It's got what many believe is the greatest club football team ever assembled -- FC Barcelona.
Not to mention one of the planet's greatest collections of art -- at the Prado museum in Madrid.
Then there's the food, which this year we suggested was the greatest cuisine in the world right now.
What makes Spain such a cultural powerhouse?
Size doesn't hurt. It's Western Europe's second-largest country (after France) in terms of area, and the world's third-largest exporter of wine, fruits and vegetables.
But it's the incredible diversity of its people and passions that holds the key to understanding Spain's eternal appeal.
1. There are many Spains
During the grim decades of the fascist Francisco Franco's rule, regional languages such as Basque, Catalan and Galician were banned in Spain.
On the dictator's death in 1975, a new, ultra-liberal constitution broke up Castilian centralism by handing over sweeping autonomy to the 17 regions.
The result was a reinvigorated sense of regional pride that had a ripple effect on every form of culture.
That's why street signs and menus sometimes come in unfamiliar dialects and languages such as Gallego (Galicia), which closely resembles Portuguese; Bable (Asturias); Catalan in Catalonia, the Balearics and Valencia; and Basque (possibly Europe's oldest language), which remains an unfathomable mystery of x's, k's and z's.
2. Bulls are a unifying force
Despite the diversity, Spain has at least one common thread: bulls.
The bull is Spain's iconic animal, and you won't miss seeing at least one -- alive, dead or fake.
They famously thunder through the streets of Pamplona each July and snort and kick round the bull rings of Madrid, Seville and countless smaller towns.
They also appear on hilltops beside motorways and in a decades-old advertisement for Osborne sherry.
Many a stuffed bull's head watches over a bar interior, where aficionados might be glued to a televised bullfight and later scan a review of the fight in the arts, not sports, section of the newspaper.
There are areas of resistance to what some see as a barbaric event.
The popularity of the bloody contest is waning among the younger generation, and Catalonia has now banned the sport completely.
3. Spaniards don't eat when you normally do
Lunch is from 2 p.m. onward, and dinner comes after 10 p.m.
If you're hungry in between or can't reset your body clock, there's help -- tapas and pintxo bars (pintxo is the Basque equivalent of tapas) open around midday and again around 7 p.m.
In some bars, a snack still comes free with a glass of beer, sherry or wine, but some places now charge.
San Sebastian is Spain's gourmet capital, not only for top restaurants but also pintxo bars.
The old town in the city claims the highest density of bars per inhabitant in the world. You can make a meal on exquisite miniature dishes and glasses of txakoli (a lightly sparkling dry white wine), Rioja or cider.
4. There's coastline beyond the Costa del Sol
On the Costa del Sol, tales of rampant overpricing and badly designed hotels conflict with the glam, moneyed image of Marbella.
The eastern Mediterranean coast is better known for low-cost tourism.
But there are still unspoiled beaches where development and commercialism are largely absent.
One of Spain's rare volcanic regions, Cabo de Gata is a protected area in the southeast, where black-sand beaches sit beneath Arab watchtowers, monumental rocks and cactus-studded hills.
In the southwest, the sandy beaches south of Cadiz are superb for windsurfing.
In the north, attractive coves and fishing harbors edge the Bay of Biscay.
5. It snows in the olive groves
Andalucia isn't all shorts and T-shirts.
In winter, snows falls at higher elevations, sometimes bringing a surreal vision of olive groves blanketed in white.
The peninsula's highest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada is almost permanently snow-capped, creating the perfect scenic backdrop to the Alhambra, the famed Moorish fortress and palace.
In spring, wildflowers colonize the slopes, while in the valleys the last olives are harvested.
6. Life is just a series of fiestas
Frenetic music, food, booze, dance and dressing up make saints' festivals a highlight of the year in Spain, even in the tiniest of villages.
The quirky Spanish imagination -- Pedro Almodovar's movies exemplify it, as do Salvador Dalí's paintings -- gives birth to the parade of grotesque papier mache figures in Valencia's Las Fallas festival and the giant annual tomato fight in the town of Bunol.