spain has the wrong time zone
Technically Spain should adopt the UTC±0:00 time zone since the Greenwich meridian passes through the national territory… But no, in 1942 the central European time was adopted (except in the Canary Islands) because Francisco Franco the dictator wanted the Spanish time to be the same as that of Nazi Germany.
Plan your trip to Spain
Have you already fallen in love with this beautiful country and can’t wait to see it with your own eyes? While planning the trip remember to check whether you need a visa to visit Spain. In case you just realized you need a visa, and your flight is scheduled this week, consider using our Schengen visa photo editor to get your Schengen visa photo fast and easily.
Michal Jonca is an experienced author of articles concerning biometric photography. He is a travel, food, and trail running passionate who visited 40+ countries on four continents. He is a Travel Leader for the adventurous travel company Solisci and the Community Manager at Passport-Photo.Online. Only this year, he enjoyed his workation in Thailand, Turkey, and the Caucasus mountains.