Focus your visit to Spain around Madrid, stay at one of the the Paradores in the Extremadura Region and end with a visit to Seville.
Visit Madrid, Capital of Spain since 1562, Madrid's museums host, among others, Dalís, Mirós and Picasso's Guernica. Madrid is a city of great contrasts: the Old City, the Madrid of the Hapsburgs, the Royal Palace, the Puerta de Alcala, the Retiro Park. At night, the city changes gears with its famous Madrid nightlife. The city's endless energy is hard to resist, and its sociable style invites you to jump right in.
The region of Extremadura, Birthplace of Conquistadors and deeply influenced by the Romans, offers a variety of Paradors, each built on a castle or historic monument from the 14th to 18th centuries.
CACERESA UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within its defensive walls you will find priceless treasures, with squares, palaces, churches and stately houses that are real works of art and reflect Spain's most glorious past. Explore its narrow, cobbled streets, crossed by arches. Admire ancient walls that have been silent witnesses to glorious periods of history. Feel how time stands still in its Renaissance courtyards, convents, monasteries and churches, towers, palaces and mansions of the old nobility. You will be amazed by the beauty of one of Europe's most stunning monumental sites. Take a trip back to medieval times - to times of knights, minstrels, princesses, castles and battlements. Its walled old town is home to many interesting buildings, constructed mainly between the 14th and 18th centuries.
CACERES - 4 stars
14th Century Palace. The ancient Torreorgaz Palace is built on Arabic foundations with a linteled door and a Baroque coat of arms. It is in the heart of the Cáceres's old town and artistic centre, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. This 14th Century Parador, overlooked by its narrow tower, was founded by Diego García de Ulloa, knight of the Order of Santiago. Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles are reflected in the building and its surroundings.
188 miles from Madrid
CIUDAD RODRIGOOn a rocky hill on the banks of the river Águeda, it has been populated since the Neolithic period. Around the 6th century BC, the vetones, a tribe of Celtic origin, founded the city of Miróbriga; Four centuries later, the Romans conquered the city and re-named it Augustóbriga. Dating to this period are the Three Columns, an enigmatic monument that still stands at the foot of the city's entrance. The object of centuries of dispute between the Arabs and Christians, this fortified town was repopulated in 1100. The main defining feature of the city is the imposing medieval wall that surrounds it. This was constructed in the 12th century during the reign of Ferdinand II.
CIUDAD RODRIGO - 4 stars
14th Century Castle. The ivy-covered Hotel is perched on a sheer drop over the River Águeda valley and the castle has a keep which serves as an unbeatable observatory to look out over the Campo Charro landscapes. This is the ideal enclave to discover the beauty of the marvellous surrounding nature and appreciate the rich monumental city of Ciudad Rodrigo.
187 miles from Madrid
GUADALUPESet on the foothill of Sierra de Altamira, La Puebla de Guadalupe is an illustrious town, because of its history and the remarkable monumental patrimony that it preserves. This typical mountain village, declared Historic-Artistic Site, grew under the wing of the Sanctuary-Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Monastery, which was declared World Heritage in 1993, was commissioned by King Alfonso XI of Castile in the 14th century. Since its foundation, the Monastery became one of the main pilgrimage centers in the Peninsula. It was also the stage of significant events, like the audience that the Catholic Monarchs granted Christopher Columbus to give him the caravels that would take him on his journey to the New World. Located in the central Plaza de Santa María, the fountain of Tres Caños is a reminder of one of the historical milestones of La Puebla, since it was in this square that the first Indians brought by Columbus from his second journey to America were baptized.
GUADALUPE - 4 stars
15th Century Hospital. The Hotel sits atop what was the old 15th century San Juan Bautista Hospital and the former 16th century Infantes or grammar school - important learning centres for medical surgery and grammar respectively. The hotel is located in the old town and has been declared a heritage site facing the world heritage site of the town of Guadalupe.
151 miles from Madrid
JARANDILLA DE LA VERAIts civil architecture includes remarkable buildings such as the house of Don Luis de Quijada, tutor of Don Juan de Austria, and the pillory. We can also see several medieval bridges of Roman design, in whose construction they used ashlar stones from a nearby Roman mausoleum. The religious buildings found here are many: the hermitages of Nuestra Señora de Sopetrán, Nuestra Señora De Cincho y del Santísimo Cristo del Humilladero, the convent of San Francisco, and the churches of San Agustín and Ntra. Señora de la Torre, a big, sumptuous building from the 12th and 13th centuries built on the rock, which holds it and fortifies it.
JARANDILLA DE LA VERA - 4 stars
Medieval 15th Century Palace-Castle. The palace-castle lies sheltered in the middle of the Vera and Tiétar valley, between gorges filled with water, woods of chestnut trees and oak groves and stunningly beautiful natural landscapes that reaffirm the richness of their historical, majestic surroundings. For months it played host to an illustrious guest - Emperor Carlos V.
139 miles from Madrid
MERIDAThe history of Merida has close ties to the Roman expansion through the Iberian Peninsula. Its foundation as a city took place in 25 B.C., under the rule of Emperor Augustus, from whom the first name of the city, Emérita Augusta, was taken. Mérida was the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania and it became one of the most flourishing cities of the Empire. Likewise, it was an important religious centre during the first years of the spread of Christianity. The splendorous history of Merida can be observed in the monumental and archaeological ensemble that it keeps, one of the best preserved in Spain. Thus, the Roman legacy is still present in almost every little corner of town, its Roman Theatre being one of the most emblematic constructions. Erected in the first century B.C., the theatre can seat 6,000 people. Next to it is the Amphitheatre, a stage where gladiators wrestled with beasts.
MERIDA - 4 stars
18th Century Convent. The Hotel retains the structure of the former 18th century convent, built over the remains of a temple to the Concord of Augustus. It offers guests an opportunity to enjoy the rich heritage of the lovely city of Mérida and the landscape around it.
216 miles from Madrid
PLASENCIAHas a historic quarter that is a consequence of the city's strategic location along the Silver Route. This town was inhabited by Romans and Arabs until the 12th century, when King Alfonso VIII reconquered it. Palaces, ancestral homes and significant religious buildings make up a unique old quarter.
PLASENCIA - 4 stars
15th - 17th Century Convent. The hotel is in the former convent of Sto. Domingo, founded by the Zúñiga family in the mid 15th century, in the Gothic style inside and in part of the exterior. Strategically located in the historic centre of Plasencia, this is the ideal place to explore the architectural beauty of this singular city and the beautiful landscape around it.
154 miles from Madrid
TRUJILLOPerched on a high hill, Trujillo has one of the most charming personalities in all of Spain. Its traditional appearance remains intact, along with its exceptional monumental heritage. The fortress and walled area that give the town so much character were built by the Muslims. Christian conquerors would take 500 years to regain the town. Inside the city walls is an unbroken account of medieval architecture, a monument district so pure it would be difficult to find anywhere else. The passage of time has not altered the essence of what we see there today.
TRUJILLO - 4 stars
16th Century Convent. In the historic city of Trujillo, birthplace of explorers, this lovely hotel occupies the former convent of Santa Clara, with its atmosphere of peace and tranquillity. Outstanding features of the interior are two beautiful cloisters: one with Renaissance arches and columns, the other bringing light into the building.
171 miles from Madrid
ZAFRAAlso known as Little Seville, is on a plain at the foot of the steep rocky mountains of Sierra de Castellar. The city was consolidated thanks to its location on the strategic Silver Route, in Roman Hispania. The medieval layout of the city stretches out with Plaza Grande and Plaza Chica being the most important meeting points. Ancestral homes, convents and churches make up a compound of great architectural harmony.
ZAFRA - 4 stars
15th Century Castle. The Hotel "Duque de Feria" in Zafra occupies a majestic castle which was begun in 1437 as the residence of the Dukes of Feria, one of Spain?s great families. The spectacular façade expresses the importance of this castle-palace, which is the ideal base for exploring the architectural heritage and the natural beauties of the area.
253 miles from Madrid
Then visit Seville, in the famous Southern province of Andalusia, best known for the impressive Cathedral with its Giralda tower, as well as the Alcazar, which also serves as a visiting residence for the Spanish Royal family. A visitor's route should also include the Town Hall, the Archive of the Indies (hosting the documents related to the discovery of America), the Fine Arts Museum (the second largest picture gallery in Spain), as well as its numerous convents, parish churches and palaces.
Romans and Conquistadores with Paradores
Visit Madrid and then stay at a historical Parador in Extremadura, the land of Conquistadores and the Silver Roman Route, then end with a visit to Seville.
Price history for this itinerary (past 14 days):
From New York,John F Kennedy, NY for 6 nights
$1,247 * incl.tax
Madrid (147) Seville (84) Spain (269)
Recomended for 6 to 9+ nights.
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