Spain has always been influenced by many international cultures, either due to the expeditions they did exploring other continents or thanks to the millions of visitors it gets each year. Because of it, almost everyone in the world have heard of Spain at least once and use traditional Spanish things daily.
20 famous things Spain is known for
Tapas, siesta, Sagrada Familia or El Clasico, are just some of the most famous things in Spain, but of course, there are many more. You can find a list with the most popular ones, divided in different categories:
Spanish famous food 🥩
Of all the famous things to know about Spain, food is the first one that comes to our minds. People love to eat and to cook in this country and if you ever get to travel there, you will realize that no matter what time of the day it is, restaurants and bars are always crowded:
1) Famous Spanish jamón
You may have tried ham once, but we can promise you it was nothing like the authentic jamón Ibérico. This type of ham, also known as jamóm de pata negra, comes from the Iberian black pigs and you will find them in both countries, Spain, and Portugal.
Other than the color, the main difference they have with the common pigs, is what they eat. Their primary meal is acorns and it is what it gives such a delicious flavor to the ham. If you are visiting the country, you should give it a try, you wil realize why it is one of the best things about Spain.
2) Famous Spanish Paella
Another plate you should eat when traveling to Spain is the Paella. This traditional dish is typical from the region of Valencia, but there many different variations of it and you will find it all over the country. There are some with meat, others with fish and even some special ones for vegans and vegetarians, all of them are delicious.
Making paella usually takes quite some time, so it is usually made for big groups of 4-5 people. If you are planning to eat paella at a restaurant, always make sure to call with some time a head, that way you won´t have to wait too much for it.
3) The popular tapas in Spain
Of course we must add tapas to this list of “What is Spain known for?”, they are for sure one of those things that truly make Spain so famous. Just so you can have an idea of how popular they are, decades ago, tapas were only served in Spain, but now a days you can find them in almost every country, we can consider them now an international thing.
They aren´t just a way of eating, but also a cultural activity like going to the cinema. In Spain it is quite common to meet with your friends in the weekends to eat some tapas.
Spain most famous sites and places 🏝️
Places are also another reason why Spain is famous, just so you can imagine, almost every year (except during pandemic days), Spain makes it to the top 5 of the most visited countries in the world. You will be able to enjoy a good hiking through the mountains, have a chill vacation at the beach or admire the architecture and local life of the bit cities and small towns. The list of sites you can visit is uncountable and it would be impossible to say them all, but let us at least show you some of the most famous places in Spain:
There are many impressive cities in Spain, but we could perfectly say Granada is our favorite one. It isn´t just about La Alhambra, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Spain and it´s absolutely impressive, but also about its alleys, viewpoints, and of course the local life.
We were telling you before about tapas and if there is one place where you will really enjoy them is here. There are many great restaurants, but the best of all is the atmosphere and the local happy vibes.
Barcelona is probably the most famous city in Spain and almost everyone who wants to visit Spain, has this city first in their list. The architecture is for sure the highlight of Catalonians’ capital, but it isn´t the only thing you will love from it. Barcelona is also a city with lots of history, right by the ocean with beaches and a place where events take places almost all year long.
Two sites you should defiantly stop by in Barcelona are the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, they are magical and unique.
Of course, we could not forget about the capital of Spain. Madrid is many times underrated because there is no beach, something you don´t expect when going to Spain, but there are many other things that make this city a special place to visit.
La Gran Via, El Retiro, Plaza Mayor… all these places make Madrid a perfect destination for a weekend break. The best part about this city, is how well locals always treat tourists, you will feel like at home.
What is the most popular wine in Spain 🍷
Another thing Spain is famous for is its´wines. With almost 3 million acres, Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world, only after Italy and France. There is a wide variety of wines for all kind of taste, so if you love trying new wines, visiting Spain should be mandatory for you. Here are two of the most popular ones:
Rioja wines are for sure one of those things that make Spain so famous. They are known as the best wines in the country. The Rioja Region produces both types of wines, red and white, but the red ones made from Tempranillo, Grenache, Graciano and Mazuelo are clearly the highlights.
You will find different types of them, depending on how they aged; Gran Reserva (5 years), Reserva (3 years), Crianza (2 years) and Generic (not aged).
8) Ribera del Duero
There are many other popular wines, but if we had to mention the second most famous wine, that would Ribera del Duero.
These types of wines are typical from Castilla y León region and are known for aging very well. They are made from Tempranillo and have flavors of dark fruits, berries, and hearty tannins.
Most famous Spanish traditions 💃
Traditions are one of those things that represents Spain the most. Some of them are weird, others are a lot of fun and you will also find some that now a days are even seeing as madness:
9) Bullfights (Los Toros)
Out of all of them, there is one that it simply couldn´t get more famous. People all over the world, talk about Bullfights, some defend them, others are against them.
We would love to be objective here and just tell you how it works, but we just have to be honest, of the things Spain is famous for, this is the one we are most ashamed of. As proud Spanish that we are, we used to support bullfights years ago, we didn´t really like them but we thought it was a matter of respecting the culture.
There was a moment where we realize about the pain those bulls must go through and therefore, we stopped promoting it. History and culture are important, but not more than lives. You´re free to decide whether you want to go or not, but we at least hope you´ll think first if you want to keep being part of this brutality.
Now that we have mentioned the horrible one, we can keep going and tell you about the traditions that Spaniards should be proud of. La Tomatina is for sure one of them, it probably is one of the weirdest spanish famous things and it probably is, but it is so much fun. It is a day of celebration, where thousands of people get together, to literally make the biggest food fight in the world.
This tomato fight is organized in a small town in Valencia called Buñol and it always takes place the last Wednesday of August. It started in 1944/45 and although no one really knows how it happened, there are many theories that say it began as juvenile food fight. Through the years, the party got bigger and bigger and now people from all over the world joins it every year.
11) Seville April Fair
The Seville April Fair is another one of the most popular Spanish traditions. As the name says, it takes place in Seville, at the fairground of Los Remedios and it happens about 1 or 2 weeks after spring break.
During whole week, people wear the traditional Seville dresses, serve, and eat the delicious food from the south of Spain and basically enjoy the happy vibes. It is a week were people never sleep and party all day and all night.
Famous art in Spain 🎨
We just had to add art to this list of “What is Spain most famous for?”. Music, literature, architecture, paintings… Spaniards have always been interested in art and that´s the reason why some of the most famous Spanish people are artists.
12) Popular Spanish paintings
Of course when you think about famous Spanish painters, the first one that comes to your mind is Pablo Picasso, the author of masterpieces like Guernica, The Old Guitarist or Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, but there were many other who are now known internationally.
Other powerful Spanish artists were Salvador Dalí, Francisco de Goya, Joan Miró, Diego Velazquez or EL Greco.
13) Spanish Literature
Spanish best´ days in Literature took place with the famous Generations of 1898 and 1927. Both groups were formed by some of the best writers Spain has ever had.
The generation of 1898 most important members were Pio Baroja, Miguel de Unamuno, Antonio Machado and Ramón María Del Valle-Inclán. In the other side the generation of 1927 was formed by Pedro Salinas, Federico García Lorca, Luis Cernuda, Rafael Alberti…
All of them are part of the Spanish literature history, but if there is one who really got to be known internationally, that was Miguel de Cervantes, author of the most sold Spanish book, Don Quijote de la Mancha. Literature is for sure one of the most iconic spanish things.
Another famous thing in Spain, is the architecture. It changes a lot depending on the region and the city, in some places they have kept the old style and others have been renovated recently. It might not be the country with the most impressive architecture in the world, but what we all might recognize, is that one of the best architectures ever was Antonio Gaudi.
Gaudi is one of the main reasons why Barcelona is such an impressive city now a days, and his unique style and impressive buildings like La Sagrada Familia or Park Güell, will forever be admired.
What sports are most popular in spain ⚽
Spain is known as one of the most competitive countries in many sports, especially during the last decade, where they have won many international competitions in different sports and have made it to an important number of finals.
15) Football is the Spanish Religion:
Football isn´t one of the those things that are Spanish but we all known people in Spain are just obsessed with it (specially men, but many women too). Kids play as much soccer as possible, while in the school or after it, but once they grow up, life is still all about it and all they can talk about is again football.
Other than that, something that is especially famous in Spain, is El Clasico. A game where two of the best teams of the world (if not the best) play against each other, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, it is always the most important game of the year.
Something interesting about Spain, is that eventhough Tennis isn´t as popular as Basketball or Paddle tennis, it is still is more important. The main reason why this happen is because historically, Spain has always had a huge representation at the ATP and WTA: Carlos Moyá, David Ferrer, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Conchita Martínez and of course the greatest Spanish tennis player of all times, Rafael Nadal.
Nadal is considered by many, not just the best one in tennis, but also the best athlete Spain has ever had.
What are Spaniards known for? 🍻
Believe it or not, stereotypes are also some of the most famous things from Spain. People from this country have heard everything about themselves, some countries believe they are super lazy, others think they spend their nights partying and their days sleeping and you will also hear people saying they are super friendly and great hosts. Of course, some of these topics are real, but some others are completely fake, so let´s find out the truth. These are some of the things spanish are famous for:
17) Party in Spain
Here it comes the first one, is it real all the say about the Spanish parties? Well, probably not 100% real but it gets close to it and parties are indeed one of those typical Spanish things.
As it happens in any other country, Spanish people work during the week, so they don´t party all day every day as they say, but it is true that when the weekend arrives, things get pretty wild!
Just so you can have an idea, common parties usually start around 12 or 1AM, sometimes even later and they can finish at 7AM!
18) Spanish siestas
The siestas are kind of related to the parties. As you can imagine, someone who arrives home at 7AM needs to get some sleep, well that´s when the siesta comes. Usually people would do whatever they have to do in the morning and then around 2 or 3PM they go to sleep for 30 minutes or 1 hour.
That said, we must admit siestas aren´t just for party days, many people in the country try to get some sleep after lunch, even during weekdays. After it, they usually go back to work.
Other things associated with Spain
This has just been a short list of the most famous facts, but there are many other things that are popular in Spain. Below you can find some other famous stuff in Spain:
19) Beaches in Spain
Beaches are also some of the most famous things of Spain. Doesn´t mater where you go, either north, south, east or west, all of them are full of impressive beaches, of and of course let´s not forget about the islands. Balearic Islands have some of the best beaches in Europe and probably in the world, crystal clear water and thousands of small beaches where you can spend the whole day.
Thanks to the beaches and the spectacular weather, Spain has become in the last decades, the number one destination for many people during summer holidays.
20) Spanish history
Last of all, but not less important… another thing Spain is known for, is its history. When talking about the international history of Spain, there are two things everyone in the world recognizes: The first one was the colonization of America (which isn´t exactly one of the good things about Spain), when it became the first European country to officially arrive. The second international historical moment took place in 1986 when Spain joined the European Union.
In the national panorama there are other moments that were also crucial for the history of the country. Out of all of them, we must highlight the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 and the later Francisco Franco Dictatorship.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the famous Spanish things
That´s all you need to know about “What is Spain best known for?”, hope you have enjoyed reading it and if you are going to Spain any time soon, have a wonderful trip
If you have any other question about the popular things in Spain, please let us know.