Badajoz, travel to Extremadura
In the west of Extremadura, Badajoz was once one of the most important cities of the peninsula. At the beginning of the eleventh century, the capital of Spain’s largest province was briefly the capital of a Taïfa Muslim kingdom, Aftasie, which at that time extended from Extremadura across Portugal to the Atlantic.
Nestled on the hill of Muela, on the banks of the Guadiana, Badajoz shows with its ramparts, gates and bastions, an aspect both warrior and defensive due to its strategic position as a border town.
Overlooking the city, the Alcazaba, a fortress built in the late 12th century during the Almohad period, made the city one of the most important fortresses.
The Espantaperros Tower, an octagonal tower with a crown, still stands out in its enclosure, where three mosques were originally built, one of which served as a cathedral after the Christian reconquest.
Inside the walls transformed into a park, the Dukes’ Palace houses the Provincial Archaeological Museum. At the foot of this vast complex, from the Plaza Alta, stretches out, surrounded by arcades, the maze of alleys of the old town in which we discover the St. John the Baptist cathedral whose construction began in the middle of the 13th century.
From the Puerta de Palmas, flanked by crowned towers and a bridge crossing the Guadiana, several parks and gardens surround the old town centre.
Visit and monuments of Badajoz
Alcazaba of Badajoz
Cerro de la Muela.
The Alcazaba, which became the seat of the province’s Archaeological Museum, was classified as a Historical and Artistic Monument in 1931.
Inside the ancient fortress is the 16th century palace of the Dukes of the Roca, and on its eastern side there is an imposing wall with a lookout tower called the Tower of Espantaperros.
Tour of Espantaperros
Calle Lorenzo Juárez Figueora.
An Almohad monument of the XIIth century, the watchtower, also called the tower of the Alpéndiz, is located in the eastern part of the fortress. Although it was originally topped by a small square structure decorated with crossed arches, the Christian period added a Mudejar-style coronation containing a bell.
Provincial Archaeological Museum
Palacio de los Condes de la Roca. Plaza de José Álvarez y Sáez de Buruaga.
In the walls of the ancient palace of the Muslim Alcazaba, the provincial museum displays more than 15,000 objects and pieces from the province’s archaeological sites.
Arabic tombstones, Roman mosaics or Visigothic architectural elements as well as a collection of bronze age stelae can be admired.
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 3pm, Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 3pm. Free admission.
San Juan Bautista Cathedral
Plaza de España.
The construction that began after the conquest of Badajoz by Alfonso IX in the 13th century shows, because of the almost continuous wars at that time, a more warlike aspect than sacred.
With its crenels, the building is overhung by a high tower with windows on the second body. The interior is composed of three naves with five ships, a transept and a bedside table with three apses. The vaults that cover the cathedral are of decadent Gothic style.
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 1pm and 5pm to 7pm (18am to 8pm on the afternoons from mid-June to mid-September). Admission : 1 €.
Calle San Blas.
Situated a few steps from the cathedral, this museum dedicated to sacred art offers an exhibition of historical tapestries, pieces of goldsmith’s work and paintings on wood.
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 1pm and 5pm to 7pm (18am to 8pm afternoons from June to September). Admission : 3 €, reduced rates : 2 €.
Museum of the City of Luis Morales
Plaza de Santa María.
Dedicated to the history of Badajoz from the earliest human activities to the present day, the Badajoz City Museum is exhibited in the old house of the Badajoceño painter Luis Morales.
You can also discover the Roman, Visigothic and Arabic cultures that have inhabited the region of Extremadura for centuries.
A room is especially dedicated to the painter whose religious work has developed in churches and palaces in Spain or Portugal.
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm, Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 2pm. Free admission.
Calle López Prudencio, 8.
Travel to the world of Spanish bullfighting with this museum dedicated to it.
We discover costumes, photos, caricatures, posters or stuffed bull heads associated with a particular anecdote…
There are the great names of Spanish bullfighting: Manolete, Belmonte, El Gallo to name but a few.
Opening hours : Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm, free admission.
Museum of Fine Arts
Cale Meléndez Valdés, 36.
Mainly focused on sculpture and painting, the museum is housed in a private mansion dating from the late 19th century. There are 1200 works by more than 300 artists covering a period from the 18th to the 20th century.
There are paintings by Zurbarán and Esquivel, sculptures by Cabrera, drawings by Albert or Lorca or engravings by Picasso and Dalí.
Opening hours : every morning from 10am to 2pm and every afternoon from 5pm to 7pm from Tuesday to Friday (18am to 8pm from June to August). Free admission.
The Badajoz Carnival, classified as a Festival of National Tourist Interest, is one of the most popular festivals in the city.
The highlight of these festivities takes place during the costume parade on Sunday accompanied by dozens of murgas, musical groups, and comparsas, groups of people with identical masks. On the program on Tuesday: funeral of the sardine, on Friday: murgas competition.
70 km east of Badajoz.
Merida is the administrative capital of Extremadura. Founded in 25 BC, the city inherited one of the best-preserved Roman archaeological sites in Spain.
Jerez de los Caballeros
80 km south of Badajoz.
The city whose origin dates back to the Phoenicians, and which takes its name from the Knights of the Temple to which it belonged, has been declared of cultural interest.
The Dolmen de la Granja de Torriñuelo, classified as a National Monument, is the oldest archaeological discovery in the city. Roman villas and Visigothic remains complete this heritage.
Built on the remains of the ancient Arab ramparts, the fortified wall of Jerez de los Caballeros is 1500 meters long. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries in ashlars and pierced with several doors, it is reinforced by defensive towers and houses the Templar Castle built in the 13th century.
City of discoverers and conquerors, the city has a rich civil and religious heritage. The Casa del Concejo (XVIth century), the Hospitals of San Bartolomé and Claridad as well as numerous palaces erected by the local nobility are the vivid testimonies.
The churches of The Encarnación (16th), San Bartolomé (15th), and San Miguel (16th) are among the most important religious buildings in the city.
Dehesa de Extramadura’s registered designation of origin hams and wines from Ribera del Guadiana registered designation of origin are the jewel of local gastronomy.
125 km southeast of Badajoz.
The seat of the Masters of the Order of Santiago and the Inquisition, the city is dotted with churches, convents and palaces that combine Gothic-Mudejar and Baroque styles.
Reconquered by Christians in the 13th century, at that time it experienced a cultural boom which was reinforced by the installation of the Inquisition Tribunal within its walls. During excavations in a church, the mummified remains of a group of people, whose nail marks were still visible on the walls, can be found from this terrible period.
The Islamic culture having impregnated this region of the lower Extremadura between the 8th and 13th centuries and the arrival of the Gothic style, late in comparison with the rest of the country, the Mudéjar style influenced many constructions.
Among the most significant of these buildings are: the Obispo Palace, the Nuestra Señora de Granada church or the Santiago church, which houses the remains of the last Master of the Order of Santiago, the houses with their emblazoned brick walls and gypsum decorations.
As for the convent of Santa Clara, it shows works by Juan Martínez Montañés, a master of the Spanish Baroque.
40 km north of Badajoz.
Alburquerque is situated in the foothills of the Sierra de San Pedro in an environment dominated by cork oaks, around which a powerful cork industry has developed.
The city is dominated by the 13th and 15th century medieval castle of Luna and the tower of Siete Picos.
At the foot of the castle, the Santa María del Mercado parish church is a 15th century Mudéjar work that houses a large 18th century altarpiece. The Casa de la Audencia, the Casa de la Nieve (16th century) and its fountains are among the main civil buildings of the city.
Freganal de la Sierra
95 km south of Badajoz.
A typical mountain village, its beautifully preserved popular habitat has earned its historic centre the status of a Site of Cultural Interest.
Among its artistic and cultural heritage is the medieval castle (mid-13th century) which belonged to the Templars. Inside are the arena built in the 18th century and the central market of the city.
The historical centre of Freganal is distinguished by the Casa del Concejo of the XIIIth century, nowadays the seat of the Town Hall, the fountains of La Fontanilla (16th century) and the convent of María Miguel of the Augustinian Sisters, that of San Francisco (16th century) and the former college of the Jesuits (17th century).
25 km south of Merida.
Located on the edge of the eponymous dam, Alange houses rock paintings, Roman thermal baths due to the therapeutic virtues of Alange waters known since the times of Trajan and Hadrian as well as many monuments.
The approaches to the dam, whose waters come from three rivers: Valdemedl, Matachel and Palomillas offer several nautical activities, including canoeing, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. Waters that also cover Roman archaeological sites.
On the hill of Culebra stands the keep of the ancient ruined Arab fortress dating from the 9th century.
The Nuestra Señora de los Milagros church, a Gothic Mudéjar building, is classified as a Monument of Historical-Artistic Interest.