●Atrio Restaurante Hotel – 1 Plaza de San Mateo 011-34-92-724-2928; restauranteatrio.com; in walled, medieval city (3.5 hours from Madrid); 14 rooms designed to take advantage of breath-taking views; also, tremendous modern art collection.
●Parador de Caceres – 6 Calle Ancha; 011-34-927-211-759; parador.es; 4 star, luxury hotel; 14th Century palace with lovely siena-colored patio; city’s most charming inn.
●Atrio – 22 Avenida de Espana; 011-34-927-242-928; restauranteatrio.com; 2 Michelin stars; lush formal décor; deeply flavored dishes; best wine list in Spain.
●Meson San Juan – 3 Plaza de San Juan; 011-34-927-626-648; straightforward tapas in lively tavern atmosphere.
Sights & Sites
●Real Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – Guadalupe; 011-34-92-736-7000; monasterioguadalupe.com; UNESCO World Heritage Site; origins in late 13th Century, when shepherd from Cáceres discovered Blessed Virgin statue on Guadalupe River bank, apparently hidden by local inhabitants from Moorish invaders in 714; chapel built on site; King Alfonso XI invoked Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Battle of Rio Salado; ascribed victory to Madonna’s intercession; in 1389, Hieronymite monks took over monastery; in 1474 Henry IV of Castile entombed; here, in Extremadura, that Christopher Columbus made 1st pilgrimage after discovering America in 1492; remained most important cloister in Spain until monasteries’ secularization in 1835; in 20th Century, revived by Franciscan Order; dominated by templo mayor, built by Alfonso XI and his immediate successors in 14th & 15th Centuries; square Santa Catalina chapel also 15th Century; known for ornate, 17th Century tomb cluster; 16th Century reliquaries chapel connects Santa Catalina with baroque sacristy (1638-47), lavishly decorated and boasting Zurbarán painting series; behind basilica is Camarin de la Virgen, octagonal baroque structure (1687-96) with impressive stuccoed Chamber of Virgin and 9 paintings by Luca Giordano (one showing Madonna with elephant); jewel of this profusely ornamented hall is throne containing statue that gave monastery its name; other notable structures include Mudéjar cloister (1389-1405), with magnificent Plateresque portal, late Gothic cloister from 1531-33, and new church, commissioned by Columbus descendant in 1730.
●Hospederia del Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe – 1 Plaza Juan Carlos; 011-34-927-367-000; monaterioguadalupe.com; working monastery with austere but pleasant rooms.
●Hospederia del Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe – 1 Plaza Juan Carlos; 011-34-927-367-000; monaterioguadalupe.com; excellent food.
●Restaurante Nardi – 19 Braulio Navas; 011-34-927-481-323; lighter, updated versions of regional classics.
TRUJILLO (includes Jerte)
●Hotel-Spa Tunel del Hada – 10612 Jerte (Jerte); 011-34-927-470-000; tuneldelhada.com; in village; cozy country inn with upscale touches and beautiful views.
●NH Palacio de Santa Marta – 6 Ballesteros; 011-34-927-659-190; nh-hoteles.es; tastefully renovated with modern amenities.
●Meson La Troya – 10 Plaza Mayor; 011-34-927-321-364; centrally located restaurant featuring regional cuisine; white walls are decorated with ceramic plates, potted plants, and red tiles; devouring fixed-price menu, with more-than-ample portions; food items change daily; local dishes include prueba de cerdo (garlic-flavored pork casserole), carne con tomate (beef cooked in tomato sauce), and spit-roasted goat.
●Restaurante Pizarro – 13 Plaza Mayor; 011-34-927-320-255; traditional Extremadura fare; next door to La Troya; quieter; menu includes dishes like chicken stuffed with truffles, and frito de cordero (lamb stew).
●Zafra Parador – 7 Plaza Corazon de Maria; 011-34-92-455-4540; parador.es/en/parador-de-zafra; 15th Century storybook castle with stone battlements, 9 looming towers, and original coats of arm in hallways.