The autonomous community of Extremadura covers a vast area full of history. It is one of the most diverse inland regions of Europe with a perfect blend of natural spaces and man-made monuments. In the valleys there are endless wood pastures of holm and evergreen oak, the largest reservoirs in Spain, as well as gorges and forests that are home to many protected species. In this respect the Monfragüe National Park is particularly noteworthy. A visit the Roman ruins at Merida is a must, so, too, the ancient walled town of Caceres and the monasteries of Yusste and Guadeloupe. Many of the historic towns and villages preserve their ancestral customs and historical and cultural heritage, giving even more reasons to explore the region.
Comprising the provinces of Caceres and Badajoz, the autonomous community of Extremadura is located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Bounded on the north by Castile-Leon and the Central Mountain System, to the south the Sierra Morena mountains rise forming the border with Andalusia; to the east lie Castile-La Mancha and the Montes de Toledo, and to the west is Portugal. It has an area of 41,602 square kilometres, which makes it larger than Holland, Belgium or Denmark. Its main rivers are the Tajo and Guadiana and its altitude ranges between 130 and 2400 metres.
Mostly Mediterranean, although in the north the climate is continental, and in the west the influence of the Atlantic produces a milder climate. In general, the weather is characterised by hot, dry summers, with a severe shortage of rainfall, and long, but not severe, winters.
In Extremadura the cuisine is based on high quality local produce. Products of various types have been awarded appellation d'origine: ham from the Dehesa de Extremadura, cheeses such as La Serena, Ibores and Torta del Casar, lamb, retinta veal, virgin olive oil from Monterrubio and Gata-Hurdes, wines from the Ribera del Guadiana, Montanchez and Cañamero, paprika from La Vera, honey from las Villuercas-Ibores and cherries from Jerte. The Extremadura table creaks under the weight of dishes such as migas - a pan-fried mix of bread, cereal and spices, local tomato soup, stew, freshwater tench, trout from the Jerte rivers, game, sausages and vegetables (truffles, wild asparagus, tomatoes ... ). Local sweets include perrunillas, a type of flaky biscuit often flavoured with liqueur, and pestiños made with sesame and honey. Finally, to round off a typical meal, there's nothing better than a fruit liqueur.
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