Mountain: high elevation of Land.
Mountain Chain: row of several
Plains: large extensions of flat Land
Plateau: high area of flat Land..
River basin: low-lying plain drained by a
RELIEF: refers to variations in elevation
o fan area of The Earth's surface.
The relief of SPAIN
The small diagram clearly shows the relief of
The Inner Plateau is in the centre of
Spain. There are two mountain ranges in the
middle of the Inner Plateau.
Surrounding the Inner Plateau there
are four mountain ranges.
Beyond the Inner Plateau there are five
mountain ranges and two large river basins.
In addition, there are two archipelagos
and the territories of Ceuta and Melilla in
The Inner Plateau
A very extensive plain covers the centre of the
Iberian Peninsula. It is called the Inner Plateau. It
has an average height of 600 metres above sea
level. Three of the longest rivers of the Iberian
Peninsula cross the Inner Plateau from east to west:
the Duero, the Tagus and the Guadiana.
On the edges of the Plateau, there is high moorland,
such as the Paramo Leones and La Alcarria. There
are fertile flood plains next to the rivers. Between the
high moorland and the flood plains are low-lying
The Inner Plateau covers the Autonomous
Communities of Castile-Leon, Castile-La Mancha,
Madrid and Extremadura. Extensive farmland
dominates the Inner Plateau. The largest towns are
near the main rivers.
Industrial and commercial areas have grown up
around the towns.
Mountain Ranges in The Inner Plateau
There are two mountain ranges on the
The Central Mountain Chain. This
mountain range divides the Inner
Plateau in two: the Northern Sub-plateau
and the Southern Sub-plateau. The
mountains of the Central Mountain Chain
are about two thousand metres high and
are grouped in mountain ranges, such
as the Gata, the Gredos and the
The Mountains of Toledo. These
mountains are in the centre of the
Southern Sub-plateau. They are not very
high, and they separate the River Tagus
from the River Guadiana.
Surrounding The Inner Plateau
The Mountains of Leon , in the north. This range is
formed by mountains about two thousand metres high, for
example, Mount Teleno. They separate Castile-Leon from
The Cantabrian Range, in the north. These mountains
separate Castile-Leon from Asturias and Cantabria. The
range consists of chains of high, rugged peaks, for
example, the Picos de Europa.
The Iberian Mountain Chain , in the east. This is a vast
chain of mountain ranges, for example, the Moncayo
Range, with heights of around two thousand metres. This
mountain chain extends across the Autonomous
Communities of Castile-Leon, Rioja, Aragon, Castile-La
Mancha and the Community of Valencia.
The Morena Range, or sierra Morena in the south. These
mountains are not very high, less than 1,300 metres. There
are few valleys between the mountains, and this
complicates transport networks between the Inner Plateau
There are two principal river basins beyond
the Plateau: the Ebro river basin and the
Guadalquivir river basin. These river
basins are low plains crossed by rivers and
surrounded by mountains.
Both river basins are triangular in shape and
are dominated by extensive farmland.
The Ebro river basin is in the north-east. The
River Ebro flows across it.
The Guadalquivir river basin is in the
The River Guadalquivir flows across it..
Beyond The Inner Plateau
The Galician Massif lies to the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, in
Galicia. This is formed by low mountains with rounded peaks. The highest
mountain is Cabeza de Manzaneda, at a height of 1,778 metres.
The Basque Mountains lie to the north, between the Basque Country and
Navarre. They are not very high, with pointed peaks, such as Amboto
Peak and Aitzkorri Peak, at a height of 1,544 metres.
The Pyrenees lie to the north. They form a very extensive mountain range
which stretches from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and
crosses Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia. The mountains are high, at
around three thousand metres. The highest mountain is Aneto, at a height
of 3,404 metres.
The Catalan Coastal Chain lies to the north-east. This is formed by two
mountain chains which are parallel to the Mediterranean coast. The
highest mountain is the Turo de l’home, at a height of 1,712 metres.
The Baetic Mountain Chain lies to the south-east. These mountains run
through Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha, the Region of Murcia and the
Community of Valencia. There are two mountain ranges. The Penibetic
Range runs parallel to the Andalusian coast and has the highest peaks on
the Peninsula: Mulhacen at 3,482 metres and Veleta at 3,398 metres. The
Subbetic Range lies inland and the mountains are around two thousand
The Spanish coasts are bathed by the Cantabrian Sea,
the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cantabrian coast.
This coast is high and rocky with many cliffs and
It extends from the Estaca de Bares Point to the French
border. The coasts of the Basque Country, Cantabria,
Asturias and a part of the Galician coast are bathed by
the Cantabrian Sea. The main landforms of this coast are
Cape Matxitxako, the Bay of Biscay, the Aviles estuary,
Cape Ajo and Estaca de Bares Point.
The Galician coast. This goes from Estaca
de Bares Point to the Miño estuary. It is a
high rocky coast, with many inlets. The
principal capes are Finisterre and Ortegal,
and the main estuaries are the rias of
Arousa and Vigo.
The Andalusian coast. This goes from the
Portuguese border to the Straights of
Gibraltar. It is a flat, low coast, with sandy
beaches, wetlands and dunes. The main
landforms are the Gulf of Cadiz, Cape
Trafalgar and Tarifa Point.
The coasts of the Canary Islands. The
islands in the centre of the archipelago,
Tenerife and Gran Canaria, have rocky
coasts in the north and sandy beaches in
the south. The islands in the west have
high, rocky coasts, while the islands in the
east have low-lying coasts.
This is the longest coast in Spain. There are
four main areas:
Andalusia. The Andalusian coast has
extensive, flat areas, such as the beaches of
Malaga. These areas alternate with cliffs,
such as Cape Gata.
Murcia and the Community of Valencia. This
coast is low with sandy beaches, although
there are some rocky areas, for example,
Cape Palos and Cape Nao.
Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. High,
rocky areas, for example, Cape Creus,
alternate with low, sandy beaches.
The coast of Ceuta is low and irregular. The
coast of Melilla is high and rocky.
Spain has two large archipelagos: the Balearic
Islands and the Canary Islands.
The Balearic Islands are located to the east of
the Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. There
are five main islands: Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca,
Formentera and Cabrera, as well as a few
smaller islands. Mallorca is the largest island and
is the most mountainous. The main mountain
range is the Tramuntana Range.
The Canary Islands are situated to the west of
Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. There are seven
main islands: La Palma, El Hierro, La Gomera,
Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and
Lanzarote. These islands are of volcanic origin.
This means the land was formed by lava from
volcanoes. The relief is very mountainous. Mount
Teide in Tenerife is the highest peak in Spain.