January 31, 2018 | Sunvil Holidays
Expert specialist tour operator Sunvil has launched an expanded Spain programme for 2018, and is now offering trips to the lesser-known region of Extremadura. Having launched in Andalucía last year, Sunvil has now added charming new properties to its hand-picked collection, as well as exciting itineraries showcasing the fascinating history, natural beauty and delicious cuisine of this little-known region.
A remote region bordering central Portugal, Extremadura is one of the least-known parts of Spain, perhaps slightly under the shadow of neighbouring Andalucía. Says Sunvil’s Noel Josephides: “Extremadura features beautiful towns and villages just waiting to be discovered. With mountains, forests, steppes, lakes and nature reserves, the area is set against a spectacular backdrop of rolling hills and vast plains. There are enormous expanses of cork oaks, holm oaks and olive trees, and this wild region is also home to the famous pata negra pig, which roams free, grazing meadows and eating acorns. The end result is the world-famous and delicious Jamón ibérico Puro de Bellota, one of my favourite treats.”
Rich in history, Extremadura offers a fascinating array of fortress hill towns, medieval architecture and ancient settlements. Highlights include the Moorish Castle in the town of Zafra, the spectacular collection of Roman ruins and world-class museum in Mérida, the beautifully-preserved medieval town of Trujillo, and the impressive aqueduct of Plasencia.
Sunvil is pleased to offer a wonderful selection of Paradors – grand accommodation located in converted historical castles, monasteries and Renaissance palaces.
EXCITING EXTREMADURA – ancient ruins, fortified hill towns and Iberian delicacies
Explore the region’s intriguing Arab, Jewish and Christian-influenced heritage on this nine-day self-drive tour, taking in ancient Roman ruins, labyrinthine Moorish streets, medieval fortified houses and hilltop fortresses, sampling delicious local cuisine such as ibérico ham and Torta del Casar cheese, and staying in charming Parador hotels.
Beginning in the gateway city of Seville, travel to the captivating town of Zafra (known locally as Sevilla la chica – ‘Little Seville’), the UNESCO World Heritage cities of Mérida and Cáceres, the fortress town of Trujillo, and the cobbled-street village of Guadalupe, before visiting the walled market city of Plasencia to discover historic palaces, cathedrals and its dramatic aqueduct.
The region also boasts abundant natural beauty – from gushing waterfalls to pretty nature trails – and, in springtime, travellers will marvel at over one million cherry trees in blossom in the Jerte Valley.
An eight-night holiday, including two nights in Zafra, two nights in Cáceres, two nights in Guadalupe, and two nights in Plasencia, all in three and four-star Paradors (B&B), eight days’ car hire, return flights from London (outward to Seville, return from Madrid), costs from £893 pp (two sharing). Entrance fees to attractions not included.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PORTUGAL’S ALENTEJO AND SPAIN’S EXTREMADURA
Discover two of the most vibrant and little-known regions of Portugal and Spain, filled with noble architecture, exquisite local cuisine and wonderful wines, on this seven-night holiday.
The beautiful Alentejo region is the world’s foremost area for cork production and the countryside is peppered with cork trees, wildflower meadows, silver-leaved olive groves and white-washed villages. Begin in the pretty UNESCO town of Évora with its grand squares and fascinating historical landmarks, with time to explore the nearby medieval fortress towns of Monsaraz and Estremoz and the beautifully placid Alqueva Lake, the largest man-made lake in Europe. Nearby, the small border city of Elvas is filled with spectacular sights, from a sixteenth-century Neoclassical aqueduct to a hilltop Moorish castle. Hopping across the border, with a scenic drive via the fascinating Adega Mayor Winery and Coffee Science Museum, a three-night stay in the Extremaduran city of Cáceres is a wonderful base from which to explore the highlights of the region, including Trujillo, Guadalupe, and Placensia, before rounding off the trip with a delightful stay in the Pousada de Beja, back in the Alentejo, a magnificent converted monastery.
A seven-night holiday, including two nights in Evora (Portugal), one night in Elvas (Portugal), three nights in Cáceres (Spain) and one night in Beja (Portugal), all in four-star accommodation (B&B), eight days’ car hire and return flights (Gatwick) to Faro, costs from £795 pp (two sharing). Entrance fees to attractions not included.
HISTORICAL HOSPEDERIAS OF EXTREMADURA – quiet countryside and charming hotels
Located in charming historical buildings away from main centres in the smaller, quieter towns of Extremadura, the four-star Hospederia hotels on this ten-night trip are an ideal base for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside and offer a chance to see a different side to the region.
Beginning in the white town of Llerena, discover the mix of Moorish, Mudejar, Gothic and Baroque architecture and sample traditional Extremaduran cuisine, before taking in the ancient sights of Zafra and Mérida, staying in a magnificent nineteenth-century stately home. Moving on to the Hospederia Puente de Alconetar, housed in a grand fifteenth-century former palace, meander through the winding streets of the fascinating Jewish quarter in the picturesque town of Garrovillas and the architectural landmarks of the medieval walled city of Cáceres. A two-night stay in the National Park of Monfragüe allows ample opportunity to take in the beautiful countryside of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve set against a dramatic Mediterranean mountain landscape, as well as the nearby towns of Trujillo and Plasencia. Culminating with a stay in a converted seventeenth-century convent in the town of Hervás with its picturesque riverside setting and lively Jewish quarter, explore the highlights of the medieval town of Guadalupe, a two-hour drive away.
A ten-night holiday, including two nights in Llerena, two nights in Garrovillas, three nights in Torrejon el Rubio, and two nights in Hervas, all in four-star Hospederias (B&B), ten days’ car hire, return flights from London (outward to Seville, return from Madrid), costs from £950 pp (two sharing). Entrance fees to attractions not included.
PARADOR DE CÁCERES – Renaissance elegance and Iberian cuisine
Located in the heart of the old city, this chic Parador was once a Renaissance palace. It still boasts many original features – including vaulted ceilings, granite pillars, and colonnades –as well as modern, comfortable rooms and a charming shaded garden. The excellent restaurant offers a traditional local menu with delicious specialities such as Iberian lamb shank and pork loin.
The 16th century medieval town of Cáceres is a fascinating base for a week’s holiday, with options to explore the Gothic and Renaissance architecture and fortified palaces of the old town, and the lush green meadows, ancient cave dwellings and Roman bridges of the surrounding municipality.
Stay at Parador de Cáceres from £993 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B accommodation, return flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
PARADOR DE ZAFRA – grand hotel in Zafra’s buzzing medieval quarter
The four-star Parador de Zafra, set in a converted 15th century castle, is sure to impress design and history aficionados, with its spectacular façade featuring nine Moorish towers. There are landscaped gardens with a swimming pool, intricate original features and antiques throughout. The captivating white town of Zafra, known as ‘Little Seville’, is an ideal base for a week-long trip with ample opportunity to explore the historical highlights of nearby Guadalupe, including the UNESCO Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe.
Stay at Parador de Zafra from £818 pp (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B accommodation, return flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
CASA DE ORELLANA BOUTIQUE HOTEL, TRUJILLO – stylish, antique-filled hotel with conquistador heritage
This five-bedroomed boutique hotel, in a restored medieval house, is tucked away in the narrow streets of Trujillo’s old town, a stone’s throw from the magnificent Moorish Castle. The building was once the home of sixteenth-century conquistador Francisco de Orellana, who fought with the Pizarros in Peru and subsequently completed the first known navigation of the Amazon River. With interiors designed by famous Portuguese designer Duarte Pinto Coelho, the hotel is a work of art in itself, filled with antiques, tapestries, carpets and paintings, and with a pretty patio and garden area.
The medieval fortified hill-town of Trujillo boasts some of the most beautifully-preserved historical settlements in Spain, an enchanting main square, and delightful cobbled streets.
Stay at Casa de Orellana Boutique Hotel from £962 (two sharing), including seven nights’ B&B accommodation, return flights (Gatwick) and car hire.
To request Sunvil’s new 2018 Spain brochure, call 020 8758 4747 or visit www.sunvil.co.uk for a pdf copy. To book a tailor-made, short break or fly-drive itinerary to Extremadura or Andalucía, southern Spain, or to talk to an expert, call the Sunvil team on 020 8758 4722 or visit www.sunvil.co.uk/spain.