Badajoz is the capital city of Extremadura (one of the most rural and poor of the Spanish regions) and compared to the other large cities in the region, is significantly more commercial and busy. The city is very close to the Portuguese border and so the culture is a little more of a mix than the other more southern cities. You can also hear a lot more Portuguese spoken in Badajoz!
More than 20 restaurants and over 80 shops make El Faro one of the largest shopping centres in the area, and people come here from all around Portugal and Spain. They have all the normal Western brands that you would expect to find in Paris or London, as well as every type of food that you could hope for. They also have plenty of traditional Spanish and Portuguese places to try to keep you in touch with where you are!
The Plaza Alta is a fantastic example of the beautiful Spanish squares that the country is famous for
You can often find bands playing in this huge open square, and it's particularly pretty at night, when the soft lighting really shows off the colourful walls.
Like much of Extremadura, Badajoz has Arabic history intertwined with all of the most famous buildings. Right next to the Plaza Alta is the Alcazaba of Badajoz. Built in the 12th Century, it was the central royal palace around which the Arabic rulers created this city. Badajoz itself was not of Spanish origin, but instead created by Ibn Marwân in the 9th Century. The best loved parts of this fort are the 30 metre high Torre de Espantaperros and the towering walls that make up the Palace of the Dukes of Feria. Badajoz is not the prettiest city in Extremadura (Caceres or Trujillo are nicer) but for a great mix of commercial opportunities and strong history and architecture, Badajoz is a good compromise.
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