Greek contact began in the 8th century BCE with the founding of Rhode on the Golfo de Rosas by the Dorian Rhodians. In the mid 7th century the Phocaeans founded Massalia (Marseille), Hermeroscopion (near Denia, Alicante), Mainake to the east of Malaga, Oinussa, Molybdana and Heracleia (the three last unlocated). The foundation of Massalia around 600 BCE led to the first permanent Greek colony at Emporion (Ampurias) on the coast of Catalonia.

The Hallstatt culture usually associated with Celtic speaking peoples from north of the Pyrenees, began to arrive around 900 BCE. It seems to have spread around the western end of the Pyrenees and by about 600 BCE it had reached the Ebro and lower Aragon. The west coast was reached at Alcącer do Sal (Alentejo). Hallstatt carvings are found on stones in Extremadura and bronzes in the Huevla.

A second expansion, continuing until about 400 BCE, carried the Halstatt culture onto the central Meseta and into Lusitania. Galicia was heavily occupied and a well-developed settlement pattern of small castra extended to cover the north of Portugal. Place-name analysis indicates that the one or more Indo-European languages were in use and that Celtic was only partly introduced. Celtic influence was stronger in the Alentejo and the Algarve.

Strong interactions between the Celtic speaking peoples of the Ebro valley and Iberian speakers produced the Celtiberian group which had spread into central Spain before the Roman period. Four areas were left untouched by the Celtic language.

On the Biscay coast the Astures, Cantabri and the Vascones (Basques) remained linguistically distinct from their neighbours.

Between the Guadiana and Gibraltar the trading city of Tartessos and its hinterland came under strong Phoenician influence after the founding of Gades.This accelerated the political development of the region and created a 'kingdom' of Tartessos;

Between Gibraltar and Malaga the local Bronze Age peoples merged with the Phoenician element to form the Bastoelo-Poeni culture. Phoenician settlement came under the control of Carthage by 500 BCE.

On the Spanish east coast the Iberians interacted as far north as Cartagena with the Carthagenians. Iberian culture had developed quickly due to contact with the East. An Iberian script was in use, derived from that of Tartessos, which used signs from the Phoenician alphabet, and from the Greek alphabet. Farther north, and into south east France, Iberian interacted on the coast with the flourishing Greek colonies and trading stations.