Walking and wildlife holidays in Extremadura
- Capital: Merida
- Area: 41,602 km²
- Provinces 2: Cáceres, Badajoz
One of Spain’s most sparsely populated regions which makes it a wonderful area to study the nature and visit the Natural parks in Extremadura.
The landscape is shaped by the mountain ranges of the Cordillera Central, Montes de Toledo and the Sierra Morena (which is on its southern border with Andalucia). Fertile plains surround the large bodies of water supplied by the Tajo river in Caceres and the Guadiana in the low lands of Badajoz.
White storks have a massive population in this area, with possibly around 11,000 individuals. Their huge nests can be seen perched around church steeples, roofs and atop telegraph poles. Other birds for which Extremadura is well known are the Great and Little Bustards which live on the extensive plains.
Extremadura has a newly upgraded park, the National Park of Monfragüe. The valleys of its two rivers are important ecological reserves and are excellent areas to observe many raptors. It is one of the best areas to see Black vultures, Black storks and Imperial eagles.
Dehesas are farms that blend a mixture of agriculture, raising livestock, set aside and tree plantations. Large oak trees are widely spaced, these may have grazing animals, crops beneath or just be rested meadow land. This combination offers an ideal habitat for many wild birds, wild flowers and creatures such as the large Oscillated lizard. The acorns supply a food source for Cerdo Iberico (black Iberian pig).
This region comprises of two provinces, Caceres and Badajoz, its capital nevertheless being Merida. The capital is certainly worth a visit to view its fantastic Roman ruins. Romans put Extremadura on the stage of history, and Merida was one of the most important cities in the whole Roman Empire. Later on the region was, for a long period of time, the border between Moorish and Christian Spain.
After the reconquista it was brought into a new era of splendor with the discovery of America, when it was the cradle of several famous conquerors
The capital, Mérida, is known for Roman ruins of Augusta Emerita, including the Teatro Romano, Circo Romano, aqueducts and a bridge over the Guadiana River.
Extremadura has two Natural Parks and one National Park.
1 Tajo international Natural Park The Tajo International natural park is a relatively recently registered park in Extremadura which was initially partly covered by an area of special protection for birds ZEPA in 2000.
2 Monfragüe National Park The area of Monfragüe National Park is noted for its importance as a breeding area for a selection of rare and protected birds, Black vulture, Black stork, Imperial eagle and Bonelli’s eagle. Add to that the worlds most endangered wild cat, the Lynx which also resides here and one can see why it was upgraded from a natural to a national park.
3 Cornalvo and the Sierra Bermeja Natural Park Consists mainly of oak dehesas, (open oak woodland rotated with pasture and cereal crops) on rolling hills with the small mountain ranges of the Sierra del Moro and Sierra Bermeja on the western flank. The highest point is “Pico Terrero” at 546 m above sea level.
Other interesting areas
The dehesas of Extremadura The region of Extremadura is about the same size as Switzerland and is made up of two large, sparsely-populated provinces – Cáceres and Badajoz. Passing through Extremadura you may well encounter areas containing splendid oak trees. They appear at first glance to be a natural landscape with majestic trees scattered over rolling hills, but in fact they are carefully cultivated and managed. This is the dehesa of Extremadura.
Hotels close to Monfragüe National Park
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