Portugal and Spain share the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, shown here in this image acquired by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on February 13, 2009. This peninsula separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea, and is separated from North Africa by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. The Iberian Peninsula is also separated from the rest of continental Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains along the Spain-France border.
A central plateau, the Meseta, dominates the peninsula. This plateau averages 610 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by a number of mountain ranges. Madrid, Spain's capital city, sits atop the Meseta, and can be seen as a gray smudge near the peninsula's center. To the north of Madrid are four mountain ranges that cross the Meseta: the Sierra de Gredos and the Serra de Guadarrama, which run northeastward; the Serrania de Cuenca, which runs southeastward; and the Sierra de la Demanda, which sits at the apex of the other three ranges.