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Have You Been to Caceres and/or Merida?

I am starting to plan a trip to Spain in 2021. I would like fly into Madrid, spend a day or so there, and then take the train to Seville - spending a couple of days in Caceres and Merida.

At this stage, I would appreciate your general observations about Caceres and/or Merida.


Posted by
18147 posts

I went to both in 2016. Caceres is a much more atmospheric place just to be. The medieval center is unusually pure. Some of the buildings looked like they might be abandoned (not sure), but quite a lot have been restored, often for use as government offices. Highly recommended.

Merida's attractions for tourists are the Roman ruins. There's also a modern archaeological museum with some nice mosaics. The city is otherwise unremarkable and not particularly attractive by Spanish standards. Recommended for the Roman ruins, but not otherwise.

Another place of great interest in that area is Trujillo, a town that produced a lot of the Spanish explorers. It has a distinctly back-of-beyond feeling.

I'm not sure when your trip will take place, but Extremadura can be very, very hot in the summer.

Posted by
127 posts

Cáceres is a jewel, it´s medieval center is a World Heritage Monument. Beautiful buildings, lots of history, plenty of things to see and do. And a really nice atmosphere in the plazas around the city center. Nearby, Plasencia, Trujillo, Yuste, Guadalupe...and of course, Mérida, famous for its Roman amphiteatre, still in use and holding a famous theatre festival in summer.

Yes, it can be very, very hot in well as Seville.

Posted by
2046 posts

Agree with Acraven's and Mikel's description/observations on Cáceres‎ and Mérida, what's nice about Cáceres‎ is that it's full of architectural eye candy, due to a fine mix of Roman, Islamic, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. On Mérida, its Roman sites are quite magnificent, but they are spread throughout the city and not centrally located as other historic sites tend to be, that will need to factored.

Know that Cáceres‎ and Mérida are but one part of the Extremadura region, a really fascinating and historic place that is very much under the international tourist radar. In addition to those to fine towns, I'd recommend these sites to further enhance your experience, if time permits (north to south):

Monasterio de San Yuste - the idyllically monastery (still active) that Holy Roman Emperor Carlos V retired to after he was done being the most powerful man in the world ;-)

Trujillo - This town is where some of Spain’s most famous(infamous) conquistadors came from. The town has a few baroque and Renaissance palaces and an interesting Museum of Francisco Pizarro, who led the expedition that conquered the Inca Empire.

Guadalupe - Has the beautiful Real Monasterio de Guadalupe. You can tour this monastery and its collection of art, jewels, illuminated manuscripts. You can also see two cloisters, one late-14th-century Mudéjar, the other Gothic.

Badajoz - Capital of the Moorish kingdom, the Taifa of Badajoz. It has a nice Moorish historic quarter. The town is dominated by the Alcazaba, a 9th century fortified Moorish citadel.

Zafra - A white-washed walled town nicknamed "Little Sevilla", feels very Moorish. They filmed some scenes from the T.V. show Game of Thrones at the nearby Castillo de Feria, an Moorish hilltop fort.

Jerez de los Caballeros - A very picturesque small town. The old town is surrounded by a Moorish wall with six gates. After it was conquered from the Moors, the town was transferred to the Knights Templar.

Monesterio - unassuming little town that is the heart of the Jamon Iberico production in Spain and is the best at it, home of the real Museo del Jamon.

The only down side is that is can quite a bit hot in Extremadura if you go in summer, but I think that's besides the point if you will also be going to Sevilla. Hope this gives a few ideas :)

Posted by
402 posts

I have been to Cáceres, Trujillo, Mérida, Guadalupe, Valle del Jerte, and various small towns in Extremadura on various trips and agree with all of the wonderful recommendations given above. In fact, I often urge people to consider a visit to Extremadura which is not on the radar for most American tourists. Cáceres is very deserving of a visit. The old town is remarkable. Very beautiful. I would stay overnight in Cáceres to be able to wander those beautiful narrow streets and alleyways in the evening with the lamps lit. I completely agree with acraven's view of Mérida, splendid ruins, good museum, but the city itself did not impress me. One day was fine, we did not spend the night there but we were travelling by car. Trujillo and Guadalupe were also suggested. Trujillo will make you feel like you have stepped back in time. I found the main plaza to be eerily And hauntingly beautiful in the evening. Guadalupe's main attraction is the monastery but the town itself is also very attractive. I do not think that either Trujillo or Guadalupe have train service. You would have to look into bus service but busses are comfortable and reliable in Spain, no problem using them.

Posted by
1698 posts

I don't have much to add, I agree with most of the above.
Cáceres is remarkable and could be a great base for day trips for Trujillo (itself worth of a stay), Mérida (no need to stay), Plasencia. Zafra (nice stop on the way to Andalucía) and Guadalupe (never been) are further afield.

Posted by
452 posts

I agree with most of the previous observations and would recommend Caceres, Merida and Trujillo. I've visited Merida several times and spent enough time there to really explore the town. There are many Roman structures still in existence there and it was interesting to imagine the city as it must have been in ancient times. Shoulder seasons (Spring or Fall) would be ideal times to visit.

Posted by
127 posts

Also, the amazing town of Granadilla and the close-by roman ruins of Cáparra, recently discovered and off the radar yet. And the Jerte valley, or Monfragüe National Park, all real jewels awaiting to be discovered by foreign visitors.