Spain Travel Information
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country in southwestern Europe with 50,015,792 (2020) inhabitants and an area of 505,992 km². The country covers roughly 80% of the Iberian Peninsula. In addition to that, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the Spanish exclaves in North Africa also belong to the country.
In the northeast, Spain borders France and Andorra, along the entire length of the Pyrenees, in the west with Portugal, in the south with the British colony of Gibraltar and, via the exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, with Morocco. The capital of Spain is Madrid, a city with more than 3 million inhabitants located in the center of the country.
The territory of Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians, Basques and other peoples was conquered by the Romans around 200 AD and baptized Hispania. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Great Migration, this area was conquered by the Visigoths before the Muslim Moors invaded the Visigothic Empire in the 8th century. Their rule, which extended over almost all of Spain, only came to an end with the completion of the Reconquista in 1492. Subsequently, a vast world empire arose at a hasty pace and in imitation of Portugal. Despite great wealth, mainly from Latin America, Spain fell further and further back from the 17th century due to many European wars. The 19th century was marked by internal conflicts that ravaged Spain, and after the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), the country became a fascist dictatorship under Francisco Franco. After Franco's death in 1975, constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy were restored. Spain joined NATO in 1982 and has been a member of the European Union since 1986.
Spain is a diverse country with very different cultures, languages, eating habits and climates. The country ranges from the rainy fishing villages of Galicia to the nightlife of Madrid, from the touristic coasts of the Mediterranean to the flamenco dancing of Andalusia and from the bullfighting in many parts of the country to modern Barcelona in Catalonia. Besides Spanish (Castillian), Catalan, Basque and Galician are so-called 'co-official' languages of the country. The euro has been the Spanish currency since 2002, succeeding the peseta.