Plans in the province of Caceres
A trip to Caceres (in northern Extremadura) means a pleasant surprise for the traveller. It's a little-known fact that there is something attractive - even addictive - in this inland area of Spain. Could it be the unique nature reserves, such as Monfragüe Natural Park? Or perhaps, its two UNESCO World Heritage sites? These are the old town centre of Caceres and the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe. And as for food… it would be a sin not to try the local cheeses and ham!This part of Spain certainly has plenty to recommend. You also have the option of a quick trip to the neighbouring province of Badajoz (southern Extremadura) to see amazing towns, such as Merida. Today we'll focus on the province of Cáceres, and we have a few itineraries for you to consider:
- 1 The Jerte Valley
- 2 Plasencia
- 3 Hervás
- 4 Monfragüe
Jerte Valley: millions of cherry trees in bloom
In the north of Extremadura there is a place that becomes magical every spring: the Jerte Valley. Usually in late March or early April, the millions of cherry trees in this valley bloom and become a forest of white you will remember all your life. Driving around this area and stopping in villages like Jerte, Tornavacas or Cabezuela del Valle is an amazing experience.By the way, especially if you're visiting in summer, it's also well worth continuing on to the Nature Reserve of Garganta de los Infiernos - the Gorge of Hell - with a series of dramatic yet inviting waterfalls and streams.Tip: As nature follows its own schedule, we recommend checking the official website to see exactly when the trees will put on their show.
Plasencia: the city with two cathedrals
In this same area, we suggest a visit to the town they call the “pearl of the valley”: Plasencia. Venturing into this walled city is quite an experience. Suddenly you're surrounded by palaces and mansions, and not one but two cathedrals: the Old Cathedral, with its Romanesque portico, and the Plateresque New Cathedral. After exploring the city, you might like to relax on the promenade alongside the river Jerte, or have a drink at a pavement café in one of the tranquil squares.Tip: an interesting way to explore the city is following one of its special routes, focusing on Sculptures, City Walls, Parks, Crests, Convents, or the Virgin Mary.
Wonderful Jewish heritage: Hervás
Hervás is 40 kilometres north of Plasencia. The main attraction of this small town is its Jewish quarter. It's fascinating to stroll around this tangle of narrow streets, dating back to the 13th century, and discover charming little shops and potted plants full of flowers, until you come to the river, with a medieval bridge rich in legends…Few places are as delightful as Hervás, which is always included in any list of the prettiest villages in Spain. If you want to get the best views, we recommend climbing the hill to the fortified church of Santa María de Aguas Vivas (occasionally there are guided tours).Tip: the best time to visit Hervás is autumn, for the celebration of the “Magical Autumn of Ambroz”. The landscapes of the Ambroz valley (with direct access from Hervás) are particularly beautiful at this time of year.
Monfragüe: a special place to see the stars
About 40 kilometres south of Plasencia, you arrive at Monfragüe National Park. There's nothing better than a day here to de-stress. What makes it so special? It's home to one of the world's largest colonies of Cinereous vultures, as well as endangered species like imperial eagles, black storks, and the Iberian lynx. We strongly recommend bringing a good pair of binoculars!Inside the park you will also find cave paintings and picturesque locations like Monfragüe Castle, where you can climb the keep. Also, in late 2016 Monfragüe was declared a Starlight Tourist Destination. In other words, its clear skies are ideal for astrotourism. Visit the Monfragüe Astronomical Observatory!Tip: the Visitor Centre is in the village of Villarreal de San Carlos. There you can get more information on routes for walking, driving, horse riding and cycling.