Cáceres is a homogeneous historical city, with pedestrian streets and monumental houses from the 16th century. It is also a cultural and artistic center. There are many galleries, museums, and historical sites in the city. It is a great place to visit if you like art, architecture and history. In this article we are going to show you the best of Cáceres, the most modern skyline of the 16th century. The city is in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Spain. In addition to having the third best historical complex in Europe, after Prague and Tallinn.
What to expect from Cáceres
A walk through the center of Cáceres is an authentic trip to the period of the Spanish conquest of America. At that time, many conquerors came from the Extremadura region and made the silver flow from America to Cáceres. Such was the wealth and business opportunities that the conquest brought to this area, previously depressed, that as if it were an ancient Dubai, a lot of buldings were built at the same time. Hence, consequently the monumental heritage of Cáceres has such value as a whole.
Cáceres has been popular since ancient times by scholars and poets. That includes some renowned names from the golden age of Spanish literature such as Guzmán de Ávila or Juan mostaza. Walking through its streets is idyllic and evocative. Little more than a morning or an afternoon you may need to visit the old area. From church to church and from house to house you can discover at a relaxed pace an endless number of Renaissance buildings. And a multitude of exquisite angles to capture the best skyline of the 16th century.
The city also has a university that is considered one of the ten best in Spain. This makes Cáceres an educational and artistic center. A must for anyone interested in history or architecture. There are also several theaters in Cáceres that regularly present plays, music concerts and literary events.
The best of Cáceres
This is the heart of the city and is a central meeting point for locals and tourists. The Plaza Mayor de Cáceres was built in 1610 and its architecture reflects Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles. It stands on top of a previous market, which had been destroyed by fire in 1586. The original market had been built by order of Queen Elizabeth I in 1492 to provide food for her troops during her campaign against the Arabs and remained as a permanent market after of his victory in Granada in 1492.
The architecture reflects the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles with its three levels. The ground floor with arcades. The first floor with galleries on Tuscan columns. And the second floor with traditional Extremaduran balconies. It is a real pleasure to have a drink on its terraces while watching tourists go by in the perfect setting.
“Bujaco” is a variant of the Arabic Abu Yaaqub, the name of the caliph whose army conquered Cáceres in 1173 after a six-month siege. The tower was the last bastion defended by the Christian knights and became the place of execution for the survivors of the siege.
In addition to its historical importance -it was built by the Almohads in the 12th century on foundations of Roman ashlars-, the Torre de Bujaco is today one of the best viewpoints in the monumental city of Cáceres. Do not hesitate to climb to the top, from where the view is incredible. In its interpretation center you will learn more about the history of Cáceres, especially the Roman, Arab and medieval. As of 2020, the visit to the Bujaco Tower is completed with Roman remains (between baths and paths) found in the courtyard of the Mayoralgo Palace.
Arco de la Estrella
It is located next to the Torre de Bujaco and was inaugurated on the same site in the 15th century. The current shape of the door is due to a transformation carried out in 1726 by Manuel de Lara Churriguera. The owner of the palace next to the Bujaco tower wanted easy access to his palace by horse-drawn carriage. To do this, he asked the council to tear down the old door and open a new one at an angle. So that you can easily turn left when entering from the outside.
Plaza de Santa María de Cáceres
The Plaza de Santa María Cáceres is a beautiful square in the city of Cáceres. It is a popular tourist destination in the city, almost since the 16th century. The history of the square dates back to 1436 when it was used for bullfights and other events, but now it is mainly used as a place for recreation and leisure. It is the authentic epicenter of the old town of Cáceres.
Concatedral de Santa María de Cáceres
The Co-Cathedral of Santa María de Cáceres is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Cáceres. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and Santiago. The Co-Cathedral is located on the site of a previous church from the 12th century that Alfonso VIII built as penance for his sins.
The current building dates backto 1364 and was completed in 1538 with various modifications made over time. It is one of the best examples of late Gothic in Spain and was declared a national monument in 1909. The cathedral has four naves with three chapels on each side. The main chapel has a Baroque altarpiece (sculptural piece) depicting scenes from the life of Christ, while other chapels have altarpieces from different periods, including one from the 18th century by Juan de Ávalos.
The views from the tower are impressive. Surely the best thing to see in Cáceres.
Palacio de Carvajal
It dates back to the 15th-16th centuries but they rebuilt it after a fire in the 19th century, the Carvajal Palace is one of the most emblematic palaces in the historic center of Cáceres. Be sure to visit its patio and garden with its giant fig tree that was the scene of the Isabel series.
The 12th century tower is the oldest architectural element and the views from it are one of the best things to see in Cáceres. The frescoes in the chapel at the base of the tower and the rooms of the palace are also very interesting. The Palacio de Carvajal is the headquarters of the Cáceres Provincial Tourist Office.
Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo
The Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo is the largest and most recent of the palaces in Cáceres. As for palaces, the Palacio de los Golfines de Abajo is the largest palace in the historic center of Cáceres. Its Gothic, Renaissance and Plateresque façade -with the family coat of arms and the coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs reminding us that they lived here when they visited Cáceres in 1480- is most beautiful in appearance. Also, be sure to visit its terrace and, if you have time, sign up for one of the guided tours to discover its interior.
This palace is currently owned by the Cáceres City Council, which acquired it from its last private owners in 2004.
Palacio Episcopal de Cáceres
The Episcopal Palace of Cáceres is one of the most important buildings in the city. It was built in the 18th century and was used as the residence of the bishops of Cáceres. It is a mixture of different architectural styles, from Gothic to Renaissance with influences from Islamic art. The palace has a unique design that you will not find anywhere else in Spain. It is also worth noting the interior decoration, with beautiful paintings and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Iglesia de San Francisco Javier
The Church of San Francisco Javier, also known as the Church of the Precious Blood, is a Baroque-style Jesuit temple built in the 18th century. It is worth visiting the church and climbing its two towers to contemplate the views.
Beneath the church we find the crypt of the Precious Blood, which is then accessible from the square. It was rediscovered during excavations, which also produced a miracle: the Pool of the Precious Blood. A huge baroque cistern, 9 meters high and with a capacity of 1,800,000 liters, built by the Jesuits in the 18th century. Both spaces are accessible through the Cacereña Holy Week Interpretation Center.
The Palacio de las Veletas has the best preserved Hispano-Muslim cistern in Spain. Possibly even the second best preserved in the world after the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. The Palacio de las Veletas is on top of the Almohad military castle. The cistern continues today to collect the rainwater that falls on the Renaissance terraces that cover it.
The door in the wall that gives access to the old Jewish quarter is Puerta del Río or Arco del Cristo. It is the only one of the four that still standing from Roman times: it dates from the 1st century AD.
Cáceres is one of the Spanish cities that has witnessed the flowering of three cultures. The Christian and the Arab that we have already mentioned, but also the Jewish culture. In fact, one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the monumental city is the old Jewish quarter. It is located to the East, bordered by the old wall. There we find steep slopes -also known as Quebrada neighborhoods-, narrow and irregular streets and low houses with whitewashed walls. The most photogenic is the blue door at number 16, Calle Barrio de San Antonio. As an anecdote, it must be said that the convent of San Antonio was built on top of an old synagogue.
Torre de los Espaderos
The Tower of the Swordsmen is also known as the “Tower of the Stone Throwers”. It was built in the 16th century and is one of the surviving buildings from that period. It was built to commemorate a victory during the Reconquista. The tower stands on a hill overlooking Cáceres and served as a military post for surveillance and defense against possible invasions.
Puerta de Coria
The Puerta de Coria de Cáceres is a Moorish-style gate located in the city of Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain. The King Alfonso VIII ordered to build the Castile in 1213. It has been a symbol of the reconquest together with the Torre de los Espaderos. And it has become one of the symbols of the city. The gate is located at one end of an old Roman road that crossed Extremadura from north to south and served as a toll for travelers.
The most distinctive feature of the door is its horseshoe arch, which is made up of three semicircular arches that are decorated with Arabic inscriptions and geometric motifs. The Puerta de Coria de Cáceres is officially a National Monument. And today it is one of the most visited places in Extremadura.
Arco de España
The Arch of Spain was built by King Felipe II as a symbol of his power over Portugal. It was built in 1566 after Portugal became part of the Spanish Empire. The arch is located on top of the Cerro de San Cristóbal. From there you can see the old town from a height of about 500 meters.
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Useful information about Caceres
Best time to visit Cáceres
What is the best time to go to Cáceres?
The city has a pleasant climate, with an average annual temperature of 19°C. However, the best time to go to Cáceres is during the less extreme seasons, such as spring and autumn.
How to get to Caceres
How can I get to Cáceres by bus?
To get to Cáceres by bus there are several departures to Cáceres from the South Station of Madrid. The companies Auto-Res and ALSA offer express service and stops along the way. The trip takes between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the service chosen. These same companies, which connect Lisbon and Cáceres, offer this tour 3 times a day, lasting 5 hours and 15 minutes.
How to get to Cáceres by train?
Several Renfe trains leave every day from Madrid’s Atocha station to Cáceres. After 3 hours and 50 minutes, you will arrive at the Cáceres Station, 2 kilometers from the Plaza Mayor. From there you can take the city line 1 or 4, or take a taxi when leaving the station.
How to get to Cáceres by car?
To get to Cáceres by car from the north or south of Spain, the most common route is the A-66. This road is known as the Autovía de la Plata and goes from Gijón to Seville passing through Cáceres. But from Madrid it is better to take the A-5 to Trujillo and from there take the A-58 to connect with Cáceres, through this highway you can enter the city from Lisbon. If you want to get to Cáceres from the east or west, you must use the N521 road, which also connects to Portugal.
Parking in Cáceres
Where to park in Cáceres?
In Cáceres, you can park your car in any of the available car parks. But if you want to save a few euros, the best thing to do is to use the free outdoor parking in Parque del Príncipe.
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