There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
— Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 - 1894
EN
EN

Spain

Background

Spain

Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. The government continues to battle the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization, but its major focus for the immediate future will be on measures to reverse the severe economic recession that started in mid-2008.

About

Spain (Spanish: España) is a diverse country sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the country with the second-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, after Italy, and the largest number of World Heritage Cities.

Spain is considered an exotic country in Europe due to its friendly inhabitants, relaxed lifestyle, its cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and world-famous folklore and festivities. Among many places worth visiting are Spain's thriving capital Madrid, the vibrant coastal city of Barcelona, the famous "Running of the Bulls" at Pamplona, major Andalucian cities with Moorish architecture, like Seville, Granada and Córdoba, the Way of St. James and the idyllic Balearic and Canary Islands.

Read more about Spain in our Spain travel guide »

Featured journals from

Spain

Intercambio a Madrid 2013

by terapeckova

Nuestra clase en el fin del septiembre viajamos a Madrid. Alli estabamos divididos y cada persona, con algunas exepciones, vivia solo en una familia espanola. Cada dia nos reunemos en el Colegio y visitabamos uno o mas lugares interesantes de Madrid.

Sep 2013  »  Spain

Culet culet!!!!!

by Robert__Bcn

Un viaje a Japon

Mar 2013  »  Germany | Spain | Japan

Alberto's Holiday Diary: Bavaria (Bayern)

by albertoalbavaliente

This is my first trip to another country. I want to share my experience with you. I hope you like it.

Jun 2013 - Jul 2013  »  Germany | Spain | Austria

Spain, 2016 North American Cultural Ambassador

by bryandamtz

August 17th, 2016

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016  »  United States | Spain

Gibraltar Holidays

by seanmiller

Gibraltar is approximately a 45 minutes drive from the Marbella area and it is well worth a visit

Jul 2010 - Sep 2010  »  Gibraltar | Spain | Netherlands | Germany

Indonesia

by Jordi

Apr 2010 - May 2010  »  Spain | Indonesia

Camino de Santiago

by Senderismo

Paso a paso haciendo el camino desde santiago de compostelas hasta Muxia

Jun 2013  »  Spain

Iberia and Beyond

by TheLiliens

Are We Getting Too Old to Do These Unstructured Trips? Gosh, We Hope Not! We start this adventure with a brief visit to Madrid, escorting 40 high schoolers who are participating in a language exchange programme. Once our escorting duties have been fulfilled, we will travel to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, which are located in the Atlantic off the coasts of Africa and Spain. From there, we are uncertain, but likely will re-visit Morocco, and hopefully spend an extended time in Portugal. All this may change as the trip progresses. The only thing we know for certain is that we'll be home on March 19th, and that we will undoubtedly have an adventure along the way. Thanks for joining us on the journey.

Feb 2018 - Mar 2018  »  Canada | Spain | Morocco

Spin the globe....summer 2018

by madjeanne

Temperature hit 100, gotta go!

May 2018 - Jul 2018  »  United States | Italy | Croatia | Montenegro | Greece | Turkey | Malta | Spain | France | Monaco

Arbury's on tour!

by Arburys

Road trip from UK to visit France and Spain.

Dec 2017  »  France | Spain

Featured hotels in

Spain

SpainThe Westin Palace, Madrid 

Plaza de las Cortes, 7
Madrid 28014
Spain

Price (US$): $235 - $617 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in central Madrid, The Westin Palace, Madrid is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, Congress of Deputies, and Santa Ana Square. Additional points of interest include Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol. Hotel Features. The Westin Palace, Madrid features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant (surcharges apply). Recreational… more »

SpainVilla Real Hotel 

Plaza de las Cortes 10
Madrid 28014
Spain

Price (US$): $316 - $329 / night

Check rates »

Location. Villa Real Hotel is located in Madrid's Madrid City Centre neighborhood, close to Congress of Deputies, Prado Museum, and Plaza Mayor. Nearby points of interest also include Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and Puerta del Sol. Hotel Features. Villa Real Hotel's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club and a steam room. This 5 star property has a business center… more »

SpainMarriott's Club Son Antem 

Ctra. Ma 19, Salida 20
Llucmajor 07620
Spain

Price (US$): $254 - $255 / night

Check rates »

Location. Marriott's Club Son Antem is located in Llucmajor and local attractions include Aqualand, Maioris Golf Club, and El Arenal Beach. Additional area points of interest include Port of El Arenal. Hotel Features. Marriott's Club Son Antem features a restaurant. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a sauna. The property's full service health spa has massage/treatment rooms. Wireless Internet access (surcharge) is available in public… more »

SpainInterContinental Madrid 

Paseo de la Castellana 49
Madrid 28046
Spain

Price (US$): $356 - $1824 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in central Madrid, InterContinental Madrid is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Sorolla Museum and U.S. Embassy. Additional points of interest include La Caxia Foundation and Fundacion Juan March. Hotel Features. InterContinental Madrid's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hotel also has a snack bar/deli and a coffee shop/cafĂ©. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The hotel serves full breakfasts each morning in… more »

SpainSerrano Palace 

Playa de Son Moll s/n
Cala Ratjada 07590
Spain

Price (US$): $176 - $434 / night

Check rates »

Location. Serrano Palace is located in Cala Ratjada, close to Cala Agulla Beach. Regional points of interest also include Cala Millor Beach and Punta de N'Amer Watch Tower. Hotel Features. Serrano Palace features a restaurant, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a children's pool, a health club, and a spa tub. The property's full… more »

Browse more hotels in Spain »

Spain

Full name
Kingdom of Spain
Capital
Madrid
Location

Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France

Geographic coordinates

40 00 N, 4 00 W

Area comparative

slightly more than twice the size of Oregon

Border countries

Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km

Coastline

4,964 km

Climate

temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

Terrain

large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m

Natural resources

coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land

Population

46,505,963 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

Religions

Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Languages

Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally

Government type

parliamentary monarchy

Independence

1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain

National holiday

National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas

Chief of state

King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968

Head of government

President of the Government (Prime Minister equivalent) Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO (since 17 April 2004); First Vice President (and Minister of the Interior) Alfredo Perez RUBALCABA (since 20 October 2010), Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Elena SALGADO Mendez (since 8 April 2009), and Third Vice President (and Minister of Regional Affairs) Manuel CHAVES Gonzalez (since 8 April 2009)

Internet country code

.es

Internet users

28.119 million (2009)

Airports

154 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Tarragona, Valencia (Spain); Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

Other countries in the region