The Pyrenees also spelled Pyrénées, is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. It separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean (Cap de Creus).
For the most part, the main crest forms a massive divider between France and Spain, with the tiny country of Andorra sandwiched in between. The Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre have historically extended on both sides of the mountain range, with small northern portions now in France and much larger southern parts now in Spain.
The Spanish Pyrenees are part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida (the latter three Catalonia), Huesca (Aragon), Navarra and Gipuzkoa (the latter part of the Basque Country).
The French Pyrenees are also part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales (North Catalonia and Fenolheda), Aude, Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques (the latter two of which include Pyrenees National Park).
The independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the Spanish Pyrenees and French Pyrenees.
Physiographically, the Pyrenees may be divided into three sections: the Atlantic (or Western), the Central, and the Eastern Pyrenees. Together, they form a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System division.
In the Western Pyrenees, from the Basque mountains near the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean, the average elevation gradually increases from west to east.