50 Spanish General Culture Questions to Measure Your Knowledge of Spanish Culture

Test yourself with these general Spanish culture questions covering history, art, geography and other topics.
50 Spanish General Culture Questions to Measure Your Knowledge of Spanish Culture

Written by Jonatan Menguez

Last update: 10 April, 2024

Trivia quizzes allow you to test your knowledge and are a fun pastime to enjoy alone or with friends. In this case, we share with you a list of 50 questions on general Spanish culture, ranging from traditions to geographical issues.

Do you know when the Iberian country was first considered a nation? Do you know how many autonomous communities compose it and where their names come from? Read on to find out all this and more!

Can you answer these 50 questions on general Spanish culture?

The difficulty of the quiz is moderate. You may find some questions simple and others more complex. But you will definitely test your knowledge of general Spanish culture with this trivia about Spain.

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1. What is the name of the strait that separates Spain from the African continent?

The Strait of Gibraltar separates the African and European continents. It’s the point of unification between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

2. What currency was used in the country before the euro?

The peseta was the official currency between 1868 and 2001.

3. How many autonomous communities make up Spain?

The Spanish territory is divided into 17 autonomous communities. These are as follows: Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Valencian Community, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre, Basque Country.

In addition, it’s made up of two autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla), 50 provinces, and 8131 municipalities.

4. Which country is larger: Spain, France or Germany?

France, with a surface area of 643,801 square kilometers, followed by Spain with 506,030 and Germany with 357,592.

5. Was Christopher Columbus born in Spain?

Although historians still debate his origins, the most widely accepted theory is that he was born in the Republic of Genoa, at that time an independent state, later annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.

6. In which cities does carnival stand out the most?

The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, held between February and March, is one of the most renowned on the planet. In turn, the Carnival of Cadiz is also one of the most important, so both have the status of Fiesta of International Tourist Interest.

7. What are the races in front of the bulls called?

The running of the bulls consists of running in front of a herd of steers or bulls, without them touching you. Some of the most popular ones take place in Pamplona, known as “the running of the bulls of San Fermín”.

8. What is the oldest building in Spain?

Naveta des Tudons.
During the sixties of the 20th century, excavations were carried out that made it possible to find skeletons belonging to a hundred people.

It’s the Naveta des Tudons. This building dates back to 1000 BC, is located in Menorca, and is attributed to the Talayotic culture. Like many ancient constructions, it served as a funerary monument.

9. Which literary work is the most important in the country?

There is a consensus that Don Quixote de la Mancha, a novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, is the most important in Spanish history. Published in two parts (1605 and 1615), it’s often considered “the best literary work ever written”. This was suggested by a vote of 100 writers of 54 nationalities, promoted by the Norwegian Book Club and Bokklubben World Library in 2002.

10. What was the Golden Age?

Historical period between 1492 and 1681 is recognized for the flourishing of Spanish art, thought and literature. During this period, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha was published, as well as other important works. For example, those of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, who died in 1681 to close the period.

11. In what year did Columbus arrive in America?

On Friday, October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Guanahaní, belonging to the archipelago of the Antilles, near the Bahamas. The exact point is a matter of debate.

12. What did the expedition seek?

According to the document Capitulaciones de Santa Fe, the objective was framed in a territorial expansion and the search for new commercial routes, especially to “the Indies”.

13. Where is the Sagrada Familia Basilica located?

This architectural work by Antoni Gaudí is located in the city of Barcelona and is one of the most visited monuments in Spain.

14. How many Spanish feature films won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film?

Four. They are the following:

  • Volver a empezar ( José Luis Garci 1982).
  • Belle Époque (Fernando Trueba, 1992).
  • All about my mother (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999).
  • Mar adentro ( Alejandro Amenábar, 2004).
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, directed by Luis Buñuel, won the award in 1972, but is considered French. The Spanish director was unable to shoot it in the country due to Franco’s censorship.

15. When was the World Cup held in Spain?

The Iberian country hosted the 1982 World Cup, where the winning team was Italy. The event will return to the country in 2030, in a multinational organization shared by Portugal, Morocco, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

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16. What is the highest point in the country?

Pico del Telde, located on the island of Tenerife, at 3715 meters above sea level. It’s followed by the Mulhacén, with 3479 and the highest point of the Iberian Peninsula.

17. Where was Pablo Picasso born?

The renowned painter was born in Malaga, on October 25, 1881.

18. What is the oldest pilgrimage in Spain and Europe?

Peregrinos en el Camino de Santiago.
The Way of St. James originated in the early 9th century, when the tomb of the apostle was discovered.

The Way of St. James, where millions of pilgrims travel through the north of the country until they reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

19. How many national parks are there?

Spain has 16 national parks with diverse ecosystems:

  • Teide
  • Doñana
  • Garajonay
  • Timanfaya
  • Cabañeros
  • Monfragüe
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Atlantic Islands
  • Picos de Europa
  • Tablas de Daimiel
  • Sierra de las Nieves
  • Guadarrama Mountain Range
  • Taburiente Caldera
  • Cabrera Archipelago
  • Ordesa and Monte Perdido
  • Aigüestortes and Sant Maurici Lake

20. When did the famous Roman emperor Julius Caesar visit Hispania?

Julius Caesar arrived in present-day Spain in the year 69 B.C., as quaestor. At that time, it was the Roman province known as Hispania Ulterior. Eight years later he returned as propretor. These were transcendental years in his political and military career.

21. Which countries were Spanish colonies in Africa?

The most recognized is Equatorial Guinea, on the west coast of central Africa. It maintained that status until independence in 1968. In addition, between 1912 and 1956, the country was in charge, together with France, of the north of the continent, known as the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco.

It also administered Ifni until 1969, a province that was later annexed to the Kingdom of Morocco. Finally, it colonized the Spanish Sahara until the late 1950s. Today it’s a disputed territory known as Western Sahara.

22. How long did the Spanish Civil War last?

Almost three years. It began on July 17, 1936, with the insurrection in Melilla, and ended on April 1, 1939. On that date, the dictator Francisco Franco signed a victorious self-proclamation.

23. What is the national flower?

The carnation or Dianthus caryophyllus. It’s a herbaceous plant with dark green leaves and stems. It has numerous varieties, and all of them have beautiful flowers and are easy to care for.

24. Which Spanish painter stood out in the surrealist movement?

Salvador Dalí, born in the town of Figueras on May 11, 1904, is considered one of the greatest exponents of surrealism.

25. What snack accompanies drinks in Spain?

They are called tapas and are appetizers that accompany drinks in bars or restaurants. These small portions of food can include the following preparations:

  • Tortillas
  • Croquettes
  • Calamari
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Garlic Shrimp

26. Who created the Spanish flag?

Known as the “rojigualda”, it was devised by Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán in 1785. He was the Minister of the Navy of King Carlos III, who needed a naval flag to differentiate himself from France, Sicily, and Great Britain. In 1843, it was adopted as the national flag.

27. How many World Cups did Spain win?

One, in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final, with a goal by Andrés Iniesta in extra time.

28. How many properties are World Heritage Sites?

Sitio de El Escorial en Madrid.
Since 1984, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial has been one of the Spanish buildings on the World Heritage List.

The country has 50 properties declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Among them, the old city of Salamanca, the cathedral of Burgos, and the works of Antoni Gaudí stand out.

29. What is the longest river?

The Tagus River, with a length of 1007 kilometers. However, 857 belong to Spanish territory, starting from its source in Sierra de Albarracín, while the remaining 150 are in Portugal.

30. How many official languages does Spain have?

According to the Spanish Constitution, Spanish is the official language of the State, although there are five other co-official languages in different autonomous communities. They are the following:

  • Aranese
  • Galician
  • Catalan
  • Basque
  • Valencian
In addition, there are other dialects such as Asturian, Andalusian, Canarian or Aragonese.

31. Who painted El aquelarre?

Francisco de Goya, in 1797-98. It;s part of a series of works he did for the pleasure palace of the Dukes of Osuna. It;s in the Lázaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid.

32. What is the jota?

It’s a traditional Valencian dance, later extended to a large part of the country. It’s part of the Spanish folkloric manifestations, being very recognized as the Catalan jota, the one of the Canary Islands, the Castilian, and the Aragonese. It’s accompanied by castanets and traditional costumes.

33. What was the Treaty of Tordesillas?

An agreement signed by Spain and Portugal in 1494, which established a division of 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. In that direction, all the discovered territories were Spanish, while, towards the African side, they corresponded to the Portuguese.

The treaty had the objective of avoiding armed conflicts, provoked by the arrival of Christopher Columbus to American lands.

34. Who went around the world for the first time?

The Spanish sailor Juan Sebastián Elcano was the first to complete the circumference of the Earth. He set out in 1519, together with the expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan, in search of the Spice Islands. However, Magellan died in the Philippines in 1521, so Elcano commanded the return.

35. What is the April Fair?

It’s the most important musical, gastronomic, and traditional festival in the country. Although it takes place in several cities, the one in Seville is the best known, with more than 1,000 booths distributed throughout the fairgrounds.

36. Who are the Spanish actors who have won an Oscar?

Penélope Cruz, for best supporting actress in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Javier Bardem, for the same category in No Country for Old Men.

37. Who are the most important philosophers in Spain?

Many consider the Madrid-born José Ortega y Gasset, a central exponent of perspectivism and vital and historical reason, among Spain’s most important philosophers.

Also worth mentioning is Miguel de Unamuno, writer, essayist, poet, rector of the University of Salamanca and prominent member of the Generation of ’98.

For his part, Marcus Annaeus Seneca, born in Cordoba in 54 B.C., is considered the first Spanish philosopher. He was quaestor, praetor, senator, and consul sufecto, as well as tutor and advisor to Nero.

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38. What is the only desert in Europe?

Desierto de Tabernas.
This natural site is located in the province of Almeria, in southeastern Spain.

The Tabernas Desert, in Almeria, is considered the only desert area on the continent. More than 300 films were shot there, including numerous westerns.

39. Where was Upper Paleolithic Rock Art discovered?

In the Altamira Cave, located in the province of Cantabria. Its paintings are between 36,000 and 13,000 years old.

40. What does Goya’s painting May 3rd in Madrid symbolize?

It expresses the struggle of the Spanish people against the French occupation, portraying the firing squad on May 2nd. On that occasion, French troops captured the patriots who provoked an uprising and executed them.

41. What was the first Spanish Constitution?

The Cadiz Constitution of 1812, known as “La Pepa”. It was promulgated by the Spanish Cortes Generales, made up of deputies from the Peninsula, America, and Asia. It was based on the principles of popular sovereignty, division of powers, and federalism. It was in force until 1814, when Ferdinand VII returned.

42. Which Spaniard is the only one to have won two Oscars?

Director Pedro Almodóvar, who won statuettes for Best Foreign Language Film (All About My Mother) and Best Original Screenplay(Talk to Her).

43. At what festival are tomatoes thrown?

It’s known as La Tomatina and takes place in the Valencian municipality of Buñol. Every year, at the end of August, more than 20,000 people gather to throw tons of this fruit at each other.

44. What was the Reconquest?

The historical period from the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 to the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada in 1492. It refers to the restoration of Christian kingdoms in Spanish territory in the face of centuries of Muslim rule, when the peninsula was called Al-Andalus.

Many historians criticize the term, since the kingdoms that “reconquered” did not exist before 711.

45. What are the main ingredients of paella?

This typical Spanish dish is prepared with rice, olive oil, tomato, green beans, saffron, and chicken or rabbit meat. However, it’s possible to opt for other variations in its ingredients.

46. When can Spain be considered a nation?

Although debates persist in this respect, the most widely accepted unification can be placed in 1469, with the marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The Catholic Monarchs were the first to be called sovereigns of Spain and marked the territorial formation of the kingdom.

To this fact must be added the conquest of the Emirate of Granada, the arrival in America -in 1492-, as well as the annexation of Navarre to the kingdom of Castile, in 1512. In any case, the construction of the Spanish nation is a gradual process.

47. Which is the most visited museum in Spain?

In 2023, the Museo Nacional del Prado was the most visited, followed by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, both located in Madrid.

48. What happened in the city of Guernica?

Guernica de Pablo Picasso.
The attack inspired Pablo Picasso to paint the famous painting Guernica (1937). Credits: Museo Reina Sofia.

This Basque town suffered a fierce air raid on April 26, 1937, as part of the Spanish Civil War, which killed 127 people. It was carried out by the Condor Legion, a support aviation by Adolf Hitler’s German government to Franco’s forces.

49. When were the Olympic Games held in the country?

In 1992, in the city of Barcelona. The Montjuic mountain area, where the Olympic ring was built, hosted most of the events.

50. What is the origin of the word “Spain”?

The Romans named it Hispania, which is a term whose origin is still under debate. However, the most accepted hypothesis suggests that it comes from the words “I-spn-ya”, which means ‘land where metals are forged’. Its genesis would be Semitic languages, as the Phoenicians occupied the coasts of Andalusia to set up mines and metallurgies.

How did you do with this trivia quiz about Spain?

If you got 40 or more of the general Spanish culture questions right, you can consider yourself a Spanish culture scholar! Share this quiz with friends or family and test your knowledge about the European country while having a good time.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.