GEOGRAPHY – TOPOGRAPHY

Mountains

SPAIN IS EUROPE’S SECOND MOST MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY  and has the highest peak spain-topography-1717-300x236in Europe outside the Caucasus Mountains and the Alps and the third most topographically prominent peak in Western Europe after Mont Blanc and Mount Etna. Spains highest mountain Pico de Teide is to be found in the Canary Islands a group of 13 volcanic islands, of which 6 are barren. They have a ruggedly mountainous terrain interspersed with some fertile valleys.

Teide

Teide

 

Spain’s highest mountain, Pico de Teide (3,718 m/12,198 ft), is on Tenerife.

 

 

THE PRINCIPAL MOUNTAIN RANGES ARE:

The Pyrenees   – a range of mountains in France and Spain that forms a natural border between France and Spain. It separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean (Cap de Creus). The Spanish Pyrenees are part of the Spanish  provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida (the latter three Catalonia), Huesca (Aragon), Navarra and Gipuzkoa (the  Basque Country).

Pico de Aneto

Pico de Aneto

 

 

It’s principal peak is Pico de Aneto (3,404 m/11,168 ft)

 

 

The Picos de Europa overlooking the village of Sotres, Cabrales

The Picos de Europa overlooking the village of Sotres, Cabrales

The Cantabrian Mountains (Cordillera)  is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain. They stretch for over 300 km (180 miles) across northern Spain, from the western limit of  the Pyrenees to the Galician Massif in Galicia, along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea.  Forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains are the Picos de Europa“Peaks of Europe”, often abbreviated to the Picos)  a range of mountains 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, located in the provinces of Asturias, Cantabria , Castile and León. The most widely accepted origin for the name “Peaks of Europe” is that they were the first sight of Europe for ships arriving from the Americas.

Cabeneros

View of one of the eastern ranges in Cabañeros National Park

The Mountains (Montes) of Toledo: are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in the Iberian Peninsula.They divide the drainage basin of the Tagus from the basin of the Guadiana. The highest peak is 1,603 m high La Villuerca. The eastern Montes de Toledo ranges form one of the natural borders of the  La Mancha region in Castile-La Mancha and the western end, including the ranges forming the broader Montes de Toledo, which extends into the Portalegre District, Portugal.

 

Morena Range

View of the Sierra Morena range in the Despeñaperros area

The Sierra Morena : It stretches for 450 kilometres from east to west across the south of the Iberian Peninsula, forming the southern border of the Meseta Central plateau and providing the watershed between the valleys of the Guadiana to the north and the west, and the Guadalquivir to the south. Its highest summit is 1,332 m high Bañuela Other notable peaks are Corral de Borros 1,312 m and Cerro de la Estrella1,298 m.

 

 

Velata view from Mulhacen

Velata view from Mulhacen

The Serranías Penibéticas: is the collective term for three systems of mountain ranges of the Baetic System in the southern Iberian Peninsula. It includes the highest peak Mulhacén in mainland Spain 3,478 m high’ Mulhacén, in the Sierra Nevada is the highest peak in Europe outside the Caucasus Mountains and the Alps. The Penibaeticas  runs along the south coast of Andalusia, from the province of Cádiz, across the province of Almería, into the Region of Murcia until reaching the Campo de Cartagena. The main mountain ranges that make up the Penibaetic complex are, from west to east, the Serranía de Ronda, the Sierra de Grazalema, the Sierra de Tejeda, Sierra de Almijara, the Sierra Nevada, the Sierra de la Contraviesa, the Sierra de Gádor, the Sierra de Baza, and the Sierra de los Filabres.  

View of the Sierra de la Demanda , predominantly pine.

View of the Sierra de la Demanda , predominantly pine.

The Sistema Ibérico This system of mountain ranges runs northwest-southeast between the Ebro plain and the Meseta Central for over 500 km, from the La Bureba corridor in Burgos Province close to the Cordillera Cantábrica to the Mediterranean sea close to Valencia in the south and close to Tortosa and the Ebro Delta in the east. The bulk of the Sistema Ibérico is located in the southern half of Aragon. There are important mining areas in some of the ranges such as Sierra Menera, Sierra de Arcos and Sierra de San Just, making the system one of the most important mining regions in Spain.

spain-river-map-300x266RIVERS:  There are some 1,800 rivers in Spain. There are said to be 172,888 km of natural watercourses, though many of these are dry for much of the year. Of the five major rivers in Spain, the TAGUS  -1007 km; DUERO895 km; GUADIANA 657 km; and GUADALQUIVIR 657 km;  all flow southwards and westwards out into the Atlantic ocean, whereas the EBRO -910 km; has its outlet in Tarragona in the Mediterranean Sea. The DUERO and the GUADALQUIVIR form broad valleys and alluvial plains and at their mouths deposit saline soils, creating deltas and salt marshes. The coastline has few natural harbors except the estuaries  in the northwest, formed by glaciers, and those in the Levante and the south, created by sandbars during the Quaternary period.

The River Nervion and the Guggenheim Museum.

 

Guggenheim-Bilbao – River Nervion

Guggenheim-Bilbao – River Nervion

Waterfall at source of the Nervion

Waterfall at source of the Nervion

Of the minor rivers The NERVION river runs through the city of Bilbao famous for it’s Guggenheim Museum. The river only 72 km long  is also famous  for it’s spectacular 300 m (980 ft)  waterfall close to it’s source in the Delika canyon of Alava.

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