AREA: 504,782 sq km (194,897 sq miles).
POPULATION: 39,270,313 (official estimate 1996).
POPULATION DENSITY: 78.6 per sq km.
CAPITAL: Madrid. Population: 3,029,734
RELIGION: Roman Catholic majority.
TIME: Mainland Spain/Balearics: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from
last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
The Canary Islands: GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before
last Sunday in October).
ELECTRICITY: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Generally, round 2-pin plugs
and screw-type lamp fittings are in use.
GEOGRAPHY: Spain shares the Iberian peninsula with
and is bounded to the north by the
Pyrénées, which separate Spain from France.
The Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and
Formentera), 193km (120 miles)
southeast of Barcelona, and the Canary
Islands off the west coast of Africa are part of Spain, as are the
tiny enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the north African mainland. With the
exception of Switzerland,
mainland Spain is the highest and most mountainous country in Europe, with
an average height of 610m (2000ft). The Pyrénées stretch roughly 400km
(249 miles) from the Basque Country in the west to the Mediterranean Sea;
at times the peaks rise to over 1524m (5000ft), the highest point being
3404m (11,169ft). The main physical feature of Spain is the vast central
plateau, or Meseta, divided by several chains of sierras. The
higher northern area includes Castile and
León, the southern section
comprises Castile/La Mancha and
Extremadura. In the south the plateau
drops abruptly at the Sierra Morena, beyond which lies the valley of
Guadalquivir. Southeast of Granada is the Sierra Nevada, part of the Betic
Cordillera, which runs parallel to the Mediterranean, rising to 3481m
(11,420ft) and the highest point on the Spanish peninsula (the Pico del
Teide on Tenerife in the Canaries is the highest peak in Spain). The
Mediterranean coastal area reaches from the French frontier in the
northeast down to the Straits of
the narrow strip of water linking the Mediterranean with the Atlantic and
separating Spain from North Africa.
LANGUAGE: Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, Galician and Basque.
COMMUNICATIONS: Telephone: IDD is available. Country
code: 34. Outgoing international code: 07. Area codes for a selection of
major centers: Madrid 1, Alicante 6,
Balearic Islands 71, Barcelona 3, Benidorm 6, Bilbao 4, Granada 58, Las Palmas
28, Málaga and Torremolinos 5, Santander 42, Seville 5, Tenerife 22 and
Valencia 6. For calls made from within Spain, dial 9 before the above
numbers. Fax: This is generally available at 4- and 5-star
hotels, especially those catering for the business and conference
traveler. Telegram: Facilities are available at main post offices.
A 24-hour service is available in Madrid at Plaza de la
Barcelona at Plaza Antonio Lopez; in Bilbao at 15 Calle Alameda
Post: There are efficient internal and international postal
services to all countries. Airmail within Europe usually takes about five
days. Poste Restante facilities are available at main post offices.
Press: The English-language daily is The Iberian Daily Sun.
Local newspapers published in English include the Majorca Daily
Bulletin and the English-language edition of Sur (weekly).
Spanish dailies with large circulations include ABC, Diario 16, El
País and El Mundo.