Iâ€™m going to relax IN
4. Practical information 6. Discover our culture 26. Immerse yourself in nature 42. Discover our gastronomy 46. What not to miss
Lisboa Madrid Extremadura
Practical information The weather in Extremadura
The climate in Extremadura is continental-Mediterranean, except on higher ground, where there is a mountain climate. However, its climate is softened by maritime influence, as it’s only 120 km from the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic influence, the southern location and the lower altitude lead to moderate winter temperatures, generally above 6ºC on average in January and in many areas above 8ºC. However, continental aspect is manifest by its extremes, with high average summer temperatures above 26ºC.
Spring arrives with an explosion of colour. Average temperatures range from 15ºC to 25º C, making it one of the best seasons to visit, enjoy the sun and visit the many sites. And in springtime you mustn’t miss the spectacular landscape of the Jerte Valley and the Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Extremadura summer opens up vistas of seemingly infinite skies where the air quality and absence of light pollution create perfect conditions for star-gazing. And don’t forget to visit the gorges and natural pools, as well as Orellana beach, Europe’s first inland blue flag beach.
With the arrival of autumn the colours turn reddish-brown, the temperature drops and the light has a magical quality. It’s the perfect time for hiking. Don’t miss out on the wonderful autumn festival in the Ambroz Valley.
In Extremadura the cranes are the first signs that winter is coming, but it is a mild winter that invites you to stroll around villages and discover aromas and flavours of yesteryear ... the smoke of a fireplace, traditional stews and the warmth of the people who will take you to discover unforgettable places. You shouldn’t miss festivals such as El Jarramplas, Las Carantoñas or the Carnival of Badajoz.
How to get there
Extremadura is located in western Spain, visitors can explore it by car, either their own or by renting, via the extensive road network, giving them the freedom to discover every part of the region.
Distance (km) by highway
There is no international airport in Extremadura and the nearest are Madrid and Seville which are served from various UK airports and by several airlines, including British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Easyjet and Ryanair. Car rental is available at both airports. As Madrid and Seville are at opposite ends of Extremadura, one plan might be to fly in to one and out from the other. Car hire is relatively cheap.
The A-5 highway runs from Madrid to Portugal via Trujillo, Mérida and Badajoz. There are also exits for Guadalupe, Plasencia and northern Extremadura. For Cáceres take the Trujillo exit (A-58). From Mérida the north-south highway A-66 is the link to southern Extremadura.
The Renfe national rail company links Extremadura with Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid. There are trains from Mérida to Sevilla and another that links Badajoz, Cáceres and Madrid. Another route runs from Badajoz to Madrid via Mérida and Ciudad Real. There is a line from Zafra to Huelva
Discover our culture Here cultural spaces are not viewed as relics to be preserved, but as treasures to be shared, and to do that there’s nothing better than embarking on a journey of discovery of the region. You can follow in the footsteps of the Emperor Charles V on his way to Yuste, Queen Isabella the Catholic, the Mozarabs who left the lands conquered by Islam for redemption in Santiago de Compostela, the merchants who toured the Roman Silver Way, or the conquistadors who set out in search of glory in the New World. In Extremadura culture is a journey in itself, a journey through the history of the world and that of each traveller, brimming with a range of experiences and sensations.
When we talk about culture, we think of museums and events, and the contemplation of painting or sculpture. In Extremadura, however, culture is part of everyday life, from the ancient recipe for a casserole to enjoying a concert. In Extremadura cultural events take place in the same arena as the life of its citizens: in the historic centre of Cáceres, friends enjoy the good weather on a terrace and watch digital projections on medieval monuments. Mérida’s Roman theatre hosts performances ranging from operas with epic scenery to school functions, while from the Arab Alcazaba in Badajoz you can watch the sunset over the Guadiana river while families picnic or fans attend a music festival.
World and European Heritage
Cities of Extremadura Arab Alcazaba
Founded by the Arabs on the banks of the Guadiana, the proximity of Badajoz to the border with Portugal has defined its character throughout history. Highlights include the 12th-century citadel, the largest one in Spain, and the Espantaperros Tower, one of the symbols of the city, along with the Puerta de Palmas, the Plaza Alta and La Soledad hermitage. It’s a delight to sample the great range of tapas in Badajoz. On the other hand, there is the Carnival, the National Tourist Festival, the Almossassa Festival and Los Palomos, an LGBT event.
Temple of Diana
Several of the monuments that the Romans built in Emerita Augusta, now Mérida, are still in use 2,000 years later. The principal location is the theatre, which every summer hosts the International Festival of Classical Theatre, one of Spain’s great cultural events. Take a tour of the city to visit the iconic structures of the ancient capital of Lusitania, such as the theatre, the amphitheatre, the bridge, the temple of Diana, the aqueduct of Los Milagros and the circus. To get an idea of what Hispania was like at the time of the Roman Empire, you should visit the National Museum of Roman Art and join in the re-enactments of the Roman history of Mérida and Rome at the Emérita Lúdica festival. ·8·
According to the European Council, Cáceres has the best-preserved collection of mediaeval buildings in Spain and the third best in Europe. It was an important centre of political power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and the legacy of the riches of brought back from America can be seen in many buildings. There are so many squares, arches, towers, palaces, churches and convents to see that this is not a city for a day trip. It also hosts the Womad festival, the Classic Theatre Festival and the exhibitions of the Visual Arts Centre Helga de Alvear, as well as the processions during Holy Week, and the International Tourist Festival.
An attractive tourist destination as it is close to the Jerte and Ambroz valleys as well as to La Vera. The walled city centres on the rectangular Plaza Mayor which is surrounded by arcades. It is the social centre of the town and the place where the Great Tuesday fiesta is held on the first Tuesday in August. The old and new cathedrals, the convents, palaces, the city wall and the Jewish quarter combine to make this a beautiful historic site. Its bars and restaurants serve Extremadura delicacies such as tapas and more elaborate dishes and create a lively atmosphere.
One of the most visited destinations in Extremadura thanks to its heritage. Romans, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews and Christians have defined its identity over centuries. The Plaza Mayor and the historic area boast magnificent palatial architecture, built with fortunes made in the Americas. The stately homes and the heraldry of Trujillo are a major attraction, as are the castle and the church of Santa María la Mayor. It was the home town of two important figures of the Age of Discovery: Pizarro, explorer of Peru, and Orellana, who discovered of the Amazon river. The National Cheese Fair takes place in May in its Plaza Mayor.
With its Grande and Chica (Big and Small) arcaded squares, Zafra has been an important artisanal, commercial and livestock centre for centuries, and the International Livestock and Traditional Fair of San Miguel, first held in 1453, continues to this day. Among this sights in this town south of Badajoz, with its rich heritage, the Palace of the Dukes of Feria, now a Parador, with a spectacular facade and nine crenelated towers, the convent-museum of Santa Clara and the collegiate church of La Candelaria all stand out. The festival “From the moon to fire” recreates the Spanish Golden Age, a splendid epoch in the history of Zafra.
European and World Heritage Among all of Extremadura’s beauty and cultural wealth, three locations have been accorded UNESCO World Heritage status: Cáceres, Mérida and the Alange spa and the Royal Monastery of Guadalupe. In addition, the Yuste monastery has a European Heritage seal.
Theatre Festival is held, the Amphitheatre and the Aqueduct of Miracles, not forgetting the Arch of Trajan, the Roman Bridge, the Circus or the Temple of Diana. In short, a city full of history that you can experience just by walking along its streets.
The streets, squares, palaces and walls of Cáceres are among the best preserved in Spain and Europe. Strolling through the streets of its old town will transport you back to its heyday in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. On the other hand, don’t miss Mérida, which was founded by the Romans in 25 BC when it was named Emerita Augusta to reward the veteran soldiers who fought against the Cantabrians and Asturians. Rome made it the capital of the province of Lusitania.
Guadalupe, which is in the Las Villuercas region (Cáceres) is a spiritual and artistic centre of the first order. In the Royal Monastery of Guadalupe you will find Mudéjar (Christianised Arab) art, Gothic architecture and works by Zurbarán, among many other attractions. But the highlight is the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Extremadura.
Its strategic position made it one of the most important and influential cities in the Roman Empire and its heritage is there to see and enjoy. Among the most important buildings are the Roman Theatre, where the Classical
Yuste Monastery where The Emperor Charles V lived out his last days from 1556 until he passed on the crown to his son Philip II. A small austere palace was built within the monastery on the southern flank of the convent. The monastery is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and artistic heritage of Extremadura.
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Guadalupe elected the Best and most Beautiful town of Spain in 2017 in the contest “Show off Your Town” by Ferrero Rocher and Rural Wonder according to Top Rural in the same year. In addition, as of 2018 it joined the Spanish association “The most beautiful villages in Spain.” Together with Guadalupe the villages of San Martin de Trevejo and Robledillo de Gata (located northwest of Extremadura in Sierra de Gata) and Olivenza (located southwest of the region) joined this association too. www.lospueblosmasbonitosdeespana.org
MÉRIDA, Temple of Diana
CÁCERES. Historic Centre
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The Royal Monastery of Guadalupe
Local festivals of special interest carnivals, or the Peropalo in Villanueva de la Vera. Ancient rites and ancestral myths are revived at the Carantoñas de Acehúche or the Jarramplas de Piornal. Then there are culinary events celebrating local delicacies such as the Day of Ham in Monesterio, Fiesta of the Chanfaina in Fuente de Cantos or the Tenca Festival in the Tajo Salor region. There are also major festivals and parades at Easter, in particular in Cáceres, Holy week Mérida, Badajoz, Plasencia, JEREZ DE LOS CABALLEROS Jerez de los Caballeros and Trujillo.
In Extremadura having a good time is a serious matter, and participants have to prepare for festivals months in advance to show off their best dance, carriage, outfit, regional costume or recipe. There are 58 outstanding festivals in Extremadura in which towns vie to show off their ingenuity, creativity and spirituality. There are festivals that are a riot of masks and colour, such as the Badajoz and Navalmoral de la Mata
Holy Week of Mérida
Holy Week of Cáceres
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Cherry blossom festival VALLE DEL JERTE
The Jarramplas PIORNAL
Magic Autumn VALLE DEL AMBROZ
The route of Romantic Literature ALMENDRALEJO
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Theatre CÁCERES. Festival of Classical Theatre
Mérida International Festival of Classical Theatre is the most important in Europe and has been held since 1933.
During summer there are numerous important theatre festivals, of which probably the most significant is the Mérida International Festival of Classical Theatre (July-August). The Cáceres Classical Theatre Festival takes place every June, where the works of the great dramatists are performed. The Classical Theatre Festival of Alcántara is held in August, with works from Spain’s Golden Age.
ALCÂNTARA. Festival of Classical Theatre
MÉRIDA. International Festival of Classical Theatre
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Los Palomos is a major international LGBTI festival
Music CÁCERES. Festival WOMAD
There are a number of important music festivals such as WOMAD, when in May the mediae-
BADAJOZ. Los Palomos
val centre of Cáceres sways to the rhythms of world music. The contemporary music festival Contemporánea is held in July at Luna Castle in Albuquerque. Los Palomos festival in May puts Badajoz at the forefront of the struggle for LGBTI rights. People come from all over the world for the Plasencia Folk Festival in August.
ALBURQUERQUE. Contemporánea Festival
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PLASENCIA. Folk Festival
National Museum of Roman Art MÉRIDA
Wolf Vostell Museum MALPARTIDA DE CÁCERES Museum of Provincial Archaeology BADAJOZ
Museum of Fine Art BADAJOZ
Pérez Comendador-Leroux Museum HERVÁS
González Santana Ethnographic Museum OLIVENZA
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Museums in Extremadura
Extremadura’s museums cover practically the entire history of humanity, from prehistory in the Provincial Archaeological Museum in Badajoz or the Cáceres Museum, to modernity in the Vostell-Malpartida Museum or the Extremadura Museum of Ibero-American Contemporary Art (MEIAC) in Badajoz. In addition, the network of museums focusing on local identiMuseum of Provincial Archaeology CÁCERES
ty covers fundamental aspects of regional culture, from traditional pottery to carnivals, and there are also museums dedicated to local cuisine such as paprika, cherries, ham, cheese and turrón (a type of nougat) among others. Finally, the Museum of Fine Arts in Badajoz houses the works of Extremadura writers on various topics, as well as internationally renowned artists. If your tastes are more avant-garde, then visit the Helga de Alvear Foundation in Cáceres to keep up with contemporary trends.
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Cultural Routes in Extremadura One of the most attractive ways to get to know a region is to follow in the footsteps of those who made the greatest impact on its history or and culture. Extremadura has many stories to tell and tourist routes have been devised so that visitors can relive them.
ISABELLA THE CATHOLIC ROUTE Discover Extremadura following in the steps of Queen Isabella the Catholic, who with her husband Fernando completed the Christian “reconquest” of Spain which had been under Muslim rule for eight centuries. The route brings together culture, history, art, nnature and gastronomy. https://www.turismoextremadura.com/en/ven-a-extremadura/Tras-los-pasos-de-Isabel-la-Catolica/
the ground, the sky is my roa d eet on f y m With
ROUTE OF CARLOS V Although the route is open and passable throughout the year, the best time to visit is February, when the region celebrates the journey of the 16th-century Holy Roman emperor with theatrical performances and various celebrations. https://www.turismoextremadura.com/en/explora/Ruta-de-Carlos-V-00004/
ROADS OF SEFARAD For centuries, Jews, Muslims and Christians lived together in many part of Extremadura, developing their culture, customs and religion until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 and the Muslims in 1609. The itinerary guides you through what survives of the Sephardic historical-artistic heritage in Extremadura. https://www.turismoextremadura.com/en/ ven-a-extremadura/Cuna-de-descubridores-00001/
ROUTE OF THE EXPLORERS Get to know the towns where explorers such as Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro and Vasco Núñez de Balboa were born. You can visit the home of Núñez de Balboa in Jerez de los Caballeros and that of Pedro de Valdivia in Villanueva de la Serena. The route passes through Guadalupe monastery, the beginning and end of all expeditions to America. Visit Trujillo, home to such illustrious characters as Francisco Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana. These are just some of the names you will encounter on a route that will also take you to Cáceres, Medellín and Badajoz. https://www.turismoextremadura.com/en/ ven-a-extremadura/Cuna-de-descubridores-00001/
MOZARAB ROUTE The route of the Mozarabs – Christians who lived under Islamic rule – begins in Almería in Andalucía and enters Extremadura at Monterrubio de la Serena where it connects with the old Silver Route that leads to Mérida.
THE SILVER ROUTE This follows an ancient route that, via a natural corridor, crossed the western Iberian Peninsula, a route marked by ancient cities, theatres, amphitheatres, hot springs, bridges and fortresses. www.rutadelaplata.com/en CÁPARRA. Silver Route
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Sefarad route HERVÁS
Isabella the Catholic route VALÊNCIA DE ALCÂNTARA
Carlos V route CUACOS DE YUSTE
Mozárabe route MAGACELA
Explorers route MEDELLÍN
EXTREMADURA brings you a little slice of
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Extremadura in the movies Film-makers have often chosen to shoot their films in locations in Extremadura. Recently the seventh series of Game of Thrones was filmed in and around Cáceres. Fans can visit the exact locations where episodes were shot in Los Barruecos, Malpartida de Cáceres, Cáceres itself and Trujillo. Now you can retrace the scenes filmed in Extremadura and enjoy a real cinematic experience. Plaza Mayor TRUJILLO
Los Barruecos MALPARTIDA DE CÁCERES
Historic centre CÁCERES
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Centro histórico CÁCERES
Panorama of the city TRUJILLO
I’m the star in my film shot in
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Los Barruecos MALPARTIDA DE CÁCERES
Other destinations in Extremadura
Nature, history, culture, gastronomy, modernity and tradition come together in this region offering an unparalleled experience.
Destinations such Jerez de los Caballeros will transport you back to the Knights Templar era, or visit the old Roman theatre of Regina, where time seems to have stood still. Then there is Alburquerque and its spectacular Luna Castle, the magic of Trevejo, the artistic heritage of Olivenza, which is said to be the daughter of Spain and granddaughter of Portugal, due to its Portuguese past. In Coria you can admire one of the most important relics of Christianity, the tablecloth from the Last Supper. Fregenal de la Sierra offers visitors an important historical-artistic heritage declared “Place of Cultural Interest” and you shouldn’t miss its mediaeval fortress, the bullring, the market and the church of Santa María. Jarandilla de la Vera, in the valley of La Vera and surrounded by incredible gorges, has a 15th century fortress where Carlos V resided. Granadilla, surrounded by walls built by the Almohad Arabs, is a must for any traveller who embarks on the Silver Route. Montánchez has an important cultural heritage but is above all famous for its ham. Then there is Llerena, with its baroque style, its walls and doors, which were ordered to be built by Pedro Cieza de León, the “Prince of the chroniclers of the Indies”, or the captivating landscape around San Martín de Trevejo in Sierra de Gata. The monastery of Tentudía, steeped in legend, is a 13th-century church-fortress, considered one of the best examples of Spanish Mudéjar art. In Garganta la Olla in La Vera Valley, you can enjoy both the architecture and the beautiful landscape. The architecture of Robledillo de Gata is unique.
So many places to discover and enjoy, a treat for all five senses
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Fregenal de la Sierra
Extremadura is one of the 10 best destinations in Europe in 2016, according to Lonely Planet
The Roman theatre of Regina
Jerez de los Caballeros
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Jarandilla de la Vera
San Martín de Trevejo
Robledillo de Gata
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The church of Magdalena, in Olicenza, was voted the Repsol 2012 best corner of Spain with the bridge at Alcántara winning in 2014.
Garganta la Olla
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Immerse yourself in nature Enjoy nature in its purest form. Stroll through the dehesa, the oakland meadows unique to western Spain. Immerse yourself in unique landscapes. Dive into crystal clear waters. Fish, swim and sail in the Extremadura reservoirs, the Spanish region with the most extensive area of inland water. The natural wealth of Extremadura offers you the chance to practise a range of outdoor activities.
The Serena dam
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Birding in Extremadura Extremadura has become an important destination for ornithological tourism, thanks to its large number of habitats and its strategic location within the migration routes of large numbers of birds. Increasing numbers of visitors are drawn to Monfragüe National Park to observe the wide range of species there. There are many other areas rich in fauna and bird species that you can discover via the various ornithological routes in the region. These routes are intended both for the ornithological expert and for people who want to discover our rich and varied landscapes. Extremadura Birdwatching Fair: FIO
SWAROVSKI’s optical equipment bag for naturalists is called “Extremadura”.
Extremadura Birdwatching Fair: FIO has put Extremadura on the bird watching world map of and has become an important event in Europe. The fair is held in Monfragüe, one of the world’s meccas for bird watching. Monfragüe is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the first Starlight destination for astronomical tourism in Extremadura. Festival of Birds, Cáceres. This Festival, which combines cultural and natural heritage, was established to promote the exceptional nature of Extremadura’s natural resources of and its special place in the European context. Festival of the Cranes Extremadura is the main wintering area for European common cranes that migrate along western route.
Useful websites: www.birdinginextremadura.com/en/index.html www.fioextremadura.es www.festivaldelasavescaceres.com www.festivaldelasgrullas.com
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Black and griffon vultures
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Stargazing Extremadura In addition to its natural, cultural and historical wealth, Extremadura has an incomparable celestial skyscape. The absence of light pollution, the good weather, lack of cloud cover and good accessibility, make the region a paradise for fans of astronomy, but also for all those who merely want to contemplate the heavens and the wonders of the sky.
The Jerte Valley
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Useful website www.extremadurabuenasnoches.com
Natural Reserve of Garganta de los Infiernos
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I’m going to enjoy myself
in E x t r e m a d u ra
Tajo International Natural Park
Useful website www.turismotajointernacional.com www.geoparquevilluercas.es
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Natural heritage Extremadura has three natural areas designated as BIOSPHERE RESERVES by UNESCO. They are the Monfragüe National Park and the Tajo International Natural Park and Siberia Extremeña. In addition to these three natural sites, the UNESCO World Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara is another area of great importance in the region, thanks to its extraordinary geological heritage. All of these natural spaces form part of what is already a spectacular heritage.
Monfragüe National Park
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Extremadura offers a wide range of outdoor activities. There are 10 hiking and mountain biking routes, as well as paragliding over the dehesas, water sports on the inland waterways or you can admire the sunset on horseback on one of the innumerable routes.
Useful websites www.extremadurasenderismo.com Meandro del Melero
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Useful websites www.extremadurabtt.com Monfragüe National Park
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La Siberia Natural Biosphere Reserve
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Extremadura landscapes In addition to its rich cultural and artistic heritage and the diversity of its landscapes, Extremadura is home to several delightful protected areas and natural parks. One of the hallmarks of our natural heritage is the dehesa, a forest of holm oaks, cork oaks and other species constitute a true ecological paradise covering nearly a million hectares, representing one of the best-preserved ecosystems in Europe. Undoubtedly, Monfragüe, in the province of Cáceres, is the most emblematic. The National Park is one of the largest examples of Mediterranean forest. The Tagus River, as it passes through the gentle mountains and broad meadowlands, is the backbone of the region. This vast area is also located within the Biosphere Reserve of the same name, which covers an incredible 116,160 hectares. And for keen bird watchers, the reserve embraces one of the most extensive areas of bird protection in the region. There is a good network of paths and lookouts where you can observe, the world’s largest black vulture colony. Black stork, griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures are some of the other species that inhabit the park.
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In addition to the National Park and the Biosphere Reserve, there is also the Cornalvo Natural Park, near Merida, which houses the oldest, best preserved and functioning Roman reservoir in Europe. The park’s most emblematic species is the black stork, which is in danger of extinction. Tajo International Natural Park is the first International natural park in Europe. Its 25,088 hectares of riverbeds with exuberant Mediterranean forest are traversed by the Tagus River and the its tributaries the Erjas, Salor and Sever. The black stork and the Iberian imperial eagle are the most outstanding species in what is one of the few international natural parks in Europe that straddles the border of two countries, in this case Spain and Portugal. There are numerous reserves and natural monuments, protected landscapes, ecological and biodiversity corridors and areas of special protection for birds and a long list of protected natural areas. Among the highlights are the impressive Garganta de los Infiernos Natural Reserve, in the Jerte Valley; Los Barruecos Natural Monument in Malpartida de Cáceres; and the protected landscape around Mount Valcorchero in Plasencia.
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“Chorrituelo” de Ovejuela
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Extremadura is water Acebo
Madrigal de la Vera
Today I’m going
Orellana is the first inland beach to receive a European blue flag rating
Useful link www.alquevaparque.com/en/
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For more information about the aquatic resources of Extremadura download the app Extremadura is Water Download at:
In Extremadura you will find natural pools and gorges in dreamy landscapes, the blue flag beaches at Orellana and Cheles, both in the province of Badajoz, as well as modern spas. The region has more than 50 natural bathing areas and 1,500 km of inland coastline, unique in Western Europe, and offers exceptional water tourism resources. The thermal network of Extremadura is a source of wealth for health, relaxation and well-being. In the region’s spas, medicinal waters and new thermal techniques are incorporated into existing ones create a new type of tourism focused on health.
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Discover our gastronomy Extremadura’s gastronomy is an expression of the land which produces a wealth of wonderful food, bathed in 300 days of sunshine a year, the dehesa – an essential component in the production of jamón ibérico de bellota, probably the best ham in the world - and a feast of flavour in which landscape and gastronomy make a perfect combination, because in Extremadura the two are inseparable. What makes Extremadura a paradise is the range of succulent temptations on offer, from excellent wine and olive oil to ham, cheese, pastries, honey, cherries and paprika. The story of Extremadura is written in tastes and flavours and is a true expression of its culture.
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The raw materials There are 11 Denominations of Origin and four Protected Geographical Indications that give added value to products produced in areas of environmental importance. Useful link www.alimentosdeextremadura.com
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Extremadura cheese Extremadura is a land of cheeses and artisans, a land that presents us with a colossal and exuberant landscape at every step. Following the various cheese routes not only brings you closer to the ancestral cheese-making traditions but also to understanding the people as you visit museums, palaces and castles and discover new landscapes at every step, enjoying the varied flora and fauna. In every corner of Extremadura, artisans perform the quiet ritual of transforming milk into succulent cheese, such as the protected Torta del Casar, Queso de la Serena, Queso de Acehúche and Quesos de Ibores
Useful link www.rutadelqueso.es/en/home/
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WHAT NOT TO MISS
You probably won’t have time to do all this during a single visit, but make sure you include as many as possible and then come back to do the rest. 1.
You don’t have to go to Japan to enjoy the spectacle of cherry blossom time. Visit the Valle del Jerte in springtime when more than a million cherry trees burst into blossom. The valley is sheltered by the Sierra de Gredos and the low acidity of the soil makes it ideal for cherry cultivation. Extremadura has its very own Sistine chapel, the hermitage of the Virgen del Ara, deep in the Badajoz countryside, so called because the ceiling is elaborately decorated with scenes from the Old Testament painted in the 18th century by unknown artists. Legend has it that a young Arab girl had a vision of the Virgin Mary and asked her to cure her father’s blindness. The Virgin said her father would recover his sight as soon as she converted to Christianity and the hermitage was built to commemorate this miracle.
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Another specialty of Extremadura cuisine is Torta del Casar, a cheese made from sheep’s milk that is coagulated with part of a thistle. The cheese is aged for 60 days during which time a hard rind form. To eat it, chop off the top and warm it gently in the oven until the cheese is soft enough to dip bread into – a fondue à la Extremadura. Other fine local cheeses are the creamy Queso de la Serena, made exclusively from the milk of Merino sheep and Queso de Acehúche and Quesos de Ibores.
4. Be sure to visit the magnificent Roman bridge at Alcántara that crosses the Tajo close to the border with Portugal. It was built in AD104 under orders from the Emperor Trajan, who is also commemorated by the Trajan Arch in Mérida. The bridge was named Best Location in Spain in the 2014 Repsol Guide. 5.
Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Pull up a chair in one of the bars in the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo, order a café con leche and sit there and watch the light change and the world go by and wonder what
possessed Pizarro and the other conquistadors to leave this lovely town and cross the sea to America.
6. The wood and stone houses of Robledillo de Gata form a well-preserved example of rural architecture. Built into a hillside, the streets are steep and winding and the houses with their characteristic wooden balconies serve a double purpose: domestic and agricultural, with the ground floor used for storing food or livestock. People in this region speak A Fala, a variant of Galician and Portuguese. 7.
There is ham and then there is Jamón ibérico de bellota, the
Spanish delicacy made from acorn-fed Blackfoot pigs that is cured for 3-5 years. Some of the very best comes from Extremadura. Go into any good bar or restaurant, order a plate of it and a bottle Ribera de Guadiana wines or a glass of local cava from Almendralejo and enjoy.
ver route. Climb the tower of the Alcazaba and watch the sunset. Bird watchers should make a trip to the nearby Gabriel and Galán reservoir where there is a large colony of cranes as well as black and white storks. The village is no uninhabited and is closed to visitors at 18h.
8. When you visit Monfragüe National Park be sure to linger at one of the many viewpoints where you can observe spectacular large raptors such as Black vultures, Griffon vultures, and Spanish Imperial eagles. The latter, along with the Black stork, are two of the most sought-after birds in Spain. And there are spectacular views from El salto del gitano-Peña Falcon, the Mirador de la Portilla del Tiétar and the Castle.
11. Be sure to visit the Museo de Pimentón in Jaraiz del Vera to learn about the fascinating story of how the La Vera area became a mecca for paprika. Nearby Jarandilla, which dates back to Celtic times, is set in dramatic landscape with natural swimming pools. There is a Roman bridge spanning the ravine while the palace of the Condes de Oropesa dominates the town. While you are in the area be sure to visit the stunning waterfalls and gorges of La Vera Valley, also Yuste Monastery.
Badajoz is famous for its tapas. Spend a couple of hours touring the bars of the old town, each one of which has its own speciality. There is even a special vegan tapa route in the city.
10. Granadilla is a walled town founded by the Muslims in the 9th century that lay on the silGranadilla
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WHAT NOT TO MISS
Despite the wild countryside, the three-hour walk from the Mirador de la Serrana around the Garganta Mayor is not difficult, with only about 200m of overall ascent and worthy to do it.
roque style. The explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa was baptised in the church. The town was given the Knights Templars of Jerez when it was conquered from the Moors in the 13th century.
12. Among the many Jewish quarters in Extremadura, the one in Hervás in the Ambroz valley in the province of Cáceres stands out. Hervás had one of the most important Jewish populations until the expulsion in 1492 and you can still walk along the narrow streets that they inhabited.
14 When you’re in Badajoz make a detour to visit Alburquerque and the imposing 13th-century Luna Castle which served in the frequent wars with Portugal. Many Alburquerque citizens took part in the colonisation of America and the U.S. city in New Mexico (although spelled differently) is named after it.
13. Jerez de los Caballeros, in the province of Badajoz. The style of the highly decorated façade of the church of San Bartolomé in Jerez de Caballeros is reminiscent of churches in nearby Portugal. The church was begun in the 15th century while the 18th-century bell tower is built in the Andalusian ba-
15. The Roman baths at Alange near Mérida are still in use and are part of the Mérida UNESCO World Heritage site. The baths were abandoned until they were rediscovered in the 18th century. The spa was built in the 19th century. Visitors shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit and enjoy this marvellous spa.
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Alange Thermal Baths
Jerez de los Caballeros
Guía editada por la Dirección General de Turismo de Extremadura con información práctica para disfrutar de la cultura, la naturaleza y la ga...
Published on Feb 4, 2021
Guía editada por la Dirección General de Turismo de Extremadura con información práctica para disfrutar de la cultura, la naturaleza y la ga...