San Martín de Trevejo is a beautiful little town. The main tourist destination in Sierra de Gata is also, I’d dare say, one of the prettiest rural destinations in northern Extremadura. Here, you can see quirky traditional architecture, enjoy some great local food, swim in a natural pool, do some walking routes, and hear a secret minority language most Spaniards don’t even know exists.
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•I have NOT been paid for writing it.
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San Martín de Trevejo on foot
I arrived in San Martín on a Monday morning and my first stop was the main square (plaza Mayor). The town hall was open but there wasn’t much activity in the square, with chairs stacked at the entrance of several bars which were still closed. The space is dominated by a pilón, a round fountain very popular in northern Extremadura; this one was built in 1888. Other things that caught my attention were a bell tower, the arcade on two sides of the square, and the impressive building of Casa de la Encomienda, where locals paid the tithe in the past. Very close to the square is San Martín de Tours church, built in the 17th century and containing several panel paintings from renowned Spanish artist Luis de Morales. It was closed when I visited.
The main highlight of San Martín de Trevejo is its traditional architecture. The town is listed as a place of cultural interest for its historical artistic value and you’ll understand why as soon as you set foot there.
Its traditional three-story houses were built using a structural framework made of wood, adobe and bricks. The ground floor consists of a single room with a big wooden door with wooden latches; the back of the room was a sort of cellar used for storing olive oil and homemade wine, while the front part of the room is where families kept cattle.
The main door is located right next to the ground floor room, but on a higher level at the top of small yet imposing stone stairs. It leads to the first floor, which includes the sitting room and bedroom. The kitchen, pantry and storage space were located on the top floor.
Some of the best examples of traditional architecture in San Martín are found in the following streets: calle de San Juan, calle Batuecas, calle de la Ciudad and calle Hospital.
San Martín is located in the Jalama valley at nearly 800m and many of its narrow streets are quite steep, which accentuates the burble of the water streams running down squares and streets towards the outskirts. Wherever you go in San Martín, there’s always a source of water near you – be it water streams, a bridge over a river or fountains.
Many residents decorate windows, balconies and the front of their houses with plants and flowers, which makes a walk around the town centre pleasing and visually appealing.
Don’t rush. The town is tiny, and you’ll be done in an hour or two, so take your time. It’s worth stopping often to have a good look at facades. You’ll find some interesting details such as metal rings to tie horses and donkeys to the wall, quirky door knockers and inscriptions on stone door lintels.
Tip: in small towns, greeting people (be it locals or strangers) is common practice. It’s a sign of good manners, so don’t be shy and practice your buenos días (‘good morning’) or buenas tardes (‘good afternoon/evening’) when you see somebody.
What to do in San Martín de Trevejo: seasonal plans
If you visit San Martín during the summer months, you can fight the heat by having a swim at its local natural pool, located on the southeast end of town (check map for exact location).
Spring and autumn: nature walks
Being Sierra de Gata a mountainous and leafy area, it’s a great place for walking in spring and autumn to enjoy nature at its best. Below is a selection of three walking routes of different length and difficulty level you can do from San Martín de Trevejo.
November: San Martiñu local festival
San Martín’s festival honouring its patron saint (Saint Martin of Tours) falls on 11 November. Local cellars called boigas open their doors for everyone to visit and taste local wines. The festival itself lasts a few days, and it also includes music, dance and children activities.
Where to eat in San Martín de Trevejo: Duende del Chafaril
Duende del Chafaril is a small rustic hotel located in Calle Los Caños, 29. It has 10 rooms, spa, restaurant and a patio area. I went there for dinner, and sat outside in the patio. It was reasonably quiet, there was pleasant background music and dim lights, which was perfect for a quiet dinner.
This is what was ordered:
Starter: a platter of 4 types of local goat’s cheese. Each one had a slightly different texture and ranged from mild to quite strong. Even if not stated on the menu, it’s way too much cheese for one person. Good for two people or even three.
Mains: pork sirloin with roasted potatoes and sole skewer with Iberian ham and almond sauce. Portions don’t look too big, but they are enough. No need for extra side dishes.
Big bottle of mineral water to share.
What was paid (in total): €35.
I can only personally recommend the restaurant, but the hotel looks nice and has a 9.5/10 rating on Booking.com, so check it out if you are looking for a place to stay in San Martín de Trevejo: Hotel Rural Duende del Chafaril.
Did you know?
A fala is a local language only spoken by some 9,000 from San Martin de Trevejo, Eljas and Valverde del Fresno. The variation spoken in San Martín is called mañegu. Read my article ‘A Fala: Spain’s secret language you never knew existed’ to know more.
San Martín de Trevejo: practical info
Distance: 51km to Coria; 93km to Plasencia; 117km to Caceres; 162km to Trujillo.
Tourist office: (address) Plaza Mayor 1 (town hall); (email) [email protected]; (phone number) 927 514 585; (opening times) Wed-Fri from 10am to 2pm, Sat-Sun from 11am to 2pm.
If you need accommodation in Sierra de Gata, read my impressions about my stay at El Cabezo, a farmhouse located 7.9km from San Martin de Trevejo.
San Martín de Trevejo on a map
Nearby places you may want to visit:
- Eljas (5.4km from San Martín de Trevejo);
- Villamiel (6.9km from San Martín de Trevejo);
- (10,7km from San Martín de Trevejo);
- Acebo (26.8km from San Martín de Trevejo);
- (46.2km from San Martín de Trevejo);