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Spain is a diverse country located in Mediterranean Europe, with two small exclaves in North Africa (both bordering Morocco). The Spanish mainland is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east, by the Cantabric Sea that includes the Bay of Biscay to the north and by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal to the west. Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands off the African coast. It shares land borders with Portugal, France, Andorra, the British colony of Gibraltar, and Morocco. It is the largest of the three sovereign states that make up the Iberian Peninsula - the others being Portugal and Andorra. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France).

Once the center of a global empire with territories in North, Central and South America, Africa, and the Philippines, contemporary Spain has overcome civil war and fascism in the 20th century to stand proud and centered in itself. It is a developed country with the ninth-largest economy in the world and a member of the EU. Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament, the Cortes Generales. The executive branch consists of a Council of Ministers presided over by the President of Government (comparable to a prime minister), proposed by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly following legislative elections.

With great beaches, fun nightlife, many cultural regions and historic cities, Spain makes a great destination for any kind of trip. Spain has hundreds of interesting cities. Some of the major travel destinations include the capital Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Valencia. Some of the important historical sites include the Alhambra, Granada, the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, or the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia. There is everything from lush meadows, snowy mountains, huge marsh and salines, and some desert zones in east Andalusia. Spanish music is often considered abroad to be synonymous with flamenco, an Andalusian musical genre, which, contrary to popular belief, is not widespread outside that region. Alongside music, art is also very culturally influenced as well as the architecture, food, and literature.

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Quick Facts

Population: 47,042,984
Capital: Madrid
Per-capita GDP: $ 31000
Size: 505,370 km2
Time Zone: (GMT + 01:00 hour) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris

US State Department

Travel Warning: YES
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Country information is adapted from public domain resources including the CIA World Fact Book and
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