Spain in-depth: practical information

What is Spain famous for

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Famous Spanish People

Spain is an amazing country. Spain is known for its spectacular natural beauty, rich history and culture, amazing food, kind and cheerful people and vibrant social life make it a unique oasis in southern Europe. And Spain is big enough and diverse enough that there is something for everyone to enjoy: cozy white villages, spectacular medieval cities,  tranquil white sand beaches, bustling metropolitan areas… You name it, Spain has it. But of all the spectacular things Spain has to offer, what is Spain famous for? What are the things spain is known for arround the world? They may not be the best things in Spain, but people connect Spain with these things.

Here is our list of the top 10 things Spain is known for across the globe, we hope you enjoy it! 

Table of Contents

15. Rioja Wine 

Spain is responsible for some of the best wine in Europe, and easily offers the most value.

There are several famous wine regions in the country: Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Penedés, etc. but the most famous wine region is Rioja. This wine producing region is located in northern Spain, just south of the Basque Country, and spans most of the autonomous community of La Rioja.

But Rioja and La Rioja are not the same things. The wine region bleeds over into Álava, in the Basque Country and for a wine to be considered a Rioja, it must meet certain production and quality standards. 

14. Ibiza and Spains Islands 

Ibiza is known around the globe for its amazing parties and nightlife. But Ibiza isn’t just a party town, it is a spectacular Mediterranean Island with it’s own deep history and particular culture. 

Ibiza is part of the Balearic archipelago located in the Mediterranean sea, between Spain and Italy. The archipelago is comprised of Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza and they are spectacularly beautiful. 

The other island chain that belongs to Spain is the Canary Islands, located to the south, off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean. These Islands enjoy tropical weather, otherworldly beaches, and general laid back vibes. The Main Islands are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Hierro, and Gomera. 

Ibiza City Guide

13. Spain’s National Park System  

Spain is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in Europe, and maybe even on the planet. The country enjoys a wide diversity of climates, flora, and fauna, and of course, they created a National Parks Service to protect these unique landscapes.

The most famous National Park in Spain is probably Doñana but there are 15 different National Parks in the country, each unique in their own way, waiting to be explored. 

picos de europa national park

12. AVE high Speed Railway System 

Spain has one of the best and most efficient train systems in the world. Traveling by train in general is fast and easy, as the railway reaches almost every point of the Iberian Peninsula. 

The AVE is Spain’s high-speed railway and makes traveling across Spain even easier. The AVE reaches most of the major cities in Spain and is super fast and super comfortable. Easily the best way to travel through Spain, especially if you want to visit several cities on your trip. 

11. Medieval Cities 

Spain is also known for it’s breathtaking and pristinely kept Medieval Cities. It’s hard not to think of knights in shining armor, opulent castles, and walled cities when you think about Spain. Spain is always a popular destination for film crews looking to film in an authentic medieval city. Most famously, Game of Thrones has filmed in several locations including San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, or Dragon Stone as it’s known in the Show. 

Toledo is another world-renowned Medieval City in central Spain, known for its amazing metalwork and for producing some of the best swords and armour in Europe during the Middle ages. 

Pamplona features one of the most complex and clever fortified walls system that protected the military bastion that was Pamplona back in the day. The walls are so impressive in fact that they have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Segovia is home to a story-book castle, that looks like something out of a fairy tale. The entrance to the city is guarded by a still-functioning Roman aqueduct, that has been standing since the II century, and the spectacular Alcazar hangs dangerously off a cliff and overlooks the city. 

Cáceres, similar to Toledo, features an almost untouched Medieval City center, that will take you back in time as you explore its cobbled stone streets. 

Lastly, Ávila has an amazing, practically intact, fortified outer wall that surrounds the city and keeps the city safe. 

10. Siesta

The siesta, or afternoon nap is one of Spain’s most famous traditions. Camilo José Cela, a famous spanish writer and literature Nobel price defined the Siesta as “Spanish yoga”.

The mythology surrounding the siesta is a bit exaggerated. Very few people currently take a daily siesta nowadays in Spain, the hustle and bustle of modern living hardly leaves time for anything else, much less sleeping in the middle of the day. 

The siesta is an older tradition, closely associated with the warm weather of Spain. Particularly in the middle of the country and in the south where much of the farming and harvesting takes place, temperatures get sweltering in the summer months making it impossible to work outdoors when the sun is at its highest. So the solution is to work once the sun has gone down, so workers would recharge their batteries in the afternoon and get ready to work in the late afternoon. The siesta is more the result of the natural working day in a hot country than a consequence of the laid back or lazy nature of the Spanish people

9. Spain’s spectacular beaches 

Spain is well known for its spectacular beaches in the world. From the northern Cantabrian coast, to the sandy Mediterranean beaches of the costa del Sol, to the tropical beauty of the Canary Islands, there is no better place in Europe to kick back and relax. 

Spanish beaches usually also feature what are known as chiringuitos: small beach side bars that serve up cold drinks and fresh seafood. When you add delicious food and a cold beer to an already spectacular beach, it doesn’t get much better than that.


8. Alhambra of Granada

The Alhambra of Granada is the amazing, pristine Moorish fortress built overlooking the city of Granada. The complex includes several palaces, gardens, fountains and other buildings built during the XIII century during the Moorish occupation of Spain. The spectacular fortification has survived practically intact over the centuries and it is one of Spain’s main attractions and one of the most romantic places on earth. 

It is the second most visited monument in the country and the city of Granada that sprawls out below, is one of the countries top destinations. 

Alhambra Granada exterior

7. The Sagrada Familia 

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is the most visited monument in Spain. The Sagrada Familia is the magnificently quirky cathedral, designed by Antoni Gaudi in the heart of Barcelona. The Cathedral has been under construction since 1882, and still hasn’t been completed.

The mastermind behind the Sagrada Familia Antoni Gaudi died in 1926 and left behind blueprints and designs to follow to complete his magnum opus. In 1936 however, an anarchist group stormed Gaudi’s studio and destroyed everything Gaudi had left behind. Ever since, architects and scientist have been trying to piece together Gaudi’s vision and find a way forward. But the design was so avant-garde and otherworldly, that they still have trouble to this day figuring out how to proceed. By current estimates, completion of the Cathedral should be in 2026.

Sagrada Familia

6. Football 

Spanish football is known around the world. It is home to the two most popular teams on earth: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona who dominate national and international competition. The scoccer stadiums in Madrid and Barcelona are amongs the most visited attractions in Spain

Spain also features the strongest national league in the world according to the international federation of football of history and statistics. La Liga features some of the best teams in the world aside from Madrid and Barcelona and the deepest talent pool of any national league. 

The Spanish national team is also one of the top squads in international competition, and Spain consistently produces top tier talent on the pitch.

5. Paella and Tapas 

In general, Spanish cuisine is superb. If you have never tried Spanish food you are missing out. Every little region of the Iberian peninsula has their own particular variations and local flare, and having delicious food is a matter of great pride for Spaniards. Everyone brags about the delicious dish that you can only have in their village. 

But the two most famous dishes around the world that originated in Spain are Paella and Tapas. 

Paella is a rice dish traditionally made with seafood and saffron, although there are many variations. You can find excellent Paella all over Spain, but the best paella in Valencia is probably the best paella in spain since Valencia is the birthplace of this most famous of Spanish dishes. 

Tapas on the other hand isn’t really a dish at all and more of an eating style. Tapas are small rations of food that are traditionally served in bars and restaurants to accompany an ordered drink. There are many regional variations of tapas but the idea is always the same: many small plates of food to be shared with friends with a drink in hand. .

Top romantic restaurants in Valencia

4. Ibiza  

Ibiza is known around the world as a prime party destination. In case you do not locate or know where is Ibiza, we recommend you this post.  Ibiza is home to some of the biggest and most spectacular disco’s and plays host to some of the most intense music festivals you can find.

But Ibiza has so much more to offer than just parties. Check out our Ibiza city section to see all of the wonderful things this amazing Mediterranean island has to offer.

where is ibiza

3. Festivals / running of the bulls 

Spain is the land of a million festivals. Every little town has their own festival or as their known in Spain, “fiestas” de pueblo. Especially in summer, celebrations breakout across the country and people take to the streets to enjoy live music, street food and all types of quirky local traditions. 

One of the most famous festivals in Spain is the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. Millions of people flock to the small city of Pamplona to enjoy the San Fermines every year. Bulls are let loose in the center in the city and chase participants to the bull ring in the center of town. San Fermin is not the only Festival in which bulls are an essential part of the tradition.  Madrid holds every year during the month of May the San Isidro festivals, in which besides traditional chotis dances, bulls play an essential part. 

Best things to do in Spain in July

2. Flamenco

Flamenco is the quintessential Spanish art form. One of the iconic images associated with Spain is the image of a woman dressed in flamenco regalia. The art form was developed in the XVII century by Moorish, Jewish and gypsy musicians in southern Spain. The genre blends song, dance and Spanish guitar and its defined for the great intensity and emotion of the performers. Watching a flamenco performance is a unique and magical experience that you don’t want to miss

1. Bullfighting 

Bullfighting had to be at the top of the list.  If Spain had an official animal it would be the bull. This somewhat barbaric tradition was made famous around the world by Hernest Hemmingway in his novel a Dangerous Summer, and it has been linked to Spain ever since. 

The birthplace of modern bullfighting is in Ronda in Málaga and Spain´s most famous Plaza (bull-ring) is Las Ventas in Madrid.  Bullfighting isn’t as common in Spain as you might think, however. It is currently more a part of the cultural heritage of Spain than a tradition that everyone participates in. In fact it has been loosing popularity for years now due to the cruel nature of the “sport”. Bullfights or “corridas de toro” as they are known in Spanish still take place but it is most definitely not the national pass time as it may seem. Nevertheless, the bull and the bullfighter are images that will forever been associated to Spain as a representation of the passion and bravery of its people.