Section 20 - Extremadura

Baños de Montemayor - Galisteo - 79Km

Leaving behind the province of Salamanca and the village of Puerto de Béjar, we start the first EuroVelo 1 stage in Extremadura. The route runs through beautiful landscapes and via the Greenway to Baños de Montemayor. This village gives the cyclist the opportunity to relax in its well-known spa, in which he/she can not only enjoy its thermal springs but also travel back in time by visiting its springs of Roman origin.

The second point of interest on the stage, at kilometre 10, is the town of Hervás. Has one of the best Jewish quarters of the Iberian Peninsula with a magnificent network of alleyways and traditional architecture.

If you have the time and inclination, you can take a break from the main route to ascend the Puerto de Honduras through exuberant woodland of chestnut trees. It is snow-covered in winter and marks the dividing line with the neighbouring valley of the Jerte, which is known the world over for its cherry trees.

Our gentle downhill pedalling now takes us to Aldeanueva del Camino at an altitude of 530 metres. From this point on we are entering the Cáparra-Tierras de Granadilla district. Now it is the pasturelands or dehesas which accompany us on the route which soon take us to one of the most attractive points of this stage: the former Roman city of Cáparra. Discover this ancient city, which has little by little revealed its streets and buildings and its Quadriffons arch which is unique in Spain. In addition, nowadays it is one of the satellite stages of the Mérida Classical Theatre Festival.

We continue towards the south along the N-630 to Oliva de Plasencia and a little further on, if we want to go some 8 km off the EuroVelo 1 Route, we can visit Plasencia, the capital of the north of Extremadura. This majestic town with its noteworthy cathedral complex and interesting mansions is well worth a visit. In summer we can enjoy its green areas and its bathing area on the Jerte River, and if we arrive on a Tuesday we can shop at the famous market in the plaza.

About 30 kilometres from Plasencia lies the Monfragüe National Park and Biosphere Reserve, a notable stronghold of Mediterranean woodland and one of the most important sites for birdwatching, especially birds of prey. Moreover, in late February bird enthusiasts should not miss the International Fair of Ornithological Tourism (FIO).

The remainder of this first stage continues on local roads through Carcaboso and Aldehuela del Jerte until we arrive in Galisteo. The end of this first EuroVelo 1 section in Extremadura is this pretty village, which is noted for its well preserved Almohad walls of pebbles from the river.

 

 

Points of Interest

Heritage: 7
  • Roman baths of the 2nd century B.C. located beneath the current spa. This circular space is covered by a hemispherical vault in which four niches have been opened; it is a real treasure in a perfect state of preservation which reflects the importance of baths in the Roman era.

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  • One of the main spa resorts of Extremadura and one of the most modern in Europe. It has two springs of mineral water with medicinal properties that are particularly recommended for combating rheumatism and breathing problems. The history of Baños de Montemayor is closely linked to the quality of its waters; it has been declared an Excellent Thermal Town.

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  • Houses of wood and adobe crowd together in a labyrinth of steep streets and narrow passageways where the Hebrew community lived and where names such as Rabilero, Sinagoga, and Cofradía still survive. It is one of the best preserved in Spain and one of the distinguishing marks of a town which recreates its past every year at the festival of The Converted Jews.

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  • Remains of the former city of Cáparra, the second most important in Roman Lusitania after Mérida. It is of Vetton origin but during the domination of the Romans its strategic location on the Vía de la Plata route led to its becoming a Roman city during the reign of Vespasian. It retains a single arch in the form of a tetrapylon, meaning four gates, which is situated in the centre of the city on the Via de la Plata; this quadrifons arch is unique in Spain.

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  • These constitute one of the finest examples of Almohad architecture in the Iberian Peninsula. They were built of mortar and pebbles from the River Jerte and surround the town; they are 3 metres thick and up to 11 metres high. The walls have three gateways: the Puerta del Rey, Puerta de Santa María, and Puerta de la Villa.

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  • The Old Cathedral is a building of transition between the Romanesque and Gothic styles which currently houses a Cathedral Museum and was declared a National Monument in 1931. The New Cathedral is of Gothic-Renaissance style and is noted for its choir stalls of the Catholic Monarchs with unorthodox carved scenes criticising the bad habits of the ecclesiastical authorities of the time. According to legend the artist Rodrigo Alemán was locked up in one of the towers of the cathedral and there devised a contraption to escape from his prison on which he threw himself from the tower. Ever since then it has been said that the Icarus of Plasencia flies over the city.

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  • They surround the historic city centre and were built of masonry in the 12th century with a double defensive system of thick retaining walls and an outer barbican separated by a trench. The walls were strengthened with towers with a semicircular ground plan of which 20 survive and with 4 defensive towers built against the Citadel which no longer exists. The Torre de Lucía houses the Interpretation Centre of the medieval town of Plasencia.

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Nature: 2
  • It is worth going just over thirty kilometres off the route to get to know Monfragüe, a unique natural space which is at the same time a National Park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Set between wild sierras and the valleys of the Rivers Tajo and Tiétar, it is the most extensive and best preserved example of Mediterranean woodland in the world. It is a paradise for birdwatchers; as we pedal we will be accompanied by the flight of black storks; Egyptian, griffon, and black vultures; and imperial eagles, among other species.

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  • This is one of the most outstanding trees in Extremadura which is located in the municipality of Aldeanueva del Camino a couple of kilometres off our route. It is the largest cork oak in Extremadura with a height of over 20 metres, a trunk diameter at its base of 6.8 metres, and a crown diameter of 27.5 metres.

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Shops and cycling services: 7

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Comments: Section 20

Section 20

Baños de Montemayor - Galisteo - 79Km: 79

  • Elevation
  • Heritage
  • Nature
  • Shops and cycling services