Spot­light On: Cáceres, a Span­ish charmer

Eight rea­sons to make this me­dieval cit y in the heart of Spain your next short break

Lonely Planet (UK) - - News -

Long beloved of Madrileños seek­ing an es­cape from the big city, Cáceres has pre­vi­ously gar­nered lit­tle at­ten­tion out­side the Ibe­rian penin­sula. How­ever, its re­cent ap­pear­ance in a hit TV show, and a restau­rant scene ever on the up means its Unesco -listed Old Town won’t re­main crowd-free for long. Phe­nom­e­nally hot dur­ing the sum­mer months, Cáceres cools to more strol­lable tem­per­a­tures in the win­ter – per­fect for wan­der­ing its nar­row, cob­bled lanes past palaces, man­sions and churches with leer­ing gar­goyles. Though it is end­lessly pleas­ing vis­ually, and pep­pered with in­trigu­ing mu­se­ums, the high­light here is the food – this is one of the homes of jamón ibérico, and no day should pass with­out par­tak­ing in a plate­ful. Find out more at tur­is­moex­tremadura.com. Cáceres is a three-hour drive or a four-hour train ride from Madrid, ac­ces­si­ble from var­i­ous UK air­ports (from £85; ryanair.com) It has an un­su­ally high pro­por­tion of chur­re­rias – one for ev­ery 4,000 in­hab­i­tants. The deep-fried dough­nut sticks, dusted with su­gar and served with thick hot choco­late, are the break­fast of choice for lo­cals. The Chur­ros Fac­tory is a favoured spot, and a good place to try the other start-the­day sta­ple, pan con to­mate (bread with tomato). Calle Donoso Cortés 25 You can take a tour through the his­tory of Ap­ple tech Some­what in­ex­pli­ca­bly, the city is home to the off­beat Ap­ple Mu­seum, which dis­plays the com­pany’s en­tire back cat­a­logue and other relics of com­put­ing. Fun, ex­pert-led guided tours en­cour­age guests to have a go at us­ing the 170 -strong col­lec­tion. £5; museoap­ple.com You can stay in a pad that looks like it be­longs in Miami... but is hard by the Old Town. La Tierra Roja’s four apart­ments look much more ex­pen­sive than they are: bright white rooms fea­ture colour­ful fab­rics, be­spoke mo­saics and taste­ful an­tique fur­ni­ture, while walls are dec­o­rated with bird mu­rals and vin­tage posters. Each space has a small kitch­enette, and two have pri­vate pa­tios. From £68; latier­raroja.com

It feels like you’re on the set of Game of Thrones – and that’s be­cause you are. If the streets of Cáceres look oddly fa­mil­iar it’s prob­a­bly be­cause you know them bet­ter as the fic­tional Game of Thrones city of King’s Land­ing. Sev­eral Old Town lo­ca­tions fea­ture in the pop­u­lar se­ries, in­clud­ing the me­dieval Torre de Bu­jaco and the shad­owy Plaza de Santa Maria. En­ter the walled Mon­u­men­tal City through the Arco de la Estrella (Star Arch) and ex­plore on foot. High­lights in­clude a tour of the Pala­cio de los Golfines de Abajo, former home of one of the city’s most prom­i­nent fam­i­lies, and the hid­den Ul­loa Gar­den, off Plaza San Jorge. Fin­ish up with a drink in the pretty court­yard of his­toric ho­tel Parador de Cáceres. pala­cio­golfines­de­abajo.com; parador.es You can try some of Spain’s most mem­o­rable dishes Cáceres sits squarely within prime Ex­tremadu­ran farm coun­try. Head to the vaulted din­ing room of old-school El Figon De Eus­taquio to try tra­di­tional dishes like mi­gas (pic­tured): pa­prika-laced bread­crumbs fried with pep­pers, chorizo, and gar­lic. Next, call in at top char­cutería Gabriel Mostazo for slices of the re­gion’s finest jamón ibérico – get some vac­uum-packed to take home. elfigondeeustaquio.com; mostazo.es Join the lo­cals for a G&T at sun­down Do as most Cac­ereños and Cac­ereñas do, and head for the beau­ti­ful Plaza Mayor to en­joy the day’s last rays. Un­der a se­ries of stone ar­cades around the square, there’s a run of bar-restau­rants with ta­bles well-placed for peo­ple - watch­ing (tr y El Pato, pic­tured). Ask for your drink to be made with a Span­ish gin such as Lar­ios or Xoriguer Ma­hon; it’ll in­vari­ably be ser ved in a glass the size of a small fish bowl, with a free bowl of salty crisps, or kikos: deep -fried corn ker­nels. You can climb to the top of a Je­suit church for sweep­ing city views Be­hind the Baroque façade of 18th - cen­tur y Igle­sia de San Fran­cisco Javier is a wind­ing spi­ral stair­case – climb to the belfr y at the top for a knock­out view of the city. It’s a par­tic­u­larly lovely spot at sun­set, when the sky starts to blend with the abun­dant ter­ra­cotta rooftops. £1 en­try; Plaza de San Jorge You can have din­ner with a pea­cock... in an ivy- cloaked court­yard. Tapería Torre de Sande’s gar­den is an im­pos­si­bly ro­man­tic din­ner lo­ca­tion. Over­looked by a tower cov­ered in creep­ers, it’s also home to a mighty pea­cock. The food is equally im­pres­sive, show­cas­ing an ar­ray of fine re­gional in­gre­di­ents in some in­ven­tive dishes.Par­tic­u­larly lovely is the salmorejo, a thick, cold tomato soup that’s far more de­li­cious than it sounds. castil­lode­laar­guijuela.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.