What Is Spain Famous For?

📅 11 February 2023 |Blog, Spain | ⌛ 25 mins

What is Barcelona known for
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If you are wondering what Spain is famous for there are quite a few things. It’s the paella, it’s the sangria, the tapas, the siesta & fiesta, flamenco, Ibiza and many more. It really depends on what your interests are, but it seems that Spain has it all.

If you are wondering where is Spain, it is located on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is being one of the biggest countries in Europe, there is a lot that Spain can offer its visitors. Spanish culture is quite rich and you can find a lot of things to explore in the country itself. Just because Spain is so vast there are many things to explore and experience. Some of them you probably have not heard of, but they are indeed what Spain is known for.

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Paella

What is Spain best known for?! Paella is for sure one of the famous Spanish things that you have to try. luckily, you can find paella in almost every restaurant in Spain and there are different variations. If you wish to have a vegetarian paella, you will have it, if you want seafood or meat, you will have it as well. You have to ask for it and it will be delivered.

This rice dish originated in Valencia and has slowly climbed its way to being one of Spain’s traditional dishes. As per the original recipe, paella consists of round-grain rice, rabbit, chicken, duck, green and butter beans. All of these ingredients are cooked in olive oil and chicken broth. The best herbs to add to it are rosemary and saffron.  

What is Spain famous for eating

Tapas & Wine

What comes first?! The tapas or the wine?!

Well, to answer your question – first comes the wine and then comes the tapas. Wine and tapas are the two most famous things in Spain to eat and are deeply connected to the country’s cultural heritage and social life.

The tapas culture started back in the 13th century with King Alfonso X who ordered taverns to serve wine along with a small snack. Ever since then, Spanish restaurants and bars are offering the “little snacks” to its customers. Usually, what you can get as a snack are nice green olives, tortillas, nuts, tomato paste on bread, croquets or patatas bravas (spicy potatoes). In some of the bars, they offer some chorizos and ham.

I bet you are no longer wondering what alcohol is Spain known for. I think it is pretty straight forward, that Spain is known for its great wine. Spain is the third largest producer of some of the finest wines in the world, among which are Rioja, Sherry and Cava. Thus, make sure to order some of these wines that are for sure enjoyed with a couple of tapas!

Sangria

If we are making a list of the things Spain is famous for, Sangria is for sure going to be somewhere in the top!

This fruity punch made with Rioja wine and fresh juices is one of the best alcoholic drinks in the world. it originated in the 18th century in both Spain and Portugal and has been famous ever since.

So, if you want something refreshing, yet sweet you can order Sangria almost anywhere in Spain. What is cool about it is that recently the Sangria Blanco was introduced which is made with white wine and is lighter.

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Jamón Ibérico

If you are still asking yourself what is Spain famous for, I can make it easier for you. Unquestionably, one of the best foods in Spain is its Jamón Ibérico! This cured ham is one of the finest in the world and is the staple of Spanish cuisine.

It is made from a special Iberian pig breed, which is populating the Iberian Peninsula and namely Spain and Portugal. The ham itself is made by air-drying the meat for 100 days, which gives it its amazing flavor. So, make sure to try it.

Jamón Ibérico is usually served as tapas in any bar and restaurant, but you can also buy it yourself in the stores. If you are wondering what these huge chunks of meat are in the stores, they are for sure Jamón Ibérico.

Olive Oil

If you are wondering what is Spain famous for producing, that’s for sure olive oil. Spain is renowned for its olive oil produce and is one of the biggest olive oil producers globally.

Spanish cuisine is one that uses lots of olive oil and that’s no surprise. The olive oil that Spain produces is of rich, fruity flavor and is of high quality. On top of that you can choose from a couple of different types of olive oil – extra virgin and virgin olive oil. The first one is derived from the first cold pressing and the second one is from the second cold pressing. Anyway, whichever type you choose, you will still taste the richness of its taste.

La Siesta

What is Spain known for? Well, La Siesta is popular in Spain and probably one of the best things about Spain. Especially, during the hot summer days. It usually happens between 2PM to 5PM in the afternoon and lasts around 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Even though many people would be opposing it and be in disbelief, the siesta is extremely beneficial for humans in general. It is letting you escape the heat and recharge in the middle of the day. Not to mention the benefits of napping to one’s productivity and longevity.

I know that a lot of people are talking about the 4 days working week, but what about La Siesta? Do you think it might help humanity to be better and do better?

La Fiesta

Spain is known as the land of festivities, known in Spanish as festas. These fiestas are known for their loud music and dancing happening on the streets of Spain. They are also the backbone of Spanish culture and lifestyle, which is quite laidback.

Thus, if you are a party lover, Spain is the place to be. Whether you would like a big party of more intimate celebrations, Spain can offer it all.

La Tomatina

When it comes to festivals, we need to know what is Spain known for. La Tomatina is one of the most popular things in Spain to participate in. It is a famous festival that takes place in the town of Buñol, near Valencia, during the last Wednesday of August.

This festival is a massive tomato fight where participants throw tomatoes at each other in the streets of the city. La Tomatina is a bright and lively festival that is in a way a celebration of the Spanish culture and traditions. It allows people to have fun in a unique and exciting way whilst experiencing the Spanish culture.

Bullfighting in Spain

Bullfighting

What is Spain known for, if not bullfighting? In Spain, bullfighting is still a thing. It has originated in the 12th century and is an event that gathers hundreds if not thousands of people in the arenas.

The most famous bullfighting event in Spain is the Bulls in Pamplona, which is held during the San Fermin festival. Believe it or not, during this festival, there are special “runners” called mozos and their job is to outrun a herd of bulls. Although, it is considered to be a dangerous event, it attracts many visitors from all over the world every year.

Trust me, this festival is not for the faint of heart, but is what is famous in Spain. It is what makes Spain a distinctive country with a unique culture.

Flamenco

What makes Spain so distinctive than other countries in Europe? What is Spain known for? Among the many things Spain is known for is Flamenco. This fiery dance full of complex hand and foot motions, along with live singing and music is a magical thing to see. The Flamenco originated back in the 18th century in the Andalusian region of Spain and has been a masterpiece by itself ever since.

Nowadays, it has been recognized by UNESCO as Oral and Intangible Human Heritage. That’s no surprise as it has greatly influenced the Spanish culture and history especially in the Andalusian region.

If you would like to see a flamenco you can check out the specialized venues tablaos. Or simply go to Andalusia region where it is often performed on the streets.

El Clásico

Well, what is Spain famous for more? Spain is famous for many things, but “El Clásico” is something to remember for sure. This is the intense never-ending rivalry game between Spain’s largest football clubs – Real Madrid and Barcelona.

This match is considered one of the most anticipated events in the football world. It’s attracting millions of people from all around the world all the time. Unquestionably, it is an event like no other. Hence, if someone asks you about things that Spain is famous for, you can tell them that “El Clásico” is one of them.

What is Madrid known for

Madrid

Madrid and its vibrancy is nowhere to be found. As the capital of Spain, this huge city has plenty to offer, from cultural sights to exquisite nightlife, you got it all.

Spain’s capital is home to many museums known all around the world like Prado museum, the Reina Sofia Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. It is also home to the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is the official residence of the Spanish royal family. even though the royal family does not reside there, it is a place to see, as it has a great architectural styles, including Baroque, Renaissance and Neoclassical.

When it comes to its nightlife, the Spain capital offers lots of pubs, clubs and taverns that stay open late. Thus, if you are in for the party, Madrid is a great option for you!

Barcelona

Although, Barcelona is not the capital of Spain, it is the most famous and visited city in the country. With its unique architecture and streets full of color it attracts many to its sights. So, what is Barcelona famous for? This, my dear…

It’s no surprise that many people call it “Gaudi’s Barcelona”, as this genius made the city looks so extraordinary. Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect from the 19th century, is the one to blame for the beautiful Park Guell, Casa Batllo, and the Sagrada Familia.

Once you are in Barcelona, you will notice that the signs have a couple of labels in different languages. That’s no surprise, since Barca is part of the autonomous Catalonia district and that makes it quite different than rest of Spain.

What is Barcelona known for additionally is the Catalonia region. As an autonomous region Catalonia has its own celebrations. Some of them are Dia de Sant Jordi and Caga Tío. The Dia de Sant Jordi’s a public celebration where people exchange books and roses as gifts on the 23rd of April each year. The Caga Tío is in fact a wooden Christmas figure, which is put into houses for good luck of families.

What is Valencia known for

Valencia

What is Valencia famous for? This “little” city, located on the east coast of Spain known for being the birthplace of Paella. Even though, this does not mean that it’s the only thing you can do there. There’s plenty of sights to see including mesmerizing beaches, amazing cuisine, unique festivals like Las Fellas and its modern architecture.

Valencia is considered to be the home of the City of Arts and Sciences. This cultural and architectural complex has in itself the famous Opera House, the Hemisfèric, and the Prince Felipe Museum of Science. In addition, the colourful mosaics, ornate facades and amusing details of the “Valencian Modernism” is something not to be missed.

Málaga

Undoubtedly, Malaga is another Spanish city that needs mentioning. Located in the southern coast of Spain, Malaga is part of the Andalusian region. Aside from the beautiful beaches it has, Malaga is also rich in history.

Once, an important trade center of the Roman Empire, nowadays, Malaga is still a strategic trade point. Within the city you will find many historic sites such as Alcazaba, a beautiful Moorish castle. The Roman Theatre, which is among the most well-preserved theatres in the world is also not to be missed. However, if you want to dive into the art world, you can check out the Picasso museum, dedicated to the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.

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Seville

Ahh, Seville! I bet once you see Seville and witness all of its beautiful sights you will never forget it!

Probably, you are asking yourself, well, what is Seville famous for?! Well, where should I start? The Alcazar of Seville! This beautiful palace dates back to the 13th century and known for its mixture of Mudéjar, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural styles.

What is Seville known for more is the Gothic Seville Cathedral, which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. I bet you did not know that!

Last but not least, Seville is famous for the Plaza de España, the Metropol Parasol, and the Maestranza Bullring.

Granada

Granada is another well-known Spanish city that is famous for the Calat Alhambra. This palace and castle complex is located on the hill of the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s no need to mention that it is an important example of Moorish architecture in Spain.

The Calat Alhambra in Granada was built by the Moors who ruled in these lands in the 13th & 14th centuries. The gardens of the palace are out of this world and are a must-see, so make sure to check them out.

So, now if someone asks you what is Granada famous for you can tell them that it’s the Alhambra castle!

Porto Santo Beaches

Canary & Balearic Islands

Are you yearning for a vacation? Are you in the mood to be at peace and lay somewhere far away on a beach? Well, you are in the right section then. Here’s what is Spain famous for when it comes to vacations. These two island groups are probably the most famous tourist destinations in Europe.

Who has not heard about the Canary islands?! I do not think that there is such a person. The stunning golden sand beaches and the crystal clear waters are what attracts many to this island group. Tenerife, the main island, is well-known for the lively nightlife it offers. However, that’s not all, the islands are also home to Teide National Park in Tenerife and the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote. So, make sure to check them out.

Not enough? Well, travel to the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and experience their crystal clear turquoise waters. The most famous islands of the group are Ibiza and Mallorca. Both islands are known for their party culture and are often visited by youngsters during the festival periods. If you want a more peaceful piece of land, try Menorca, the little sister of Mallorca.

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Spanish Art

If you are not aware already, what is Spain famous for, it is for sure its rich artistic heritage. The country is the birthplace of several world-renowned artists, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador DalĂ­.

Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter, sculptor and printmaker, born in Malaga is known for his Cubist movement. He’s known to be one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. One of his greatest works is the Old Guitarist.

On the other hand, Salvador Dali, a surrealist artist born in Figueres in Spain was a leading man in the Surrealist movement. Both, Dali and Picasso have left a unique mark on the art world and are celebrated around the world for their unique styles and approaches to the art.

Inventions

Spain’s history of innovation is quite broad. The country has greatly contributed to bettering the life of the world with a couple of things among which is the windmill. The windmill was fistly developed in Spain in the 8th century and was used to grind grain and pump water.

If you want to know more about other famous things from Spain, keep on reading. The decimal system was first introduced in by Spanish mathematician GerĂłnimo de Astrain in the 16th century, the first modern submarine was built around the same time by Cornelius Drebbel. Last but not least, the solar power was developed by Rafael GaudĂ­ in the early 20th century. He used it to heat water in his architectural designs, which believe it or not was quite incredible!

Languages

Spanish, or Castillian, as it is also known is the official language in Spain. However, there are some interesting facts about Spain and its languages. To many people’s surprise there are a couple of other regional languages that are spoken in the country.

The second most spoken language in Spain is the Catalan, which can be heard in the Catalonia region and Balearic islands. Then, we have the Occitan and Aranese, which are spoken in the Val d’Aran region of Catalonia. Galician and Basque are also another regional languages spoken respectively in the Galicia and Basque regions.

Here’s it is good to mention a famous of Spain writer –  Miguel de Cervantes. If you are wondering who that is, he’s the author of the novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha”. Published in the 16th century and considered a masterpiece ever since. Cervantes is considered to be a great influencer of the Spanish language and at some point people called the Spanish la lengua de Cervantes (the language of Cervantes). Great, isn’t it?!

Explorers & Conquistadores

What is Spain known for in history? It’s probably the Great World Discoveries! During the Age of Discovery, Spain was a main player and had sent out many brave men to set sails in the vast seas. Among these men were Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer sponsored by the Spanish crown, who found the Americas. Ferdinand Magellan was another brave guy, born and raised in Portugal, who led the first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth.

Then, came the conquistadores, some of the most famous Spanish people in history. They were both warriors and explorers. They were the people that helped the country expand its territory and brought great wealth to it. Among the most famous Spanish conquistadores are Hernán Cortés, who conquered the Aztec Empire in Mexico. Francisco Pizarro, conquered the Inca Empire in Peru. Juan Ponce de León colonized Puerto Rico, while Diego de Almagro colonized Chile.

The Spaniards were roaming the world in the search of great treasures and wealth. As a result of their explorations, many colonies were created in Central & South America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia, mainly the Philippines. Hence, these days around 8% of the world population speaks Spanish. I guess, that seems to be the reason why…

Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War had a great influence on the Spanish culture and history, as well as the rest of the globe. It started in the 1936 with intense fighting, widespread devastation, and mass atrocities committed by both sides and ended in 1939. There were two main fighting sides, which were the Republicans made of civilians mostly and the Nationalists, made of military leaders.

Eventually, after 3 tough years the civil war was ended by Francisco Franco, who was part of the Nationalists and won the war. To many people’s disbelief, he established a dictatorship that lasted until 1975 when he died.

The Spanish Civil War has for sure left a huge scar on Spain’s history and culture. It has been considered by many as a rehearsal for World War II and was almost as devastating for the Spanish peoples.

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Camino de Santiago

Lastly, what is Spain famous for, if not the Camino de Santiago? The well-known Way of St. James, is yet another thing Spain is famous for. Back in the day, Camino de Santiago was a set of pilgrimage pathways leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Among the most famous pathways that make up the Camino de Santiago is the Camino Frances. It starts at the St. Jean Pied de Port in France and covers 800 km. Then, we have the Camino Primitivo, which is the oldest route to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Portugues, starting at Lisbon Cathedral, and Camino del Norte starting at the Spanish city Irun near the French border.

Nowadays, many walk the pathway as a way to let themselves free of all worries in the world, of everything materialist. Others do it for the spiritual aspect of it, and many will walk it just for the sport of it. Nevertheless, the Camino de Santiago is a must-do for everyone who wants to explore within themselves. It really does test one selves physics and mentality.

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EarthOSea
EarthOSea

Hi, I'm Alex. For the past years, I have extensively travelled around Europe. In 2019 I have moved to Portugal where I spent a couple of months learning about the Portuguese culture, traditions and language. My speciality is mainly in travelling in a sustainable and less harmful to the environment way. I am focusing more on ways to travel on a budget or money-for-value.

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