Spain occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal, in southwest Europe. Africa is less than 10 mi (16 km) south at the Strait of Gibraltar. A broad central plateau slopes to the south and east, crossed by a series of mountain ranges and river valleys.


  • The kingdom of Spain, as it’s officially known, used to be separated kingdoms and only united after the 15th century. Today, it’s divided into 17 autonomous regions (15 on the mainland and the Balearic and Canary Islands), and the referred enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.
  • Despite being a developed and peaceful country, these divisions are still very strong in Spain today, with independence claims in several autonomous regions, particularly in Catalonia and the Basque Country.
  • This means that culturally Spain is very diverse and rich. A Basque is very different from an Andalusian and from a Madrilenian and so on… Meaning that travelling in Spain is a very interesting and diverse experience. When you travel from one region to the other you will probably notice some of these idiosyncrasies.
  • Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, with more than 406 million native speakers, it comes slightly ahead of English and only after Chinese. However, in Spain, the official language is Castilian Spanish, with the regional languages Catalan, Basque and Galician all having official status.
  • As a tourist, if you speak Spanish you’ll be able to communicate with everyone in every region of Spain. If you don’t, you should know that Spain isn’t the most English friendly country in Europe but you’ll probably find people speaking English easily, particularly closer to touristy areas.
  • The climate in Spain is one of the most diverse in Europe due to its size, coasts and large mountain ranges. However, we can easily notice that the north is wet and cold, while the south is dry and hot.


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