Spain Travel Guide

Basic Information About Spain

Officially the Kingdom of Spain is the country located in the southwest of Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. Spanish territory also covers the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla.

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Spain’s Capital, Cities and Regions

The capital of Spain is Madrid. Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions (comunidades autónomas) and 2 autonomous cities (ciudades autónomas). There are also fifty provinces in Spain. Each of the seven autonomous regions (Asturias, Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, and Navarre) is also a province. For historical reasons, some provinces are also divided into districts called comarcas. Other important cities of Spain are Barcelona, SanSebastian, Bilbao, Malaga, Sevilla and Valencia.

Where is Spain?

It has a coast to the Mediterranean in the south and east, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north. It borders Portugal, in the west, France, Andorra in the north, and Gibraltar in the south.

Languages Spoken in Spain

The official language of Spain is Spanish. But in Spain, which has a multicultural structure, different languages such as Basque, Catalan and Galician are spoken in various regions.

Religion and Faith in Spain

The vast majority of the Spanish population is Catholic. There is a strong belief system in the country where nearly 70 percent of the population is Catholic. While 26 percent of the rest of the population do not feel belong to any religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam are present, albeit to a small extent.

A Brief History of Spain

B.C. In 1100, Phoenicians started to establish the first settlements in the territory of Spain. The Celts and Greeks followed them. Spain later came under the rule of the Carthaginians. In 202 BC, the Romans expelled the Carthaginians from the Iberian Peninsula. From that date on, the Roman Empire had united Spain and had Christianity accepted there.

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When to Visit Spain?

Apart from the mountainous regions, the best time to visit Spain is between May and October in terms of temperatures suitable for summer tourism.

Climate and Weather in Spain

There are different climate types in Spain. Climate features vary by region. The Atlantic climate seen in the regions on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean is effective in Galicia, Asturia, Cantabria, Basque Country, Navarra. Especially in winter, precipitation is seen, winter and summer are very mild. In the central region of the Iberian Peninsula, namely Castile Leon, Madrid, La Rioja, Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura and Andalusia, which are influenced by the Ocean-Continental Climate, winters are very cold and snowfalls are observed especially in the north and summers are hot. In Aragona, Catalonia, Valencia (in the inner parts), Murcia, Castile-La Mancha and Andalusia under the influence of the Continental Mediterranean Climate, summers are hot and winters are cold in the spring and autumn months.

In the Catalonian, Balearic Islands, Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia, which are influenced by the Mediterranean climate, precipitation is mostly seen in spring and autumn months. Precipitation is decreasing as we go from north to south (Barcelona 640 mm, Tortosa 524 mm, Valencia 454 mm, Alicante 336 mm, Almería 196 mm). Although the air temperatures in the winter months are not too low, a hot weather is dominant in the summer. Subtropical Climate is effective in Canary Islands. A mild climate prevails almost all year round (between 18 and 24 ° C). The winter season is mildly absent. Average air temperatures in Santa Cruz de Tenerife are 17.9 ° C in January and 25.1 ° C in August.

The precipitation rate of the Canary Islands varies greatly from region to region. In the high parts of the Pyrenees and the high parts of the Castile Mountains, where the mountain climate is dominant, winters are long and summers are short and mild. Especially during the winter months, intense frosts occur in the region, therefore the arrival of the summer months is longer and the summers are short and mild, and in the middle of July, heavy rains begin and floods occur in the region.

Spanish Economy

According to World Bank data, Spain has the eighth largest economy in the world. According to CIA data, Spain’s Gross National Product is $ 1,362 trillion. GNP per capita is about $ 33,700. The Spanish economy grew by 3.8 percent in 2007, surpassing all G7 countries. Spain left its currency peseta in 1999 and switched to the euro currency with other European Union members. While there are 22.19 million employees in Spain, 3.5 percent of them work in agriculture, 29.8 percent in industry, and the remaining 66.6 percent in the service sector. However, it is above the European average, with an unemployment rate of 22.3 percent.

Spanish Culture

Sunlight, fine cuisine and hospitality welcome those who come to Spain, but also rich history heritage and stunning views are among those to be discovered.Spain is the second most preferred tourist destination in the world. On the coastline of more than 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles), the richness of cultural heritage draws attention as well as a wide range of sports opportunities and social events. The versatile cultural heritage of Spain has revealed the world-famous Spanish cuisine.

There are a variety of entertainment activities for all ages in Spain. Over the past 10 years, several theme parks have been opened, such as TerraMítica in Benidorm, PortAventura in Tarragona, IslaMágica in Seville, and WarnerBrosPark in Madrid, and a lot of entertainment has been offered to children, especially to promote science and the environment.

Spain is a very social country. It has a wonderful nightlife. Especially Barcelona is famous for its nightlife that lasts until the morning. People live in the streets in Spain due to its climate, which has mild features almost every season. Cafes, bars, restaurants are always full of people. Although it varies from city to city in the afternoon, it is siesta hour in Spain between 12-16.00. Shops and businesses are closed.

Spanish Cuisine

When you say Spanish cuisine, you should first think of paella. This very famous dish of the Valencia region almost marked the Spanish cuisine. Paella is an extremely delicious rice dish cooked with chicken meat, fish and seafood. Paella is defined as a meal that combines the food culture of the Romans and Arabs, who have occupied Spain in history.

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Festivals of Spain

Numerous festivals are organized in different cities and regions of Spain.

Barcelona:

Festes de la Merce, 24 September / Barcelona, ​​where the longest human towers compete, is a live music heaven festival, which is organized traditionally every year.

Dia de Sant Jordi, April 23 / The traditionally held flower day every year for Sant Jordi, the founder and pioneer of the city of Barcelona.Festival de Sant Joan is the festival of Catalans celebrating the arrival of June 23rd / Summer.

Festa Major de Gracia, August 15 / Live music week.

 

Festival de Sonar, mid-June / Barcelona festival, which hosts all kinds of visual feasts in the name of cinema.

Grec Arts Festival, end of June / Music and theater festival.

Madrid:

San Isidro, 15 May / Bullfighting Festival

Almudena, 9 November / the actual starting festival of San Isidro

La Paloma in August / King’s feast

Festival de Otono, first week of October /

Spring welcome festival

San Sebastian:

San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Week 3 of July / Flower week

San Sebastian Film Festival, Week 3 of September

San Sebastian Theater Festival, mid-July

Aste Negosia (Semana Grand), August 15

La Tamborrada, 20 January / Official holiday of the Basques

Valencia:

Las Fallas, August 29

La Tomatina, March 15 – 19 / Tomato Festival, known as La Tomatina, which has been going on for nearly 70 years in Spain, brings thousands of people from various parts of the world every year in Valencia region. They are having fun by throwing tomatoes.

Pamplona:

San Ferrmin, first week of July / Unbearable excitement to run with the bulls

Zaragoza:

Pilar, 13 October / Pilar Ana’s birthday

Gift Items to be purchased from Spain

The main gift you can bring from Spain is of course objects representing bullfights. Another major gift is the products of football teams such as rigging, jerseys and scarves. In the gift shop of the Gaudi museum in Barcelona, you have a wide variety of gift options. Other options are fan, flamenco dress and shoes, cheese, wine, sherry and sarkuteri products. Spanish champagne named Cava can also be an original gift option. Castanets, which flamenco dancers play in their hands, are also very popular gifts.

Holidays / Holidays / Important Days in Spain

  • New Year (January 1)
  • Epiphany (January 6)
  • Good Friday (Friday before Easter)
  • Easter Monday (Monday before Easter)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • The Festival of St. James (July 25)
  • The Rise of Mary (August 15)
  • Catalonia Day – Only Catalonia (May 11)
  • Basque Constitution Day – Basque region only (7 October)
  • Hispanic Day (October 12)
  • Holy Souls Day (1 November)
  • National Day (December 6)
  • Spotless Birthday (December 8)
  • Christmas (December 25)

 

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