Although a fairly poor region, Extremadura has long been the agricultural capital of Spain, with much of the olive, wine and jamon (pig) production based in this large, open and mostly empty region. Less than 1 million people live in the 42,000 square kilometres that make up Extremadura which means there are only 26 people per square kilometre. When you compare this to somewhere like London (with 5,590 people per square kilometre) you can really get a sense of just how much space there is to explore here.
This was a truly alien concept for me when I first arrived in Spain, as seemingly every single person has their own little village that they call 'home' and where they grew up. These are beautifully isolated much of the time, and the one I'm most familiar with (due to my partner), Fuente del Maestre, was a whole new (little) world to me. There is obviously not a whole lot to do in these very small and isolated locations, but the real joy of these places is in soaking up the 'village-feel' and enjoy the quiet stillness. It's incredibly easy to find peaceful areas and beautiful countryside in and around these villages.
Very close to my home city of Caceres, there is an area of natural beauty named Los Barruecos. Although not very well known, it was the site of probably the largest scale Game of Thrones battle, with hundreds of extras, and dragons and cameras aplenty! The area is comprised of huge open areas of grass, with hundreds of little rocky outcrops that break up the scene.
Probably my favourite part of having such a huge amount of countryside all around me here in Extremadura is that really wherever you go, you'll find some amazing spots. I've had a few picnics where 20 or 30 of us went out into the countryside and found a shady spot under some trees, or next to a wide open reservoir. There are hundreds of amazing little spots where you can get away from your city or town and make the most of the rural setting here. In many of the towns and cities in this area it's remarkably easy to find the countryside. In cities in the UK, you often need to drive for more than 15 or 20 minutes to find some open green spaces. Not so in Extremadura, because a 10 minute walk in Caceres will take you to the middle of nowhere!
In Extremadura you can also find the Monfrague National Park and the Los Pilones waterfall and river area, both of which are remarkable in their natural beauty, isolation and relative anonymity.
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