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This remote region in westernmost Spain extends from the Gredos and Gata mountain ranges all the way south to Andalusia, and from Castile west to the Portuguese frontier. Spanish Extremadura (not to be confused with the Portuguese province of Extremadura) includes the provinces of Badajoz and Cáceres, and has a varied landscape of plains and mountains, meadows with holm and cork oaks, and fields of stone and lime.

The world knows Extremadura best as the land of the conquistadors. Famous sons include Cortés, Pizarro, and Balboa, as well as many less-famous but important explorers such as Francisco de Orellana and Hernando de Soto. These men were mostly driven by economic necessity, finding it hard to make a living in this dry, sun-parched province. The money they sent back to their native land financed mansions and public structures that stand today as monuments to their long-ago American adventures.

But those aren't Extremadura's only monuments to the past. Here you'll find Roman ruins in Mérida, Arabic ruins in Badajoz, and medieval palaces in Cáceres.

Extremadura is also a popular destination for outdoor fun. Spaniards come here to hunt, to enjoy the fishing and watersports popular in the many reservoirs, and to ride horseback along ancient trails. Because summer is intensely hot here, spring and fall are the best times to visit.