Occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula's land area (approximately 85%), Spain is the third-largest country in Europe and 45% is covered by the Meseta Plateau.
As observed on the physical map of Spain, the terrain of the land is highly undulating. That plateau is rarely flat, and is in reality a mostly hilly highland area divided by the Cordillera Central (mountains), and then ringed by additional mountain ranges, north, east and south. In the west the Meseta slopes gently down into neighboring Portugal.
Significant mountains in Spain include the limestone Cordillera Cantabrica and rugged Sistema Iberico (north); massive Pyrenees (northeast) where many peaks exceed 3,000 meters; the deeply eroded and rocky Sierra de Cuenca(east), and the lower Montes de Toledo and Serrania de Cuenca (south-central).
In the far south the mountains of the Cordillera Betica and Sierra Nevada dominate the landscape. Mainland Spain's highest point (Mulhacen at 3,481 meters) stands in the Sierra Nevada. It has been marked on the map by a yellow triangle.
Significant lowlands include the fertile Andalusian Plain in the southwest, and the Ebro River Basin in the northeast. In addition, much of Spain is fronted by a low and narrow coastal plain, one that separates the mountains from the sea.
Those deeply indented coastal areas include countless bays and coves, and most have sandy beaches. In the far northwest, along the Bay of Biscay, rugged cliffs front the coastline.
In the far south, the Strait of Gibraltar separates Spain and Europe from Morocco (Africa), and here, the two continents are only 13 km (8 miles) apart.
The country is drained by an estimated 1,500 rivers (mostly small). The longest and most significant rivers include the Douro (Duero), Ebro, Jucar, Tagus (Tejo), Guadiana and Guadalquivir.
Spain (officially, the Kingdom of Spain) is divided into 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, sing. comunidad autonoma) and 2 autonomous cities (ciudades autonomas, sing. ciudad autonoma). The autonomous communities are: Andalusia, Catalonia (Catalan), Madrid, Comunitat Valenciana [Valencian Community], Galicia, Castilla-Leon, Euskadi (Basque) [Basque Country], Castilla-La Mancha, Canarias (Canary Islands), Murcia, Aragon, Extremadura, Illes Baleares (Balearic Islands), Asturias, Navarre (Castilian), Cantabria, and La Rioja. The 2 autonomous cities are: Ceuta and Melilla. The autonomous communities are further subdivided into provinces and smaller subdivisions.
With an area of 505,990 sq. km, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe and the 4th largest country in the continent of Europe. It is also the 2nd largest country in Western Europe and EU. Spain has a population of over 47 million, making it the 6th most populous country in Europe and the 4th most populous country in EU. Located in the central part of the country is, Madrid – the capital, the largest and the most populous city of Spain. Madrid is also the cultural, administrative and economic center of Spain. Madrid functions as an important financial hub of Southern Europe.
Spain is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula in South Western Europe. It is situated in both Northern and Eastern hemispheres of the Earth. Spain is bordered by 5 countries: by Portugal in the west, by France and Andorra in the northeast, by Gibraltar and Morocco (the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa), in the south. The country is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the east and southeast, by the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest and southwest and by the Bay of Biscay in the north. Spain shares its maritime borders with Algeria and Italy.
Regional Maps: Map of Europe
|Legal Name||Kingdom of Spain|
|40 24 N, 3 41 W|
|Independence||1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain|
|Total Area||505,370.00 km2|
|Land Area||498,980.00 km2|
|Water Area||6,390.00 km2|
|Total Border||1,952.0 km|
|Bordering Countries||Andorra 63 km, France 646 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1224 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 8 km, Morocco (Melilla) 10.5 km|
|Climate||Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast|
|Coordinates||40 00 N, 4 00 W|
|Mean Elevation||660 m|
|Lowest Elevation||0 m|
|Highest Elevation||3,718 m|
|Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands|
|Ethnic Groups||Spanish 86.4%, Morocco 1.8%, Romania 1.3%, other 10.5% (2018 est.)|
|Languages||Castilian Spanish (official nationwide) 74%, Catalan (official in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community (where it is known as Valencian)) 17%, Galician (official in Galicia) 7%, Basque (official in the Basque Country and in the Basque-speaking area of Navarre) 2%, Aranese (official in the northwest corner of Catalonia (Vall d'Aran) along with Catalan, <5,000 speakers)|
|Religions||Roman Catholic 68.9%, atheist 11.3%, agnostic 7.6%, other 2.8%, non-believer 8.2%, unspecified 1.1% (2019 est.)|
|GDP Per Capita||$29,613.67|
|Exports||Machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods|
This page was last updated on November 9, 2020