© The Geological Society of London 2014. Variscan massifs of NE Iberia occur along the Pyrenees, Catalan Coastal Ranges, Iberian Range and Minorca. Despite the effects of the Alpine cycle, which involve localized reworking, tilting, translation of basement units and blocks drifting, the Variscan evolution can be reconstructed. Geological features evidence significant differences across the zones in the north, with high-grade metamorphic rocks, structural domes and syntectonic plutons more internal than the zones in the south, where unmetamorphosed and low-grade rocks are present along with undeformed late- to post-tectonic plutons. This setting contradicts existing schemas where this part of the Variscan belt is located in an external foreland. Variscan structures evidence bulk transpression gradually evolving from a NNW-SSE-directed crustal shortening to NW-SE wrench-dominated tectonics. The low-pressure-high-temperature (LP/HT) metamorphic peak and magmatism coincide with the latest stages of the NNW-SSE event. There is no field evidence based on penetrative structures for a widespread late orogenic extensional collapse.