Updated: January 23, 2023Published: November 30, 2022
Home to a rich and varied biodiversity, a source of water for millions of Spaniards, and a place of recreation and entertainment, the rivers of Spain are fundamental elements of Spanish geography.
This article will cover all frequently asked questions about Rivers in Spain. And, if you’re looking for specific information about each of them, don’t worry because we have everything covered in many different posts that I’ll show you throughout this article.
Rivers are a vital element for all living things and, therefore, also for human beings. You will learn about the rivers in the different Cantabrian, Mediterranean, and Atlantic slopes, the main tributaries, and everything related to the magnificent world of Spanish rivers.
We even have a red river in Spain… But before we get into that, we must begin with the basics:
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How many rivers are in Spain?
Spain has 528 rivers if we consider all rivers, tributaries, and subaffluents. But, if we consider the rivers that do not discharge their waters into another river (those that are not tributaries), there are 83 rivers in Spain.
Here is a list of the 34 most important rivers in Spain, their lenght, and the slope they belong to:
Lenght (in km)
31. Río Deva
33. Río Nansa
How many tributaries are there in Spain?
Spain has 445 tributaries adding the main, primary, and secondary ones.
217 tributaries discharge their waters into 83 rivers.
These tributaries have primary branches, which are 167 primary sub-tributaries
They also have secondary branches (61 secondary sub-tributaries).
Which is the largest river in Spain?
The longest river in Spain in terms of length is the Tagus River, with 1,007 kilometers long and with 17,660 ft³/s. Experts debate whether this river is the longest or not. Since 816 kilometers are in Spanish territory, 46 kilometers form the border between Spain and Portugal, and the remaining 145 kilometers are part of Portugal.
However, if we only took into account what is part of Spain, then the Ebro river would be the largest, with 910 km and 15,040 ft³/s.
If you want to see the complete list of the largest rivers in Spain, you should read these posts:
The shortest river in Spain is the Amadorio, which is 29 km long. At the same time, the shortest tributaries are the Ugíjar, 12 km, and the Gévora, 17 km.
Another well-known shortest river in Spain is the Asón river, with a total length of 39 kilometers. It runs along the Cantabrian coast. Despite its short length, its route is highly recommended as a natural walk because it is in a landscape of great beauty. In addition, its source is a waterfall that is 680 meters high!!
We have many other incredible waterfalls worth visiting. Find out here:
Not all rivers in Spain have a basin. Wayward rivers flow through hydrographic territories that are not named after a large river. This is the case of some rivers of the Atlantic slope, whose basin is called “other rivers.”
Here there are five rivers:
And four tributaries:
From the Guadalete: Guadalporcún and Majaceite.
From the Odiel: Oranque and Rivera de Meca.
How many rivers are there on each Spanish slope?
The slopes refer to the sea or ocean where the rivers flow into. And, without considering tributaries, the 83 Spanish rivers distribute as follows:
On the Mediterranean slope, 38 rivers cover 4,326 km.
On the Atlantic slope, 23 rivers cover 5,095 km.
On the Cantabrian slope, 22 rivers cover 1,306 km.
And, by taking into account all rivers in Spain:
On the Atlantic slope, 307 rivers cover 24,183 km.
On the Mediterranean slope, 178 rivers cover 12,898 km.
On the Cantabrian slope, 43 rivers cover 2,176 km.
Which is the longest tributary in Spain?
The main tributaries of Spain by length are:
The Genil River: with 337 km.
The Esla and Pisuerga rivers: with 275 km.
The Cabriel River: with 263 km.
The Segre River(261 km).
The longest tributary in Spain is the Genil River, a tributary of the Guadalquivir. It is a long river in southern Spain that rises in Sierra Nevada, a province of Granada. It flows into the Guadalquivir River in Palma del Río, province of Córdoba. Read more about these provinces and regions here:
How many rivers are there in the South basin of Spain?
There are 14 rivers in the South basin of Spain, 13 tributaries, and one sub-fluent: The Guadalhorce, Almanzora, Guadiaro, Guadalfeo, Andarax, Guadalmedina, Adra, Antas, Guadarranque, Cañas, Vélez, Aguas, Verde, and the Yátor.
Did you know that we have a red river in the South of Spain?
People often don’t talk about this curious river in the South of Spain. Still, the Tinto River is a coastal river that runs along the province of Huelva in Andalucia. It rises in the Sierra de Padre Caro, reaching the Huelva estuary after almost 100 km where it merges with the Odiel river. I recommend the following post if you are interested in knowing why this river is so peculiar!
The main civilizations in history have settled around the great rivers and some current ones due to their communication needs and because they are water and food sources.
With this said, it is essential to know our history in order to preserve it. Learning about Rivers in Spain sensitizes us more to take care of our natural resources and respect them when visiting and enjoying their beautiful landscapes.
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!