Autonomous Communities of Spain
More about the 17 Autonomous regions of Spain.
Located in the northwestern corner of Spain is the autonomous community of Galicia with the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, and Pontevedra, which compose Galicia. The largest city is A Coruña; the capital is Santiago de Compostela, the city is best known as the destination of the Way of St. James
(Camino de Santiago), a Catholic pilgrimage route originated in the 9th century. Galicia is bordered in the east by Asturias.
Principality of Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is a region in northern Spain bordering the Bay of Biscay; it is also one of the country's fifty provinces. The capital is Oviedo (Uviéu); the largest city is the port city of Gijón (Xixón). Asturias is bordered in the east by Cantabria.
Cantabria is a historical community and a province of Spain. The province offers a mountainous landscape with a coastline at the Bay of Biscay; its capital is Santander. About 30 km west of the capital, there is the Cave of Altamira, with Paleolithic cave art, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site
. Actually, there are seventeen decorated caves of the Paleolithic age in Cantabria. To the east of the province is the Basque Country.
The Basque Country includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay, and Gipuzkoa. Currently, the Basque Country has no official capital, the headquarters of the Basque Government is in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The largest city is Bilbao, an industrial port city with roughly 1 million inhabitants. Province capitals are San Sebastián (Gipuzkoa), Bilbao (Biscay), and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Álava).
To the south of the Basque provinces lies La Rioja, an autonomous community and a province of Spain. The region is internationally best known for its wines of the same name (Rioja). Capital is Logroño, a city at the Ebro River with about 150,000 inhabitants.
East of the Basque Country and La Rioja lies Navarre.
officially the Chartered Community of Navarre, an autonomous community situated between the Pyrenees mountain range that dominates the territory, and the plains of the Ebro river valley. The Ebro river forms a portion of Navarre's border with La Rioja. The largest city and the historical capital of Navarre is Pamplona (Iruña in Basque). Pamplona is famous for the traditional "Running of the Bulls" during the San Fermín festival.
To the east and south of Navarre lies the autonomous community of Aragon, formerly a medieval kingdom. The region has three provinces: Huesca, just south of the central Pyrenees, Zaragoza in the central Ebro Valley, and Teruel in the Sistema Ibérico mountain ranges. Aragon's regional capital is Zaragoza (Saragossa), famous also for its Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Between Aragon and the Balearic Sea lies Catalonia, an autonomous community that borders France
in the north. Catalonia has four provinces: the landlocked mountainous Lleida, and the provinces of Tarragona, Barcelona, and Girona, which has a Spanish exclave within the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales (Llívia), they all have a coastline at the Mediterranean Sea
. The capital and largest city is Barcelona
, Spain's second city. On 1 October 2017, Catalans voted in a contested referendum for independence from Spain. The Spanish government rejects any independence movement in the country. Spain’s constitution of 1978, which was also approved by more than 90% of Catalan voters, gave broad autonomy to Spain's autonomous communities like exclusive jurisdiction in culture, environment, communications, transportation, commerce, public safety, and local government, but affirmed "the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation."
To the south of Catalonia, along the Mediterranean coast, lies the Valencian Community (or Valencian Country). It has three provinces Alicante, Castellón, and Valencia. De facto capital and largest urban area is the Roman founded city of Valencia, today Spain's third-largest city. Valencian Country's landscape offers the Iberian mountain range in the west and a somewhat thin fertile coastal strip in the east, with some wetlands and marshlands. Murcia borders the province of Alicante.
Murcia is the name of the capital, the province, and the autonomous community. The Region has a Mediterranean climate with more than 300 sunny days a year, making it very suitable for agriculture. Murcia is called Europe's orchard; it produces and exports all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Located in the central south of the Iberian peninsula lies the most populated autonomous community in Spain: Andalusia. The region consists of eight provinces, namely Almería, Granada, Jaén, Córdoba, Málaga, Seville, Cádiz, and Huelva, which borders Portugal in the west. Andalusia is bounded by both the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Capital and largest city of Andalusia is Seville (span.: Sevilla).
Situated on the Southern Plateau is the landlocked autonomous community of Extremadura, bordering Portugal in the west. Extremadura consists of two provinces, Cáceres and Badajoz, each with a capital of the same name. The region was home to the most infamous conquerors of the New World: Francisco Pizarro and Hernan Cortes. Extremadura's capital is Mérida; the city was the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, the Roman colony of Emerita Augusta
(present-day Mérida) was founded in 25 BC. Today the Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida
is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Between Extremadura and the Valencian Community lies Castilla-La-Mancha, which was formerly part of the Kingdom of Castile. The autonomous community comprises five provinces: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, and Toledo. The capital city is Toledo. It was in this region where a nameless hidalgo set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world; his name was Don Quixote.
Castile and Leon
Castile and Leon is the largest autonomous community in Spain by area. It consists of nine provinces: Ávila, Burgos, León, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid, and Zamora. The region is known as "the granary of Spain," agriculture and livestock are the primary economic sector. De facto capital is the city of Valladolid.
Community of Madrid
The Community of Madrid in the heart of Spain surrounds the nation's capital Madrid and is situated on the Castilian Central Plateau. It is the most densely populated autonomous community in the country. Its inhabitants are mainly concentrated in the metropolitan area of Madrid, which is also the capital of the community.
The Balearic Islands is an archipelago in the Balearic Sea, a body of water in the western Mediterranean Sea. The largest islands are Mallorca (Majorca), Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, all of them well-known tourist destinations. The capital and largest city is Palma de Mallorca on the island of Mallorca.
The Canary Islands (not depicted on the map) is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, off the southern coast of Morocco. The Spanish autonomous community consists of seven main islands: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro. Capitals are Santa Cruz (on Tenerife) jointly with Las Palmas (on Gran Canaria).