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Extremadura is a remote part of Spain which has changed little with modern times and as a consequence is a fascinating step back in time. This region was very important to the Romans and the Roman city of Merida is its capital.
Extremadura tourist sights and places to visit
For a summary of the most popular sights in the region see also Extremadura places to visit.
Extremadura is situated in the west of Spain bordering Portugal. The regional capital is Merida which has one of the best collections of Roman ruins and artefacts in Europe. The city of Caceres has a marvellous medieval centre.
The scenery of Extremadura ranges from the fertile 'plains of Spain' to mountains, forests and rivers. The region is home to around 11000 storks and their nests can be seen on the rooves and chimneys of many buildings in the area. The region is rich in a lot of other bird-life too and is a very popular destination for bird-watchers.
Below we introduce the two provinces of Extremadura and offer suggestions for your visit to the region with highlights and attractions.
Caceres - Northern Extremadura
With mountains in the north and the beautiful landscapes of the Monfrague National Park to the east the Caceres province has both natural beauty and a wealth of architectural gems.
Caceres is the provincial capital of the region and is a lovely city with a magnificent medieval centre. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Complete with Moorish town walls and Renaissance palaces and lots of storks!
To the west of Caceres Trujillo is widely thought to have one of the most attractive main squares in Spain. Make sure you see it at night when it is floodlit. It was home to the conqueror of Peru and many of his blood-thirsty band! Also be sure to visit the Monastery of Guadelupe which is a magnificent Mudejar-style monastery.
East of Caceres is Arroyo de la Luz which is famous for the church, the Iglesia de la Asuncion which has an altarpiece containing 20 paintings by Luis de Morales, a mystical religious painter ('El Divino').
A little further east is Alcantara with an impressive Roman bridge and the town has some lovely mansions and the convent, the Convento de San Benito. Also near here is Valencia de Alcantara which is famous for its dolmens (megalithic monuments).
In the north of the area the sleepy town of Plasencia has a pleasant arcaded main square, the Plaza Major. Coria sits above the Rio Alagon and has ancient walls of Medieval and Muslim origins. Hervas, on the boundary with the Castile and Leon region, has an attractive medieval Jewish quarter
Badajoz - Southern Extremadura
Badajoz scenery is very much that of the 'plains of Spain' and it is for the Roman ruins at Merida that you will most likely visit this province.
The provincial capital, Badajoz, contains remnants of its Moorish past. Badajoz sits on the border with Portugal as does Olivenza which is a walled town with a medieval castle. It used to be a Portugese settlement and retains a very Portugese feel.
Merida is one of the highlights of Extremadura and has amazing Roman ruins including one of the best-preserved Roman theatres which is still used today. Merida is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Zafra in the middle of the Badajoz province has been nicknamed 'little Seville' due to its similarities to Seville. Most notably in its courtyards and whitewashed houses. It is one of the prettiest towns in Extremedura. South-west of here Jerez de los Caballeros is another attractive town and has a castle and some very ornate Baroque churches. To the south-east is Llerena, an attractive town with Baroque and Mudejar architecture.
Extremadura Tourism and Sightseeing
Natural Park of Monfrague - craggy peaks and gentle hills and a particularly varied range of animal and bird-life. Particularly noted for its black vultures and black storks.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Extremadura
Old Town of Caceres
Archeaological ensemble of Merida
Monastery of Guadalupe
The Parador of Caceres
Parador de Guadelupe
Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera
Parador de Merida
Parador de Plasencia
Parador de Trujillo
Parador de Zafra
Archeaological Museum, Badajoz - housed in the Alcazaba of Badajoz and has a large collection of archeaological finds.
Municipal Museum Etnografico Gonzalez Santana, Olivenza - museum of rural life.
Museo Etnografico y Textil, Plasencia - contains costumes and local crafts.
Museo de Arte Visigodo, the Museum of Visigoth Art, Merida
National Museum of Roman Art, Merida - a beautiful building containing some excellent exhibits. Well worth a visit.
Museo Provincial, Caceres, worth visiting for the building which was a Moorish Alcazar.
Museo Perez Comendador-Leroux, Hervas - works of the 20th century sculptor.
Yuste Monastery - Charles V moved to this monastery for the last two years of his life.
Monastery of Tentudia - has a lovely Mudejar-style cloister
Monastery of Guadalupe - fabulous mix of Gothic and Mudejar architecture and home to a black statue of the Virgin Mary believed to have been carved by St Luke.