Spain is a popular European vacation and backpacking destination that’s world renowned for fabulous food and wine, picturesque scenery and fun times. While you may think you know a lot about Spain, there are some interesting, little known facts that may surprise you. Here are 8 interesting facts about this popular European country:
8. It’s Actually a Kingdom
That’s right, Spain is officially known as “The Kingdom of Spain” and is the second largest country in the European Union with an area size of 505,955 square kilometers. Many people are unaware of the country’s official (and very regal sounding) name except those who live in the country themselves.
7. Public Nudity is Legal
And why not with more than 3,000 hours of sunlight each year? Exhibitionists will enjoy the carefree attitude towards nudity and the fact that on many of the beaches of Spain it’s common to see other sunbathers (particularly women) wearing no tops.
6. High Unemployment
It’s no secret that Spain’s economy has been suffering as of late and in 2015 the country had the second highest unemployment rate of any country in Europe at 24.2 per cent. That’s only slightly behind Greece, a country who’s failing economy has made headlines around the world. If you look at youth unemployment the picture gets even worse with an average youth unemployment rate of 50 per cent for those between the ages of 15-24.
5. There Are No Words
In their national anthem that is. The March Real as it’s known (or Royal March in English) is one of only four national anthems in the world to have no official lyrics. According to experts, though variations of the anthem exist, the original symphonic version should be played in the tone of B major and have a duration of 52 seconds.
4. There’s a Pooping Log at Christmas
Christmas really is celebrated differently everywhere in the world! The Tió de Nadal is a popular Christmas tradition found in many Aragones and Catalan homes during the holiday season. Tió de Nadal translates to Christmas log in English but the log also goes by the nickname Caga tió (meaning ‘shitting log’ or ‘poo log’) because of the fact that at Christmas, children beat the hollow wooden log with sticks until it ‘defecates’ out chocolate, candy and other treats.
3. The Eiffel Tower was Almost Built in Barcelona
This iconic Paris landmark and symbol of French culture was originally planned to be built in the Spanish city of Barcelona around 1887 but the people of Barcelona did not want it, and apparently got their wish. Interestingly enough, one construction was finished on the tower in Paris in 1889, the people of Paris did not like it either and wanted it taken down.
2. Never Ending Construction
The Sagrada Família Church in Barcelona, officially known as the ‘Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família’, has been in construction since it was started in 1882. That’s over 130 years of construction and even still, the expected completion date of the Sagrada Família is not until 2026. Despite the construction, the church is open to the public and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
1. Spain is Home to The Oldest Restaurant in the World
If you wish to visit the world’s oldest operating restaurant, head to the Spanish city of Madrid and visit Restaurante Botín. The restaurant was opened in 1725 and sets the bar for traditional Spanish cuisine in Madrid. The restaurants longtime specialties include Cochinillo asado, (roast suckling pig) and old style roast lamb.