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Is Badajoz Worth Visiting on a Trip to Spain?

Find out if Badajoz is worth visiting on a Spanish road trip. Explore things to do in Badajoz. Spend one day in Badajoz and discover Extremadura.

Badajoz is a Spanish city that is home to approximately 150,000 people. Located in Extremadura near the Portuguese border, Badajoz may not be a well known destination in modern times, but it has a rich history dating back thousands of year to the Romans and Visigoths. 

Badajoz was conquered by the Moors in the 8th century. For the past 300 years, Badajoz has alternately been controlled by Portugal and Spain.

Is Badajoz worth visiting? Find out how we spent about 36 hours in Badajoz on a Spanish road trip in December and decide for yourself if you should add Badajoz to your Spain itinerary.

Why visit Badajoz: Extremadura architecture

Where to Stay in Badajoz

It can be challenging to drive in the historic center of Badajoz; a narrow warren of historic streets that would test the nerve of any driver. We decided to make things easier on ourselves with our choice of hotel. 

We stayed at the AC Marriott in Badajoz which is about a 25 minute walk along the Guadiana River from the Puente de Palmas and entrance to the historic part of Badajoz. The AC Marriott is easy to get to by car and has a secure parking garage. 

Narrow street in Badajoz Spain

Getting to Badajoz

Technically, Badajoz has an airport. However, the only nonstop flights are short hops to Madrid and Barcelona. 

Badajoz is nearly equidistant from Seville and Lisbon. It takes about two and a half hours by car to reach Badajoz from either city. Alternatively, you can drive to Badajoz in about 4 hours from Madrid.

You can take the train to Badajoz from Madrid but it takes more than 4.5 hours. In my opinion, driving is your best bet to get here and also ensure that you have flexibility to explore the region while you are here.

Puente de Palmas in Badajoz Spain

10 Things to do in Badajoz

Now let's take a look at some things to do in Badajoz to keep you entertained during your short day. 

1. Nosh Spanish Food and Wine

Anywhere you go in Spain, you are bound to find great food and wine. We went for dinner at El Viñedo just across the street from the AC Badajoz. We sampled solomillo al whisky and juicy pork skewers washed down with a glass of local red wine. 

Collages of dishes from El Viñeda in Badajoz Spain
On our second evening in Badajoz, we stopped at Cervecería Cruz Blanca for tapas and more local red wine. We decided to try berenjenas fritas con miel, a popular dish in Andalucia. 

berenjenas fritas con miel in Badajoz Spain

We weren't in Andalucia yet, but Badajoz is close by so we were happy to sample it here in Extremadura. I normally don't like eggplant, but the breaded and fried preparation gave the dish a more pleasing texture.

2. Walk Across Puente de Palmas

Get up early and walk along the River Guadiana to Puente de Palmas. Puente de Palmas is the oldest bridge in Badajoz and dates back to the late 15th or early 16th century. 
Gatehouse on Puente de Palmas in Badajoz Spain

The bridge is only open to foot and cycle traffic so it is a peaceful way to approach the older part of the city. From here, you'll find great views of the Alcazaba and historic neighborhoods of Badajoz.

3. Photograph Puerta de Palmas

At the opposite end of Puente de Palmas, admire Puerta de Palmas. Completed in 1551, Puerta de Palmas is an impressive structure that was once the gate into the fortified city of Badajoz. 

Puerta de Palmas in Badajoz Spain

Today, Puerta de Palmas is surrounded by roads and there is no visible evidence of the wall that once protected the city. 

4. Go Door Hunting in Badajoz

One of my favorite things to do in historic cities is let myself get lost in the narrow streets. I especially like looking for beautiful and unique doors. I often turn door hunting into a scavenger hunt

Collage of doors in Badajoz Spain

I found plenty of fantastic doors to photograph in Badajoz. In fact, door hunting was my favorite activity of the entire trip.

5. Visit Badajoz Cathedral 

Badajoz Cathedral on Plaza de España is worth a visit. Step inside and admire the giant gilded altar and impressive sculptures and paintings.

Altar at Badajoz Cathedral

6. Walk the Walls of Alcazaba of Badajoz 

The Alcazaba in Badajoz dates back to the 9th century and was a Muslim fortification for 4 centuries before becoming a Medieval Christian castle in the 13th century. Take the opportunity to walk the walls of the Alcazaba and enjoy views over the ruins and the city.

The Alcazaba of Badajoz Spain

7. Pop Into the Archaeological Museum of Badajoz 

The Archaeological Museum of Badajoz is located within the walls of the Alcazaba. The museum dates back to 1867 and was founded to house archaeological finds in the province of Badajoz. 

Animal themed Roman mosaic in the Archaeological Museum of Badajoz

The museum is free to visit with exhibits on 2 floors surrounding a central courtyard.

8. Grab a Coffee and Tostada at Cafetería Artesana 

We did a lot of walking, both to get to Old Town Badajoz and strolling around town. We had definitely worked up an appetite. There are a number of cafes surrounding Plaza de España. 

Tostadas at Cafe Artesana in Badajoz Spain

We popped into Cafetería Artesana where we enjoyed a coffee and huge tostada for about 3 EUR all in. 

9. Pay a Quick Visit to El Antiguo Palacio de Capitanía General

Walking back to our hotel, we passed an elegant facade. It turns out that this was El Antiguo Palacio de Capitanía General de Badajoz. 

The door was open so we walked up to the entrance to take a closer look. We were greeted by two soldiers who invited us in to have a look at the free exhibit. Checking out the free exhibit also gave us a chance to admire the splendid architecture of the building. 

El Antiguo Palacio de Capitanía General in Badajoz

The exhibit itself changes regularly. When we visited, we saw a heart-wrenching display of war photos dating from the earliest days of photography to the present day. 

10. Take a Day Trip to Mérida

Mérida is just 45 minutes by car from Badajoz and is an ideal day trip. Why visit? Merida's Roman ruins are truly outstanding. Check out the Museo Nacionale de Arte Romano and then buy a combination ticket to access all the historical sites in the city. 

Merida Roman Ruins on a Day Trip from Badajoz
For 16 EUR, you can access Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre, the Roman Circus, the Alcazaba, Morería Archaeological Site, the Crypt of the Basilica of Santa Eulalia, and House of Mithraeum and Columbarium. 

Is Badajoz Worth Visiting?

In my opinion, every place is worth visiting at least once. Would I go out of my way to visit Badajoz as a destination on it's own? No. However, I do think Badajoz is a great place to stay if you are planning an extended Spanish or Iberian road trip. 

View of Puente de Palmas in Badajoz Spain

For example, if you plan to drive from Lisbon to Seville or vice-versa, Badajoz is the perfect halfway point to stop and spend the night.

Where to Next on an Iberian Road Trip?

As you can see, Badajoz is a convenient place to stop on a Spanish or Spain-Portugal road trip. Where should we head next? 

Perhaps Alqueva Lake in Alentejo, Portugal which is just an hour or so from Badajoz by car. Castelo Branco is another Portugal hidden gem that is worth a visit and is just 2 hours from Badajoz if you drive. Let's see where the road takes us! 

🔎 SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other destination ideas in Spain? Why not:

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Is Badajoz Worth Visiting on a Trip to Spain?
Is Badajoz Worth Visiting on a Trip to Spain?
Find out if Badajoz is worth visiting on a Spanish road trip. Explore things to do in Badajoz. Spend one day in Badajoz and discover Extremadura.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog