The principal rivers of Spain flow west and south to the Atlantic Ocean, generally along deep, rocky courses through the mountain valleys. The Douro, Miño, Tagus, and Guadiana rivers rise in Spain and flow through Portugal to the Atlantic. The Guadalquivir, flowing through a fertile plain in the south, is the deepest river in Spain and the only one navigable for any extent. The Ebro, in north-east Spain, flows into the Mediterranean Sea, and is navigable by small craft for part of its course. Most Spanish streams are too small for interior navigation, and, with courses below the general ground level, are of little use for irrigation. The rivers are, however, a good source of power.
The climate of Spain is mainly Mediterranean. It is marked by variations of temperature and, except in the north, generally insufficient rainfall. The variegated physical features of the country ensure pronounced climatic differences. The climate is most equable along the Biscayan and Atlantic coasts, which are generally damp and cool. The central plateau has summers so arid that nearly all the streams dry up, the earth parches, and drought is common.
Most of Spain receives less than 610 mm (24 in) of precipitation per year; the northern mountains get considerably more moisture. Around Madrid, winter cold is sufficient to freeze surrounding streams, while summer temperatures rise as high as 41.7° C (107° F). By contrast the southern Mediterranean coast has a sub-tropical climate. Málaga, in the extreme south, has an average winter temperature of 13.9° C (57° F)
Only a small part of Spain is wooded, and forests are located mainly on mountain slopes, particularly in the north-west. A common Spanish tree is the evergreen oak. Cork oak, from which the bark may be stripped every ten years, is abundant, growing chiefly as second growth on timbered land. Poplar trees are grown throughout the country and the cultivation of olive trees is a major agricultural activity. Other Spanish trees include the elm, beech, and chestnut. Shrubs and herbs are the common natural vegetation on the central plateau. Grapevines flourish in the arid soil. Esparto grass, used for making paper and various fibre products, grows abundantly in both the wild and cultivated state. Sugar cane, oranges, lemons, figs, almonds, and chestnuts are grown on the Mediterranean coast.
The Spanish fauna includes the wolf, lynx, wildcat, fox, wild boar, wild goat, deer, and hare. Among the more famous domesticated animals are the bulls bred near Seville and Salamanca for bullfighting, the Spanish national sport. Birdlife is abundant, with varieties of birds of prey. Insect life abounds. Mountain streams and lakes teem with such fish as barbel, tench, and trout. "Spain" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
Photos of European countries to visit
Photos of Asian countries to visit
Photos of America