Updated: February 14, 2023Published: November 22, 2022
When you see pictures of the beautiful Seville, have yuo ever wondered… What is the name of that magnificent river?
No? Well, just by reading the title, you know the answer, but we know you want more. And we have more.
In this article, I would like to share with you the key geographical facts you should know about the Guadalquivir river and the exciting activities you can do while traveling close by.
Plus, three curiosities that you won’t find everywhere! So, let’s dive into one of the most beautiful Southern Spain rivers.
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Where is the Guadalquivir river located?
The Southern Spain river, Guadalquivir, covers the entire region of Andalusia, crossing the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba, Seville, Huelva, and Cádiz.
The Guadalquivir rises from the Cazorla Mountain in the province of Jaen and generally flows westward into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Cadiz.
Is Guadalquivir the most important river in Southern Spain?
No, the Guadalquivir is not the most important river. The most important river is the Ebro, the most abundant and extensive hydrographic basin in Spain. Let’s remember that a hydrographic basin is an area of land where all flowing surface water converges to a single point, meaning that the stream of water ends up in the ocean. The Ebro has one of the main basins in Europe, occupying 17% of the Spanish peninsular territory.
However, let’s highlight the positive things about Guadalquivir. It might not be the most important river, but it is very famous thanks to Sevilla, where people sit and rest on the banks of the river. Also, this southern Spain river is the fifth largest of the Iberian peninsula and the second largest in Spain.
Curiosity #1: The river’s name is translated from the Arabic name Al -Wadi Al- Kabir, means Great River.
8 Interesting Facts and Curiosities about the Guadalquivir River
1. How long is the Guadalquivir river?
As mentioned before, the Guadalquivir River is the second longest river in Spain after the Tagus. It has a length of 657 km and flows through most parts of Andalusia’s autonomous region.
2. How deep is the Guadalquivir river?
The Guadalquivir river is 39 meters wide and 11 meters deep and runs along 280 meters.
3. Can you sail the Guadalquivir river?
The Guadalquivir is the only river in Spain with adequate current and conditions to sail. Although currently, it’s only navigable from the sea to Seville, in the time of the Romans, it was navigable up to Córdoba, and when the river was high enough, people could get to Andújar.
To facilitate its navigation in Seville, its course has been modified several times for constructing canals and locks, and by dredging its depths.
To get a little history behind this, you should know that the first trip around the world began in Seville. The Magellan-Elcano expedition was the first to circumnavigate flowing in the Guadalquivir river and under the famous bridge of San Telmo.
Also, this river has had incredible importance in Spain’s commerce history. In the sixteenth century, Seville was a mercantile center, and the Guadalquivir water would receive the different ships.
4. Can you swim in the Guadalquivir river?
Swimming in the Guadalquivir River is prohibited. But you know what they say, rules are there to be broken, and Spanish people take that seriously. It is no surprise to see people swimming in the summer, defying the dangers that come with the river conditions and facing possible high (I mean VERY high) penalties.
Curiosity #2: In Cordoba, the Guadalquivir flows under “The Roman Bridge of Cordoba,” the oldest bridge in Spain.
5. Can you fish in the Guadalquivir river?
You can see people from different towns fishing all along the Guadalquivir river. Just like the Duoro, this Southern Spain stream has a great variety of fish in its waters, such as carp fish, barbels, pescasoles, eels, alachas, lubinas.
Here river fishing is characterized by environmental protection and having fun rather than competing.
6. What are the tributaries of the Guadalquivir river?
The Guadalquivir is the only river in Spain with shipping traffic, and it has several tributaries powering its waters.
Affluents of the Guadalquivir River
Guadiana Menor river
Rivera de Huelva river
7. What’s the volume of water in the Guadalquivir river?
The Guadalquivir river, with an average annual flow of 7,230 hm³ and a watershed area of 57,527 km², represents the central basin in Southern Spain.
8. How to get to the Guadalquivir river?
There are many ways to get to the Guadalquivir river. You can walk around Seville and see the river. You could also ride a cruise around the river during the day or at night. The cruises depart from the Muelle del Marqués del Contadero at the foot of the Torre del Oro.
If you enjoy walking more, you could do a track in Cazorla from where the Guadalquivir starts. This track will take you to see the source of the Guadalquivir River, which, although known for its flow as it passes through Seville, originates in this mountain range of Jaén.
By the way, if you are really into rivers and wine, you should check out the Duoro River:
Besides having all the geographical facts, I bet you also need the nice complement of having fun! Here I will tell you 3 main activities you can’t miss in the Guadalquivir River.
1. Ride a bike by the river
Seville has a full bicycle line of 140 km. I recommend you go from Paseo Colón to San Jerónimo on your bike.
2. Enjoy a drink at Muelle New York
In Seville, I recommend you have a drink at “Muelle New York.” You will find several places by the river to have a drink, which is the best one from my point of view. During the day, you can relax by having a mojito or a coffee (your choice, we don’t judge). At night you can have some drinks and party with views of the illuminated Guadalquivir.
3. Book a river cruise
Yes! If you visit Seville, you can sail the Guadalquivir on a nice river cruise showing you around the city’s iconic sites. Don’t imagine these are the Disney type of cruises. These boats look more like a ferry. The friendly Sevillian crew will talk you through the most exciting information on the Triana neighborhood, the Torre de Oro, and the city’s historic bridges.
Curiosity #3: The Guadalquivir flows through a total of 27 towns and has 26 bridges, and Seville is the last city to be reached by boat.
This is it for this river! The Guadalquivir is the Southern Spain river you can’t miss when visiting Andalusia, especially if you travel to the capital. I hope this article was helpful and if you have any questions, let us know!
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!