Spain

Quick Facts

Government

Type: Constitutional monarchy

President: Pedro Sánchez

King: Felipe VI

Religion

Catholic Christianity

≈69%

Language

Spanish

≈99%

Currency

Euro

€10.00 ≈ $11.65

Location

Southwestern Europe

The Iberian Peninsula

Bordering The Atlantic & Mediterranean

Food

Paella

Croquettes

Climate

Hot, dry summers

Mild, rainy winters

Cost

Beer ≈ €1.99

Ice cream ≈ €1.65

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Not-So-Quick Facts

Speak Spanish

Hello: Hola /ola/

Please: Por favor /por fuvor/

Thank you: Gracias /gurahseeus/

Can I have a beer please: Una cerveza por favor /oonu serveysu por fuvor/

Where is the train station?: Donde esta la estacion de trenes /donday esta la estaseeun de traynays/

Present Day

Catalonia: Spain is made up of 17 autonomous zones. One of those being Catalonia – where Barcelona sits. In 2017 Catalonia held an independence referendum – in other words, they voted to be free from the rest of the country. The referendum passed, however the government of Spain declared the vote unconstitutional and imposed direct rule on the region – while also detaining a number of people involved in organizing the vote. In other words – Spain ignored the results. The relationships between Catalonia (where 32% of the population speak Catalonian – which is very distinctly different to Spanish) and Spain remain strained.

War: Spain has continued involvement in the war against ISIL in the Middle East and the conflict with Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Follow Laws

Identification: When asked for an ID by officials you must produce one – the police have the right to detain you if you can’t or don’t.

Drugs: Possession of any amount of illegal substance can result in detention or persecution.

Alcohol: 18 is the legal drinking age in Spain. On-street drinking varies by region.

LGBTQ: Same-sex relationships are legal in Spain. Citizens are allowed to choose their preferred recorded gender but a third gender is not recognized.

Stay Safe

Generally speaking, Spain is a very safe country for travelers. One of the biggest threats is pickpockets, specifically in big cities like Barcelona.

Keep a close eye on your bags and valuables!

Historical Snapshot

Founding: Spain as we know it today dates to 1978

Origins: The same plot of land that Spain now sits on has been referred to by similar variances since the Romans called it Hispania in the 2nd century B.C. The Spanish Empire led Europe for some time and was at its height in the 16th & 17th centuries.

Recent History: The Spanish Civil War, in the mid 1930’s, ended with Franco’s party, the “Nationalists” came to power. There are still multiple generations of Spaniards alive who lived under the military dictatorship of Franco, who died in 1975. During that time Spain remained neutral during WWII. After Franco’s death Spain transitioned to the liberal democracy it is today. More recently, Spain joined the EU in 1986 and is now considered a middle power in the EU with tourism as the countries largest economic sector.

Clothing Rules

Swim suits: Certain regions do not allow men nor women to walk through the streets in just a biking or swim trunks.

Burka: Some government building do not allow entrance with a burka on.

woman in white shirt sitting along brick wall looking out over white houses and ocean in the background
Andalucia
mussels in bowl net to glass of red drink
Seafood
Beach running
Galicia

My Time in Spain

Catalonia

My very first visit to Spain was to Barcelona. I traveled there for a few days on my own (it was also my first ever solo trip) in January of 2008.

Andalucia

My first visit to Andalucia was in 2011 to Granada. I was back in 2012 to Seville. I then lived along the Costa del Sol for the summer of 2017 and visited Cordoba and Cadiz.

Madrid

During a 2012 trip to Spain I spent several days in the capital, Madrid. I remember being less than taken with the cleanliness of the city and craved some respite from the heat.

Galicia

In 2015 I started dating a Galician - in 2016 & again in 2017 we traveled there and stayed with his family for several weeks. He was from Vigo but we traveled all around the region.

Asturias

Once in 2016 & once in 2017 I made the drive from Vigo to San Sebastian and back again - each time stopping off in Asturias to drink some cider.

Cantabria

On those same 2016 & 2017 road trips that brought me through Asturias, I passed through Cantabria - it is a small but stunning region of the country.

Basque Country

In 2016 & 2017 I spent time in both Bilbao and San Sebastian. I at more pintos then I knew what to do with and topped them off with plenty of Tinto de Verano.

Beaches and water
Galicia
The Arab fort
Andalucia
Hair adornments
Andalucia

Additional Resources

LGBTQ

 

 

BIPOC

 

 

Accessibility

 

 

Locals

 

 

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Galicia
Galicia
Mountains in Galicia
Galicia
Kayaks
Andalucia

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