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Extremadura is one of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain. It might not be the most well-known, or the most traveled province, but that also means that there still is a lot to discover. Places like Caceres and Trujillo are gems, with beautiful old city centers. The landscape is one of hills, rocks, trees and bushes. There are not a lot of big towns in Extremadura, but a couple of them are worth a visit, and a good bet for people who want to avoid the 'beaten track' while visiting Spain. The people who live here will tell you that Spain's best meat is produced here, so when you are there, it might be the best time to taste how a real chorizo should taste like.
Extremadura is enclosed between Portugal in the west, and the provinces of Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha and Castile and León. There are plenty of mountains in Extremadura, and big parts of the region are labeled as nature reserves. From the east to the west the River Tagus finds its way through the region. The region has two provinces Cáceres in the north, with Caceres, and Badajoz with Badajoz as its capital in the south.
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The Old town of Cáceres can be compared with the old city of Toledo, but only less touristic. The ciudad monumental is the old part of Caceres and it is walled. Most of the towns monuments can be found in this part. Only the large Plaza Mayor and the Iglesia de Santiago are outside of this area.
Like Caceres, Trujillo has a beautiful old inner city, only on a smaller scale.
Mérida was founded by the Romans, and remains of this period can still be found in the city.
The WOMAD festival, a festival organised by Peter Gabriel, with a lot of world music comes to Cáceres every year in early May. The festival takes place at the Plaza Major, Plaza San Jorge and the Gran Teatro. For this festival you don't need to buy tickets, as all the events are free.
The weather in Extremadura is like the name of the province: extreme! In summer it can be incredibly hot, and in the winter it can be bitterly cold at night.
Extremadura has a small airport near Badajoz (BJZ), which is served by Iberia, or its sister company Air Nostrum, with daily flights from Madrid and Barcelona. In most cases however it is easier and cheaper to go via either Madrid or Lisbon and continue by train or bus from there, which takes 3 to 5 hours.
There are train connections to the bigger cities in Extremadura. From Madrid, a train trip takes about 3 to 4 hours. Check the Renfe website to get a precise idea about the time and expenses to travel to your destination.
Coming from Madrid, the A-5 motorway is the most logical way to get to Badajoz. This motorway also passes Trujillo. If you need to get to Caceres, you follow the A-5 until Trujillo and continue on the A-58. If you destination lies in the north of Extremadura, you probably want to leave the A-5 sooner, and continue on the EX-A1 (which meets the A-66, near Plasencia)
Most bigger towns have a bus station which will take you to and from places throughout Extremadura. From Madrid, a ride takes about 3 to 5 hours, depending on your destination. From the bus station in the bigger towns you can continue on regional buses to reach smaller places.
The bigger places are linked by rail. Check the Renfe website for more information and timetables.
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