Jarandilla de la Vera, a refuge fit for a king
Jarandilla de la Vera may be small but it packs in as much history as some of the most important cities of the country. Such illustrious figures as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain) and his illegitimate son and future military mastermind, Don Juan de Austria, called it home. In fact, Don Juan de Austria is considered to be 16th-century Spain’s most important military leader, responsible for orchestrating some of Spain’s most iconic military wins, including the Battle of Lepanto where the Ottoman Empire suffered a devastating defeat.
The retired King stayed in Jarandilla de la Vera for almost year while the Monastery of Yuste, his future palace-house, was being built. He stayed at the Castle of Jarandilla de la Vera, owned by the Count of Oropesa. Nowadays, the castle is a beautiful luxury hotel and one of the most iconic monuments of this charming enclave.
Jarandilla: the perfect day trip from Cáceres
The size and opulence of Castle of Jarandilla de la Vera may seem a little over the top for such a tiny hamlet at first but it quickly makes sense once you delve into the history of this powerful 15th-century noble family, faithful stewards of the Spanish Monarchy.
History may have placed Jarandilla de la Vera on the map but it’s most defining feature is the confluence of the Jaranda River and Jarandilleja Rivers, flowing down from the majestic hills of the Sierra de Gredos. Water has played a pivotal role in shaping this tiny community, surrounded by verdant hills and crop fields. This is where the scrumptious Vera red bell peppers are grown and slowly dried over an oak-burning fire to make the characteristically fragrant Spanish paprika, Pimentón de la Vera.
Epicureans will be filled with glee by the exceptional culinary experience Jarandilla de la Vera offers – the best in the entire province. In fact, people flock here every weekend to treat their palates to the exceptional dishes whipped up by local restaurants.
What to see in Jarandilla de la Vera
The Castle of the Count of Oropesa is not the only monument worth visiting in Jarandilla de la Vera. Read on for our round-up of the must-see sights:
- Iglesia de Santa María de la Torre: built on a crag between the 12th and 13th centuries, it was completely refurbished between the 14th and 15th Its most striking feature is the 16th-century, Renaissance-style main chapel with a pentagonal layout and a four-piece cross vault.
- Templo de San Agustín: this is all that remains of the 16th-century Augustine convent. Its height and perfect Latin-cross layout are its most striking features.
- Cementerio Alemán: located approximately 5 km from Jarandilla de la Vera, just on the outskirts of Cuacos de Yuste, this burial site has 180 graves of German soldiers who died on Spanish soil or along its coast during WWI and WWII. The solemnness of the site is further accentuated by the grand beauty of Sierra de Grados in the backdrop.
- Cuacos de Yuste: this tiny village is located about 9 km from Jarandilla de la Vera. It has one of the most beautiful and best conserved historic centres in the area. Take a walk around the handsome Plaza Mayor, discover the Casa de la Inquisición and where Don Juan de Austria lived, which houses today the municipal association of La Vera.
- Monasterio de Yuste: nestled in a privileged setting, completely surrounded by nature and with extraordinary views of the Tiétar Valley, it’s no wonder Emperor Charles V chose this site as his final residence before his death in 1558. Be sure to check out the monastery’s and palace’s incredible collection of Gothic and Renaissance art.
Cooling off at Puente del Parral
Jarandilla de la Vera has many stunning streams and rivers, and Garganta del Jaranda is a perfect example. This beautiful gorge is made up of several idyllic natural swimming pools, which is a popular bathing spot in the summertime for those looking for a break from the heat.
Puente del Parral is a single-arch bridge which was built to connect Jaradilla with the municipality of Aldeanueva de la Vera. It is equipped with an overflow channel to offset the frequent swellings of the Jaranda Rivers, especially during the springtime. The robust bridge is made entirely made out of granite which helped it withstand the test of time.
This is the bridge Emperor Charles V crossed in 1557 to reach the Monestary of Yuste on his way to his final resting place upon retiring from public service.
The top restaurants in Jarandilla de la Vera
Jarandilla has a clutch of highly recommendable restaurants. Here are just but a few places that will delight your palate:
- El Labrador (Avenida Soledad Vega Ortiz, 133): this quaint restaurant has stellar views of Sierra de Gredos and not to mention the most succulent arroz con bogavante (lobster paella). There are also other ‘classics’ of Spanish cuisine on the menu for you to enjoy. Whether you are seated in the dining room or at the bar, you will be rewarded with a pleasant dining experience.
- Puerta del Emperador (Avenida de Extremadura, 86): this lovely restaurant prepares traditional Spanish dishes with slight modern twists. Portions are rather generous.
- Patio de la Posada (Pizarro, 1): this restaurant is housed in a centuries-old former inn which has been smartly refurbished, blending old with new. This is an excellent choice to savour traditional regional cuisine.
Information of interest
How to get to Jarandilla de la Vera from Cáceres:
- By car: Jarandilla de la Vera is located less than 120 km from Cáceres (a 1.5-hour journey). Take motorways A-66 and EX-203.
- By bus or train: no direct public transport services are available. The best option is to take a train or bus to Navalmoral de la Mata and then a taxi to Jarandilla de la Vera (approx. 40 km).