Spain Country Guide
Explore Spain in Europe
The landscape offers large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills and Pyrenees Mountains in north. The average density of population is approximately 80 per km². The notable climate conditions in Spain can be described as temperate with clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast, cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast. Potential threats by nature are periodic droughts, occasional flooding.
To reach someone in Spain dial +34 prior to a number. There are 20,057,000 installed telephones. And there are 50,991,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".es". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.
About the flag and history of Spain
Three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon) while Granada is represented by the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield; the arms are framed by two columns representing the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar; the red scroll across the two columns bears the imperial motto of "Plus Ultra" (further beyond) referring to Spanish lands beyond Europe; the triband arrangement with the center stripe twice the width of the outer dates to the 18th century
note: the red and yellow colors are related to those of the oldest Spanish kingdoms: Aragon, Castile, Leon, and Navarre.
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. More recently the government has had to focus on measures to reverse a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008. Austerity measures implemented to reduce a large budget deficit and reassure foreign investors have led to one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.
Neighbours: Andorra, Portugal, Gibraltar, France, Morocco
|Size||504,782 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 194,897 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
|Currency||Name: Euro, Currency Code: EUR|
|Country Top Level Domain (cTLD)||.es|
|Telephone Country Prefix||+34|
|Mobile Phone Connections||50,991,000|
|Landline Phone Connections||20,057,000|
Country Position in World Rankings
Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|Area||505,370 (sq km)||52|
People and Society
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|Population growth rate||0.73 (%)||140|
|Birth rate||10.14 (births/1,000 population)||192|
|Death rate||8.94 (deaths/1,000 population)||69|
|Net migration rate||6.14 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)||17|
|Maternal mortality rate||6.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)||172|
|Infant mortality rate||3.35 (deaths/1,000 live births)||214|
|Life expectancy at birth||81.37 (years)||16|
|Total fertility rate||1.48 (children born/woman)||191|
|Health expenditures||9.50 (% of GDP)||33|
|HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate||0.40 (%)||75|
|HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS||130,000||35|
|HIV/AIDS - deaths||1,600||59|
|Obesity - adult prevalence rate||26.60 (%)||45|
|Education expenditures||5.00 (% of GDP)||77|
|Unemployment, youth ages 15-24||46.4 (%)||6|
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|GDP (purchasing power parity)||1,434,000,000,000||15|
|GDP - real growth rate||-1.40 (%)||202|
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||31,100||47|
|Unemployment rate||26.00 (%)||175|
|Distribution of family income - Gini index||32||104|
|Investment (gross fixed)||20.60 (% of GDP)||87|
|Taxes and other revenues||35.9 (% of GDP)||63|
|Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)||-7.40 (% of GDP)||191|
|Public debt||85.30 (% of GDP)||20|
|Inflation rate (consumer prices)||2.40 (%)||50|
|Central bank discount rate||1.75 (%)||122|
|Commercial bank prime lending rate||8.09 (%)||114|
|Stock of narrow money||775,200,000,000||8|
|Stock of broad money||1,969,000,000,000||8|
|Stock of domestic credit||2,849,000,000,000||10|
|Market value of publicly traded shares||1,172,000,000,000||14|
|Industrial production growth rate||5.90 (%)||51|
|Current account balance||-18,800,000,000||181|
|Reserves of foreign exchange and gold||50,300,000,000||38|
|Debt - external||2,311,000,000,000||10|
|Stock of direct foreign investment - at home||663,100,000,000||8|
|Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad||739,200,000,000||10|
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|Electricity - production||279,600,000,000 (kWh)||15|
|Electricity - consumption||249,700,000,000 (kWh)||15|
|Electricity - exports||13,520,000,000 (kWh)||13|
|Electricity - imports||5,169,000,000 (kWh)||38|
|Electricity - installed generating capacity||102500000 (kW)||12|
|Electricity - from fossil fuels||48.7 (% of total installed capacity)||158|
|Electricity - from nuclear fuels||7.6 (% of total installed capacity)||24|
|Electricity - from hydroelectric plants||13.7 (% of total installed capacity)||106|
|Electricity - from other renewable sources||24.4 (% of total installed capacity)||4|
|Crude oil - production||12,090 (bbl/day)||79|
|Crude oil - imports||1,046,000 (bbl/day)||10|
|Crude oil - proved reserves||150000000 (bbl)||68|
|Refined petroleum products - production||1,211,000 (bbl/day)||20|
|Refined petroleum products - consumption||1,384,000 (bbl/day)||18|
|Refined petroleum products - exports||240,700 (bbl/day)||28|
|Refined petroleum products - imports||528,400 (bbl/day)||11|
|Natural gas - production||52,000,000 (cu m)||83|
|Natural gas - consumption||33,550,000,000 (cu m)||28|
|Natural gas - exports||1,698,000,000 (cu m)||40|
|Natural gas - imports||35,490,000,000 (cu m)||13|
|Natural gas - proved reserves||2,548,000,000 (cu m)||97|
|Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy||316,400,000 (Mt)||20|
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|Telephones - main lines in use||19,867,000||14|
|Telephones - mobile cellular||52,598,000||26|
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|Value name||Value||World Rank|
|Military expenditures||1.20 (% of GDP)||118|
Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases
List of current world heritage sites
|Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín, Granada
Rising above the modern lower town, the Alhambra and the Albaycín, situated on two adjacent hills, form the medieval part of Granada. To the east of the Alhambra fortress and residence are the magnificent gardens of the Generalife, the former rural ...
|Aranjuez Cultural Landscape
The Aranjuez cultural landscape is an entity of complex relationships: between nature and human activity, between sinuous watercourses and geometric landscape design, between the rural and the urban, between forest landscape and the delicately modula ...
|Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida
The colony of Augusta Emerita, which became present-day Mérida in Estremadura, was founded in 25 B.C. at the end of the Spanish Campaign and was the capital of Lusitania. The well-preserved remains of the old city include, in particular, a large bri ...
|Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco
Tárraco (modern-day Tarragona) was a major administrative and mercantile city in Roman Spain and the centre of the Imperial cult for all the Iberian provinces. It was endowed with many fine buildings, and parts of these have been revealed in a serie ...
|Archaeological Site of Atapuerca
The caves of the Sierra de Atapuerca contain a rich fossil record of the earliest human beings in Europe, from nearly one million years ago and extending up to the Common Era. They represent an exceptional reserve of data, the scientific study of whi ...
Our Lady of Burgos was begun in the 13th century at the same time as the great cathedrals of the Ile-de-France and was completed in the 15th and 16th centuries. The entire history of Gothic art is summed up in its superb architecture and its unique c ...
|Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí
The narrow Vall de Boí is situated in the high Pyrénées, in the Alta Ribagorça region and is surrounded by steep mountains. Each village in the valley contains a Romanesque church, and is surrounded by a pattern of enclosed fields. There are exte ...
|Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville
Together these three buildings form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. The cathedral and the Alcázar – dating from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century and imbued with Moorish influences – are an exceptional testimony ...
|Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
Seventeen decorated caves of the Paleolithic age were inscribed as an extension to the Altamira Cave, inscribed in 1985. The property will now appear on the List as Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain. The property represents ...
|Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana
The Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana located on a sheer-sided mountain range parallel to the north-western coast of the island of Mallorca. Millennia of agriculture in an environment with scarce resources has transformed the terrain and ...
|Doñana National Park
Doñana National Park in Andalusia occupies the right bank of the Guadalquivir river at its estuary on the Atlantic Ocean. It is notable for the great diversity of its biotopes, especially lagoons, marshlands, fixed and mobile dunes, scrub woodland a ...
|Garajonay National Park
Laurel forest covers some 70% of this park, situated in the middle of the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands archipelago. The presence of springs and numerous streams assures a lush vegetation resembling that of the Tertiary, which, due to cli ...
|Historic Centre of Cordoba
Cordoba's period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century ...
|Historic City of Toledo
Successively a Roman municipium, the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, a fortress of the Emirate of Cordoba, an outpost of the Christian kingdoms fighting the Moors and, in the 16th century, the temporary seat of supreme power under Charles V, Toled ...
|Historic Walled Town of Cuenca
Built by the Moors in a defensive position at the heart of the Caliphate of Cordoba, Cuenca is an unusually well-preserved medieval fortified city. Conquered by the Castilians in the 12th century, it became a royal town and bishopric endowed with imp ...
|Ibiza, Biodiversity and Culture
Ibiza provides an excellent example of the interaction between the marine and coastal ecosystems. The dense prairies of oceanic Posidonia (seagrass), an important endemic species found only in the Mediterranean basin, contain and support a diversity ...
|La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia
Built between 1482 and 1533, this group of buildings was originally used for trading in silk (hence its name, the Silk Exchange) and it has always been a centre for commerce. It is a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The grandiose Sala de Cont ...
In the 1st century A.D. the Roman Imperial authorities began to exploit the gold deposits of this region in north-west Spain, using a technique based on hydraulic power. After two centuries of working the deposits, the Romans withdrew, leaving a deva ...
|Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid
Built at the end of the 16th century on a plan in the form of a grill, the instrument of the martyrdom of St Lawrence, the Escurial Monastery stands in an exceptionally beautiful site in Castile. Its austere architecture, a break with previous styles ...
|Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias
In the 9th century the flame of Christianity was kept alive in the Iberian peninsula in the tiny Kingdom of the Asturias. Here an innovative pre-Romanesque architectural style was created that was to play a significant role in the development of the ...
|Mudejar Architecture of Aragon
The development in the 12th century of Mudejar art in Aragon resulted from the particular political, social and cultural conditions that prevailed in Spain after the Reconquista. This art, influenced by Islamic tradition, also reflects various contem ...
|Old City of Salamanca
This ancient university town north-west of Madrid was first conquered by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century B.C. It then became a Roman settlement before being ruled by the Moors until the 11th century. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, ...
|Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches
Founded in the 11th century to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors, this 'City of Saints and Stones', the birthplace of St Teresa and the burial place of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, has kept its medieval austerity. This purity of form ...
|Old Town of Cáceres
The city's history of battles between Moors and Christians is reflected in its architecture, which is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles. Of the 30 or so towers from the Muslim period, the Torre del Bujaco is th ...
|Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct
The Roman aqueduct of Segovia, probably built c. A.D. 50, is remarkably well preserved. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the setting of the magnificent historic city of Segovia. Other important monuments inclu ...
|Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona
These are two of the finest contributions to Barcelona's architecture by the Catalan art nouveau architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The Palau de la Música Catalana is an exuberant steel-framed structure full of light and space, and decorated by ...
|Palmeral of Elche
The Palmeral of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with elaborate irrigation systems, at the time the Muslim city of Elche was erected, towards the end of the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian peninsula was ...
This Cistercian abbey in Catalonia is one of the largest in Spain. At its centre is a 12th-century church. The austere, majestic monastery, which has a fortified royal residence and contains the pantheon of the kings of Catalonia and Aragon, is an im ...
|Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza
The urban morphology of the two small cities of Úbeda and Baeza in southern Spain dates back to the Moorish 9th century and to the Reconquista in the 13th century. An important development took place in the 16th century, when the cities were subject ...
|Rock Art of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula
The late prehistoric rock-art sites of the Mediterranean seaboard of the Iberian peninsula form an exceptionally large group. Here the way of life during a critical phase of human development is vividly and graphically depicted in paintings whose sty ...
|Roman Walls of Lugo
The walls of Lugo were built in the later part of the 3rd century to defend the Roman town of Lucus. The entire circuit survives intact and is the finest example of late Roman fortifications in western Europe. ...
|Route of Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela was proclaimed the first European Cultural itinerary by the Council of Europe in 1987. This route from the French-Spanish border was – and still is – taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Some 1,800 buildings along t ...
|Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe
The monastery is an outstanding repository of four centuries of Spanish religious architecture. It symbolizes two significant events in world history that occurred in 1492: the Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula by the Catholic Kings and Christopher ...
|San Cristóbal de La Laguna
San Cristóbal de La Laguna, in the Canary Islands, has two nuclei: the original, unplanned Upper Town; and the Lower Town, the first ideal 'city-territory' laid out according to philosophical principles. Its wide streets and open spaces have a numbe ...
|San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries
The monastic community founded by St Millán in the mid-6th century became a place of pilgrimage. A fine Romanesque church built in honour of the holy man still stands at the site of Suso. It was here that the first literature was produced in Castili ...
|Santiago de Compostela (Old Town)
This famous pilgrimage site in north-west Spain became a symbol in the Spanish Christians' struggle against Islam. Destroyed by the Muslims at the end of the 10th century, it was completely rebuilt in the following century. With its Romanesque, Gothi ...
|Teide National Park
Situated on the island of Tenerife, Teide National Park features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, at 3,718 m, is the highest peak on Spanish soil. Rising 7,500 m above the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world’s third-tallest volcanic st ...
|Tower of Hercules
The Tower of Hercules has served as a lighthouse and landmark at the entrance of La Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since the late 1st century A.D. when the Romans built the Farum Brigantium. The Tower, built on a 57 metre high rock, rises a f ...
|University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares
Founded by Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros in the early 16th century, Alcalá de Henares was the world's first planned university city. It was the original model for the Civitas Dei (City of God), the ideal urban community which Spanish missionaries br ...
Vizcaya Bridge straddles the mouth of the Ibaizabal estuary, west of Bilbao. It was designed by the Basque architect Alberto de Palacio and completed in 1893. The 45-m-high bridge with its span of 160 m, merges 19th-century ironworking traditions wit ...
|Works of Antoni Gaudí
Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in or near Barcelona testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The ...