Spain’s Longest River: Unveiling the Two Mighty Giants


When you explore the question of the longest river in Spain, you’re likely to come across two contenders: the Tagus River and the Ebro River. The answer, interestingly enough, depends on how you define it. Are you considering only the section within Spanish borders or the entire course, including its shared path with Portugal? Let’s dive deeper into these two rivers, unravel the disparities, and even compare them to the world’s longest rivers.

What is the Lengthiest River in Spain?

Ebro River, Spain

To determine Spain’s longest river, we must first evaluate the criteria. The Tagus River stretches across the Iberian Peninsula, flowing through both Spain and Portugal. Its total length measures 1,007 kilometers, with 816 kilometers within Spanish territory and the remainder shared between Spain and Portugal. Notably, the Tagus basin covers an area of 83,678 km², with 67% situated in Spain and 33% in Portugal.

On the other hand, the Ebro River holds the title for Spain’s longest river within its borders. Spanning a length of 930 kilometers, this remarkable river boasts a basin area of approximately 85,000 km².

If you crave further insights on these captivating rivers, I encourage you to peruse the following resources:

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But does their length denote abundance? Let’s find out.

Which River Reigns as the Largest in Spain?

Considering the basin confined solely to Spanish territory, the Ebro River stands as the reigning champion, boasting a staggering flow rate of 15,040 ft³/s. However, when expanding our perspective to encompass the entire Iberian Peninsula, which includes both Spain and Portugal, the Tagus River surges ahead with an impressive flow rate of 17,660 ft³/s.

Yet, size doesn’t always equate to width.

The Grandest Span: Spain’s Widest River

In terms of sheer width, the Ebro River claims supremacy. It gracefully winds its way through seven autonomous communities, namely Cantabria, Castile and León, La Rioja, Basque Country, Navarra, Aragón, and Catalonia.

Amidst the competition for width, one may wonder about navigability.

Spain’s Most Navigable Waterway

When it comes to effortless navigation, the Guadalquivir River reigns supreme. With a navigable stretch of 90 kilometers (about 5 hours of sailing), it asserts its dominance as the most convenient route along the Spanish mainland. To uncover the wonders of the Guadalquivir River, indulge in the following article: Southern Spain River: Facts & Activities to Enjoy the Guadalquivir!

Comparing Spain’s Longest Rivers with Global Giants

Let’s embark on a global comparison to gauge the true magnitude of Spain’s longest rivers. In assessing river length, it is crucial to consider kilometers or miles. We have compiled a table below, pitting the Tagus and the Ebro against eleven of the world’s mightiest rivers:

Rivers Kilometers Continent
Nile River 6,650 Africa
Amazon River 6,575 South America
Yangtze River 6,300 Asia
Mississippi River 5,970 North America
Yenisei River 5,539 Asia
Yellow River 5,464 Asia
Ob Irtysh River 5,410 Asia
Mekong River 4,909 Asia
Rio de la Plata 4,880 South America
Congo River 4,700 Africa
Amur River 4,444 Asia
Tagus River 1,007 Europe
Ebro River 930 Europe
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Map of Spain with the 2 Longest Rivers

Map of Spain, showcasing the Tagus and Ebro rivers

This comprehensive map depicts the impressive routes of the Tagus and Ebro rivers. The Tagus gracefully meanders through Spain, traverses the entire peninsula, and finally merges with the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal. Conversely, the Ebro exclusively courses within Spain, gracefully flowing towards the majestic Mediterranean Sea.

From now on, you’ll astound others when they query Spain’s longest river!


This article has shed light on Spain’s two most significant rivers, unraveling their unique characteristics. I hope it has offered valuable insights and quelled any lingering doubts you may have had. For further exploration, feel free to visit 5 WS, your go-to source for all things informative and engaging.

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