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Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • Explore the rolling plains of Extremadura with its cork and holm oak dehesas in one of the most untouched areas of Spain

  • Spend a day immersed in the the Parque Nacional de Monfragüe, seeking birds of prey from eagles and owls to vultures and raptors

  • Journey to the beautiful Sierra de Gredos to stay at the very first Parador in Spain, surrounded by forests, mountains, and award-winning night skies

“An interesting introduction to a part of Spain that is less well known – rich in history and with impressive architecture”

– ACE customer on a previous natural history tour to Extremadura led by Kevin Hand

 

 

With its wild mountain ranges and limitless rolling plains, Extremadura boasts an enticing variety of landscapes. In the springtime the region’s cork and holm oak dehesas are abundantly carpeted with rock roses and cistus, while the grasslands boast mile after mile of catchfly and marigold.

 

When summer guests such as the lesser kestrel and pallid swift arrive, the Parque Natural de Monfragüe can justifiably lay claim to be the finest raptor-watching site in Europe. Colonies of up to 200 vultures – griffon, black and Egyptian – make their home at Peña Falcón Rock, accompanied by black storks and rock buntings. At Los Barruecos (where “Spain was born”, according to the locals) storks nest on huge granite boulders strewn beside remote paths.

 

Our tour will also unravel Extremadura’s fascinating regional history, where Romans, Goths, Moors and conquistadors have all left their mark. The medieval quarter in the UNESCO-protected town of Cáceres ranks among Spain’s finest, whilst Trujillo, formerly the Roman town of Turgalium, boasts a wealth of medieval and Renaissance buildings and a rich Córdoban and Almoravid history.

 

New for our relaxed edition, the latter part of our tour will take us just beyond the boundaries of Extremadura and into the cooler climes of the Sierra de Gredos, to stay at the very first Parador hotel established in Spain (in 1928). Surrounded by mesmerising scenery – from pine forests and snow-tinged mountains to bright starry skies – we hope to discover local residents including citril finch, Pyrennean oak, rock thrush, alpine accentor and northern wheatear; as well as rare butterflies, alpine flowers and Iberian ibex. The hotel is also close to several charming historical towns and villages, at least one of which we will visit during our stay.

 

We will spend our first four nights in Cáceres at the four-star Hotel NH Collection Cáceres Palacio de Oquendo, a converted 16th century palace just moments away from the ancient walls of this charming and historical town. We will then journey to the beautiful Sierra de Gredos to stay at the Parador de Gredos, a wonderfully characterful building with a fascinating history of its own, its viewing terraces allowing guests to appreciate the surrounding pine forests, mountainous views and award-winning night skies.

 

This tour will be led by conservationist, ornithologist and environmental consultant Kevin Hand, MSc, MCIEEM, who has taken tours for ACE since 1992. In 2017 he was appointed President of the Cambridge Natural History Society and continues to act as Vice President. He currently also chairs the Newmarket Chalk Streams Trust. Kevin has a special interest in birds and ecotourism, and has carried out extensive fieldwork in the UK and abroad, making him an ideal director for this Spanish tour.

Days
8
Cost
£2995
Tour Code
EXT2-25


Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, seven breakfasts, five lunches (some packed), six dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £395.

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