Discover the highlights of the region with our Extremadura road trip guide.
Today we are sharing with you all the stops you cannot miss on a proper Extremadura road trip. Here’s all the knowledge gathered after a last-minute five-day trip we took right before having our baby – a sort of late babymoon if you like – last year. It took us to uncover a region of Spain we had only visited once before, Extremadura, to experience autumn before winter kicked in.
Gorgeous fall foliage, epic landscapes, heritage cities, and quaint towns awaited.
7 Unmissable stops while road-tripping Extremadura
A quintessential Spanish village, with cobblestone alleys, perched atop a hill facing the River Ambroz.
Enjoy gorgeous views, narrow winding streets, and a historical past dating from the 12th century.
2. Melero Meander
This meander of the Tagus River is a beautiful spot to take a stroll and admire the stunning nature of the area, as well as one of the most outstanding natural jewels of the autonomous community of Extremadura and an iconic flagship of the region: The meander of the Alagon River – one that we traveled downriver by canoe nine years ago – also known as Melero Meander in Las Hurdes.
Who would have thought that deviating from the main tourist routes in the country could be so rewarding?
Evacuated in the 20th century after being declared a flood risk area when the nearby Gabriel and Galán reservoir was built, this ghost town in the Silver Way Route is now a great place to wander for a few hours.
Granadilla is also a top-notch bird-watching hotspot and yet another gem in the northern part of Extremadura.
On this recent trip through the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz, in the autonomous community of Extremadura, we could not miss the city of Plasencia, also known as the pearl of the Jerte valley.
Plasencia is a city with a vast history of influences, including tales of the Templars and the Knights of Santiago. Its rich gastronomic culture includes delicacies such as cured meats and cheeses. Its vibrant town center is filled with countless old buildings and restaurants, inviting visitors to explore in style.
These are some highlights that you should not miss in Plasencia:
- The aqueduct of Plasencia
- Its two cathedrals, the new and the old
- The city’s Parador, a former convent restored and converted into a hotel
- The main square
- The old city wall, the Lucia tower, and the Puerta del Sol
Declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city’s blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic, and Italian Renaissance architecture; Caceres is another must-see city in Extremadura.
Do not miss the walled city, its incredible monuments, and the historic old town.
5. Los Barruecos
Do you remember the Game of Thrones episode “The Spoils of War”?
It was shot in Los Barruecos, an Extremadura landscape made of granitic formations, declared a natural monument in 1996 for its immense beauty and its impressive Spanish imperial eagle population.
Los Barruecos is a stunning nature reserve located in Malpartida de Cáceres and houses colonies of white storks, cormorants, grebes, and black-winged stilts as well as incredible rock formations and almost surreal landscapes. An open-air museum for bird watchers, outdoor lovers, and GoT addicts.
The area also features a number of archaeological remains such as rock art in granite shelters and anthropomorphic tombs carved in granite.
Let’s travel back in time. Roughly a little over two thousand years earlier, when the Roman Colonia Emerita Augusta, which became present-day Mérida in Extremadura, was founded in 25 BC.
The region’s largest city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with great examples of Roman architecture, including the best preserved Roman Amphitheater outside of Italy, the only bridge over the Guadiana river, and a wonderful Roman wall.
An aqueduct, theater, temples, and other remains delight tourists from all over the world attracted by the rich history of the city and the status of the Archaeological Ensemble of Merida as a WHS.
7. Monfragüe National Park
Monfragüe National Park is one of the most iconic places in Spain and home to the largest concentrations of birds of prey in the Iberian Peninsula.
A stunning area in Extremadura declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2003, offering incredible birdwatching opportunities, great trails, and some of the best views of any National Park in Spain. Great spot for especially birdwatchers and nature lovers.
Monfragüe National Park was, without hesitation, the highlight of this road trip to Extremadura. The glimpse of hundreds of vultures prowling the cliff known as the gypsy jump before sunset was priceless.
If you have enough time, include the following stops in your itinerary.
10 More Extremadura destinations you should visit
Home to one of the most picturesque towns in Spain, Trujillo is situated atop a hill with a wonderful Moorish castle and walls with battlements from medieval times. The main square contains many picturesque mansions and churches with gothic and baroque architecture.
A village that evolved around the Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, founded by Alfonso XI of Castile. It is a place of immense historical value, and its most important feature is its stunning late gothic church and cloister.
Monasterio de Yuste
The monastery where Charles V retired in 1559. After his death, the monastery was abandoned and it remained in ruins until a recent restoration. Now no longer inhabited, it stands as a spiritual site with a beautiful park and gardens in the surroundings.
The ‘white village’ of Zafra is famous for its impressive castle situated at the top of the hill. Visit the Plaza Grande and its many historical buildings, and make sure you get to see the stunning interior of the palace, which has plenty of ornate carvings and frescoes, as well as the stunning 18th-century gardens, among other attractions.
The Villuercas-Ibores region lies to the north of Extremadura. A mountainous area with a spectacular landscape, rich in archaeological sites, beautiful gorges, and stunning natural parks. A great spot for trekking and nature lovers!
The Royal Palace of Olivenza, a site of enormous historical, architectural, and artistic value, inscribed on the national heritage list since 1931, is just one of the attractions of this city located on the Portuguese-Spanish border.
Coria is a beautiful town, with an astonishing medieval wall, a unique castle, and some of the best Roman ruins in the country. Situated on the banks of the Jerte river, Coria is a great spot for those who love nature, history, and tranquility.
This is a must-see attraction for any nature lover. These stunning natural formations – some of them reaching up to 50 meters high – are located along the Jerte river, forming one of the most beautiful landscapes in Extremadura.
Puebla de Alcocer castle
The Castle Puebla de Alcocer is an attractive 9th-century fortress located in the Badajoz province, perfectly adapted to the surrounding landscape. It’s one of the most important and well-preserved castles in Extremadura.
The beautiful city of Badajoz lies at the crossroads of Extremadura. It’s known for its magnificent city walls, built in the 9th century, and the numerous churches and monasteries that dot the city. The historic old town is great to visit and explore some of the city’s most interesting sites.
12 Tips and tricks to make the most out of your Extremadura trip
- Plan your trip in advance. Research the places you want to visit and optimize your route for the best experience. Gas prices are outrageous lately!
- Stay safe. Make sure you have proper protection against the elements and carry plenty of water and snacks in case you get lost or stranded during your journey, especially if hiking is on your plans.
- Do some research. You can find much useful information about the different locations and attractions you plan to visit. But you are already here, so well done!
- Taste the Extremadura cuisine and experience the flavors, local dishes, and delicacies of the region. Some Extremadura dishes include paprika chicken, gazpacho, roast lamb, cured ham and sausages, and migas. Don’t forget the wines, olives, and cheeses!
- Explore the natural beauty of Extremadura. Enjoy the amazing views of the countryside like the rolling hills, the vineyards and olive groves, and the wonderful Iberian wildlife.
- Have fun! Extremadura is famous for its lively festivals and fiestas such as Las Fiestas de San Antón in January, the Easter Processions, Carnaval in February, and the Virgen de Los Milagros in August.
- Get off the beaten track. Extremadura has much more to offer than the main tourist spots. Find out about the small towns, historical monuments, and interesting points of view that are often overlooked.
- Talk to the locals. Some of the best experiences can only be had by talking to the locals, getting their insight on life in Extremadura, and asking them for advice and tips to explore the region in the best way possible.
- Keep your eyes and ears open for birds of prey. Extremadura is an excellent spot to spot birds of prey including eagles, kites, and vultures. Along with some of Europe’s most endangered species, so make sure to keep a lookout for them!
- Take pictures. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of Extremadura.
- Relax. Enjoy the beauty and peace of Extremadura. Take time to appreciate the simple things and the rugged landscapes, and take some time to just relax.
- Lastly, enjoy your time in Extremadura. It has so much to offer and so many wonderful sights to see. So take the time to make your trip the best experience it can be.
Is Extremadura worth visiting?
By now you probably know this but the answer would be absolutely! This region is full of underrated attractions and it is a great option if you are looking to escape the crowds.
It is easy to get around and in four or five days (as we did), you can visit some of the best sights there are.
What is special about Extremadura?
First and foremost, Extremadura is one of the few places in Europe that remains unwritten about and untouched by mass tourism, making it a hidden gem for those looking for a bit of peace and away from the crowds. It has some of the most diverse landscapes in the country, ranging from mountainous to semi-arid.
It is also home to the two best-preserved cities in all of Spain – Mérida and Trujillo, both of which proudly hold the title of UNESCO World Heritage Cities, owing to their rich culture
What is the climate of Extremadura?
The climate in Extremadura is quite varied, with cold winters and hot summers. The average temperature in winter varies from 5°C to 15°C, and the average temperature in summer is usually around 30°C.
Is Extremadura Autonomous?
Yes, Extremadura is an autonomous community of Spain and is composed of the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz.
What is the best time to travel to Extremadura?
As usually happens, Extremadura is an interesting destination that can be visited all year round. However, it’s commonly accepted that the best time to travel to Extremadura is from March to October when the days are usually sunny and temperatures are warmer.
During the winter months, the weather can be harsher and rainfall is more frequent.
Do you need a car to explore Extremadura?
Yes! If you want to explore this region of the country comfortably, we recommend that you travel by car. The region is quite spread out, so it will be difficult to explore without your own vehicle. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery at your own pace.
Find the best deals by comparing different prices online if you want to hire one.
There are plenty of places to explore in Extremadura, with an impressive historical, cultural and natural heritage, ready to be explored and experienced.
Have you ever visited Extremadura? What is your favorite spot in this region?
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