Spain and Portugal share the Iberian Peninsula, which is a vaguely square-shaped realm at the far southwestern edge of Europe. Around 80% of the peninsula is occupied by Spain – nearly 505,000 sq km (194,982 sq miles), making it the second largest country in Western Europe after France.
Five mountain ranges stretch across the country, giving it an average altitude of 650m (2133ft), and making it Europe’s second highest country. Over 50% of Spain is made up of vast, elevated tablelands, known as the mesetas .Spanish landscapes range from the green wetlands of Galicia to the deserts of Andalucía, and from the snowcapped Picos de Europa and Pyrenees to the sunbaked plains of Castilla-La Mancha.
Then there is the Balearic Islands, situated in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. They form a province of Spain, of which the capital city is Palma de Mallorca.
The area is made up of the following islands; Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, all of which are hugely popular tourist destinations, especially with the British.
Spain’s coastlines consist of the following:
- The Mediterranean coast – alternates between rocky coves and inlets, with some long beaches.
- The Atlantic coast – colder seas with sandier, whiter beaches.
- The Costa de la Luz – from the Strait of Gibraltar and the Portuguese border – has many long sandy beaches backed by dunes.