If you love old towns and historical sites as much as we do, you will be happy to know that there is a hidden region in Spain where you can find, among others, a city built from the old Roman town of Emerita Augusta (now named Mérida), a monastery with a wonderful Mudejar cloister devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe (in the village with the same name) and the two medieval gems appearing in this post. That region, Extremadura, was the land of famous Spaniard conquerors of the New World. But today Extremadura still remains unconquerable to the great number of tourists that visit Spain year after year.
Our journey to Portugal led us to cross the entire Iberian Peninsula by car and to enter the Portuguese region of Alentejo from Extremadura. On that trip I realised that amazing places can be found quite close and Cáceres and Trujillo are two living examples of that which have even served as the location of Game of Thrones due to their amazing architecture.
The Old Town of Cáceres is a World Heritage site and we would say that every corner there is full of charm. The Old Town is a wonderful medieval and renaissance complex full of history and palaces. Here are, in our opinion, the main hotspots of Cáceres.
- Plaza Mayor
This is the main square of the city and the starting point for every visitor. If you dare to cross the Arco de la Estrella (Star Arch) you will be entering the walled city. Plaza Mayor is full of restaurants with nice terraces. And here is our gastronomical tip for Cáceres: try the restaurant El Requeté, located in the square. We chose it by chance and had a wonderful and refreshing lunch there. Afterwards we realised that it was among the Top 5 restaurants in Cáceres by TripAdvisor, so we made a good election!
- Torre de Bujaco
This tower is the main construction in Plaza Mayor. Located next to the Arco de la Estrella, this Arabic construction is nowadays used as an interpretation centre. From its top you can have the best views of the Old Town, so don’t forget to go up!
- Plaza de Santa María and Co-cathedral
If you continue your walk around the Old Town of Cáceres you will find the Plaza de Santa María, the square where the Co-cathedral of Santa María is located. This temple shares the function of being a bishop’s seat with another one located in Coria, a city located in the north of Extremadura. The construction of the Co-cathedral was made during the XV and XVI centuries over a previous building of the XIII century.
- Iglesia de San Francisco Javier
Apart from the Cathedral, the Old Town of Cáceres counts with the church of San Francisco Javier, built in the XVIII century. The white painting over the stones made me fall in love with that Baroque construction at first sight. The little square of San Jorge, with the stairs that give access to the church, is my favourite scenery in Cáceres.
- Museo de Cáceres
The city museum is located in two historial buildings, called Casa de las Veletas and Casa de los Caballos and shows the archaeology, the ethnography and the art works of the region. But the main attraction there is the Arabic aljibe (water cistern), partially dug on the natural rocks. With 16 arches supported by 12 columns, it is a magic place that surely deserves a visit.
Just a 30-minute drive from Cáceres, you will find Trujillo, which has home to Francisco Pizarro, the Peru conqueror whose statue oversees the main square of the town. From that square you can see the leading attraction of Trujillo, its medieval castle, built at the top of the town between the IX and XII centuries.
The Trujillo castle is a great fortress that invites you to enter and walk around its walls, for where you can have the best views of the city surroundings and the typical landscape of Extremadura.
Moreover Extremadura is a great destination for cheese lovers! So if you have the chance to visit Spain don’t forget to include Extremadura among your destinations. You will find a region full of history that is waiting to be discovered.