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Earth : Europe : Iberia
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The Iberian Peninsula is the westernmost section of the European continent, lying between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is separated from France by the snow capped Pyrenees mountains.




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Separated from France by the Pyrenees mountains, its history has frequently taken a different path from the rest of Europe, giving the region a separate identity. The Basque people settled here millennia ago, retaining their culture to this day. The Roman Empire expanded into it in the 3rd century BCE, before being supplanted by the Germanic tribes in the 5th century. The peninsula again took on a non-European character when the Islamic Berber and Arabic Moors took over in the 8th century, ruling parts of it as recently as the 15th century. As Christian rule gradually took back the peninsula from the Moors, its people then looked outward, seeding the Americas – and more – with their languages and laws. Although their then-dictatorial governments kept them out of World War II, Spain and Portugal are now full members of the European Union.


  • Spanish - Official language of Spain, with status of co-officiality in some regions with historic languages
  • Portuguese - The official language of Portugal
  • Basque - Co-official language in Spain unrelated to any other European language, spoken in the Basque Country and Navarre in the northern part of the peninsula.
  • Catalan - Co-official in Spain and the only official language in Andorra, mainly spoken in Andorra, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and as Valencian in Valencia.
  • Galician - Co-official language in Spain, mainly spoken in Galicia, closely related to Portuguese
  • English - Official language of Gibraltar

With the exception of Basque, all the languages of the Iberian peninsula are from the Romance family of languages which has its roots in Latin, so if you speak one of those languages, you'll find it fairly easy to pick up the rest.

While most younger people have learnt English in school, it is not widely spoken or understood outside the small British exclave of Gibraltar, where it is the official language. As elsewhere in the world English proficiency improves the closer you get to major tourists centres, especially in the coastal resort cities along the Mediterranean coast and in Barcelona, where English proficiency is much higher than in the rest of the country. English proficiency is generally better in Portugal than in Spain, as Portuguese in the European context is a minor language, and English-language films and television shows are regularly screened in their original language with subtitles instead of being dubbed into the local language as in Spain.

Get in

By plane

The Iberian peninsular is Europe's main hub to South and Central America, Madrid's Barajas airport is the most important of the hubs, while Portela airport in Lisbon is the main gateway to Brazil due to the two countries historic ties. The situation is much the same with the two flag carriers: Spain's Iberia [1] has an impressive South/Central America network, and Portugal's TAP [[2]] flies to 8 destinations in Brazil and 9 African cities with colonial ties to Portugal.

  • Madrid Barajas
  • Barcelona
  • Lisbon Portela
  • Faro
  • Porto

By train

  • From France to Madrid and to Lisbon

By boat

Get around






While in Spain, it is almost imperative to try Sangria, seeing as it is a typical favorite. Sangria is wine usually mixed with a collaboration of fruits and some added spices like Cinnamon.

However, although Sangria is popular with tourists it is rare to see Spanish people drinking it. The locals drink tinto de verano - red wine diluted with lemonade or carbonated water.

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