“Spain is always a good idea.” -Unknown
Country Overview and Fun Facts
Oh Spain!! The quote I shared up above sums up how I feel about it: Spain IS always a good idea. I have been to Spain four times and each time I am blown away.
It’s one of my favourite places to visit in Europe. I am sure by now you’re thinking, “just how many favourite places does she have?” Well, I do love travelling! I feel like every place I have been to is unique in its own way and there’s something to truly love. Spain is no different.
I love the food, culture and language, although I don’t speak it fluently or even well. I actually took Spanish at school and failed badly, but I am still very fascinated by the language and try my best.
Alright, let’s dive into some fun facts about Spain.
Fun Facts about Spain
- Spain is the European Union’s second largest country.
- In 2019, the population of Spain was about 48 million people.
- The Straits of Gibraltar separate Spain from Africa
- It’s one of the safest countries in Europe to visit.
- The capital (and largest city) in Spain is Madrid.
- La Tomatina is an annual festival near Valencia in Buñol where roughly 150,000 tomatoes are thrown every year
- WIth a life expectancy of 83 years old, Spain has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
- The daily rhythm of Spaniards is much different than other Europeans with lunch being between 1p.m.-3p.m. and dinner about 10p.m.
- It’s common for people to throw things on the ground at bars, which is why a dirty bar floor often means that the bar is a good one.
- 80% of Spanish households own their home and home ownership is considered very important.
- It’s a developed country with a high quality of life.
- Spain is known for its delicious and spicy dishes, such as paella.
Spanish is the official language of Spain, however, regional languages such as Galician, Catalan, and Basque are also official languages in their respective regions.
The currency in Spain is the Euro. You should definitely look at the exchange rates in your country and do some research to find the best place for you to exchange your currency for Euros.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Spain is in the Spring and Fall for the best weather, fewest crowds, and cheapest prices. That’s typically between March – May and September – November. The summer months, specifically July and August, are considered peak seasons for tourism so hotel prices and flights are often higher. During those months, locals will often head to the coast or leave the country altogether to avoid the heat.
Barcelona has clean beaches, incredible architecture, an amazing nightlife and an abundance of shopping, food, and culture. It’s a must-visit city!
In fact, it is one of the top 10 beach cities in the world! Its beaches are sometimes referred to as “artificial” beaches, but what that really means is that the sand was imported from Egypt in 1992. Prior to the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona wanted to spruce up its beaches for tourists so they created several man-made beaches. Prior to that, there weren’t actually any beaches along the seaside of Barcelona.
Barcelona is located in Northeastern Spain in an area known as the Catalonia region, just about 90 miles from the France border. It has its own language known as Catalan, which is considered a romance language.
Barcelona is a major cultural hub filled with museums, medieval buildings, libraries, art, and an awesome intermingling of city and beach life.
Antoni Gaudí is one of the most famous Catalan architects of the early 20th-century and his incredible work can be seen throughout Barcelona. He designed the La Sagrada Familia which I’ll share with you shortly and Casa Vicens, to name a few.
What’s known as the Gothic Quarter sits at the center of the city. It’s the historic part of the city and what’s known as old Barcelona. It dates back to the middle ages, and You’ll find the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, Plaça del Rei and many other historic sites.
Alright, let’s unpack some things I definitely think you should do when you visit Barcelona as well as some places to eat!
What to Do
Visit La Rambla—the heart of Barcelona’s social life
La Ramblai or La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona. It’s a group of tree-lined, pedestrian streets filled with shopping, cafes, craft markets, flower stands, art shows and more. It’s a tourist hub and an absolute must-explore!
I love La Rambla! It’s the best place to discover Barcelona. From the markets to the crafts to the delicious and tasty food, it’s ALL amazing.
Explore Ghost Metro Stations
Construction work began on Barcelona’s metro in 1924, but throughout the years and as plans changed, 12 metro stations have been abandoned or—for one reason or another—were not put into service. They have become a tourist attraction, because they’re believed to be “haunted” and ghost stories abound.
Discover the Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is a grand, unfinished roman catholic church and one of the major landmarks of Barcelona. Work began on it in 1882 but due to a disagreement with the original architect, Antoni Gaudí took it on as his life’s work until his death in 1926. It’s so expansive and intricately designed that it became known as “the cathedral.” This church is still a work in progress, but once complete it’s believed that it will be the tallest church building in the world.
Explore More of Antoni Gaudí Projects
Famous architect Antoni Gaudí not only worked on the Sagrada Familia, but on many projects throughout Barcelona. His ideas and style are said to have shaped an entire generation of architects. Some of his top buildings in the city are: Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Park Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Battló.
Spend the Day at the Beach
As I’ve mentioned, Barcelona is a top 10 city for its beaches. La Barceloneta is a bustling beach that allures a lot of tourists, but it’s full of lots of energy, entertainment, and seafood restaurants. Nova Icaria is a lot less crowded and known for being a peaceful beach that’s great for families. Sant Sebastia is one of the longest beaches in Barcelona and is similar to La Barceloneta in that it’s lively and full of dining and sports options.
Shop at One of the Many Neighborhood Markets
Neighborhood markets are a big part of the culture in Barcelona, and there are many must-visit ones. You’ll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to crafts, tapas, flowers and more at Barcelona’s markets. La Boqueria is one of the most famous markets in Europe and definitely a must visit if you’re in Barcelona. Other wonderful markets to explore are: Santa Caterina Market, Mercat de la Concepció (including its 24-hour flower market), and the Sant Antoni food market.
Visit Camp Nou
Opened in 1957, this football stadium has been the home to FC Barcelona since its inception. The largest stadium in Spain, if you’re a sports fan, you’ll definitely want to catch a game or take a tour.
Take in the Barcelona Nightlife
From tiny Spanish bars to hopping clubs, Barcelona has a vast and vibrant nightlife. I’m not a big bar or club-goer, but Razzmatazz is one of Barcelona’s biggest clubs and the Champagne Sunset Tour is perfect for a chill evening with cocktails, champagne, and dressy attire.
Explore Barcelona’s Many Museums
Barcelona is rich with museums and steeped in history. The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is filled with Catalan art. For sports fans, the FC Barcelona Museum is full of trophies and sports memorabilia, and the Museu Marítim de Barcelona holds a lot of Barcelona’s history as a port city.
Where to Eat In and Around Barcelona
Food is very important in Barcelona, and it’s one of the biggest up-and-coming scenes for foodies. So without further ado, let’s just dive into where to eat while visiting Barcelona.
Walking Food Tours in Barcelona
There are many walking food tours to choose from in Barcelona all with the common goal of giving you a delicious taste of the city’s culinary scene. If you’re not familiar with a walking food tour, this is a foodies dream! You’ll try tapas, wine and various dishes across the city. You’ll join other tourists, foodies and passionate chefs who want to take in the local culture and cuisine, making it a fun and friendly experience. Devour Barcelona is a trip-advisor top rated food tour company with many different tour options to try!
Moments Restaurant- Catalan Inspired Recipes
An award-winning restaurant with two Michelin stars, Moments Restaurant is managed by one of the most famous chefs in the country, Carme Ruscalleda and her son Raül Balam. It features fresh and healthy dishes inspired by Catalan cuisine and both a themed tasting and à la carte menu.
Can Pineda-Traditional Catalan Cuisine
This restaurant was founded in 1904 and has a quaint atmosphere with a sort of “hidden gem” vibe. It’s warm and inviting and the staff is lovely and friendly. If you’re looking for a place with a “local” vibe that serves traditional Catalan cuisine, you’ll love the delicious and beautifully presented dishes, the variety of options on the menu, and the excellent service.
Bambarol Bar Restaurant- Mediterranean, Catalan and Gastronomic cuisine
This bar and restaurant is a Spanish tapas bar that’s frequented by locals and recommended by many. It has a rustic vibe and excellent service. The food is delicious, staff super friendly, and they serve a wide variety of tapas. They serve everything from grilled octopus to scallops with pork jowls to ham croquettes to grilled Wagyu beef and more. The potato salad is a definite must try!
4 amb 5 Mujades – All About Vegetables (not Vegetarianism)
This hot new restaurant is all about vegetables and making them the exciting spotlight of the dish. The food here is full of texture, flavour and color! With a special emphasis on freshness, the vegetables are picked from their nearby garden and grown with an emphasis on ancient wisdom and plant knowledge. It is an absolute must try for a cultural and cuisine delight! It’s located in old town Barcelona on the bustling Rambla de Raval so it’s a great stop on your tour of the area.
Dos Palillos -Traditional Spanish Food Meets Flavors of Asia
Chef Albert Raurich has earned a Michelin star for his tasting menu and delicious creations at Dos Palillos. A very short walk from the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, this restaurant is the perfect stop after a tour through the museum. It’s really unique for a tapas bar in that it’s a fusion of Spanish and Asian flavors. They’re known for their surprising and adventurous menu, and intimate atmosphere. Guests are all seated around the open central kitchen where you watch your meals being prepared.
Monvinic -Wine Bar and Gourmet Restaurant
This is THE place for anyone who loves wine. Featuring a 3,000-bottle wine list, Movinic is sleek, experiential, dramatic, and known as being the wine scene of the Sagrada Familia. It features a dining room with a daily menu, a library with references, and a cellar reminiscent of a science lab. The restaurant is just as phenomenal as the wine bar with tasting specials, lunch specials, and a market menu.
I hope you have enjoyed reading our Spain Travel Guide! For more information contact Love From Mwai Experiences.
Until next time