Silver Route II

A journey from Extremadura to Benavente following the historic road that connects the Andalusian Atlantic coastline with the Cantabrian Sea.

Day 1
Departure. Sunday.
The route begins in Guadalupe, a beautiful town in Cáceres closely linked to the Santuario de Nuestra Sra. de Guadalupe which houses the Virgin of Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Extremadura and of all the Spanish-speaking territories and the most important pilgrimage site in the peninsula, after Santiago de Compostela. It has one of the most important museums of paintings and sculptures, with works by masters such as Juan de Flandes, Goya or Zurbarán. The entry to the monumental monastery, a World Heritage Site, is in the Plaza de Santa María, where you can have a little snack with unrivalled views to the sanctuary. It's also interesting to discover the San Juan Bautista Hospital and the Infantes or Gramática schools, or the interesting popular architecture that can be found on every street and in every square. The town is part of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark which offers visitors more than 40 geosites, places of geological and natural interest, among which the Castañar de Ibor cave is the most famous.
Day 2
Plasencia, located at the end of the fertile Valle del Jerte, is the next stage. This strategic enclave in the Silver Route is a true gift. You will discover remains of the medieval walls, its turrets (there are still 21 of the original 71) and its doors, such as the one of the Sun or the shutter of Santa María. You will stroll through the Plaza Mayor, a major hub of the busy life of the city. In the Town Hall tower, you will find the Abuelo Mayorga, a figure built in the 13th century and one of the symbols of the city. Besides, you will find one of the most representative monumental complexes of the region, formed by the Romanesque Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral, the surroundings of which offer stunning spots. The medieval aqueduct of San Antón, the Bishop's Palace, the Palaces of the Marquesses of Mirabel, Carvajal-Girón, Las Torres and the convent of San Vicente Ferrer are further areas of particular interest in the city. Just over 20 kilometres away, it would be unforgivable not to go to the Monfragüe National Park and its Biosphere Reserve, a true sanctuary for bird watching where Mediterranean forests and the most relevant species of Spanish fauna inhabit. Plasencia is also an excellent starting point to discover the Hurdes, the Sierra de Gata or the Valle del Jerte, with its wonderful springtime, when the cherry blossoms paint the valley in bright white.
Day 3
We stop over in Salamanca, next to the Portuguese border. Ciudad Rodrigo, a beautiful town full of history, welcomes us. The Parador, located in the castle of Henry II of Trastámara, overlooks the village with its elegant Torre del Homenaje from as high as an eagle's nest over the plain of the Águeda river, offering wonderful views to the Campo Charro landscapes. The monumental village, declared Site of Historic-Artistic Interest, offers some wonderful architecture of Roman and medieval origin. In this completely walled city, you will be able to go for a walk, get lost in the streets full of palaces and stately homes, discover the Plaza Mayor with its 16th-century Town Hall and the imposing cathedral from the 12th century. From the heart of the region you will be able to visit special places such as La Alberca and other villages of the Sierra de Francia with labyrinthine streets, stone houses with wooden balconies, beautiful squares and fountains, where time seems to have stood still. Another example would be Almeida, in Portugal, a walled complex made of a former defensive fortification in the border between the two countries.
Day 4
We reach the capital city of Salamanca, a university and lively town, full of historical buildings and spots. Heritage and beauty radiate from every corner. Head to the centre of the Baroque 18th-century Plaza Mayor, open your eyes, be seduced by its harmonious beauty and enter its cosy and charming cafés and taverns, such as the old Novelty, to have a drink. Discover its many monuments such as the 15th-century Casa de las Conchas, known for its façade decorated with hundreds of shells, the 13th-century Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Go up to its outdoor terraces to walk among gargoyles and bells. Discover the University as well, the oldest in Spain dating from the 16th century, whose façade contains an iconic frog, which you can try to find to make a wish of yours come true. And of course, you can’t leave without experiencing the magic of the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea or discovering the Casa de Lis, a modernist palace with colourful stained-glass windows. In a city where the bustle of the university beats in non-stop cultural activity, going out for tapas is a must, a fundamental part of culture. You can’t leave the Parador without trying the morucha beef, the farinato (sausage made from bread crumbs, lard and spices) or the Iberian ham from Guijuelo.
Day 5
In the old town of the capital city of Zamora, a stunning Renaissance palace from the 15th century built on a former Muslim citadel and currently turned into a Parador awaits you. Zamora is known as the Roman capital due to the number of monuments that mark its streets and squares, including the beautiful Cathedral and its oval dome. You should leisurely walk through its old town, a Historical-Artistic Site, largely enclosed by walls along the Duero river. Considered the capital city of the Romanesque art, with 23 temples and 14 churches of this style, some of its main historic monuments are the cathedral, the castle, the walls, a bridge, two palaces and nine stately houses, besides a group of modernist buildings. A short distance away, on the outskirts of the city there are towns, such as La Hiniesta, which are of great historic value. In this cheese land par excellence, you can get to know how this dairy product is made from the very beginning and of course taste it with some Toro wines, whose wineries you can also visit.
Day 6
Our destination is Benavente. In a strategic area where the fertile valleys of Esla, Órbigo and Tera come together, you will find the city whose skyline is marked by the Torre de Caracol which was part of the former Castillo de la Mota and currently houses the Parador de Turismo. And prepare yourself because having tapas is a must in this square. The Romanesque church of Santa María del Azogue, with a Latin cross plan and five apses, is the main artistic monument. You should also visit the temple of San Juan del Mercado, from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the Hospital de la Piedad, which was established for the accommodation of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and is currently a nursing home. It is worth heading to stunning places such as Lago de Sanabria or the breath-taking Arribes del Duero, characterised by a deep canyon whose walls are over 200 metres high. Sailing down the quiet river while contemplating the majestic flight of birds such as black storks, griffon vultures and golden eagles in their natural habitat is a unique experience. If you are an ornithology lover, the Lagunas de Villafáfila are nearby and there you will also experience the typical landscape of Tierra de Campos with its clay dovecotes. In the surrounding area, Puebla de Sanabria stands out with the charm of the typical mountain architecture, and medieval and walled Urueña, reconverted the Village of Books.
Day 7
The city of Leon serves as the final point of our route. The Parador itself is one of the most important and most visited attractions. The convent of San Marcos is one of the greatest architectural gems of the Spanish town of Leon, together with the Cathedral, the San Isidoro Basilica or the Casa Botines. It is also one of the most important monuments of the Spanish Renaissance. The Guzmanes Palace and the Barrio Romantico quarter are other must-sees. And if you want to enjoy a nice tapas afternoon, be sure to visit the Barrio Húmedo, the most popular meeting point for night-life.