Western Spain

Extremadura, located in western Spain, is a region celebrated for its rich history, diverse landscapes, and unique cultural heritage. Here’s a glimpse of what this distinctive part of Spain has to offer to travelers:

1. Mérida – Roman Heritage:

  • Mérida, the capital of Extremadura, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its remarkably preserved Roman ruins. The Roman Theatre, Amphitheatre, and the Temple of Diana are among the city’s prominent historical landmarks.

2. Cáceres – Medieval City:

  • Cáceres is a stunning medieval city with a well-preserved Old Town, also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Plaza Mayor, surrounded by medieval and Renaissance buildings, creates a unique atmosphere. The city’s historic quarter is a labyrinth of narrow streets, alleys, and squares.

3. Trujillo – Birthplace of Conquistadors:

  • Trujillo is a charming town with a medieval castle and a historic square, Plaza Mayor, which is dominated by a statue of Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador. The town is known for its well-preserved architecture and as the birthplace of several Spanish conquistadors.

4. Guadalupe – Spiritual Retreat:

  • Guadalupe is a significant pilgrimage site with the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery, dating back to the 14th century, houses a revered statue of the Virgin Mary and is a symbol of Extremadura’s religious heritage.

5. Natural Parks and Reserves:

  • Extremadura boasts natural beauty, including the Monfragüe National Park, renowned for its birdwatching opportunities, especially for vultures and eagles. The Jerte Valley, with its cherry blossoms in spring, is another scenic area.

6. Traditional Cuisine:

  • Extremadura is known for its delicious cuisine. Try specialties like Jamón Ibérico (Iberian ham), Torta del Casar (a creamy sheep’s milk cheese), and Migas Extremadura-style (breadcrumbs with garlic, paprika, and other ingredients).

7. Festivals:

  • The region hosts various traditional festivals throughout the year. The Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations in Cáceres and the Patron Saint Festival in Mérida are notable cultural events.

8. Grapes and Wine:

  • Extremadura is also recognized for its wine production. The Ribera del Guadiana Designation of Origin (DO) produces wines that reflect the region’s terroir. Wine enthusiasts can explore vineyards and wineries in places like Almendralejo.

Extremadura’s combination of historical richness, natural beauty, and culinary delights makes it a compelling destination for those seeking an authentic Spanish experience off the beaten path. Whether exploring ancient Roman ruins, wandering through medieval towns, or savoring local cuisine, Extremadura offers a unique and enriching travel experience.