Badajoz’s most iconic square is the Plaza Alta. It’s found next to the Espantaperros Tower, La Galera, and the Alcazaba in the historic part of the city.
This is a large, rectangular square lined by arches which support buildings decorated in traditional Mudéjar motifs in various colors. It’s amazing!
When the square’s bars set up terraces, it becomes an ideal place to sit down and have a drink. The Plaza Alta is connected with the Plaza of San José by the Peso de Colodrazgo Arch. In the Plaza de San José you can find the Puerta del Capitel (the access door to the Alcazaba), the Mudéjar Homes Museum, and the Convent of the Adoratrices.
Both squares were once the centre of Badajoz and hosted weekly markets.
The Alcazaba of Badajoz is found in the highest part of the city near the emblematic Plaza Alta and close to the Casas Mudéjares and the Convent of the Adoratrices.
The Alcazaba was built by the Almohads in the 12th century on the ruins a pre-existing structure from the 11th century. It’s free to the public and you enter via the Puerta del Capitel in the Plaza de San José, although there are other doors which are closed to the public (Alpéndiz, Carros, Yelbes, and the famous “Traitors’ Door”).
Besides serving as a defensive fort, it also housed most of the town’s population in the 16th century, which is why the castle has several palaces and mosques inside like the Condes de la Roca Palace, which is currently an Archaeology Museum. The castle grounds also contain a 19th century Military Hospital which is now used as headquarters of the Extremadura Regional Library System.
During your visit to the Alcazaba, you can stroll along the walls and see the different doors and towers, the most spectacular of which is the 30-meter tall octagonal Espantaperros Tower which leads to the La Galera building and its gardens.
The Alcazaba de Badajoz was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931.
El Puente de Palmas is located just opposite the Puerta de Palmas and the bastion of San Vicente. It is 600 meters long and 32 wide, and passes over the River Guadiana. The current dates back to the sixteenth century; given the river's tendency to flood, it has been rebuilt several times. It is built in the Herrera style, with blocks of granite masonry.
No, this isn't the Giralda in Seville, but a reproduction of it, albeit on a smaller scale. It is made from brick and stone, with decorative balconies. The tower is topped by an identical statue to the one in Seville. It stands in the heart of the city, opposite the Ermita de la Soledad, and close to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Cathedral. This building was built in 1930, commissioned by the industrialist Manuel Cancho Moreno for commercial use; today it is the headquarters of Telefonica. The architect who designed it was Adel Pinna.
This gate located in front of the Puente de Palmas on the Banks of Guadiana River near the Baluarte de San Vicente is the true symbol of Badajoz. It was once the most important entryway to the city and the former home of customs control. In the 19th century, it was a royal prison. It looks like an Arch of Triumph with two enormous circular towers on either side of the central body.
The arch has two different facades, one for each side. The exterior façade (the one that faces the river) has the imperial shield of Charles V and a commemorative inscription. The side that faces the square has a sort of terrace and a niche with the image of the Virgin. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful monument in all of Badajoz. The Tourist Information office of Badajoz is located on the ground floor of one of the towers.
The Cathedral of Badajoz is located in Plaza de España (next to the Town Hall), although the tourist entrance is on Calle San Blas.
The building has a relatively modern look even though it was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. It has an annex on one side which is the Co-Cathedral of Santa María, built in the 16th century on the remains of a previous church dating back to the 14th century. It has several notable altars.
What struck my attention most about the outside was the tower on the left of the building and the entrance with the staircase. The entire façade is done in the Classical style in light-colored stone and is pretty austere as far as decoration goes.
It was designed in the shape of a Latin cross, with three halls supported by columns and arches. It also has three doors: the oldest is the San Blas door (16th century) which got its name from the image of the saint on the pediment. The second door is that of Cordero (17th century) which is made of white marble and carries the emblem of the church: a lamb and a cross. Finally, there’s the door of Perdón, which is the prettiest. It’s made of marble and is flanked by Ionic columns and is topped by an image of St. John the Baptist.
The interior houses an impressive Baroque altar created by Ginés López. It has Solomonic columns which line a polychrome image of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of this cathedral. Underneath it, there is an image of the Virgin as well as other tapestries and paintings. I should also point out the forged iron railings of the chapel and the choir area.
You should also visit the crypt, sacristy, and 16th century cloister. There’s also a Cathedral Museum in the interior that has some 16th century tablets by Luis Morales, objects made of alabaster and ivory, gems, and gold. It was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931.
This theatre is located in Plaza Minayo, in the centre of Badajoz, directly across from the Provincial Hospital of San Sebastian and the Church of San Juan Bautista. On one side of the theatre is the Plaza de San Francisco. This is home to all that the city has to offer in terms of culture, especially performances of theatre, dance, music and film. In late October a 3-week festival theatre takes place. It has capacity for 800 spectators. The box office hours are: 12 to 14 and from 18 to 21 h.
The most famous and important tower of the Alcazaba de Badajoz is the Atalaya Tower, known locally as the Espantaperros (“Marvel”) Tower.
It was declared a Historic Monument by the Spanish state. The adobe construction was built by the Almohads in the 12th century although an area for the bell was added in the 16th century. It has an octagonal base and measures 30-meters high.
It’s possible to hire a guided visit on weekend and this allows you the chance to explore the inside of the tower and go up to the top. As a piece of trivia, it’s said that this tower served as the model for the Golden Tower in Seville. It was once used to protect the community of La Galera which is found to the left of the tower.
These homes, located in the historical centre of Badajoz in front of the Citadel and the convent, are said to be the oldest houses in the city, built between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. They are in the Plaza de San Jose, where little markets were held in the medieval period. Two houses with white façades fronted by a portico of horseshoe arches made of brick resting on stone columns. They are a perfect example of the architecture of their period, and can be visited inside. Hours are: -Mornings: Monday to Friday from 10am to 14pm -Afternoons: Autumn 17 to 19h, 16:30 to 6:30 p.m. winter, summer 18 to 20h.
Castelar Park is one of the most popular parks in Badajoz; I have so many happy childhood memories here. Ir is located next to the Hotel Zurbaran, and is close to Puerta Palmas, the old bridge, and the River Guadiana. The park has changed over the years, having been renovated twelve or thirteen times, but it's still very attractive to children, with a small pond in the middle where there are ducks. In addition, you can see doves, pigeons and swans, so kids often come here to feed the birds.
In the area there is a lot of traffic, but the park is surrounded by a low wall, making it an ideal place for children to play safely. In addition to the birds, there is a small playground with swings, slides ... it's not very big, but it's perfectly pleasant. There are very large trees here, with immense palms with trunks so thin they seem almost broken in half. You can enjoy good weather here, sitting on a bench. There's a small bar with a terrace right next to the kids' play area. During wedding season, it's very common to see couples here taking their official photos.
This hermitage is located in the historical center of Badajoz, in front of La Giralda, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Cathedral. It is the most visited church in the city, as it houses the image of their patron saint, the Virgen de la Soledad. If you go inside, you can see a number of interesting works such as polychrome carvings of two Christs, as well as a collection of pieces of embroidery. In the neo-Byzantine upper chapel, there's a replica of the living room of the palace of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The chapel was constructed in 1930, following plans by the architect Martin Corral, to replace the old one, which once stood just opposite this site, where today you can see the House of the Brotherhood of Solitude.
This monument is located in the Plaza of December 18, just in front of the Bastion and the Porte de la Trinidad. It was erected in commemoration of the dead in the battle against the English troops of Lord Wellington. It is a garden complex, with the remains of walls at the back and a stone sculpture in the middle, representing a naked soldier who is being helped by another and, behind them, a huge cross. Surrounding the monument are several bronze sculptures of the evangelists, which served as models for the ones in the Basilica del Valle de los Caidos.
We've always enjoyed the thrill-rush of huge water parks, but we didn't know if there were any in Extremadura. However, we found Lusiberia, a family amusement park, with the best and biggest water play facilities in the region, as well as event management (birthday parties, presentations, business lunches, etc). An ideal spot for a day of summer fun with the kids. Upon arrival, we were struck by the Roman-style decor, with huge columns and miniature sculptures of some of the most important monuments in Extremadura.
At the entrance we found a go-kart track, trampolines, and a lake where you can take a small boat for a little circuit. But first, we wanted to try the huge slides here, which are amazing ... you feel like you're almost in free fall as you rush through the dark corners into the water. After laughing and splashing for some hours, we built up quite an appetite, and went to sit on one of the park's terraces and have some food. You can relax on the lake with a yellow float after lunch; you can get one for free if you queue, or if you want to jump the line, you can rent one for 2 €.
There wasn't a huge number of visitors, so we never had to wait too long to enjoy any of the attractions. In the wave pool, we had a great time swimming, splashing about and dancing to the rhythm of the music with a group of more than 20 people. It was amazing to lose all our inhibitions with the crowd and just have some fun! The price of admission is similar to other water parks in Spain (19 € for adults, lower for children), but it's worth it to go once a year and just have a great time.
In the central Plaza España, opposite the statue dedicated to Luis Morales and the rear facade of Badajoz Cathedral, the Town Hall is a classical palace of the eighteenth century. The facade can't help but catch the eye, with arches by the entrance, and Tuscan columns on the top floor. The upper body is topped with a balustrade and wrought iron pinnacle housed inside a bell, under which lies the town clock.
Inside the enclosure forming the walls of the Bastion of San Jose, just in front of the Altar of Solitude, are stairs that lead directly to an open-air auditorium dedicated to Ricardo Carapeto, Vice Provincial and Provincial Council Mayor of Badajoz between 1954 and 1961. It is a Roman-style auditorium, with some marble columns on the stage and tiered circular seating. Performances, concerts and shows take place here.
Under the Espantaperros Tower, and beside the Alcazaba and Plaza Alta is this sixteenth-century building, which has had many different and curious uses throughout its history (women's prison, town hall, warehouse, hospice, school, archaeological museum. ..). The facade has several shields and crests, and inside is a large vaulted room with archers and columns from which you can access the inside of the Espantaperros Tower. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens in which various archaeological remains are displayed for visitors. This exhibition is open Monday to Saturdays from 10:30 to 14h and 16 to 18h, and Sundays from 11 to 13:30 and 16:30 to 19h.
This is one of the most beautiful churches in Badajoz, both for its setting and its spaciousness. It is in the centre of the city, in Plaza Minayo, opposite the Teatro Lopez de Ayala and the old Provincial Hospital of San Sebastian. It stands on the remains of a former thirteenth century church, but the current building was completed in the eighteenth as a Franciscan convent church; later it was occupied by the Jesuits. Interestingly, the works were funded by King John V of Portugal, after his daughter Bárbara de Braganza married Fernando VI. It was restored 34 years ago, and its most outstanding feature is the dome, shaped like a half orange.
This was the starting point of my tour of Badajoz, located close to the Husa Zubaran hotel where I was staying. It is the largest church in town after the cathedral, but in the past it was even bigger. The church has a single nave with side chapels. The exterior is very austere, with nothing to mention except the shields and mottos of the church's founders (Gome Hernandez de Solis and his wife Catherine de Silva) and the Dominican order, as well as the image of Santo Domingo in a niche. Inside there are several altarpieces and carvings.
The southern province of Extremadura has one of the most breathtaking cultural heritages in Spain. In the provincial capital of Extremadura you will find Badajoz, a beautiful city not only worth exploring but where the possibilities of things to do seems endless.
One of the many enchanting places to visit in Badajoz is the Moorish-influenced old town. Another of the fabulous attractions in Badajoz is the Alcazaba de Badajoz, a fortress with solid walls and battlements. One of the symbols of Badajoz is the Torre de la Atalaya, which was inspired by the famous Torre del Oro in Seville.
If you are still wondering what to do in Badajoz, take a walk from the medieval town to the Plaza Alta, the center of everyday life and one of the main Badajoz attractions. From there the Museo de la Ciudad "Luis de Morales" is just a few steps away. In order to optimize your time and find the main things to do in Badajoz, start from the Plaza Alta and then walk down San Pedro de Alcantara to see the Plaza de Santa María. This plaza holds the only museum in Badajoz and the Church of St. Augustine, which dates back to the fifteenth century. If you continue down this same street, you will find some other places worth visiting like the Ermita de la Soledad and La Giraldilla.
To find all the best stuff to do in Badajoz, have a look thorough the tips and recommendations from real travelers on Minube and find all the best restaurants, hotels, and things to see in Badajoz.