¡Bienvenida a Badajoz!
Deep in the forgotten corners of the country is the province of Badajoz, Spain, sparsely populated with a humble capital city that is well under the tourist radar. The city of Badajoz, Spain, is situated on the border with Portugal and is a melting pot of various cultures, from the expansion of the Romans to the Moorish invasion. In a city somewhat overshadowed by neighboring cities like Caceres and Merida, exploring Badajoz as a worldwide local is a perfect opportunity to discover new hidden gems away from the crowd. Navigate through quaint, narrow streets, and marvel at distinct architecture with this local guide.
Standing proud on the banks of the River Guadiana, the Moorish citadel of the Alcazaba is an imposing figure on the city skyline with its lofty towers. Created by the Almohads during the 12th-century, Badajoz was considered to be an important bastion for the Moors. Stroll amongst its sprawling ramparts through the Puerta del Capitel and enter the gorgeous renaissance palace, which is a museum holding exhibits from prehistoric times up until the medieval era. Climb up the fortified walls as you gaze upon magnificent views of the city and the stunning Roman bridge spanning across the river.
Worldwide Local Tip: Enjoy delicious tapas dishes at La Corchuela. Located in a narrow alleyway just off Plaza de Espana, this rustic taverna with charming archways and quaint decorations serves up classic Spanish dishes like Jamon Iberico and a wide selection of cheeses. A great place to eat traditional food and experience the local vibe in a hidden tapas bar, here you can strike up a conversation with the locals about the popular Flecha Negra Badajoz soccer team (the team name translates to English as “The Black Arrows”).
Feria de San Juan
At the end of June, Badajoz comes to life with the week-long festival of Feria de San Juan. The city avenues are filled with parades and bullfighting shows, brandishing their fascinating culture and traditions. At night, the city becomes a fairground, and streets are lit up with stalls offering games in exchange for prizes and amusement rides. Witness a vibrant party atmosphere where the locals and even their Portuguese neighbors enjoy the festivities, with a firework display topping off the festival.
Worldwide Local Tip: Badajoz also has a huge carnival every February where it competes with neighboring towns to take the most elaborate parades to the streets. If you aren’t able to visit during the parade, head to the Carnival Museum to see the city’s vibrant carnival tradition. You can view colorful displays of costumes and masks, as well as photographs dating back decades.
A Must-Visit: Plaza Alta
At the foot of the Alcazaba and nestled in the historic old town is a former bustling market square that was recently restored back to its former glory. The Plaza Alta is inspired by Moorish design, boasting bold red and white facades with arches reminiscent of Arabic architecture. You can lounge around the plaza with the locals and have a drink at one of the cafes surrounding the main square. You may even catch a live flamenco performance if you visit at the right time. During the Almossassa festival in September, the square transforms into a busy Arab-style marketplace.
Worldwide Local Tip: Engross yourself in the city’s deep connection with the Moorish culture at Rincon Nazari. Hidden in the labyrinth of the historic quarter, this Moorish inspired bar serves up North African style tea along with delicious cocktails. Sit inside its charming interior, or mingle with the locals in the cozy patio area.
Enjoy Your Stay!
A city filled with contrasting cultures that harmoniously blend, Badajoz is a marvelous off-the-beaten-path destination. A colorful city that is rough around the edges, Badajoz sustains an allure that worldwide locals can fully immerse themselves in.