Thanks to its diversity and culture,Spain is one of the most attractive destinations in the world. A country boasting good living, its people enjoy outdoor life with family and friends.
Spain is diverse, with each region having its own traditions and cuisine. A land of wines and joy, of flamenco, dance and tradition. Spain always surprises those who visit it.
On top of its amazing and varied culture, and along with the warmth of its people, you will discover a country of contrasts, of alluring cities and incredible natural scenery. Travel to the centre of this bountiful peninsula to discover Castilian Spain. Unearth Northern Spain's magical locations that include amazing grasslands and green forests, nourished by the Atlantic sea.
Or its fresh and green Mediterranean coast and islands, where the sea breeze will enchant you. Without forgetting to mention the richness of Andalusia, famous inspiration for artists and writers such as Hemingway.
This is Spain, a country that enchants everyone who visits.
Description of the area
The Autonomous Community of Extremadura is situated in the south East of the Iberian Peninsula, it has a surface area of 41,634 km2 and a population of 1 million. Its territory covers the Provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz.
The province of Cáceres is located to the north of the Autonomous Community of Extremadura, on the western frontier with Portugal. The capital of the same name is the largest municipality in Spain. The city was declared the Third Monumental Ensemble of Europe and a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, enclosed by the surrounding walls, centuries of history, art and culture.
Cáceres was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1986 due to it having one of the most complete Middle Age and Renaissance urban centres in the world. It also stands out for being the location of one of the four university campuses of Extremadura University, as well as for its cultural life in the autonomous community as a whole. It aspired to be the European City of Culture in 2016.
Good food, culture, nature and fun.
The cuisine of Cáceres suits all budgets and appetites. It ranges from simple tapas bars to restaurants serving copious meals. Cáceres' gastronomy includes many typical dishes made with pork and several pork derivatives. Its cold meats are excellent, especially the ham.
Furthermore, it includes a great array of game meat. Worth mentioning is the Casar cheeses, famous for their “Torta del Casar”, and Los Ibores honey and La Vera Pimenton (smoked sweet paprika). Wines from Cáceres are also well worth trying to confirm their quality and strong flavours.
We recommend the Centro de Cultura Virtual for visitors to obtain tourist information, which is located in Plaza de Santa María. Equipped with the latest technology in 3D animation, it will take you through a virtual tour of the whole city.
Plaza Mayor. The beautiful main square which is the administrative centre of the city, surrounded by arcades from the 16ᵗʰ century and to the West an Almohad wall.
Godoy Palace. A Renaissance style palace, its construction was ordered by Francisco de Godoy in 1548 with the wealth he obtained in Latin America. It has a pretty central square courtyard and one of the most beautiful corner balconies in Cáceres.
Co-cathedral of Santa María. Situated in Santa María Square, it's construction began in the thirteenth century and it was rebuilt with three Gothic naves in the 16ᵗʰ century. Inside there is a panel of carved cedar wood of extraordinary beauty, as well as a 14th century Black Christ.
Lower Palace of the Golfines. The Catholic Monarchs resided here during their visits to the city and it belonged to one of the most important families in Cáceres. Among its main architectural highlights is the medieval tower, the picturesque style façade and a very pretty interior patio.
Casa de las Veletas Casa de las Veletas (House of the Weathercock) dates mainly from the end of the 15ᵗʰ century and includes part of an old Arabic fortress. Today it is home to the Provincial Museum.
Casa del Sol, or Casa de los Solís. This Gothic style house/fortress was built in the 15th century and reformed in the 16th. The most significant element of the façade is the family emblem, a sun with human face.
Bujaco Tower. Emblem of Cáceres and most striking building of the main square.
Arco de la Estrella. Main entrance gate to the fortress walled since the 15th century, it is the most well-known in the medieval city. Located next to Bujaco Tower.
Aljibes. Cáceres is known amongst other names as the City of the Thousand and one water reservoirs. The best known is the water reservoir of Cáceres museum, located in what was once a Moorish Alcazaba. Dated back to the 11th and 12th centuries, 12 columns raise from the water, dividing the space into five naves. The monumental city has another great water reservoirs in the Plaza de San Jorge in which some have even been able to see a ship.
Cáceres also offers a large range of nightlife bars and clubs. A usual night out in Cáceres begins in the main square and the surrounding areas, with numerous pubs and bars with different atmospheres, and to finish the night, the area of la Madrila is perfect with its bars open until the early hours of the morning.
In the city of Cáceres, the busiest shopping areas are concentrated around calle Pintores, el Paseo de Cánovas, the Avenidas de España and Alemania, the Ruta De la Plata Shopping Centre, and the Abierto Shopping in Calle San Pedro de Alcántara.
The traditional street markets take place every Wednesday, and a couple of times a year the monumental city hosts its special mediaeval markets. Cáceres offers a wide variety of arts and craft products. We recommend the copper and brass pieces from Guadalupe de Baños De Montemayor, the chestnut tree wickerwork from Hervás, pottery from Arroyo, etc., which complete the wide offer of regional arts and craft product offers.
Festivals and celebrations
A visit to the city of Cáceres is interesting at any time of the year, every season offers a unique image of the city.
The main festival days and celebrations are:
1 Jan – New Year's Day
6 Jan – The Three Wise Men (Epiphany)
20 Jan – Day of the Martyrs festival
Mar/Apr – Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
Mar/Apr – Easter Monday
Mid March – Solidarity Film Festival
End of March – Cherry blossom
23 Apr – St George's Day
1 May – Labour Day
First Sunday in May – Nuestra Sra. de la Montaña Nuestra Sra. de la Montaña (Our Lady of the Mountain)
Mid May – Womad Music Festival
End of May – San Fernando Fair
June – Theatre Festival
20-30 July – Folklore Festival of the Peoples of the World
15 Aug – The Assumption
8 Sept - Extremadura Day
2 Oct – Día de la Hispanidad (Hispanic Day)
Mid November – Medieval Market of the Three Cultures
6 Dec – Constitution Day
8 Dec – Immaculate Conception Festival
25 Dec – Christmas
History prior to the 20th century
The first permanent settlements were made by the Romans, next to the important connection road, known ever since as Vía de la Plata (the silver route). Around the 5th century AD the Visigoths destroyed the Roman settlement and the city was not heard of again until the 18th-19th centuries.
It was the Moors, coming from North Africa who then exploited the strategic position on which the primitive Roman colony stood their military base to meet the Christian Monarchs invading from the north during the first centuries of the Reconquest.
With the Christian advances of the 12th century, the city became a fortress of adobe wall (still preserved to this day), a deed that did not prevent Alfonso IX, monarch of the Kingdom of León, from taking the city after years of siege on 23 April 1229 - St. George's Day, who has been celebrated ever since as patron of the city. Since then Cáceres has been a free city, not an oppressed one. It started to be transformed, with churches being built in place of mosques, and Christian palaces over Muslim ones, although it was the fortunes brought back from America that contributed to the city's Monumentality, which the writer Leopoldo Alas Clarín called "La Vetusta del Sur" (the ancient south). In 1822 it became the capital of Alta Extremadura. In 1881 the railways opened, allowing for the extension of the city to the south of Cáceres, the area of the city built by King Alfonso XII in 1882.
In the Spanish Civil War, the military forces of Cáceres supported the Coup of 1936. The uprising in Cáceres facilitated the advance of Franco on the roads of Mérida and Badajoz. In August 1936, General Francisco Franco arrived in Cáceres, where he established his headquarters before advancing on Madrid. One of the few reactions to the Republican forces was the bombing of the city on 23 July 1937 that hit various buildings such as the Mayorazgo Palace, the goods market, Santa María, the back of the Civil Guard headquarters, the City Hall, the streets Nido and Sancti Espíritu. The effects can still be seen today on the façades. In 1954, the Bishop of Diocese of Coria, Manuel Llopis Ivorra, arranged for Cáceres to share the city capital with Coria, since then being known as the Diocese of Coria-Cáceres. In 1973, the University of Extremadura was founded, based in Cáceres and Badajoz.
At the start of the 21st century, Cáceres was a great city with a large array of services and cultural offers. In 2003 this led to the Cáceres City Council presenting its candidature for the European City of Culture 2016. For the candidature, the city was supported with projects such as "Intramuros to Europe" and based its candidature on relations with America and the 500 years since the ascension of Carlos I of Spain to the throne, who withdrew in the last years of his life to Yuste Monastery, in the province of Cáceres. From the moment where the candidature was presented, many sectors of the city collaborated and worked towards the project of achieving designation. In 2008 the project was presented to the European Parliament. On 30 September 2010 Cáceres did not move pass the first phase and therefore will not be named the European city of Culture in 2016. In 2011 Cáceres, considered the third most important Monumental Ensemble in Europe, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition, a title that is only granted to those cities which have conserved their architectural heritage almost intact.
This well-deserved title has given the city a fundamental boost, which has made tourism the backbone of its economy.