If you have never heard of Cáceres or have no idea what to expect, keep reading. You will wonder why you haven’t added this UNESCO World Heritage Site to your bucket list sooner.
There are cave paintings from the Paleolithic Age, dating back 30.000 years, and remains of the Roman wall, towers and gates, that date back thousands of years. But it is its wonderfully preserved Medieval and Renaissance architecture that won Cáceres its place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
The old town of Cáceres is home to no more than a fistful of inhabitants. As you walk the streets of the walled city, it will feel like you’re walking around a film set after the crew have left. In fact, the old part of Cáceres has served as a shooting location for numerous films and series, the most famous one being Game of Thrones.
Euron Greyjoy leading his captives through the streets of King’s Landing. Photograph courtesy of @fangirlquest
Cáceres experienced two periods of prosperity. The first one started with the reconquest of the city by León, a Christian kingdom to the north of Cáceres. After several attempts by his predecessors, Alfonso IX of León finally managed to retake the city from the Arabs on 23rd of April, 1229, Saint George’s Day, today the patron of the city. Soon, noble families of León and Castille started to emigrate to Cáceres, building palaces, churches and convents, embellishing the façades with their coats of arms, and doing their best to outdo each other.
The city experienced a second wave of prosperity in the XV and XVI centuries, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs. The Monarchs visited the city on several occasions. During those visits, they ‘punished’ those families who opposed their unification of Spain by having the tops of their palace towers ‘cut off’, and put an end to continuous confrontations between the families of León and Castille.
Every corner has a building that tells of the city's past, and you will quickly notice that many façades feature several coats of arms, giving Cáceres its nickname as a ‘city of a thousand coats of arms’.
Today, Cáceres is a bustling city and a vibrant university town. The year is packed with lively events and festivals, and there is no shortage of restaurants where traditional Extremaduran and Spanish cuisine is reinvented in creative, innovative ways.
If you can, plan your holiday around these events:
1-3 February Fiesta de las Candelas y San Blas
March/April Holy Week processions and Easter celebrations
May WOMAD, Feria de San Fernando
November Medieval street market featuring 3 cultures (Christian, Arab and Jewish)
And don’t forget to ask us about our favourite restaurants in Cáceres.