Spain is a diverse country of vastly different regions and landscapes. The northern mountains and high peaks of the Pyrenees are a sharp contrast to the arid deserts of the South. From the lush green forests of the inland Basque region to the balmy beaches of the Mediterranean, Spain’s climate attracts many visitors and retirees.
The Spanish economy is a developed one, but it also suffers from widespread poverty. The government has been working hard to promote sustainable development and to reduce poverty. Its recent legislative reforms are designed to address this problem.
Although Spanish is the official language, multiple regional languages are spoken throughout the country. The most well-known of these are Catalan, Galician, and Valencian. Each of these languages is distinct and has its own unique vocabulary, but they all share a common Latin-based alphabet and pronunciation.
As a result of its proximity to Africa, the Mediterranean coast and the Pyrenean Mountains, Spain has more African species of wildlife than the other major European peninsulas. However, the vast majority of native species, such as the ibex (wild goat), wild boar, and red and fallow deer are found in the relatively small areas of wilderness that remain on the mainland.
Spain is famous for its wines, which are produced in almost every region of the country. The wine industry is a significant contributor to the country’s economy. In addition, the country produces some of Europe’s most prized fruits, including olives and oranges.
Tourism is a significant contributor to the economy. More than 60 million foreign tourists visit the country annually, making it a world leader in international tourism. The majority of these visitors come from Europe, but a growing number are coming from Asia and Latin America.
Many of Spain’s cities and towns were originally settled by groups from North Africa and western Europe. As a result, the country is an amalgam of various cultures and traditions that give Spain its identity.
In terms of education, the country ranks high on the global scale. It has a very good public education system and a highly skilled workforce. In fact, in 2014, it was ranked first on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for education.
Although it is not as prevalent as in other European countries, Spain does have a tipping culture. While it is not required, gratuity is appreciated if the service has been outstanding.
The country’s banking system is sound. It has an extensive network of ATMs that accept international cards and is well-connected to the rest of the European Union and Latin America. However, it is important to know that some banks charge fees for currency conversion when using debit or credit cards from a non-EU country. Some of these fees are imposed by the card company, and others are charged by the local bank. To avoid these extra charges, it is a good idea to use cash whenever possible.