Regions of Spain & Autonomous Communities
Spain is a diverse and vast country that is broken up into 17 Autonomous Communities, these are known as the Nationalities and Regions of Spain. Currently 9 of these Autonomous Communities are recognised as Nationalities while the other 8 are recognised as Regions of Spain. We will list the Nationalities and Regions below this opening paragraph and attempt to provide an explanation of the difference between the two entities. The term Nationality though never defined officially, indicate territories whose inhabitants have a strong historically-constituted sense of identity, more specifically, their basic institutional legislation that recognises their historical and cultural identity. The term “Region of Spain” refers to 8 Autonomous Communities that have been historically known as regions as opposed to Nationalities.
Nationalities of Spain
The current list of Nationalities are Andalucia, Catalonia, Valencian Community, Galicia, Basque Country, Canary Islands, Aragon, Balearic Islands and Navarre.
Regions of Spain
The Regions of Spain are classified as Community of Madrid, Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha, Region of Murcia, Extremadura, Asturias, Cantabria and La Rioja.
Andalucia, Southern Spain, Population – 8.5 Million
Andalucia is located in southern Spain and has the biggest population of the autonomous regions in Spain, currently there are around 8.5 million inhabitants. Andalucia is a fairly rocky and mountainous part of the country that is firmly rooted in it’s Spanish traditions. Tapas are probably more famous here than in any other part of Spain, Flamenco music is also commonly associated with this area. Andalucia was under Moorish rule between the 8th – 15th Century, as a result you can find many famous Moorish buildings and landmarks here, Alcázar castle in Seville, Córdoba’s Mezquita Mosque, Granada’s Alhambra Palace and many more. The Costa del Sol is located in southern Andalucia where you can find the popular tourism cities of Malaga and Marbella, Granada and Seville are located further to the north. The capital city of Andalucia is the beautiful city of Seville which makes up around 700,000 of the total community. The southern coastline of Andalucia is littered with plenty of golden sandy beaches along it’s 150 km shoreline, here you will also find a large selection of great courses also.
Catalonia, North Eastern Spain, Population – 7.5 Million
Catalonia is the second most populated autonomous region in Spain with just over 7.5 million inhabitants. Located in the north east of Spain, Catalonia shares borders with both France, Andorra and the Pyrenees mountain range. To the west of Catalonia is the autonomous region of Aragon, the region of Valencia to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. Interestingly, Catalonia is made up of four different Spanish Provinces, Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and is also the second largest City in Spain. North of Barcelona is the Province of Girona, LLeida to the east and Tarragona to the south. The Mediterranean coastline of Catalonia is known as the Costa Brava, here you can find some vibrant tourism beach resorts such as Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar. The official languages spoken in Catalonia are Catalan, Spanish and Aranese Occitan in certain parts. Barcelona in particular is a beautiful City with some amazing architecture on offer, this is largely thanks to the creative genius of Antoni Gaudí. The work of Gaudí is apparent throughout the entire City with some of the most recognisable buildings being the work of Gaudí himself.
Community of Madrid, Central Spain, Population – 6.5 Million
The Community of Madrid is third on the list of the most populated regions of Spain with around 6.5 million inhabitants. The City of Madrid is the capital for this community as it is for the whole of Spain, the City of Madrid accounts for 3.2 million of the entire population of the community. The relatively small area of this community is sandwiched between the huge regions of Castile and Leon to the north and and Castile La Mancha to the south. It’s interest to note that most of Madrid is between 600 – 1000 metres above sea level with the highest point being the peak of Peñalara in the Guadarrama mountain range at 2,430 metres. Considering the altitude of most of the community of Madrid, it’s no suprise that winters can be particularly cold with the summers extremely hot. Temperatures in Madrid can fall well below freezing during the winter months, the summer temperatures are almost always at least 30 Celsius and frequently exceeding 40 Celsius in the height of summer. Unlike many of the other regions of Spain, Spanish is the only official language of Madrid. Like many capital cities, there are plenty of top attractions to be found in Madrid, the Royal Palace, Retiro Park and Prado National Museum are just a few to whet the appetite.
Valencia, Eastern Spain, Population – 5 Million
The Valencian Community is the fourth most populated of all the autonomous regions of Spain with just over 5 million inhabitants. Located in the east and stretching to the south east of Spain, the City of Valencia is the capital of the Valencian region and third biggest City in the country. The northern areas of this region are quite mountainous with the Iberian mountain range and the Subbaetic range which is located in the Province of Alicante further south. The southern areas are typically much drier and have a hotter climate than their northern counterparts. The Valencian region is extremely popular for tourism thanks to it’s excellent climate and beautiful sandy beaches. The Costa Blanca (White Coast) is located in the southern part of the region, here you can find some of the busy tourist cities such as Torrevieja, Elche and the massively popular Benidorm. Moving away from the mainland, the tiny Columbretes Islands and the coastal inhabited islet of Tabarca both fall under the Valencian Community. Tabarca Island is a popular tourist attraction where you can enjoy snorkelling, diving and a relaxing day out, there are many operators that provide boat trips to Tabarca from both Santa Pola and Torrevieja.