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General information on Spain. Fact file, climate, entertainment, lifestyle, airports, business hours. Learn more about Marbella, Malaga, Estepona.



Spain is located in southwestern Europe and comprises about 84 percent of the Iberian Peninsula. Of Spain's boundaries, 88 percent is water and 12 percent is land. The Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay) is to the north, the Mediterranean Sea and the Balearic Sea to the south-southeast, Portugal and the North Atlantic Ocean to the west, and France and Andorra to the northeast along the Pyrenees Mountains.

Official Name: Spain/Kingdom of Spain
Area: Total 504,030 km (195,364 sq. miles)
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m

Capital: Madrid
Currency: Euro (EUR) (used to be pesetas 1.000 pts = 6 ?)
Official language: Spanish
Time zone: CET4 (UTC+1); CEST (UTC+2)
Dialing Code: +34
Internet top-level domain (TLD): .es
Emergency services: 112

Days of sunshine per year: over 300
Average temperatures: 18 C - 30 C (64 F - 86 F)
Blue flag beaches: 499

Main International Airports: Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN), Malaga (AGP), Son Sant Joan Airport (PMI), Gran Canaria Airport (LPA)
Ports and terminals: Algeciras, Barcelona, Cartagena, Gijon, Huelva, La Coruna, Tarragona, Valencia

Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Government: Parliamentary democracy
President: Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero
Monarch: King Juan Carlos I
National holiday: National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas

Population: 45,116,894 (2007)
Population density: 79 people/km
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Total est. $ 1.224 trillion (2006) Per capita $27,767
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.949 (high) (2005)

Business hours:

Offices: Monday - Friday (09:00 - 14:00; 17:00 20:00)
Banks: Monday - Friday (08:30 - 13:30)
Shops: Monday - Saturday (09:00 - 14:00; 17:00 20:00/21:00)
Big shopping centers: Monday Saturday (10:00 21:00/22:00)

Most major credit cards are widely used and accepted.

Spain is a diverse country that has a lot to offer: from the long golden beaches to the small whitewashed traditional villages inland. Its tremendous history is reflected in its prehistoric cave paintings, Moorish palaces, crumbling castles, Roman ruins, Gothic and Renaissance cathedrals as well as some very distinctive modern architecture. The uniqueness of Spain lies in the separate kingdoms which made up the original Spanish nation.

Spain is more than bullfights, flamenco dancers and crowded beaches. Once away from the holiday costas, you could only be in Spain. In the cities, narrow twisting old streets suddenly open out to views of daring modern architecture, while spit-and-sawdust bars serving wine from the barrel rub shoulders with blaring, glaring discos.

Spain is a country on the move, a place of rapid change. High-speed railways have conquered the country's mountainous terrain and many cities now have modern metro and tram networks, testifying to a vibrant and growing economy. But here, too, you will find a country where time stands still, where Roman columns rise into a clear blue sky, where crumbling Arab watchtowers maintain a lonely vigil over vast and magnificent landscapes, and city plazas where the baroque jostles with the modern to strike a uniquely Spanish harmony.

Spanish people are very open-hearted and communicative. It's often said that the Spanish living room is the bar where the people usually spend a lot of time in the mornings and in the evenings. It makes no difference if you visit one of the big and well-known cities in Spain or if you come to a smaller one. Everywhere you will find something of the typical Spanish life, with people wandering around and having a coffee and some tapas in one of the numerous bars. Or people just sitting around in the sun chatting to each other. Even if you do not speak Spanish or only a little bit they will invite you to have a little conversation and if you are interested you will always find someone that will tell you some facts and nice stories about the town.

Rich in history and natural beauty and with more than a fair share of sunshine Spain is a year-round, natural choice for many different kinds of holiday, from outdoor adventures to world-class museums and art galleries to an infinite variety of popular beaches and secluded coves. Not least the people are warm and welcoming - and they know how to party. The Spanish experience would be incomplete without joining in at least one of its famous fiestas.






Shopping hours in Spain vary considerably between region, city, town and type of shop.Small shops open from between 0830 and 0930 (or earlier for food shops) until between 1300 and 1400 and from around 1700 until between 1930 and 2100, Monday to Friday, then from 0930 until 1400 on Saturdays. In some areas shops are closed on Monday mornings. In south Spain, the siesta lasts from 1330 or 1400 until 1700. Department stores, hypermarkets and many supermarkets are open without a break for a siesta from around 0930 or 1000, until between 2000 and 2200 from Monday to Saturday. Most stores are closed on Sunday. Click here to learn more

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