Spain Travel Package – "Secret of Spain
Extremadura – A land not yet attacked by the tourist
throngs – a place off the beaten path – a destination that truly is a "best-kept
secret." Extremadura – the land "beyond the
is the wealth of gold and conquistadores (Pizzaro, Cortes, De Soto)
– it is cork oak and wild herbs – vast open expanses and friendly people.
This is the great "outback" of Spain – little touristed
with much to discover: The valley of cherries (Jerte
valley) a wondrous sea of white in spring – Roman ruins – pristinely preserved monument towns like the "World Heritage"
city of Caceres, and so much more . . .
A pleasant couple of hours drive from the Barajas
airport in Madrid will bring you to your first destination in the "Secret
of Spain" tour.
You could check into the Parador and rest a bit – then
go out for pleasant afternoon or evening stroll in the village of
A great side-trip from here is to drive the short
distance south into small town of El Puente del
Arzobispo to see the ceramics works typical of this area in the
many shops there. If you are really keen on ceramics – ask for the
brochure, Ruta de la Ceramica "Pottery route," at the Parador
desk. It will guide you on a very interesting 25 mile round-trip drive to
local ceramics destinations.
The Parador Oropesa was built by the Counts of Toledo in the 14th
century – long before the discovery of the new world. This hotel is
monolithic – in size and feel. The rooms are some of the most
authentic (unchanged by the refurbishment) in the Parador chain.
You’ll get a true taste of what it might have been like to live back in
those olden times. Great views out across the Gredos valley.
Guadalupe is the home of the Virgin of Guadalupe
– both the revered statue of the Blessed Mother – and of the
still-living legend of how she came to be there. The Real Monasterio de
Santa Maria de Guadalupe is well worth a
visit. Take the guided tour of the monastery – they run every
hour or so. If you are out in the early morning, go sit on the
stone benches near the front steps of the monastery – you may be lucky
enough to hear the monks doing their Gregorian chant off in some far
Once a primary pilgrimage destination and known
as the "Spanish Vatican," Guadalupe is now a town slumbering, simple and
sweet, in its own peaceful backwater of nearly forgotten memories.
This is a place for resting and contemplation – and leisurely
strolls through the narrow streets that radiate out from the central plaza
in front of the grand monastery – and an evening bottle of wine while
sitting at an outdoor cafe table on the monastery plaza.
The Parador Guadalupe is very nice – with wonderful views over to the
monastery. Wander down into the Parador’s gardens and orchard.
Sit out on your private balcony near dusk and you’ll be fascinated by the
swooping, high-speed play of the hundreds of swallows that come out to feed.
Mérida was founded around 25 B.C. as the city Augustus Emerita, and
was once the capital of Roman Iberia and its largest city. It has
more intact Roman ruins than anywhere else in Spain.
Try to see the Teatro Romano (seated 6000 in its heyday), the
Antiteatro (where gladiators fought), the Casa del Antiteatro and the Casa
del Mitreo. As well, the majestic Puente Romano – with its 60
granite arches, it may be the longest bridge ever constructed by the
Romans. Also – the Templo de Diana, the Arco de Trajano, the Portico del
Foro and the Acueducto de Los Milagros.
To top it off, don’t miss the grand Museo Nacional de Arte Romano.
A visit to Mérida will keep you busy!
The Parador Merida is a
renovated 15th century monastery.
It has a lovely open-air patio (pictured above), domed ceiling bedrooms,
and a splendid lounge which was formerly a chapel. This is one of the
prettiest in the Parador chain.
Trujillo is a simple treasure . . . Spain as it once was.
From here, Francisco Pizarro set of to explore, conquer and loot the
new world. His
manor house still exists in Trujillo today. You can also visit the
low-key Casa-Pizarro museum.
Walk up to
the hilltop castle and explore around inside the walls built during the
occupation of the Moors. Go inside the capilla (chapel) near there
and drop a few coins in the box to watch the strangely mesmerizing,
rotating statue of the Virgin Mary.
Have late-night tapas on the main square
down in the Plaza Mayor. Let your energy subside a bit and relax
into an ambience far removed from the hustle and bustle of typical
modern Spanish cities.
The Parador Trujillo is well-located for walking into the main part of the
old town. It is a reconstructed 16th century convent, and like the
town itself – is a peaceful slice out of history.
Jarandilla de la Vera:
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V lived here in the Parador building for a few months before retiring to live out his remaining
time at the Monastery at Yuste (which is
close to Jarandilla and makes a nice
visit). The town is surrounded by very fertile country that is
crisscrossed by streams, and waterfalls ("gargantas") are abundant.
Explore over to the Jerte valley – there are a couple of scenic (if
not harrowing!) roads that cross over, or you can drive around through
Placensia where you will stay tomorrow.
The quaint village of Jarandilla is small and
can be readily explored in a couple of hours.
The Parador Jarandilla De La Vera is a fortified palace built in the 15th century.
It is a tranquil place and you will very much enjoy you stay here away
from the usual tourist crowds.
Plasencia is the main city in the La Vera
district. A typical Extremaduran town – it has a wonderful
main plaza. Sit down at one of the many outdoor tables and wait and
watch the giant elf (?) in the main clock tower strike the bell to mark
each half hour. A "cuckoo clock" on the grandest of scales!
There is a lively Tuesday market held here in the plaza – as it has been continuously
since the 12th century!
The old town has a worn, yet comfortable feel. Stroll and take
it in slowly – as the locals do each evening – you’re beginning to get a
taste of the Estremeño style of living.
The Parador Plasencia is spectacular.
A former convent, its architecture is in a Gothic style inside and out.
It was only recently restored to an incredible level of quality. It
has a provisional 5-star rating and you’ll find yourself in the lap of
luxury. The Parador is perfectly located a short walk from the main
The appearance of the old town has changed
little in the last 600 years. It has been called the "most impressive
concentration of medieval stonemasonry in Europe."
Don’t leave your
centrally-located Parador without a camera – you would regret it in this
most photogenic of cities. Strolling the monumental quarter without a
timetable or guidebook makes for a most pleasing and relaxing experience.
Duck into a cozy cafe now and then to have a drink and converse with the
You can walk over to the western wall and pass through one of the old
gates and go down some rather steep steps to the Plaza Major. From
there several interesting "shopping" streets fan off into the lower
The Parador Caceres is housed in the former
Torreorgaz palace. The rooms
offer more than adequate accommodations, the service is outstanding, and
the restaurant serves exceptional meals. Dining outside in the patio on
a warm night will make your meal most memorable.
Madrid is hands-down winner of the title, "Europe’s Liveliest City."
Madrilenos don’t really get their day into high gear until after
dinnertime – and dinner usually starts around 10:00 p.m.! Then
they flood their beloved city’s streets and "pasear" (stroll around) or
"tapear" (hop from tapa bar to tapa bar) until dawn.
Some speak of Madrid as being drab, but how far from the truth that
is! Granted it suffers, as do many of the world’s major cities,
from urban sprawl – but once you get past the concrete jungle outskirts,
you’ll discover a city that provides
endless surprises and discoveries.
There are many pockets of very old buildings that contain odd
assortments of shops, tiendas and bars. You’ll happen upon
eighteenth-century Bourbon squares, pleasant plazas and quaint
restaurants at every other turn.
Must Sees: The Prado
museum – the Reina Sofía and
the Plaza Mayor, the Retiro Park,
Gran Via – and
the list could go on and on.
But really – the thing that makes Madrid so special are the street
scenes, the people and the energy that makes this the night-time,
high-energy capital of Europe.
Package Price includes:
– All Paradors and hotels
– Car rental for all days except last two in Madrid
Contact us for current price for your dates.
Adios Travel Services will take care of arranging every aspect of this special
journey for you. The "Secret of Spain" travel experience will not fail to live up to
its name. You’ll have the travel experience of a lifetime visiting
historically important and unique cities and areas of Spain that are off the
beaten path. The Paradors at which you will stay
will provide the very highest quality of accommodations throughout your stay.
Contact us today
and begin planning your
vacation to the "Secret of Spain."
* Visit our hotel pages * Parador Hotels
(Spain Parador information provided courtesy of SpainParador.com)