View of La Serrota, 2.294 m, in Ávila Province
|Elevation||2,592 m (8,504 ft)|
|Length||485 km (301 mi) ENE - WSW|
|Width||90 km (56 mi) NNW - SSE|
|Countries||Spain and Portugal|
|States/Provinces||Guarda and Castelo Branco districts, Extremadura, Castile-La Mancha and Castile and León|
|Age of rock||Tertiary|
|Type of rock||Limestone and sandstone|
The Sistema Central is a primary feature of the Meseta Central, the inner Iberian plateau, splitting the meseta into two parts. The Sistema Central runs in an ENE - WSW direction roughly along the southern border of the Spanish autonomous community of Castile and León and Extremadura continuing into the Guarda and Castelo Branco districts in Portugal.
The major mountain ranges are the Sierra de Guadarrama, which runs approximately along the border of the Madrid and Castile and León autonomous communities, the Sierra de Gredos north of the border between Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha stretching into Extremadura and containing the range's highest mountain, Pico Almanzor, at 2,592 m, as well as the Serra da Estrela, containing the highest point in continental Portugal, A Torre, 1.993 m. Other notably large ranges are Sierra de Gata and Sierra de Ayllón. The Central System links with the Sistema Ibérico at its eastern end through the Sierra de Pela, the Altos de Barahona and Sierra Ministra, the latter already fully part of the Iberian System.
"Sistema Central" is a widely known academic geographical term. Local inhabitants, however, generally refer to the Sistema Central by the names of its smaller constituent ranges.
The main ranges of the Sistema Central from west to east followed by their highest points are:
A view of the Sierra de Gata peaks in the background over a mountain village