|Elevation||2,592 m (8,504 ft)|
|Length||600 km (370 mi) ENE - WSW|
|Width||30 km (19 mi) NNW - SSE|
|Countries||Spain and Portugal|
|Communities||Extremadura, Castile-La Mancha and Castile and León|
|Districts||Guarda and Castelo Branco|
|Age of rock||Tertiary|
|Type of rock||Limestone and sandstone|
The Central System, Spanish and Portuguese: Sistema Central, is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in the Iberian Peninsula. The 2,592 m high Pico Almanzor is its highest summit.
The Central System is located just north of the 40th parallel and its ranges divide the drainage basin of the Tagus from the basin of the Douro.
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.
Unlike the neighboring Sistema Ibérico, the Sistema Central range is a quite homogeneous system. It consists of several ranges that formed 25 million years ago as part of the Alpine orogeny.
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