Madrid's Location and Climate

Location, Climate and Population

Under the terms of the 1978 Constitution, Spain is a democratic state subject to the Rule of Law and is politically structured in the form of a parliamentary Monarchy. The country's capital is Madrid, which is the seat of both the Royal Family and the Government. Also centred here are the legislative (Senate and Lower House) and judicial authorities.

This web site contains information about the city (officially borough) of Madrid, but there is also an Autonomous Community of Madrid. The range and scope of the respective Autonomous Regional Authorities is determined by the Constitution, with the Constitutional Court designated as the competent body for settling any conflicts which may arise between the Central Administration and the Regions.

The city of Madrid is located at almost the exact geographical centre of the Iberian Peninsula, at a latitude of 40 degrees 25 minutes north, 3 degrees 42 minutes west. It will come as a surprise to many of our readers to learn that Madrid is situated further west than London, Liverpool or Edinburgh.

Built on a series of small mounts, between which Madrid's rather inadequate River Manzanares flows, the city's average altitude is 654 metres above sea level, its highest point being 694 metres. At a height of 655 metres, the average barometric pressure is 706.7 mm.

The average annual temperature in the shade is 13ºC (55ºF). In the colder seasons, the minimum temperatures often fall below freezing point, although in the city itself it rarely snows. During the peak summer months the temperature can easily reach 40ºC (104ºF), but this is made slightly more bearable by the low humidity levels. Having said all this, Madrid's climate is one of the healthiest in Europe because of its privileged position, at a short distance from the Somosierra (to the north and north-east), Guadarrama (north-east) and Toledo (south and east) mountain ranges. Madrid receives the pure mountain air from these Sierras, some of which, like Guadarrama, offer almost year-round winters sports centres.

Madrid's municipal boundaries enclose an area of 607 km2, whereas the Autonomous Community of Madrid occupies nearly 8000 km2 and consists of 178 municipalities.

According to official census data from the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall), the population of Madrid (within municipal boundaries) was 3,187,062 on 1st January 2007. It may also surprise some readers to know that this makes Madrid the 3rd largest city by population in the European Union, after London and Berlin, if population within the city limits is the determining factor.

Please use the links to the left to find out all you need to know for your visit to Madrid.