Extremadura
Extremadura is an autonomous region of two provinces, namely Cáceres and Badajoz. Extremadura is located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula and borders to the north to Castilla and León; in the east to Castilla-La Mancha; in the south to Andalusia; and in the west to Portugal.

Most of Extremadura consists of a vast plain, with an average altitude of 350 meters. Scattered over the area are three mountain formations. The best known is the Gredos, which lies in the north. These are high mountains that sometimes exceed 2,000 meters and contain deep ravines. The highest peak of this area is the Calvitero, with a height of 2,425 meters. The second mountain formation is called the Central Mountains, the highest point,1,601 meters, lies in Las Villuercas. The third mountain area, in the south, belongs to the Sierra Morena. The highest peak is the Tentudia with 1,140 meters. The main valleys are those of the rivers Jerte, Tiétar, La Vera and Las Hurdes, and the Valley of Ambroz.
Two major river basins in Extremadura collect the water of most other rivers in this autonomous region. These are the Tagus, which runs through the province of Cáceres and enters Portugal, and the Guadiana, which flows through almost the whole province of Badajoz, and functions as a natural border with Portugal. With the exception of the beautiful Rio Almonte, the great rivers of Extremadura have reservoirs. 

Extremadura covers more than 4 million hectares and has a population of around 1,1 million. Lot of space - shared by few inhabitants. Mérida is the capital city with just over 60,000 inhabitants. Badajoz is the biggest city with about 150,000 inhabitants.

Rio Tagus in Monfragüe
Dehesa with Holm Oaks, Logrosán
White Storks everywhere
© Stijn Smits

Nature

Extremadura is famous for its nature. 30% of the total surface area is protected. Thanks to the huge estates (fincas), with vast and almost untouched dehesas with Holm oak and Cork oak, rugged mountains, plants and animals have much more space at their disposition.
Extremadura is a paradise for migratory birds. Every year some 75,000 Cranes, which represent about 70% of the Western European population, spend winter in Extremadura. Breeding birds include Vultures, Raptors, Owls (e.g. Eagle Owls) and huge numbers of warblers.  In the vicinity of the rivers you can find plenty of otters, reptiles and amphibians.
An encounter with a badger, mongoose or genet is certainly possible. The insect world is enormous. After a wet season there is an explosion of color, with a huge variety of plants and flowers. Famous natural parks are Sierra de Gredos, National Park of Monfragüe and the unspoiled Geoparque Las Villuercas.

Cork oak just after peeling
Climate

Extremadura has a continental climate that is mitigated by the mild and humid winds coming from the Atlantic Ocean.
Summers are very dry and warm. Rainfall is scarce and is concentrated in early spring and late autumn. Generally it rains more in the west of Extremadura than in the rest of the region. In winter it is cold in the mountains and in the north snow can fall.

History

Extremadura was part of the Roman conquest and Mérida was one of the major cities of the Roman Empire.
Many conquistadors such as Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Pedro de Alvarado and Pedro de Valdivia came from Extremadura. You will recognise many place names from the region of Extremadura in North and South America. Mérida is the capital of Extremadura, but there are also important cities with the same name in Mexico and Venezuela; Trujillo is a small town in Extremadura, but also the name of a major city in Peru, founded by Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador of Peru.

Mijn La Serena

World Heritage List

Extremadura has 4 monuments on the World Heritage List of UNESCO: