87km (54 miles) SW of Salamanca, 285km (177 miles) W of Madrid

A walled town dating from the Roman Empire, Ciudad Rodrigo is known for its 16th- and 17th-century town houses, built by the conquistadors. It was founded in the 12th century, by Count Rodrigo González, and today is a national monument. Located near the Portuguese frontier, it stands high on a hilltop and is known for the familiar silhouette of the square tower of its Alcázar. This walled part of the city is referred to as the Casco Viejo.

The ramparts were built in the 12th century along Roman foundations. Several stairways lead up to a 1.6km (1-mile) sentry path. You can wander these ramparts at leisure and then walk through the streets, along which you'll find many churches and mansions. It is not one chief monument that is the allure, but rather the city as a whole.

Plaza Mayor is a showpiece of 17th-century architecture, with two Renaissance palaces. This is the city's main square.

The town's major attraction is its Cathedral of Santa María (tel. 92-348-14-24), which combines Romanesque and Gothic styles with a neoclassical tower. It was mostly built between 1170 and 1230, although subsequent centuries have seen more additions. It can be reached going east of Plaza Mayor through Plaza de San Salvador. The Renaissance altar on the north aisle is an acclaimed work of ecclesiastical art; look also for the Virgin portal at the west door, which dates from the 1200s. For 2€ you'll be admitted to the cloisters ★, done in a variety of architectural styles; among them is a Plateresque door. Hours are daily from 10am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm.

Your transportation in Ciudad Rodrigo will be your trusty feet -- walking is the only way to explore the city. Pick up a map at the tourist office.