Located in west-central Spain, bordering Andalucía to the south and Portugal to the west, Extremadura is a hot, dry region susceptible to droughts. It consists of two provinces, Cáceres and Badajoz. Extremadura is very sparsely populated: The largest city, Badajoz, is home to less than 150,000 people and the population of the entire region is barely one million.
Extremadura has a long history. It was home to various tribes before the arrival of the Romans, under whom it formed part of the Lusitania province along with parts of Portugal. It was conquered by the Moors, and there are some interesting remnants of this time in the area, such as forts and castles. During the conquest of the Americas, a very high percentage of the conquistadores, including Hernán Cortés and the Pizarro brothers, were from Extremadura.
Extremadura is a very old, traditional region of Spain. Although Castilian Spanish is the official language, a handful of Portuguese-like regional dialects survive in remote small towns. Most visitors pass through Extremadura without giving it much thought, but there are things to see and do here. The older parts of the city of Cáceres date from the Middle Ages and renaissance, and the city is a UNESCO world heritage site. Mérida has a Roman Theater that is still in good enough shape to put on productions, and many other interesting historical buildings. Don’t miss the walled city of Plascencia. The breathtaking monastery of Guadalupe is one of Spain’s most important religious buildings.