Extremadura: Spain’s Best Kept Secret!

Experiencing Extremadura is a journey into the heart of old Spain, from the country’s finest Roman ruins to mysterious medieval cities and ancient monasteries. Extremadura is famous for its picturesque countryside and villages, plentiful historic sites, stunning architecture, winding streets, and breathtaking views. I am excited to have discovered a true European treasure.

Extremadura is a perfect destination for rich history, amazing architecture, and nature lovers. It proudly boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites — Mérida’s amazing Roman Ruins, Cáceres’ magnificent Medieval City, and Guadalupe’s Royal Monastery.

If you are looking for a charming small hotel surrounded by natural beauty, look no further — the place to go is Aqua et Oleum (Latin for “water and oil”). My first stop in Extremadura was this beautiful historic boutique hotel, surrounded by an olive tree grove, in the Spanish countryside. I was fascinated to learn that Dallas businessman Joseph Shortell was the owner and visionary who created and designed this four-star boutique hotel cleverly housed in an old olive mill.

“Paradores” was another fun discovery! They are among some of the finest hotels in Spain. These Spanish Paradores are hotels in ancient castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries, and old rural retreats. All offer a fabulous and unique environment, with all the luxury of a modern hotel mostly within walls that have stood for centuries and are very much woven into Spanish history.

Across the Extremadura countryside, you can see wild Iberian pigs roaming and eating acorns from oak groves. These pigs are caught and used for the cured Iberian Ham called ‘Jamon Iberico.’ This entire region is heaven for the foodie in search of fabulous farm-to-table gastronomic delights. I was amazed that there are 21 Michelin-starred restaurants in Extremadura.

The cities of Mérida, Cáceres, Plasencia, and Trujillo rank among some of Spain’s most beautifully preserved historical settlements. Many of the towns in Extremadura have a storybook feel or look like a scene from Game of Thrones (which was filmed there) with their fairy tale castles, Medieval churches, Gothic cathedrals and ancient monasteries.

There are 27 castles in Extremadura. With so many castles in this region, you are sure to see several when you travel in Extremadura. You will spot them on hilltops and in the center of town, some still have imposing outer walls, some have impressive towers, and others have fairy-tale turrets.

This region of Spain has everything I look for in a destination — amazing architecture, fascinating historic sites, rugged natural beauty, authentic cultural experiences, outstanding accommodations, delicious food, and great people! Extremadura truly offers a glimpse into the past and is overflowing with treasures and secrets to be discovered.

Terri Guthrie is a member of Texas Travel Alliance, Society of American Travel Writers and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. Follow @TravelwithTerri on social media.

Similar Posts