Madrid to Rio de Janeiro
Seville at 13,000m - The Guadalquivir River
The Guadalquivir River is one of the largest rivers in Spain and is the main influence on the Andalusian landscape, moulding both the region’s geology and population.
Flowing for more than 650 kilometres across southern Spain, the Guadalquivir is the fifth longest river in the Iberian Peninsula and drains an area almost twice the size of Belgium.
The Guadalquivir and its tributaries have carved Andalusia into a rugged landscape characterised by the highest mountains in Spain separated by broad valleys and sprawling estuaries.
As the capital of Andalusia, Seville’s topography encompasses each of these features; the city itself grew around the river surrounded by fertile plains where an agricultural region quickly developed.
Mountains frame the north of the city while to the west lie the vast marshes of Doñana – a wildlife nature preserve protecting the wetlands of the Guadalquivir Delta.
The Guadalquivir is the only great navigable river in Spain and Seville has the only major inland port in the country.
Seville’s history is closely linked to that of the mighty Guadalquivir; the city began as a river port but also acted as a bridge between the Atlantic Ocean and inland Spain from times of early settlement.
It has long been a vital point of entry into southern Spain, as after Columbus’s expedition to the New World imports from the Spanish Americas flowed into Spain through Seville.
Today, the port remains vital to Seville, having maintained the city’s status as the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Spain with a population of more than 1.3 million.
Each year the port handles in the region of five million tonnes of goods making it the most important inland port in Spain; olives, fruit, wines, and minerals are exported while imports include fossil fuels and metal products.