Having often wondered why Cáceres suffers the injustice of not being renowned among foreign visitors as easily one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, I've been forced to guess the following reason: it doesn't have a single outstanding monument that people can tick off their lists (like Granada's Alhambra and Córdoba's Mezquita) as they "do" the country.

Cáceres' value is less blatant (yet recognized as a World Heritage Site): arguably the most intact medieval quarter in the country.
The old city has been conserved to such an extent that numerous period dramas are shot there. Many beautiful private mansions, churches and public buildings are dotted around its narrow, mainly pedestrianised streets; perhaps the most enjoyable part of a visit to Cáceres is a stroll around the old quarter, discovering alleyways and squares such as the emblematic Plaza de San Jorge with scarcely an anachronism in sight. What this does mean is that parking is at a premium, so you'll be better off leaving your car in the newer part of the city and then exploring on foot.

One of the cultural focal points in Extremadura, most of the University's arts faculties are based here. Students make themselves felt in the city, though not quite as much as in Salamanca! Cáceres' music scene is also thriving, driven by the annual WOMAD festival (world music).

This is held at different venues around the city, with several events taking place in the wonderful atmosphere of the old city. For one weekend in May, thousands of non-mainstream music fans visit Cáceres it's a wonderful atmosphere if you like that kind of event.

One excellent outing from Cáceres is the Vostell museum in Malpartida, only a few miles from the city. Built in a strange, almost lunar landscape, it houses a large collection of work by Wolf Vostell, a 20th century German artist. Many of the pieces were inspired by (and even integrated into) these unique surroundings, and the museum is a pleasant surprise for fans of challenging yet accessible contemporary art.


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