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Extremadura, Spain Travel & Accommodation Guide

Badajoz Hotels, Extremadura, Spain

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Extremadura Hotels and Paradores:
Badajoz Hotels - Cáceres Hotels - Cáceres Province Hotels - Guadalupe Hotels - Jarandilla de la Vera Hotels
Mérida Hotels  - Montanchez Hotels - Plasencia Hotels - Trujillo Hotels - Zafra Hotels
The Seige of Badajoz, Extremadura
Unless you originate in the vicinity of Nottingham in the UK it is unlikely that the word Badajoz will do more than ring the odd bell in your memory, something you may have heard at school perhaps. If just one incident had not occurred in 1812 that put the name on everybody's lips, in Europe at least, it is likely that Badajoz would have continued in obscurity, as it largely had since it was founded by the Moors in the 9th century.... read more
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Badajoz - A city on the Guadiana River near the Portugal border. In the province of Badajoz, bordering on the north with Cáceres, on the south with Andalucía (the provinces of Córdoba, Sevilla and Huelva), east with the lands of Castilla La Mancha, and on the west with the neighboring lands of Alentejo in Portugal. An ancient fortress city, it rose to prominence under the Moors as the seat (1022–1094) of a vast independent emirate. Click to view map
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AC Badajoz
The AC Badajoz is a low-rise modern hotel with chic interiors located in the suburbs of Badajoz, five kilometres from the buzzing nightlife of the city centre, and two kilometres from the Portuguese border. The hotel restaurant serves a fusion of Spanish, Portuguese and international tastes, served at breakfast and dinner in a stylish eatery. Decor includes contemporary dark wood furniture, paneled walls and olive green booths.  Guests can combat the excesses of the Spanish culinary experience in the fitness centre, or unwind in a decadent Turkish bath or sauna. Six high tech conference rooms seating up to 102 people, accompanied by comprehensive business services, see to business travellers' needs. In between meetings, guests can get their caffeine fix in the ultramodern lobby lounge/café while they get up-to-date on current affairs with complimentary newspapers and high-speed Internet connections (surcharge). Badajoz Airport is 10 kilometres from the hotel. 
Badajoz Center Hotel, Badajoz
The modern Hotel Badajoz Center, with grey and peach-colored façade, is located in the shopping and business district of Badajoz, 12 kilometers from the airport. The town's cathedral and the fine art and modern art museums are all within one kilometer of the hotel.  Local dishes and international food is served in the relaxed, contemporary ambience of the hotel's restaurant, with its brown walls, table lamps and yellow chairs. The outdoor swimming pool is lined with contemporary loungers and the solarium is the best spot for soaking up some rays. A covered car park is available for guests arriving by car, and six function rooms are provided for social events and conferences, equipped with audio-visual equipment.  The 88 air conditioned guestrooms feature chic white décor with burgundy fanbrcis and crisp white bedding; furniture is in contrasting dark wood.
Confortel Badajoz
This modern, white complex is surrounded by the Guadiana golf course and is located three kilometers from the center of Badajoz, in the region of Extremadura. Access can be arranged to the Guadiana golf club next door, which has a gymnasium, sauna and 18-hole golf course. Badajoz center has a variety of shopping and dining options, only 3 kilometers away.  In the restaurant, La Cazuela, guests can try local and Mediterranean cuisine and a range of wines served in a relaxed, informal atmosphere with a simple white décor and dark wood furnishings.  Guests can have a revitalizing dip in the outdoor pool and play squash or tennis on clay courts. Conference rooms are available for seminars and business meetings.  Air-conditioned guestrooms feature a simple white décor with rural-style dark-wood furnishings. All rooms have work desks with complimentary wireless Internet access, private bathrooms with handheld showers and complimentary minibars.
Hotel Husa Zurbarán, Badajoz
The Husa Zurbaran is a five-floor hotel situated in front of Castelar Park in the shopping centre of Badajoz in south-western Spain, close to the Portuguese border. A number of tourist attractions are within walking distance of the hotel including: the Art Museum, which is 400 metres away; the Archaeological Museum, 700 metres away; and Plaza Ayuntamiento Cathedral which is 800 metres from the hotel. Further afield is the Lusiberia Aquatic Park which is 3.5 kilometres away. Badajoz Airport is 12 kilometres from the hotel, an approximate driving time of 15 minutes.  The hotel's Los Monjes restaurant serves international cuisine with regional specialties in a modern setting. Guests can soak up the sun on the loungers, take a dip in the outdoor pool, and relax with a drink in the bar. 
Sercotel Rio Badajoz
The Hotel Rio Badajoz is located on the banks of the Guadiana River in Badajoz, Spain, close to the Portuguese border. The casino is next door, and the churches and squares of the old town are 800 metres away. The Hotel has an outdoor pool with a poolside bar. There is a mahogany bar and reading room, and secure parking is complimentary.  La Alacena Restaurant, with its mahogany-clad walls, specialises in Portuguese cooking.  There is a convention centre with several meeting spaces, the largest of which can accommodate up to 1,000 persons.  A babysitting service is offered at the hotel. There is also a regular bingo night.  The 101 air-conditioned guestrooms are have modern Mediterranean decor, and carved dark wood furnishings. Amenities include satellite television, direct-dial phones, Internet access, and minibars.
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Zafra - One of the most interesting stopovers in lower Extremadura, the white-walled town of Zafra is filled with old Moorish streets and squares. The 1457 castle of the dukes of Feria, the most important in the province, boasts both a sumptuous 16th-century Herreran patio and the Sala Dorada with its richly paneled ceiling - this building has now been converted into a Parador - details below. Click to view map
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Parador de Zafra, Zafra, Badajoz
The Hotel "Duque de Feria" in Zafra occupies a majestic castle which was begun in 1437 as the residence of the Dukes of Feria, one of Spain’s great families.  The spectacular façade expresses the importance of this castle-palace, which is the ideal base for exploring the architectural heritage and the natural beauties of the area.  Nine towers with battlements stand guard over a regal, grandiose interior which conserves beautiful coffered ceilings, trunks, ironwork, balustrades and other decorative details from the former palace.  The bedrooms, which still have their ducal coffered ceilings and decorative details, are lordly, elegant and spacious. The swimming pool and well-tended garden are also worth a mention. The best local dishes are offered in the dining room of the Parador de Zafra, such as caldereta de cordero (lamb stew), migas extremeñas (breadcrumbs), bacalao monacal (cod), zorongollo (tomato salad), cheesecake from La Serena, Iberian pork loin with Ibores cheese, and, of course, ham.
Rusticae Casa Palacio Conde De La Corte, Zafra
This palace, in the heart of the emblematic and majestic town of Zafra known as “mini” Seville, was once the residence of Don Agustín Mendoza y Montero, Count of the Court and owner of cattle of the same name. The interior patio is used as a hallway leading to the different common areas and the breakfast room. Another charming space is the garden with swimming pool with Victorian style furniture creating different  atmospheres.  The rooms of this hotel, taking inspiration from the world of bull fighting, are each named after prestigious cattle rearing families. Spacious, they all convey a classical, palatial feel with quality English style fabrics used for the curtains and bedcovers. The large bathrooms with high ceilings are colourful and original as is the shower that simulates a 19th century bird cage.
The Seige of Badajoz, Extremadura   by Nick Nutter

Top - Badajoz Hotels

Unless you originate in the vicinity of Nottingham in the UK it is unlikely that the word Badajoz will do more than ring the odd bell in your memory, something you may have heard at school perhaps. If just one incident had not occurred in 1812 that put the name on everybody's lips, in Europe at least, it is likely that Badajoz would have continued in obscurity, as it largely had since it was founded by the Moors in the 9th century.

With interest peaked it is time to visit this city that is situated on the Rio Guadiana, on the border with Portugal, just two hours drive north of Seville in the neighbouring community of Extremadura.

The most powerful first impression of the city is gained if you approach the city from the Portuguese side, which is strongly recommended due to the vagaries of the city's ring road. You find yourself heading towards a fortress. On the east side of the river is the city proper, surrounded by an immensely strong wall, reminiscent of the fortifications at Gibraltar, with salients jutting out at intervals. It is between two of those salients that the road to the centre of the city takes vehicles via a modern bridge. If you look to your left as you cross this bridge you will see a magnificent granite bridge, built in 1460, repaired in 1597 and rebuilt in 1833, that crosses the river to the original town gates, equally impressive, that penetrate the walls on the east bank. Behind the gates is the hill on which Badajoz was originally built, crowned by the Moorish fortress, incredibly still largely intact. Beyond the granite bridge, on the west side of the river is a hill on top of which is another fortress, that of the Fuerte de San Cristobal. The adventurous can climb the hill and wander around this fort. It is from here that you first start to appreciate the impregnability of this city that owes its position to the strategic point it occupies on the river from which it can guard one of the major trade routes to Portugal.

Proof of the effectiveness of the fortifications is the city's history. The Portuguese laid siege to it in 1660 and the Brits tried to take it in 1705 during the War of the Spanish Succession. During the Peninsula War, in 1808 and 1809, the French unsuccessfully attacked Badajoz. The French only occupied the city in 1811 when Marshal Soult bribed the Spanish commander, José Imaz into surrendering. Soult's forces managed to hold out against a determined British attack in the same year. It was left to Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington) to ensure the name Badajoz entered the history books for eternity in a battle that became known as 'The Siege of Badajoz'.

Wellesley laid siege to the city in March 1812, bombarding the walls with iron shot. Three weeks later there were three breaches in the wall. They were known as practicable breaches if two infantrymen could pass through side by side. On the inside of the walls 5,000 French soldiers prepared to repel the Allied forces.

The attack, by two British and Portuguese divisions, about 25,000 men, began on the 6th April 1812 with a rush forward by a group of volunteers known as 'The Forlorn Hope'. Their task was to put ladders against the walls and establish a bridgehead. Not surprisingly their chances of survival were slim. For five hours wave after wave of infantry tried to take the breaches supported by a diversionary attack on the other side of the city. In the first two hours the British and Portuguese troops suffered 2,000 casualties in the breaches and countless wounded and dead at the site of the diversionary attack. They faced a barrage of, in the words of one survivor, 'murderous musket fire, grenades, stones, barrels of gunpowder with crude fuses and bales of burning hay '. The redcoats had to struggle over the bodies of their fallen comrades. Wellesley was on the point of recalling his decimated divisions when a foothold on the walls was eventually gained. Sheer weight of numbers began to tell and the French fell back to San Cristobal from where they eventually surrendered. Over 5,000 Allied troops were killed or badly wounded in those five hours.

The first troops to enter the fortress were from the 45th Regiment of Foot, later amalgamated with the 95th to form the Sherwood Foresters. In the absence of a Union Flag, Lt. James MacPherson had his red jacket hoisted up the flagpole to show the castle had been taken. The event is commemorated at Nottingham where, every 6th April, red jackets are flown on regimental flag staffs and over Nottingham castle.

As often happened after a particularly vicious battle, the survivors who had lost so many friends and colleagues took revenge on the town. For 72 hours they looted, raped and pillaged resulting in the deaths of about 4,000 Spanish inhabitants and not a few officers who had tried to regain order. Order was only restored after a few hangings and floggings. At dawn on the 7th April bodies were piled high outside the city walls and blood flowed like rivers in the ditches and streams. The Rio Guadiaro turned red. Wellesley is reported to have wept and cursed the British Parliament for allowing him so few resources.

He wrote to Lord Liverpool, "The capture of Badajoz affords as strong an instance of the gallantry of our troops as has ever been displayed, but I anxiously hope that I shall never again be the instrument of putting them to such a test as that to which they were put last night"

His hopes were not fulfilled, the siege of San Sebastian the following year was almost a carbon copy of that at Badajoz.

It is not hard today to envisage the scenes of 1812. The walls and bastions are largely still there. The killing fields between the curtain walls and glacis are now public gardens. A few modern buildings have arisen on the substantial walls but not enough to detract from the awesome grandeur of the fortifications. It is difficult to imagine the bravery of men on foot with muzzle loading rifles and muskets throwing themselves against the vertical, grey, granite slabs.

Within the oldest part of town, around the cathedral that is itself built like a fortress and within the walls of the alcazabar the city is as it was 200 years ago. The few British that reach Badajoz today are now made very welcome despite their behaviour then.


Badajoz Hotels

About the Author - Nick Nutter is the editor of a magazine on the Costa del Sol, Andalucia Life.

Latest update: September 26, 2012