Spain is fun, peculiar, and unique. From hosting the world’s biggest food fight festival to having 4 co-official languages, there’re so many unexpected yet compelling fun facts about Spain. Here’re the 14 most interesting fun facts about Spain that will leave you in awe!

Fact 1. Don Quixote, the world’s first modern novel, is Spanish.

In 2023, Don Quixote will be 4,018 years old. Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes wrote it back in 1605. Today, Don Quixote is the prototype of the modern novel and is considered one of the greatest. It’s been translated into 140 different languages and is the 8th most translated book in the world.

Fact 2. Spain has the world’s biggest food fight festival.

More than 20,000 people gather in a town close to Valencia once a year to participate in a massive tomato fight festival — La Tomatina. Festival goers throw 150,000 tomatoes at each other… for fun. We know it sounds odd, but believe it or not, tickets are sold out immediately.

Check out our guide to festivals in Spain if you want to learn more about the colourful celebrations in your new home!

Fact 3. Spain has 4 co-official languages.

Spanish is the official language of Spain and it’s spoken by 72% of the population. But 6 of the 17 autonomous communities in Spain have other co-official languages besides Spanish. They’re Catalan, Basque, Galician, and Aranese.

Fact 4. Spain is the biggest LGBTQ+ ally.

Spain is the biggest believer and supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. In fact, Spain was the 3rd country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2005. The same year they also legalised same-sex adoption. Spanish cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Málaga are home to many pride parades and wildly fun LGBTQ+ festivals to celebrate love and equality.

Fact 5. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s oldest restaurant is in Spain.

Casa Botín in Madrid, founded in 1725, is the oldest operating restaurant in the world. It’s one of the busiest tourist attractions and is always fully booked. Even Hemingway mentioned its roasted pig in his novel.

Fact 6. Spain is the 4th country with the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

After Italy, China, and Germany, Spain has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Works of Anton Gaudi, Ibiza’s famous fortified old town, the unfinished gothic church Sagrada Família, etc.

Fact 7. Spain is the only EU country to have a land border with an African country.

Well, not the mainland, but its territory. Because the autonomous city Ceuta in North Africa is Spanish territory, Spain has a physical border with Morocco.

Fact 8. Spain is 3rd the country with the largest Spanish-speaking population.

After Mandarin, Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the world. More than 559 million people speak Spanish globally. Of those, 460 million are native speakers.

Interestingly Spain is 3rd with the largest Spanish-speaking population after Mexico and the U.S. The U.S. has 41 million native and 12 million bilingual Spanish speakers, which’s why many Americans move to Spain.

Fact 9. Spain was the first empire in which the sun never sets.

Today people use this phrase when they describe the British Empire. But the first time, the Empire of Charles V, which included the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish empire, was labeled as the empire in which the sun never sets.

Fact 10. Spain is a democratic constitutional monarchy, a.k.a parliamentary monarchy.

Even though the democratically elected prime minister governs the country, Spain still has an official monarch and royal family. In fact, it wasn’t a constitutional country until late 1970. Currently, the King of Spain is Felipe VI and he only has ceremonial power.

Fact 11. People live 83 years on average in Spain.

Spain has the 2nd highest average life expectancy of 82.4 years (Japan is the first). United Nations predicts that by 2050, 40% of Spain’s population will be over 60. This’s an interesting fact but also alarming since the pension system of Spain is built on the contributions of younger generations.