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Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. This metropolitan paradise where we chose to call home is filled with a plethora of unique art, entertainment galore and much more! But what about Spain in general? Before going to Barcelona be sure to acquaint yourself with some basic Spain facts to fit in with the locals!

  • Spain has a population of 46 million, with Madrid as the capital. It is 504,782 square km, making it the fourth largest country in Europe. It is made up of 17 autonomous regions, ruled overall by a parliamentary monarchy government.
  • Spain is a part of the CET time zone.
  • Spanish National Day is October 12th as this was the day Columbus set foot in the Americas. The national anthem is “La Marcha Real” (The Royal March).
  • Spain is a part of the EU (European Union), which is the connecting economic system in Europe, made up of 28 states and formed in 1993. means that Spanish citizens can travel to other European countries with relative ease and Spain uses the Euro, the common currency in Europe. Before joining the EU, Spain used the Peseta as its currency. Spain also is a part of the North America Trade Organization (NATO), which it joined in 1982.

    Regions of Spaimeans that Spanish citizens can travel to other European countries with relative ease and Spain uses the Euro, the common currency in Europe. Before joining the EU, Spain used the Peseta as its currency. Spain also is a part of the North America Trade Organization (NATO), which it joined in 1982.means that Spanish citizens can travel to other European countries with relative ease and Spain uses the Euro, the common currency in Europe. Before joining the EU, Spain used the Peseta as its currency. Spain also is a part of the North America Trade Organization (NATO), which it joined in 1982.

  • The most popular newspapers in Spain are “El Pais” (The Country) and “El Mundo” (The World).
  • Tipping is not a common courtesy in Spain, what you get as your bill is all one is expected to pay.
  • Spain shares borders with Portugal to the west and France to the north. Africa is less than 10 miles to the south across the Strait of Gibraltar. The main rivers in Spain are Ebro in the northeast, Tajo in the center and Guadalquivir in the south.
  • 1492 is a famous year in Spanish history for many reasons, the most well known being that Columbus sailed the ocean blue. However this was also the year that the Jewish and Muslim population was expelled as Granada was captured and Spain was unified. Spain was the European super power until the famous defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, leading into the era of British supremacy.
  • Food is an important part of Spanish culture, check out some of our Barcelona SAE blogs such as “Eating “Healthy” in Barcelona” or “Catalan Cooking” to get more information, but expect a lot of tapas and seafood in Barcelona! As a side note, Spain is also the only country in Europe to produce bananas!
  • The AVE is the fact track train running through Spain; check it out if you are looking to book a weekend trip!
  • 40% of Spaniards between the ages of 17-24 smoke, however, Spain was one of the first European countries to pass anti-smoking laws in 2006.
  • Fun fact, instead of the tooth fairy the Spanish have a tooth mouse named Ratoncito Perez, who will exchange lost teeth for gifts in the middle of the night!

While Spain is a diverse and rich country with one of the longest histories in the world, these are just a few short facts. What other facts did you learn while in Spain that you think would be beneficial to future students?


Submitted by Allison Ross
Former Barcelona SAE Staff Member

Barcelona SAE

Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE) is the leader in Barcelona Study and Intern Abroad. We provide superior quality study and intern abroad program options in Barcelona that incorporate a strong intercultural element for our students. All aspects of the programs incorporate experiential learning and cultural immersion in order to open the eyes of the next generation of leaders to a global world.

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