Guadiana River: map, tributary, and everything you need to know

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Hernan Gimenez

Would you like to know more about European rivers such as the Douro in Spain or the Rhine in Switzerland? Enter this article and learn all about the Guadiana River, from its location to the length of its course and much more.
rios de europa

Location of the Guadiana River

On the map, the Guadiana is the fourth longest river in the Iberian Peninsula and the fourth largest river, it flows through two nations; Spain and Portugal, running from east to west along the southern sub-plateau, this at the level of the Spanish city known as Badajoz then heads south, a direction that will continue until it reaches its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean.

Location of the Guadiana River

Characteristics of the Guadiana River

The Guadiana, as we have already seen, is a river of a flow and length for this European region, as well as the Danube (see link Danube) or the Thames in Great Britain (see link Thames). Here is a breakdown of its main geographical characteristics:


FlowThe upper Guadiana is 76 km long and the Guadiana itself is 742 km long, making it, as we have seen, the fourth longest river in the world.

The average flow in the Spanish section is 26 cubic metres per second and in the Portuguese section, including the border, it is about 78 cubic metres per second.

Catchment area

Its catchment area is the Guadiana river basin and its surface area is 67,733 square kilometres, a much smaller basin than, for example, the Rhine river basin (see Rhine River link).rios de europa


The altitude of the Guadiana River is about 608 metres above sea level at its source, and its mouth, which is in the Atlantic Ocean, is of course at sea level.

Source of the Guadiana river

The Upper Guadiana or Old Guadiana has a length of more than seventy kilometres that flow in a north-westerly direction, the Old Guadiana is the one that has given the current to the Guadiana and has made it known as the lost river or the river that appears and disappears, or at least that is what has been believed for generations, but there is much debate about the source of the Guadiana.

rios de europa

Another tradition says that the Guadiana flows out of the Lagunas de Ruidera. From the Lagunas de Ruidera the Guadiana flows underground, where it disappears, i.e. a part of the river flows underground and reappears in the so-called Ojos del Guadiana.

Today, however, it is believed that the Guadiana originated earlier, in the Campos de Montiel, a high plateau in Castilla (La Mancha) where several underground waters converge to form the springs of Pinilla. The exact origin of this source of the Guadiana is known as the River Pinilla.

Ruidera Lagoons

The upper Guadiana, which already bears the name of the river Pinilla, reaches, thirty kilometres from its source, what is known as the White Lagoon, the first of the 15 small lakes that make up the Lagunas de Ruidera, which stretch for 25 kilometres in a conformation of natural dams.

This park is called Parque Natural de las Lagunas de Ruidera and its origin is due to the following process: the water in these lagoons was formed by a process of stagnation of the water itself, where the limestone that enveloped the aquifers filtered and dissolved, leaving on the surface all the accumulated water that would form each of the 15 lagoons.

In this video you can appreciate the majesty of the Lagunas de Ruidera:

Courses of the Guadiana River

As for the course of the Guadiana River, we can mention that it crosses the town:

Curso Alto

Ojos del Guadiana Spring (Ciudad Real), a point that hydrologically recognises the conformation of the Guadiana as a river.

Middle course

It is in the province of Bajadoz that the Guadiana flows, after leaving the region of Castilla (La Mancha), which it crosses before entering Bajadoz, forming the tail of the Cíjara reservoir.

Lower course

When it leaves Bajadoz, the Guadiana changes direction from east to west, turning south. This course of the river, like other rivers in the world (see link Detroit River), marks the border between two nations, in this case between Portugal and Spain.

Tributaries of the Guadiana

The main tributaries are on the right bank of the river. They are characterised by a very low relief, which means that the streams that pass through the area are waterlogged. There are large aquifers that favour the formation of marshes and lagoons through drainage.

The following are the tributaries of the Guadiana

(Visited 104 times, 1 visits today)
Categories English