Destinations 

10 plans to enjoy winter

Extremadura, even on a rainy day. Centuries-old festivities, walks in nature, historical recreations, not-to-be-missed museums, delicious cuisine, birdwatching. Who said that there was nothing to do in winter?

Winter plans

Extremadura, even on a rainy day. Centuries-old festivities, walks in nature, historical recreations, not-to-be-missed museums, delicious cuisine, birdwatching. Who said that there was nothing to do in winter?

1. Jarramplas. The figure of Jarramplas, a symbol of evil, is pelted with turnips as it is paraded through the streets of Piornal on the 19th and 20th of January, with the occasion of the St. Sebastian’s Day. The highest village in Extremadura takes to the streets in this festival, declared Festival of National Tourist Interest. Each year, the masked figure of Jarramplas, one of the symbols in the area, survives the cold and the wrath of turnip-throwing locals and visitors.

 

2. Las Carantoñas de Acehúche. This is another example of a Festival of National Tourist Interest and of a village in Extremadura that celebrates St. Sebastian’s Day in a big way, with a display of horrific masks. The carantoñas are both costumes made of animal hide and eerie masks and the persons wearing them, who haunt the streets of Acehúche on the 20th of January, although the festivities start the day before.

 

3. Route of Charles V. The most powerful man of his time chose Extremadura as the place to retire and sped his last years. To remember his trip, on the 3rd February 1557from the Oropesa Castle (Jarandilla de la Vera), passing by Aldeanueva de la Vera, to the Monastery of Yuste (Cuacos de Yuste), a 10 km trek is made every year. But there is more than trekking: the three involved villages hold performances, dances, tastings and other activities. This Festival of Regional Interest in Extremadura is held at the beginning of February.

 

4. Not-to-be-missed museums. The region has an excellent network of museums and Interpretation Centre. Any time of the year is a good time to visit them. But maybe winter is more appropriate to stay indoors visiting a good exhibition. These are out top five: National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida (MNAR); Vostell Malpartida Museum; Museum of Fine Arts in Badajoz (MUBA); Museum if Cáceres; y And Museum of Contemporary Art in Extremadura and Latin America of Badajoz (MEIAC).

 

5. Carnival. Carnival festivities are big in Extremadura. It is celebrated in many villages and cities, each with its own traditions and quirks, but in all of them with a lot of fun. Badajoz has one of the most popular Carnivals in Spain and has been declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest; Mérida has its Roman Carnival; Navalmoral celebrates the Carnaval del Campo Arañuelo; Las Hurdes, its Carnaval Hurdano; and Villar del Pedroso the Carnaval de Ánimas, among other highlights.

 

6. El Peropalo. In Villanueva, the Carnival effigy called the Peropalo is sentenced to death amid the celebrations and the laments of the locals. This festival, declared a Festival of Regional Interest in Extremadura, probably dates back to a pre-Roman rite of fertility.

 

7. La Pedida de la Patatera. On Carnival Tuesday, Malpartida de Cáceres celebrates the patatera, a traditional Extremeñan sausage prepared with potato, lard, pork meat and local paprika. Of course, there are many chances to taste this delicacy, but also to have fun and make merry, as is appropriate for this time of the year.

 

8. Greenways. Many kilometres of the old railway layout have been converted into paths and are ideal for trekkers and bicycle tourism. They are well-signalled and surrounded by spectacular landscapes. Extremadura has four Greenways: Vegas del Guadiana, La Jayona, La Bazagona-Monfragüe and the Via de la Plata, to the north of the region.

 

9. FIO (Feria Internacional de Turismo Ornitológico, the Extremadura Birdwatching Fair). This event is a must for nature lovers and birdwatchers. It takes place at the end of February, in the town of Villarreal de San Carlos, in the middle of the Monfragüe National Park, and proposes three days of activities for professionals and amateurs: guided routes, birdwatching spots, photography and environmental courses, workshops for children and the latest news related to this type of tourism: birdwatching destinations, accommodation, optics, photography, and specialized companies.

 

10. Feria del Toro in Olivenza. At the beginning of March, this town of Badajoz inaugurates the bullfighting season in Spain and attracts many aficionados from Spain and beyond, even from Portugal and France. For four days, this Festival of Regional Tourist Interest organizes, besides bullfights, concerts, gastronomic days, lectures and other activities related to bullfighting.

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