When in Extremadura, you cannot go by without visiting Plasencia! Why? Well, for starters, its name literally means that it was built “to please God and men”. And I think it still does it pretty well! Its charming historical city center, while petit, it is extremely beautiful, with a dominant cathedral. On top of that, it has a river beach just beneath it, which helps people to cool down in the hot summers. Last but not least, Plasencia is famous for its “cañeo”, which in Spanish stands for going out and drinking beer or wine with tapas. The local university ensures that there will always be good ambiance around its streets. Let us find out more about the city of pleasures!
Plasencia was founded to stabilize the border with the Moorish territories. That meant that it was difficult and dangerous to live here. Hence, its inhabitants were given a lot of advantages in order to encourage people to stay there. No feudal system was established, they were given the right to vote in the National Court, also Muslims and Jewish got the right to settle there and build a great city wall to defend themselves. Thus the city became very wealthy, so wealthy that it could build here the first university in Extremadura. Plasencia was considered so healthy, that Ferdinand the Catholic King was advised to move here, which he did. Unfortunately, he died shortly after.
As it happened in many other Extremadurian cities, Plasencia was greatly destroyed by the French, so we lost a lot of our patrimony. All we get to visit these days is the historical city center, packed with wonders, so packed that the pictures in this story do not make justice to its beauty. Only the naked eye can fully appreciate it. And in the middle, one can find a huge Romanesque-Gothic cathedral, almost too big for the city. It is the only reminder of its past glory and the only building that the time and wars have spared. Also, if you do not mind walking a bit further, in the north of the city, you will find the beautiful aqueduct of San Antón, from the 16th century but still pretty and well preserved.
One of Plasencia’s most renown persons is Inés Suárez, who became famous when Isabel Allende wrote a book about her, and now its show is broadcasted on Prime Video. Inés Suárez traveled to America in search of her husband, who was missing, but on the way, she fell in love with Pedro de Valdivia. She actually helped him, as a true knight, to conquer Chile, fighting the Mapuches. The Chilean Mapuches were so brave that they were the only undefeated Indians in the whole continent. The Spanish people in Chile, being mostly from Extremadura, had to bring with them blackberry thornbushes, the only thing that could physically keep the Mapuches away from their properties!
It is imperative that you walk the streets of Plasencia and stop for beers and tapas at its terraces. If you happen to be visiting it in summer, do not hesitate to go down to La Isla, the Jerte River's beach. In the old days, women used to do their laundry here, but now it is strictly a recreation area. If you are lucky enough to come here on the first Tuesday in August, you will enjoy "Martes Mayor", a traditional fiesta that includes a market with local products, concerts with folk songs, and lots of good vibes. If, on the other hand, you are here during any other season of the year, you can always go for a hike to the amazing Monfrague National Park, or the astonishing Cáparra, the Roman city. Actually, the whole area has many places to discover. So, whenever you come to Extremadura, do not miss charming Plasencia, the city of pleasures!
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.