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10 fun facts about Spain Conversa Spanish Institute

10 Fun Facts About Spain

Have you been thinking about studying abroad? For a student of Spanish, Spain has tons to offer. The food, architecture and language are just 3 enticing reasons to visit, but there are tons of fun facts about Spain to draw you in. We’ll share some here!

You’ve likely already heard of the running of the bulls and sangria, but there is so much more to learn about Spanish life.

10 interesting and fun facts about Spain

If you’ve been studying Spanish for a little while or have visited Spain yourself, you might already know some of these interesting tidbits of information. Remember, Spain is a beautiful and diverse country with many different regions, so even if you’ve been there, you likely haven’t seen it all!

1. Spanish is one of several official languages in Spain.

Although it has the largest number of speakers, there are actually 3 other official languages in Spain. These are Catalan/Valencian/Balear, Basque (Euskera) and Galician. They’re co-official languages in the regions that speak them. Bilingualism is the norm in many parts of Spain.

2. Spain produces over 40% of the world’s olive oil

That’s right, Spain is a huge producer of olive oil. That’s almost half of the olive oil in the world! Although California, Italy and Greece may also be famous for olive oil, Spain comes in as the world’s #1 exporter.

3. Not all dialects in Spain pronounce c and z like the English th

This is a common misconception that all of Spain pronounces c and z like the English th sound, a phenomenon called ceceo. In fact, southern Spain and the Canary Islands tend to pronounce them like s, similar to Latin America. Many conquistadors were from Southern Spain, which contributes to why Latin American Spanish doesn’t have ceceo.

4. Madrid is home to the world’s oldest restaurant

Sobrino de Botín in Madrid opened in 1725, and is recognized by the Guiness World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. On your next visit, you can dine there, too! They feature typical Spanish cuisine.

5. 3rd Oldest university in the world

The oldest in Spain and the 3rd oldest university in the world is Universidad de Salamanca, just a few hours from Madrid near the border with Portugal. Naturally, there are hundreds of years of traditions, and students are proud to attend this institution.

6. Participate in a tomato fight- La Tomatina

Every year, the town of Buñol, Valencia puts on a huge tomato fight called La Tomatina. Get ready to throw as many tomatoes as your heart desires and leave soaked head to toe in tomatoes.

7. Spain was under Muslim rule for over 700 years

You may have heard that Roman Catholic is the most common religion in Spain, but that hasn’t always been the case. From the year 711 until 1492, Spain was under Muslim rule. In Southern Spain, the last of Spain to be conquered by the Catholic rulers Fernando and Isabela, you can still see the gorgeous remnants of the previous kingdom. Food, language and education in Spain is heavily influenced from this time period.

8. The tooth fairy isn’t a fairy

Instead of a fairy coming by to give you money after losing a tooth, little Spanish children get excited for Ratoncito Pérez to come by. He’s exactly what his name sounds like- a little mouse that gives kids money for their fallen baby teeth.

9. Staring isn’t rude

When walking down the streets of Spain, you might see people staring- at you! In Spain, it’s not considered an invasion of privacy to stare at someone on the street. Before you know it, you’ll be people watching shamelessly, too.

10. Most bars in the EU

Our last fun fact shows the fun-loving nature of Spaniards- Spain has the most bars per capita in all of the EU. Spaniards love socializing, spending time with friends, and sipping on something yummy while enjoying tapas.

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