Portugal–Spain border

The Portugal–Spain border is referred to as "la Raya" in the Spanish language and "A Raia" in the Portuguese language (the stripe). The current demarcation is almost identical to that defined in 1297 by the Treaty of Alcañices. It is one of the oldest borders in the world. The Portugal–Spain border is 1,214 km (754 mi) long, and considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. The border is not defined for 18 km (11 mi) between the Caia river and Ribeira de Cuncos, because of the disputed status of Olivenza, which has been disputed between the two countries for two hundred years.

A microstate existed previously on the border called Couto Misto.

Portugal–Spain border
Puente Internacional 416
Guadiana International Bridge, connecting Portugal & Spain
Entities  Portugal  Spain
Length1214 km (Claimed by Portugal) / 1232 km (Claimed by Spain)

The victory of king Afonso I of Portugal over his cousin king Alfonso VII of León at the Battle of Valdevez, forced the Kingdom of León to recognise Portugal as a country, thus establishing the northern borders of Portugal.

Bordering districts and provinces

Traffic sign of border with Portugal
Sign when entering Portugal from Spain.
Traffic sign of border with Spain
Sign when entering Spain from Portugal.

Districts on the Portuguese side of the border from North to South:

Provinces on the Spanish side of the border from North to South:

Customs and identity checks

Portugal and Spain signed the Schengen Agreement in June 1991 which came into effect on 26 March 1995, making Portugal and Spain part of the Schengen area and thus the border then became an Open border.[1]

Portugal has since reintroduced border checks several times along the border with Spain, during the UEFA Euro 2004 championships, during the NATO 2010 Lisbon summit and during Pope Francis's visit to Fátima in May 2017.[2]

Maritime borders

Portugal's maritime borders, also known as the Exclusive economic zone of Portugal is currently disputed by Spain in the Savage Islands area, between Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Important treaties

Border crossings

The main crossing point between Portugal and Spain is Vilar Formoso - Fuentes de Oñoro. Other important crossings are Caminha and Bragança to Galicia, Portalegre and Elvas to Badajoz, and Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António to Ayamonte.

Bridges across the border include the Guadiana International Bridge and the Lower Guadiana International bridge.

A zipline across the border exists between Sanlucar de Guadiana in Spain and Alcoutim in Portugal; it is the first and currently only zip line over an international border.[3]


  1. ^ "The Schengen area - PDF by EU" (PDF). Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Portugal declares Papal holiday". Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Now that's a flying visit! The £12 zipline that whisks you from Spain to Portugal at 50mph (and transports you one hour back in time)". Retrieved 2016-08-19.

Alcañices is a small town in the province of Zamora, Spain. It is very close to the Portugal-Spain border, not far from the Portuguese town of Bragança.

On September 12, 1297 the Treaty of Alcañices was signed in Alcañices between Portugal and Castile. This treaty established the border between Portugal and Spain which is one of the oldest borders in Europe.


The Ardila (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾˈðila]) is a river of Spain and Portugal and a tributary of the Guadiana. Its length is 166 kilometres (103 mi). A portion of the river forms the Portugal–Spain border.

Caia (river)

The Caia is a river in the Iberian Peninsula, a tributary to the Guadiana. It is one of the main water courses in the Portalegre District, Portugal. Portugal does not recognise the border between the Caia and Ribeira de Cuncos River deltas, since the beginning of the 1801 occupation of Olivenza by Spain. This territory, though under de facto Spanish occupation, remains a de jure part of Portugal, consequently no border is henceforth recognised in this area.

Castro Marim

Castro Marim (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈkaʃtɾu mɐˈɾĩ] (listen)) is a town and a municipality in the southern region of Algarve, in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 6,747, in an area of 300.84 km².The current Mayor is Francisco Amaral, elected by the Social Democratic Party.

The municipal holiday is June 24.

In the Roman era, Castro Marim was known as Aesuris.

Every year in the end of August there is a Medieval Fair/Festival that reunites many people from across the world to perform, like medieval musicians, archers, swordsmen, dancers, troupes, etc. There are sellers too: blacksmiths, textile crafters (weaving), herbs sellers, etc.

In honour to his Portuguese mother, Lucia Gomes, from Castro Marim, Paco de Lucía - the Spanish composer and guitarist - named his thirteenth studio album Castro Marín.

Chanza River

The Chanza River (Chança in Portuguese) is a river on the Iberian Peninsula. The river arises in the Aracena Mountains in Spain and later forms part of the Portugal–Spain border. The river can be crossed by using the Lower Guadiana International bridge.


The Douro (UK: , US: , Portuguese: [ˈdo(w)ɾu]; Spanish: Duero [ˈdweɾo]; Latin: Durius) is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto.

Guadiana International Bridge

The Guadiana International Bridge (Spanish: Puente Internacional del Guadiana; Portuguese: Ponte Internacional do Guadiana) is a bridge that crosses the Guadiana River connecting southern Spain (town of Ayamonte) and Portugal (town of Castro Marim). It is the southernmost land crossing on the Portugal–Spain border. It is not split evenly between the two countries, a greater share of it situated in Portugal. Completed in 1991, its structural type is a cable-stayed bridge, with a deck of prestressed concrete. The bridge was designed by the Portuguese Structural Engineer Professor José Luis Câncio Martins on behalf of Huarte S.A. (now Obrascón Huarte Lain) and Teixeira Duarte. The bridge is open to vehicles only. It is the third longest bridge in Portugal and one of the longest in Spain.

The bridge is 666 metres long with the central span between the towers being 324 metres. The deck stands 20 metres above the river, allowing the navigation of ships of deep draft. The two towers of the bridge are 95 and 96 metres tall, respectively. The Spanish side tower rests on an artificial island built on the riverbed, while the pillar on the Portuguese side is on land.

The bridge connects the Via do Infante de Sagres A22 motorway (Portugal) to the Autopista del Quinto Centenario A-49 Motorway (Spain), and is part of the European route E1.


Monfortinho is a former civil parish in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal. In 2013, the parish merged into the new parish Monfortinho e Salvaterra do Extremo. It covers an area of 53.2 km² and had a population of 608 as of 2001.

It is served by Monfortinho Airport, an unpaved 840 metres (2,756 ft) airstrip 3 kilometres (2 mi) south of the village.


Olivenza (Spanish: [oliˈβenθa]) or Olivença (Portuguese: [oliˈvẽsɐ]) is a town situated on a disputed section of the Portugal–Spain border. Its territory is administered by Spain as a municipality belonging to the province of Badajoz, and to the wider autonomous community of Extremadura. Portugal does not recognise the Spanish sovereignty over the territory, based on its interpretation of the rulings of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, and holds a claim over it.The town of Olivença was under Portuguese sovereignty between 1297 (Treaty of Alcañices) and 1801, when it was invaded by the Spanish during the War of the Oranges and ceded to Spain that year under the Treaty of Badajoz. Spain has since administered the territory (now split into two municipalities, Olivenza and also Táliga), whilst Portugal invokes the self-revocation of the Treaty of Badajoz, plus the Treaty of Vienna of 1815, to claim the return of the territory. In spite of the territorial dispute between Portugal and Spain, the issue has not been a sensitive matter in the relations between these two countries. Olivenza and other neighbouring Spanish (La Codosera, Alburquerque and Badajoz) and Portuguese (Arronches, Campo Maior, Estremoz, Portalegre and Elvas) towns reached an agreement in 2008 to create a euroregion.


Quintanilha is a civil parish in the municipality of Bragança, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 216, in an area of 20.30 km².

Ribeira de Cuncos

Ribeira de Cuncos is a Portuguese ravine that marks the southern point of the disputed section of the Portugal-Spain border, (Arroyo de Cuncos in Spanish).

Portugal does not recognise the border between Caia and Ribeira de Cuncos River deltas, since the beginning of the 1801 occupation of Olivenza by Spain. This territory, though under de facto Spanish occupation, remains a de jure part of Portugal, consequently no border is henceforth recognised in this area.The Castle of Cuncos situated nearby dates from pre-Roman time (specifically, the Iron Age). Today is completely submerged under the man made Alqueva reservoir created by the Alqueva dam. In the area, ancient foundations and remains belonging to the era have been discovered.

It runs into the Guadiana river.

Rosal de la Frontera

Rosal de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the province of Huelva, Spain. According to the 2008 census, the municipality had a population of 1846 inhabitants.


The Tagus ( TAY-gəs; Spanish: Tajo [ˈtaxo]; Portuguese: Tejo [ˈtɛʒu]; see below) is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. It is 1,007 km (626 mi) long, 716 km (445 mi) in Spain, 47 km (29 mi) along the border between Portugal and Spain and 275 km (171 mi) in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon. It drains an area of 80,100 square kilometers (30,927 sq mi) (the second largest in the Iberian peninsula after the Douro). The Tagus is highly utilized for most of its course. Several dams and diversions supply drinking water to places of central Spain and Portugal, while dozens of hydroelectric stations create power. Between dams it follows a very constricted course, but after Almourol it enters a wide alluvial valley, prone to flooding. Its mouth is a large estuary near the port city of Lisbon.

The source of the Tagus is the Fuente de García in the Frías de Albarracín municipal term, Montes Universales, Sistema Ibérico, Sierra de Albarracín Comarca. All its major tributaries enter the Tagus from the right (north) bank. The main cities it passes through are Aranjuez, Toledo, Talavera de la Reina and Alcántara in Spain, and Abrantes, Santarém, Almada and Lisbon in Portugal.

Tui, Pontevedra

Tui (Galician pronunciation: [ˈtuj]) is a municipality in the province of Pontevedra in the autonomous community of Galicia, in Spain. It is situated in the comarca of O Baixo Miño. It is located on the left bank of the Miño River, facing the Portuguese town of Valença.

Two bridges connect Tui and Valença: Tui International Bridge (known in Portugal as Valença International Bridge), completed in 1878 under the direction of Pelayo Mancebo, and a modern one from the 1990s. Both countries being signatories of the Schengen Treaty, there are normally no formalities in crossing what is the busiest border-point in Northern Portugal. The municipality of Tui is composed of 11 parishes: Randufe, Malvas, Pexegueiro, Areas, Pazos de Reis, Rebordáns, Ribadelouro, Guillarei, Paramos, Baldráns and Caldelas.

Valença, Portugal

Valença (Portuguese pronunciation: [vɐˈlẽsɐ] (listen), locally [bɐˈlẽsɐ]), also known as Valença do Minho, is a municipality and a town in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 14,127, in an area of 117.13 km2.Valença officially became a city on 12 June 2009. The municipality is located in Viana do Castelo District. The present Mayor is Jorge Mendes, elected by the Social Democratic Party (PSD). The municipal holiday is 18 February.

Vila Real de Santo António

Vila Real de Santo António (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ʁiˈal dɨ ˈsɐ̃tu ɐ̃ˈtɔni.u], often run together as [ˈvilɐ ʁiˈal dɨ ˌsɐ̃tɐ̃ˈtɔnju] (listen)) is a city, civil parish, and municipality in the Algarve, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 19,156, in an area of 61.25 km². It is one of the few municipalities in Portugal without territorial continuity: its territory comprises two parts, with the municipal seat located in the eastern part. Both the city and the municipality are the southeasternmost of Portugal. Vila Real de Santo António was founded after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and largely expanded in 1774 using the same architectural and construction techniques employed in the reconstruction of Lisbon after the disaster.

The city is situated next to the Guadiana river. Before the construction of the Guadiana International Bridge (in its neighboring upstream municipality of Castro Marim) it used to be the easiest access to Portugal from Andalusia (via ferry from the Spanish city of Ayamonte across the river). Nevertheless, international movement of people and goods is still intense and much visible in the city.

Vilar Formoso

Vilar Formoso is a town and civil parish in the municipality of Almeida, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 2,219, in an area of 15.14 km². One of the most important border crossings between Portugal and Spain is located just next to the town. Today, with unrestricted travel between countries of the European Union, the customs booths are unmanned and traffic passes through freely.

Vilar Formoso has a railroad station where the Lisbon-Hendaye express stops daily. The station is covered with tile murals depicting scenes from all over Portugal, including a rare skiing scene.

Águeda (river)

The Águeda is a river tributary of the Douro River, that springs from the Serra das Mesas in Spain, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It flows 130 kilometres (81 mi) until it reaches the Douro River near Barca de Alva, Portugal. The Portugal–Spain border follows the Águeda for much of its course.

Peninsular Spain
Territories of Spanish Sovereignty


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