Spain is one of the most popular holiday destination on the planet and it is easy to say why. It has a very rich history, sandy beaches, wild parties and, importantly for us, many extraordinary landscapes.
Here we give you 20 interesting facts about Spain together with links to adventures in Spain as well as links to further reading such as profiles of mountains, ranges and books and guidebooks to the mountains of Spain.
1. There are eight major mountain ranges within Spain. The Pyrenees in the northeast, Cordillera Cantabrica in the north, Sistema Iberico just below the Pyrenees, Sierra de Cuenca and Serrania de Cuenca in the east, Montes de Toledo in the centre of Iberian Peninsula, Cordillera Betica and Sierra Nevada in the south.
2. Spain is a kingdom. Well, to be more precise it is actually a constitution monarchy with a Filipe the VI reigning as its king. It is the second largest country in the European Union, it covers a land of almost 506 thousand sq km (195,367 ft), which is 85 percent of Iberian Peninsula. The other 15 percent goes to Portugal.
3. The Pyrenees are a mountain range located between Spain and France forming a natural barrier between these two countries. Mount Aneto with an elevation of 3,404 m (11,168 ft) is the highest mountain in the mountain range and the third loftiest in the entire country.
4. 406 million people around the globe speak Spanish as their first language and it makes Spanish the second most spoken language in the world. This is mainly due to Spanish conquests in now Latin and South America that continued through 16th-18th centuries.
5. Mount Mulhacen is the highest mountain in continental Spain. It is located in Sierra Nevada mountain range and it reaches an elevation of 3,478 m (11,413 ft). It is actually the highest peak in Europe without taking Caucasus and the Alps into the account. This makes Sierra Nevada the third highest mountain range in Europe.
6. According to the statistics Spanish are devoting 16 out of 24 hours a day for leisure, eating, drinking and sleeping. On the other hand, there is a simple explanation for siestas. As Spain is a country who gets a lot of sunlight, it gets so hot during the day that it can be dangerous to work, therefore, why not take a nap?
7. The first modern novel – Don Quxote was written by the Spanish writer Cervantes’ in 1605. The main character is well known around the world, especially due to his honourable fight with the windmill.
8. Spain is the third on the list of countries with the biggest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain has 44 sites on that list, which include art, historic cities, buildings, parks, etc.
9. Spain is one of the most tolerant countries in the world towards LGBT community. The same sex marriage has been legal there since 2005 and around 80 percent of the population believe that LGBT community members have equal rights with the society.
10. Timanfaya National Park is an area in and the island of Lanzarote. The park is made of volcanic soil, therefore, it is known for its resemblance to the landscape of Mars. The Fire Mountains is the national park were created between 1730 and 1736 when more than 100 volcanoes rose up. Now the area is highly protected, therefore there are only a few observation areas where visitors are able to peak into the park.
11. If you ever happen to visit Madrid, keep in mind that the oldest restaurant in the world is located in this city. The restaurant is called Restaurante Botin and it was opened in 1725 and it is recognised by Guinness World Records.
12. The highest mountain in Spain actually is a volcano located on Tenerife island. With an elevation of 3,718 m (12,198 ft), Teide is the third highest volcano on the planet and the highest point in the entire Atlantic Ocean. Moreover, it is the tenth highest island on Earth. Teide same as the Timafaya National Park is highly protected, you require permits to climb the volcano, on the other hand, you can get most of the way up by the cable car.
13. Around 65 million people visit Spain every year making it the third most visited country in the world. Spain goes right after France and the United States.
14. Picos de Europa is a third highest mountain range in Spain with a significant number of peaks over 2,000 m (6,562 ft). It is also a place where you can find the sixth deepest cave on the planet. The Torca del Cerro cave is 1,589 m (5,213 ft) deep and is considered to be one of the most dangerous and technically challenging descent in the world.
15. Festivals play a major part of Spanish culture. Romería de Nuesra Señora de le Cabeza, has been held for over 800 years, Fiesta de los Patios has a UNESCO World heritage status. Yet no other festival is as known as of San Fermin. Yes, this is the one with bulls chasing people on the streets!
16. The youngest person to climb all of the eight-thousanders is Spanish Alberto Iñurrategi Iriarte. At the age of 33 he finished the list and became the second Spaniard to climb all 14 peaks, after Juan Eusebio Oiarzabal Urteaga. Alberto was also the 4th person to reach the summits without the help of bottled oxygen.
17. Mount Teide is described as a dormant peaceful volcano, yet its last eruption has not been that long ago. Officially it is still active, the last time Teide erupted was in 1909 and it did so without any warning whatsoever.
18. Spain is a sunny country with a beautiful beaches, therefore, there is no surprise that sunbathing is a regular activity in the country. What is a little more surprising is that it is completely usual to be nude on the beach, well, kind of. Public nudity is not illegal in Spain.
19. Finally, there are only four countries in the world that have no lyrics for their national anthems and Spain is one of them. Even though there are quite a few versions of lyrics, officially, they are absent.
20. One of the world's longest religious pilgrimages and a popular long distance walk is the Camino de Santiago. Sometimes known as the Way of St James, in English, the Camino is often followed as a form of spiritual path however it is also now very popular with long-distance hiking enthusiasts as well as organized tours. The symbol of the route is scallop shell!
ADVENTURES IN SPAIN
MOUNTAINS & RANGES