On our EuroVelo 1 Route over some 70 kilometres we gradually leave behind the Montánchez–Tamuja district. We have been pedalling for some 10 km and we cross the village of Valdesalor which is located alongside a wetland of the same name. It is a Special Bird Protection Area (Zona de Especial Protección para Aves, ZEPA) in common with the Aldea del Cano Reservoir a little further on. On winter nights both lagoons are large roosting sites for cranes, which make a fine sight for bird lovers. On this section several constructions seem to watch over our route from low hills such as the Castle of Arguijuelas de Arriba, the Castle of Arguijuelas de Abajo, and the Castle of Garabato; we can find remains of Roman villas and even anthropomorphic tombs.
We come to the village of Casas de Don Antonio where a Roman bridge over the River Ayuela survives. We continue to make progress and about halfway along the route we can a detour to reach Alcuéscar. The most interesting feature of this town is the Basílica de Santa Lucía del Trampal, a magnificent example of Hispanic-Visigothic architecture that is unique in the south of Extremadura.
The landscape becomes richer as we approach a protected space, the Cornalvo Nature Reserve, which takes its name from that of a small reservoir, the oldest in Spain and possibly in Europe, which supplied the Roman city of Emerita Augusta. We pedal through the geographical centre of Extremadura and come to the small village of Aljucén, which is already in the province of Badajoz, and after crossing Mirandilla we arrive in Mérida leaving the Proserpina Reservoir to one side. If it is hot, this is a good place to freshen up before getting to know the city. Mérida surprises us with one of the most important Roman ensembles in Europe, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Its splendour of that period is reflected by magnificent buildings such as the amphitheatre, the circus, temples, houses, thermal baths, bridges, aqueducts, and its theatre, which has been preserved in exceptional condition and which nowadays again puts on theatre performances. If you come in summer this is one of the greatest pleasures awaiting you: sitting on its terracing and seeing a play during its International Classical Theatre Festival.