The Eiffel Tower was almost Spanish
Initially, the Eiffel Tower was intended for Barcelona, but Spain rejected the proposal, believing the monument would not flatter the skyline.
While Paris ended up with the iconic feature, Barcelona still has plenty of famous structures to its name. The artist Antoni Gaudi beautified several of the city’s major sites including Parc Guell and the Sagrada Familia cathedral. The latter is so intricate, it is still under construction today.
Olive oil is the number one export
The next time you cook with olive oil, you can thank Spain for that tasty dish, this European country produces nearly half of the world’s supply each year. More than 1.5 million tonnes are pumped out of the country, primarily from the southern region of Andalusia.
They invented the stapler
The very first known stapler was made in the Basque region of Spain for France’s King Louis XV. The grandson of the extravagant Sun King also loved decadence, which is probably why every single staple was engraved with his royal emblem.
The tooth fairy never visits
When Spanish children lose a tooth, instead of envisioning a visit from a shimmering fairy, they dream of a small mouse. In the same way as our tooth fairy, this mouse, called El Ratoncito Perez, collects their teeth from beneath their pillows in exchange for small gifts of money.
The Spanish love their downtime
It’s estimated that Spaniards spend 16 hours of every day on leisure activities, from socialising and relaxing to eating and sleeping. They also have more bank holidays than most of their European neighbours, with up to 14 each year.
Part of their downtime is the Spanish siesta – literally meaning nap – observed in most villages and even some larger cities. Residents take a one to two hour break in the heat of the afternoon to rest up before finishing their days, often a little later than us Brits.
History and world heritage abound
Spain has 44 recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking third in the world just after Italy’s 49 and China’s 45 sites.
From pre-historic rock art to medieval cities and stunning natural parks, they even have an annual festival, Fiesta de los Patios, that was awarded the coveted status in 2013. You’ll find Spanish history interwoven with these cultural landmarks, plus plenty of items to add to your must-see list.