And then, you live in Spain… but where actually?
Maybe you already got to know Spain from your holidays, maybe you are attracted by its culture, or it is because of the climate or the nature. If you are looking for a property in Spain, you certainly also want to know in what kind of country you will be living.
To generalise Spain is an impossible task. The country is so big that culture, nature, cuisine and climates are quite different, even the languages are different. Spain has five official languages.
We all know about the Spanish clichés; that Spaniards love celebrating parties, drinking sangria, sleeping after eating, that the sun shines every day and the Spaniards are never punctual. But like all other countries, the clichés have a spark of truth, but not more.
Regions and cities
In addition to the Spanish mainland which is located on the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest part of Europe, there are two main Spanish archipelagos: the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. Also, the two Spanish enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla still belong to Spain.
Madrid – the capital of Spain – is the biggest city with 3.165.541 inhabitants. Followed by Barcelona with 1.608.746, then Valencia (790.201), Sevilla (690.566), Zaragoza (661.108) en Málaga (569.009). Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas en Bilbao are completing the top ten of the biggest cities in Spain. In 2017 Spain counts officially with 48.563.476 inhabitants.
The country is relatively sparsely populated with an average of 85.8 inhabitants per square kilometer. A part of the interior of Spain is officially a demographical desert. That means that there are living less than ten inhabitants per square kilometer. Especially in the provinces of Teruel, Cuenca, Évila, Segovia and Huesca where it is very quiet.
The most important rivers in Spain are the Tajo, the Duero, the Ebro, the Guadiana and the Guadalquivir. Spain is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe with its five main mountain ranges: the Pyrenees in the north which are actually forming the border between Spain and France, the Iberian Rand Mountains, the Cantabrian Mountains, the Castilian Dividing Mountains and the Cordillera in the south. Spain has many microclimates, partly due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest and southwest and on the Mediterranean Sea along the east and south coast with a plateau in the middle of the country – around Madrid.
As already mentioned, it is not possible to characterize the Spaniards. According to a study by the Spanish Institute for Social Research (CIS), Andalusians are loud and lazy, but also hospitable. The Basques would be brutal, stiff, but also noble. The Valencians are entrepreneurs, hospitable and open. The Catalans would be independent, stingy, proud, closed and entrepreneur, to name only a few.
In Spain we often hear the words “mañana” and “no te preocupes”. “Mañana” means tomorrow. But that does not automatically mean our tomorrow – so the next day, “mañana” can be any day. “No te preocupes” means “do not worry”; the explanation comes automatically. Another Spanish phenomenon is the “Siesta”, which is still a remnant of the Spanish peasant times with the long summers, where it was too hot to work between 2pm and 5pm. The tradition of the long lunch break is common only in some parts of Spain, but due to the increasing internationalisation of the economy, the siesta is getting shorter and shorter.
The Spaniards do not really have breakfast either; they drink something and eat something sweet, like cookies. Breakfast will be served at around 10.00 am with coffee, toast and a coarse sauce of fresh tomatoes or just a bit of olive oil (Tosdadas). The warm lunch follows at 14.30 and at 18.00 there is the “Merienda” a small bite. Dinner will be served at around 22.00h.
If you are planning to settle down in this temperamental and beautifully versatile country, first immerse yourself in the local culture where you will live. One thing can be said: in general, the Spanish people are very hospitable and open towards foreigners. Speaking a word of Spanish may magically open doors. Qué lo disfrutes!