When you plan a trip to Extremadura make sure Alburquerque is in your destination list. This small town barely 14km away from the Portuguese border is full of history and beautiful corners. Visit it in summer if you want a lively atmosphere during the Contempopranea music festival in July or the Medieval Festival in August. Or visit it in autumn or spring if you want to enjoy a nature trip in the surroundings or simply if you want to escape from the crowds.
Anyway, whatever the season you choose to visit Alburquerque there will be at least ten things you should not miss:
Castillo de Luna
The castle is, no doubt, the main highlight of this small town. The place is great, the views are awesome and entrance is free. I thought it deserved a separate blog post, so you can read it here if you want to know more about it.
Plaza de España
The main square is the most popular meeting point for locals and the perfect place for a laid-back afternoon drink surrounded by fragrant orange trees. In summer the bar terraces get absolutely packed until late. Check out the “Bar La Ermita”, a former hermitage turned into a bar.
Piedra del Berrocal
If you have a little walk around the centre you’ll be surprised of the number of houses built on the rock you will find. But, from all the rocks in town, this one is the king. It’s located two minutes away from the main square in a residential area and it looks as if someone had glued it to their balcony. I spent my early years climbing the small rocks below it playing games and I can tell it is not going to fall, so you can take a selfie without fearing being crushed to death.
Torre del Reloj
You’ll be able to see it the clock tower from the main square. It was part of the city walls and used as a watchtower to alert alburquerqueños of any enemy attacks. In recent times they had to reduce the size of the tower base to allow vehicles to pass through. The result looks funny, I’m not going to lie, but it fits the purpose.
Iglesia de San Mateo
This church was built between the 16th and 17th centuries and displays an array of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. If you want to peep inside you will need to attend mass, as it is only then that is open to the public.
Puerta de la Villa
Right opposite San Mateo church is one of the city gates, which leads to the historic centre inside the city walls called “Villa Adentro”, referring to the fact that is located inside the city walls. In the picture below you can see how it looks from outside and from inside the wall.
Also known as the Jewish/Gothic neighbourhood, many houses here display pointed door lintels with Hebrew inscriptions and other elements. During the Medieval Festival many houses are decorated with old furniture and farming tools and open their doors to the public. It’s a good chance to see the interior (some of them are built on the rocks or have wells inside). The streets are quite steep, so put on some comfortable shoes if you want to go up to the walls and the castle.
Iglesia de Santa María del Mercado
If you walk up any of the narrow streets on the left of the main street you will end up in this former market square dominated by the castle on top of the hill and by a small church. The church is called after the square (mercado means ‘market’) and, despite its small size and its stark exterior, it’s worth a visit inside.
If you cross the square and keep on walking you’ll arrive at the walls and the only other city gate that remains today – Puerta de Valencia. Climb the stairs of the wall and take your time walking around them. You can “almost” reach the castle by walking on the walls and the higher you go, the better views you have. Apparently, on a clear day you can see 60 km away, so prepare your camera for some truly amazing pictures!
The word ladera means ‘hillside’ and Las Laderas are the perfect place to finish your route around Alburquerque. Have a nice evening walk just before the sun goes down, when the lights give the castle above a golden tone ideal for some sunset snaps.
Alburquerque’s population: +5,500
From Badajoz: 45 km
From Mérida: 101 km
From Cáceres: 71 km
Tourist Office contact details: (address) plaza de España s/n 6510;
(email) [email protected]
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