Updated: January 23, 2023Published: November 23, 2022
When you google “what’s the river between Spain and Portugal?”, the first thing that appears to you is the Guadiana river.
If you don’t believe me, you can check it yourself!
Although this fact is entirely accurate, the Guadiana is not the only river that makes the border between Spain and Portugal. There are a total of 20 rivers bordering these two countries! I didn’t even know there were so many, and I was shocked when I found out!
In this post, you will discover these rivers, plus many super interesting and curious facts about the Guadiana River. And not only that… I will also reveal the best places where the Guadiana River passes through during its entire journey!
Are you ready to join me on this adventure? Let’s not wait any longer, and let’s dive into the waters of these rivers and the beautiful Guadiana!
Table of Contents▼▶
What are the rivers between Spain & Portugal?
Spain and Portugal are countries with a wide hydrographic variety. Both have many rivers and tributaries, but Spain has 34 main rivers while Portugal has 10.
Some of these rivers belong to both countries. Many originate in Spain and flow into the Atlantic Ocean, passing through Portugal. For this reason, there are rivers where part of their course forms a border between the two countries.
This land border between Spain and Portugal is known as the “Raya” (in Spanish) or “A Raia” (in Portuguese).
Of the 20 rivers, which form this border, we should highlight the six most important ones:
Guadiana: in its lower course, the river, which flows through Spain and Portugal, forms a border between the two countries along numerous stretches. It has a total length of 818 km, of which 578 km belong to Spain and 140 km belong to Portugal. The remaining 100 km are shared between the two countries.
Tagus: the river is 1,007 kilometers long, of which 816 kilometers are in Spanish territory, 46 kilometers form the border between Spain and Portugal, and the remaining 145 kilometers are part of Portugal.
If you want to know everything about this river click on the following article:
Minho: the longest and most abundant river in Galicia has a length of 315 km. Its last 76 km until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean make the border between Spain and Portugal.
Barcia O Castro Laboreiro: it has an approximate length of 23.9 km. In its final stretch, about 14 km, it marks the border between Portugal and Spain, flowing into the Limia River.
Támega: it has a length of 145 km, of which 51.91 km belong to Spain, and approximately 3.6 km border with Portugal.
Here’s the list with the 20 rivers ordered from north to south:
Barcia O Castro Laboreiro
Where is the Guadiana river located?
The Guadiana river is located between Spain and Portugal. It rises in the southern sub-plateau of Spain and follows an east-west direction. Its direction changes to the south at the height of Badajoz and continues until it reaches Ayamonte (Huelva), flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
In Spain, the Guadiana river flows through three autonomous communities (Castile-La Mancha, Extremadura, and Andalusia) and four provinces (Ciudad Real, Badajoz, Huelva, and Albacete). And in Portugal, it will run through some traditional regions like Alentejo and Algarve, where the districts of Portalegre, Évora, Beja, and Faro are located.
The Guadiana River passes through one of our most famous National Parks, Las Tablas de Daimiel.
If you want to know all about this fantastic place and discover the rest of our impressive National Parks, take advantage of the following article!
The most relevant characteristic of the Upper Guadiana is that its surface flow practically disappears before reaching the Guadiana. This is due to evaporation and infiltration into the aquifer system of the La Mancha plain.
7 Interesting Facts about the Guadiana River
1. How long is the Guadiana river?
The Guadiana river it is the fourth longest river in the peninsula and has a total length of 818 km, of which 578 km belong to Spain and 140 km to Portugal. The remaining 100 km are shared between the two countries.
2. How deep is the Guadiana river?
The estuary of the Guadiana river has a maximum width of 550 meters (1,800 ft), and its depth ranges from 5 to 17 meters (16 to 56 ft).
3. Can you sail the Guadiana river?
The navigable part of the Guadiana River is located in its lower course with a stretch of approximately 70 km. This is the area near the mouth of the river between Ayamonte (Spain) and Vila Real de Santo Antonio (Portugal).
4. Can you swim in the Guadiana river?
According to the Water Law (article 50.1), bathing is allowed in any surface water, i.e., rivers, springs, lakes, etc.
That said, there are four reasons why autonomous communities could prohibit bathing in some areas:
Health protection, as some areas may have poor water quality and high bacterial or contamination levels leading to a health risk.
Non-compliance with the quality requirements of current regulations.
Existence of danger or impracticability for the bathing water area or lack of maintenance.
Need for environmental conservation.
Depending on the autonomous community, bathing will be prohibited or allowed in the areas authorized for it. If you are going to travel, I recommend you take a look at the restrictions of that place.
One of the best places to swim in the Guadiana River is located in Medellin (Extremadura). Here you will find a beautiful and very well-known river beach.
5. Can you fish in the Guadiana river?
Fishing is allowed in some areas of the Guadiana river. There are some points where access is very easy, and you can fish from the shore, especially in cities like Merida and Badajoz.
The Guadiana river has numerous tributaries and lakes formed by the dams allowing varied fishing.
The fishes you can find in the Guadiana river are: fritillary, fiddler, calandine, chub, bogue, trout, eel, lamprey, bleak, chanchito, common carp, royal carp, common barbel, cabecicorto barbel, barbel comizo, gypsy barbel, tench, black bass, pike, pikeperch, perch fluviatilis, catfish, channel catfish, catfish.
6. What are the tributaries of the Guadiana river?
Regarding the headwaters of the Guadiana river, the most important tributaries are located on the right bank of the river, which has very little relief causing waterlogging of the streams. However, the left slope is much more extensive than the right and also shows a smoother relief.
Affluents of the Guadiana River
Tributaries of the Guadiana river from the right bank:
Riberas de Vascao
Tributaries of the Guadiana river from the left side:
Grande de la Golondrina Riverbanks
7. What’s the volume of water in the Guadiana river?
The Guadiana River has an average flow of 26 m³/s in the Spanish section and 78 m³/s in the Portuguese area, including the border.
Fun Activities & Best Spots to explore the Guadiana River
Besides having all the geographical data about the Guadiana River, I bet you want to know what fun things to do on this river or the best places to visit along its entire course.
Ride a bike by the river
Both Spain and Portugal offer incredible trails for hiking and biking. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the scenery and forget about everything for a few hours!
Book a river cruise
If you want something super quiet and relaxing, you can enjoy some of the boat trips that run along the river starting from different points. There are shorter excursions and others that last up to eight hours! Some include food, drinks, and stops at the best places along the river.
Located on the grounds of an ancient Roman city that was also the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. It has spectacular structures and a bridge that crosses the Guadiana river (the longest in the Iberian Peninsula).
If you want to know more about the roman cities in Spain, don’t miss the following article!
Monte Gordo is the last stop before crossing the Guadiana river and entering Spain in the extreme south of Portugal.
It is a small town where you can enjoy a beautiful beach and exquisite gastronomy. If you are a fan of seafood, this is the place!
Visit Calatrava la Vieja Castle
This place belongs to an archaeological park and is located on the banks of the Guadiana river. A visit to this castle is well worth it!
It is a small town situated on the banks of the Guadiana river.
Here you will find many stores selling pottery and restaurants with some of the most traditional dishes.
When you visit this place, you will feel transported back in time!
Here you will find the beautiful Temple of Diana, one of Portugal’s most important Roman sites. Although it was destroyed in the 5th century, it was restored and can be visited today.
With all this information I have shared with you, you will now be an expert on the Guadiana River! I hope you have found it helpful and that it has been an easy way to learn all the features and facts about this beautiful river!
If you know of any other activity or place we can’t miss, share it with us in the comments!
Inigo Navarro is a seasoned travel writer with a deep understanding of Spain's cities, culture, people and language. Born and raised in Spain, he has spent years exploring the country and is currently one of the most-read Travel Bloggers about Spain. Inigo is also an experienced digital marketer, a father to 4 beautiful children and a huge Real Madrid Fan. ¡Hala Madrid!