Spain is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe, with the desert area of Almeria in the south-east to the lush green northern border of “green Spain” covering Asturia and Galicia. And from the sun-baked area of Extremadura on the Portuguese border to the snowy peaks of the Pyranees on the French border.
Spain occupies 84% of the Iberian Peninsula, which is shared only with Portugal and is the second largest country, after France, in Western Europe and the second highest European country after Switzerand.
Spain’s heartland is the area called the Meseta – a flatish area ranging between 400 and 1000 metres that covers most of the area of Castilla y Leon, Castilla La Mancha and Extremadura. Madrid comes inside the Mesata and is the most populated area.
Spain’s highest mountains are in the Pyranees range that stretch 400km along the French border from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bay of Biscay.
The coastline of Spain is as varied as the rest of the country, starting at the French Mediterranean border with Catalunya’s Costa Brava or Rugged Coast. This then becomes the Costa Dorada, south of Barcelona and the Costa de Azahar north of Valencia. This Mediterranean coastline is full of little rocky coves, long sandy beaches and far too many boring Anglicized resorts.
The Costa Blanca travels around the corner to Spain’s southern coast and is full of high-rise developments. The warmest corner of Europe has some good beaches and they are some delightful little coves, only because they are hard to access!
We then reach the Costa Tropical where the province of Granada hits the coast with some over-devopement and some delightful very Spanish, but full of tourists towns.
Next comes the infamous Costa del Sol which on the whole is not particularly pleasant but head for the towns, and Malaga in particular, away from the beach area has some beautiful parts.
We now come to the Costa de la Luz which stretches from the Mediterranean Sea around to the Atlantic Ocean with its colder seas and wetter climate. Its much less developed here.
Skipping Portugal the coast of Galicia is the most rugged, it’s a fishing village scene largely ignored by mass tourism, and of course not offering the sunshine of the southern costas. Along into the Bay of Biscay the hills roll stunningly down to the sea, offering good beaches and surfing sites.