11 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Extremadura Before Everyone Catches On
Extremadura, Spain | © VHS_Lahr / Pixabay
Spain’s region of Extremadura lies in the west of the country, north of Seville, and bordering the Portuguese region of Alentejo. It’s a remote area, filled with natural parks and dramatic scenery, but it’s also home to some fascinating ancient cities. Here’s why you need to visit Extremadura before everyone else catches on.
Extremadura is one of the least-visited regions in Spain, making it one of the least touristy ones, too. Here you can get to know the ‘real’ Spain without all the crowds jostling for space or all trying to take the same photo.
Extremadura | ©Luisangel / Flickr
The Noche de San Juan (Night of Saint John) takes place across Spain on the night of June 23 with the explosions of fireworks and burning of bonfires. In the city of Badajoz, however, the Feira de San Juan is celebrated for a whole week, with not only fireworks and bonfires, but fun fairs, concerts and bull runs, too.
The whole of Spain is famous for its ham, but the region of Extremadura produces some of the best. Around 45 km north of Mérida sits the town of Montanchez, surrounded by huge Iberian pig farms, where the pigs are roam free and are fed only on fresh acorns. It’s known as jamón ibérico puro de bellota.
A plate of jamón | © Kai Schreiber / Flickr
The WOMAD Festival celebrates the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance and takes place in various cities all over the world. The WOMAD Festival in Spain has been gracing the city of Cáceres since 1992.
WOMAD letters | Courtesy of WOMAD
If you’re into Roman ruins, then a visit to Extremadura could rival even a trip to Italy. In the city of Mérida, you’ll find everything from a magnificent Roman amphitheatre to elegant Roman bridges and the famous Milagros Aqueduct.
Roman Theatre, Mérida, Spain | Max Pixel
It’s a great region for nature lovers
It’s not only ancient cities and ruins that will delight visitors to Extremadura, but its dazzling landscapes, too. The region is filled with natural areas and dramatic mountain ranges, but the best place for nature lovers to visit is the Monfragüe National Park – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, known for its rocky cliffs and variety of birdlife.
From grand cathedrals to Roman theatres, ancient castles and Moorish forts, Extremadura has it all. Some of the top places to visit here include Castle of Trujillo, the Moorish Castle of Zafra, the Roman Temple of Diana in Mérida, the Guadalupe Monastery and La Alcazaba citadel in Badajoz.
Extremadura Wall Fortified Castle Tower | Max Pixel
Every year, the city of Mérida plays host to the Festival Internacional de Teatro Clásico, which is considered to be one of the most important of its kind in the world. The festival takes places during the months of July and August at the Roman Theatre of Mérida, and features productions of the greatest Greco-Roman plays.
Roman Theatre in Merida, Spain | ©Trapuzarra / Pixabay
Extremadura is home to several UNESCO World Heritage cities – which makes up what is known as the UNESCO World Heritage Triangle. These are Cáceres, Mérida and the small town of Guadalupe. In the 16th-century medieval town of Cáceres, you’ll find Gothic and Renaissance architecture and fortified palaces; ancient Roman ruins in Mérida; and cobbled streets, traditional houses and grand monuments such as the Sanctuary-Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the historic town of Guadalupe .
Caceres, Spain | ©Javier Losa / Flickr
Extremadura is one of Spain’s three top cork-producing regions and is filled with cork oak forests, particularly in the savannah-like dehesas.
20-somethings will love drinking on a budget | jsnewtonian / Pixabay
The city of Trujillo lies in the centre of the Extremadura region, just east of the city of Cáceres and in between the Tojo and Guadiana Rivers. It’s characterised by grand squares, beautiful old churches, palaces and elegant manor houses, and is also home to a magnificent castle.
Plaza Mayor de Trujillo, Spain | © Alvy / Wikimedia Commons