SPAIN  |  Extremadura, Spain Travel Guide
Monday, November 20, 2017
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Extremadura , Spain

Destinations

Extremadura

Extremadura is a community of western Spain, comprised of the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz, and with Mérida as its capital.

Extremadura's northern half is quite characteristic with its shifting terrain – cool valleys and modest peaks, plains, rivers and swimming holes, pockets of thick forest interrupted by empty fields that are dusty, gray and brown. It is a surprising feast for the eyes of any traveler who has previously caved to the fallacy that Extremadura is little more than a badlands, bleak and desolate. A web of rivers headed by the Tajo (Tagus) crisscrosses the central plain of slate and granite known as the Llanos de Cáceres. Save for the riverbanks, this land is generally sparse and unsettling, though not so completely void of interest. It boasts the region’s largest city of Cáceres, neighboring Trujillo fortified on a hill in the plain, the famous pilgrimage site at Guadalupe and, of course, museums and ancient attractions off the beaten path.

Small mountain ranges boost the periphery, surrounding plains and unfenced rangeland, rising here and there as the Sierra de Gata or San Pedro. Rich valleys in-between are dotted with villages, of which La Vera must be mentioned for its uniform homes, crude but practical on this frontier land, and its notoriety as the final residence of the Emperor Carlos V (Carlos I in Spain). Farther south, nature is preserved in Monfragüe Natural Park, with its prolific collection of feathery friends. To the west the region shares with its neighbor Portugal a confluence of river gorges, while to the north is Salamanca province, to the east Ávila and Toledo. Here and there are vestiges of various cultures, ranging from the Stone-Age dolmens near Valencia de Alcántara to the contemporary high-rise apartments of Cáceres that unceremoniously and most unfortunately conceal a marvelous medieval city like a cheap dust-cover tossed over a priceless Degas.

 

Destinations in Extremadura (4)

  • Cáceres, Spain

    Cáceres is a city the color of rust, built from orange-tinted quarried stone. It has two claims to antiquity: its old town which dates from the Roman era, around 25 BC, and its surrounding caves, which date from even farther back...

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  • Guadalupe, Spain

    Guadalupe is an atmospheric little town, picturesque too, practically a village, built around the Virgin Mary. And that's not just a fairy tale, it's history. For here, upon the shores of the Guadalupe River, back in the 13th...

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  • Mérida, Spain

    Mérida is a veritable archaeological treasure trove. It has Roman monuments coming out of its ears. In fact, the ruins found here constitute what is considered to be one of the most comprehensive and best-preserved such...

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  • Trujillo, Spain

    Trujillo is a small, enchanting town in the southwestern Spanish province of Extremadura, but one with a huge claim to fame: It is a town of conquistadors. It is the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro, the most famous of...

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