Section 23 - Extremadura

Mérida - Zafra - 63Km

We leave Mérida behind pedalling on the banks of the Guadiana as we enjoy a Special Bird Protection Area for aquatic species and cross the river by the old Roman Bridge. On this stage of EuroVelo 1 we cover a distance of 63 kilometres on the N-630 towards Seville. We cross the district of Tierra de Barros and the agricultural lands create a mosaic of vegetation in this area, which is famous for its wines with their Ribera del Guadiana Denomination of Origin.

Only 19 km away we cross the small town of Torremejía where we can stop to visit the Casa-Palacio de los Lastra, a fine Renaissance construction which has now been renovated as a hostel. A little further on and surrounded by an immense landscape of vines and olive groves we come to Almendralejo, the home of Romanticism as it is the birthplace of José de Espronceda and Carolina Coronado. It is worth strolling through its streets and visiting its churches and mansions, but its true attraction lies in its wine cellars. We can visit the Museum of the Sciences of Wine and taste some of its wines and even its cava, as this is one of the few places in Spain outside Cataluña to produce sparkling wine with this same denomination of origin.

We continue to enjoy a pleasant ride through the plains of the Tierra de Barros towards Villafranca de los Barros, which is known as the Town of Music and where we have the opportunity of visiting the interesting collection of the Historical-Ethnographical Museum (MUVI). This town is studded with religious and civil buildings of historical-artistic interest, as is the case at the following point of this stage, Los Santos de Maimona, where you should not fail to visit its parish church with its impressive plateresque doorway. Don’t miss either its Manuel Santiago Morato Museum of Plastic Arts or the Palacio de la Encomienda, the best preserved example of Santiago architecture in Spain.

We pedal along a road which crosses the Sierra de San Cristóbal to reach from Los Santos de Maimona the welcoming and noble town of Zafra, which has been declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble and is internationally known for its International Stockbreeding Fair (Feria Internacional Ganadera,  FIG). This will be the end of our stage. We can stay in the Palacio de los Duques de Feria, which is currently the Parador de Turismo, or in any of the many accommodation establishments of this small town. Recharging our batteries as we savour the exquisite gastronomy of the area and relax visiting the Museo de Santa Clara devoted to monastic life, or strolling among the monuments of its old quarter.

Points of Interest

  • This museum is situated in a building of the mid-20th century which used to be the “Alcoholera Extremeña” factory. It adjoins the Almendralejo bullring, which is unique in the world for having a wine cellar beneath its terraces. A visit to the museum allows us to get to know the culture of wine in Extremadura and also to discover the valuable ethnographical and industrial heritage associated with wine production in the Tierra de Barros district.

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    Coordinates: 38.6814736,-6.4017793

  • It occupies an 18th-century stately home and contains an outstanding collection which takes us on a journey through the history and the musical tradition of the town. It also includes a wide selection of classic vehicles.

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    Coordinates: 38.5608537,-6.3416181

  • This hall church was built in Renaissance Gothic style in the 16th century. Its most impressive feature is its roof with a star-shaped cross vault and its Portada del Perdón (Doorway of Forgiveness) with plateresque decoration, which is considered to be the best Renaissance doorway in the area.

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    Coordinates: 38.4488718,-6.386012

  • This is one of the most unusual constructions in the area and was conceived as a country house. It is built of limestone, cement, and brick and was inspired by the organic forms of nature. It has been skilfully decorated by using the trencadís technique which recalls the works of Gaudí.

    Coordinates: 38.4391494,-6.3747084

  • Located next to the Convento de Santa Clara and occupying several of its halls we find the exhibits of this museum, which reflect the monastic life of the Poor Clare nuns and takes us on a journey through the history of Zafra as a centre of the Feudal Estate of Feria.

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    Coordinates: 38.4240184,-6.420595

  • Zafra has historically been a commercial town and this is borne out by its porticoed plazas. The Plaza Chica had been the business and craft centre since the 16th century but subsequently a larger space was added which occupied the site of the former Church of La Candelaria to form the Plaza Grande. Both are linked by the archway known as the Arquillo del Pan, with a column bearing a sculpture of the measuring rod used by merchants.

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    Coordinates: 38.4254036,-6.4217418

  • Although it has the appearance of a defensive building as it is fortified and battlemented with a majestic keep, the citadel was built as a residence for the first Count of Feria in 1437 on a former Almohad fortress. In its interior it holds some of the most interesting architectural treasures of the region, such as the Mudejar coffered ceilings of the chapel, the golden hall, and the 16th-century Renaissance patio. It is currently a Parador Nacional de Turismo (state-run hotel).

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    Coordinates: 38.4241559,-6.4191488

  • This aquatic enclave is ideal for relaxing and resting after the effort you have put in on the road. The spa consists of two 3rd-century Roman baths together with modern installations in which you can enjoy hydrotherapy and wellness. It is part of the archaeological ensemble of Mérida which has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The reservoir allows not only fishing under licence but also the practising of sports such as sailing, windsurfing, and canoeing.

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    Coordinates: 38.7838241,-6.2466962

  • This is the first Special Bird Protection Area (Zona de Especial Protección de Aves, ZEPA) which has been declared in an urban area in the whole of Extremadura. The main reason for this is its lesser kestrel colony which coexists with other falcons, white storks, and barn owls on a 16th-century construction in Gothic-Renaissance style of great historical and artistic importance.

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    Coordinates: 38.6822502,-6.4095067

  • From Mérida to Zafra the EuroVelo 1 route crosses the heart of the Tierra de Barros district, the main wine production centre of the Ribera del Guadiana D.O. The town of Almendralejo is one of the few areas outside Cataluña to produce sparkling wines with the D.O. of Cava. Some of its cellars can be visited as a gastronomic alternative after hours of pedalling.

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Section 23

Mérida - Zafra - 63Km: 63

  • Elevation
  • Heritage
  • Nature
  • Shops and cycling services