If you’re visiting Spain for the first time, be warned: this is a country that fast becomes an addiction. It is a magnet for travelers all over the world. The Spanish way of life is irresistible! It’s impossible not to warm to a culture where food, wine, family and friends take priority over almost everything else. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself hooked by something quite different… the wild celebration of some local fiesta, perhaps, or the otherworldly architecture of Barcelona. Even in the best-known places to visit, from Madrid to the coasts, from the high Pyrenees to the Moorish cities of the south. There are genuinely surprising attractions at every turn, whether it’s hip restaurants in the Basque country, the wild landscapes of the central plains, or cutting-edge galleries in the industrial north. Soon, you’ll notice that there is not just one Spain but many.
  • More than ten towers dominate the historic quarter of Caceres, delimited by Arab walls. Cobbled streets marked by medieval, fortified homes and Renaissance palaces make up the most beautiful sceneries in this city, which was declared World Heritage.The local history is closely related to one the historic, peninsular routes: “Vía de la Plata” (the Silver Route), a Roman road that linked Seville and Astorga, used by the pilgrims who were headed to Santiago de Compostela. Pork products and shepherd recipes are the fundamental elements of the rich culinary tradition of this region, the dishes should be served with some of the excellent wines from Caceres.

    Originally called Norba Caesarina, the city of Cáceres was founded by the Romans in 34 BC. However, it was not until the arrival of the Moors (12th century) that the city enjoyed its era of greatest splendour. A century later, the city would pass into Christian hands upon its reconquest by Alfonso IX of León. The walled part of Cáceres, the majority of which is Almohad, preserves to this day its Medieval defensive towers such as those of Bujaco, Yerba and del Horno, all 12th century constructions. The gate known as El Arco de la Estrella affords access to the area of the city enclosed by its wall.

  • Located on the banks of the Guadiana River, only six kilometres away from Portugal, Badajoz (the largest province in Spain) has always been marked by its proximity to the border. A stroll around the historic quarter will reveal Arab walls, interesting monuments, as well as picturesque streets and porches. Badajoz is also an excellent starting point for further travelling through the Land of Barros, Mérida and the Cornalvo Nature Reserve. In all these places you can try the delicious Extremaduran cuisine.

    The primitive citadel of Civitas Pacis was already widely known during Roman times, yet the Moors were the ones who gave it its present name, when they called it Batalyoz in the 8th century. The city gained enormous political and military relevance when it became one of the Taifa kingdoms that proliferated in the Peninsula following the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba —the Muslim power that ruled the occupied territories— in the 11th century. Reconquered in the 13th century by the Christian Monarchs, the city reinforced its fighting spirit due to its location on the so-called “line”, the boundary between Spain and Portugal.

    The historic need for a good defence system is evidenced by its strategic location, on the banks of the Guadiana Riverand over the Muela Hill, a walled precinct made of walls, gates and bastions. The Alcazaba (citadel), declared Historic-Artistic Site, dominates the whole defence network. Plaza de España houses the City Hall and the cathedral of Badajoz. The Romanesque-Gothic temple, which resembles a fortress, preserves interesting Renaissance ornamental pieces.

    In the area surrounding Plaza de España, one of the best places for Extremaduran cuisine is found. The cuisine of Badajoz includes ancient recipes made with local products, as well as others that have been brought from America, like paprika and potatoes. Tomato soup, roast lamb and fried trout are some of the dishes that should be served with the excellent Iberian sausages, with the label Designation of Origin – Dehesa de Extremadura. The wines should have the label Designation of Origin – Ribera del Guadiana.

  • Located in the heart of the Silver Route, Mérida is heir to a splendid Roman past. Its theatre, its amphitheater and its temple dedicated to the goddess Diana make this former capital of Roman Lusitania one of the best conserved archaeological sites in Spain, and has earned it the declaration of World Heritage site.

    This immense Roman legacy is documented in the National Museum of Roman Art, where the history of the city can be explored through a priceless collection of artefacts found in Merida and its vicinity.

    The history of Merida has close ties to the Roman expansion through the Iberian Peninsula. Its foundation as a city took place in 25 B.C., under the rule of Emperor Augustus, from whom the first name of the city, Emérita Augusta, was taken. There, discharged soldiers from the 5th and 10th Legions settled, after being rewarded by Rome for their participation in the Cantabrian Wars with lands on the fertile plains of the Guadiana River. At the same time, this incipient city had great strategic value, since two different Roman routes met there: the Silver Route (Vía de la Plata), which linked Merida and Astorga and the Roman road that linked Toledo and Lisbon.

    The cuisine from Merida shares many dishes with the rest of the region, such as the lamb caldereta (a stew made with lamb, onions, garlic and peppers) and Iberian pork products, specially sausages and ham. Other typical dishes include gazpacho (a cold soup made with tomato, peppers, cucumber, garlic, etc.), ajoblanco (another could soup, similar to gazpacho but white, made with garlic, almonds and bread), rabbit and partridge. Any of the bars and restaurants in Merida serve these and many more delicacies, some of them as appetizers, like pork ears, wild asparagus and cheese. To go with the food, Badajoz offers excellent wines with the label Designation of Origin – Ribera del Guadiana.