Extremadura, Spain

TrujilloCáceresZafra Plasencia

Merida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremedura, in 1993 the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its abundance of historical and archeological sites.


Built on the banks of the Rio Guadiana the heart of the city is to the east of the river which is crossed by the Puente Romano, the longest surviving bridge from ancient times. Founded in 25 BC Mérida was one of the most famous Roman capitals and features some of the best preserved roman ruins to date.  Old Mérida can be covered on foot which is one of the best ways to experience it.  The best place to start your tour of the city is at the Visitor’s Bureau, where you can purchase a combined ticket to the main attractions (12 Euros), take calle Romero Leal and head to the Templo de Diana (Temple of Diana), dedicated to the emperor Ceasar Augustus.  Continue on to the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano (Roman Museum) across from the museum you will find the well preserved Roman ampitheater, used for gladiator fights and Roman Theater.  Both of these are still in use today throughout the summer months hosting a variety of plays, concerts and operas during the Festival of Mérida which takes place annually in July and August (if you plan to attend any of these events be prepared for the heat as the temperatures can get up there during the summer months!).  As you continue your visit of Mérida do not forget to visit la Basilica de Merida SpainSanta Eulalia, the Alcazaba, Museum Visigodo and the Palacios de los Mendoza y de los Pachecos part of the Hotel Mérida Palace.

When deciding where to eat in Mérida consider la ruta de la Tapa (Tapa’s Route) in which over thirty bars participate, you can get the passport at the Visitor’s Bureau, each establishment offers a price of 2.5 Euros which includes a tapa and a glass of beer or wine.  If you are a looking for a sit down lunch or dinner check out the restaurant at el Parador de Mérida which has won awards for its wonderful local cuisine.  Other options are Altair Restaurant (calle José Fernández López, s/n), Casa Benito (calle San Francisco 3) a traditional old bullfighting bar, Tabula Calda (Romero Leal 11) and many more….

Parador de Mérida

If you decide to spend the night in Mérida always a good choice is the centrally located Parador of Mérida, a former 18th century convent with a spectacular interior courtyard and beautiful gardens.  Mérida has a wide array of splendid accommodations from historic like the Mérida Palace, dating back to the XVI century, to modern like Nova Roma follow this link for a complete list of Mérida hotels. 


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