Zafra? worth visiting

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Wicksey
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Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Wicksey » Wed Feb 21, 2024 3:42 pm

We're planning a trip to western Portugal later this year and have been looking at the journey and possible stopping off places. It looks like Zafra is about half way for us and wondered if it is worth staying there overnight. Or any other suggestions for somewhere close by? We've been to Merida, Casares and Trujillo, although those are much further north than we are planning to go.

We will cross into Portugal at Badajoz then journey westwards. I want to see Evora on the way. Google maps also suggests going along the Algarve coast and up, but it looks a much busier route and we are not exactly looking forward to the drive. The roads are much busier and faster than they used to be and just driving to the airport is often enough for me these days :roll:

olive
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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby olive » Wed Feb 21, 2024 10:10 pm

We only use Zafra as a coffee stop ( round the back of the parador) . The parador is very nice.

Can I ask how you are planning on paying if you end up on a Portuguese pay motorway? We havent been since they set up “ auto” payment.

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Lavanda » Thu Feb 22, 2024 9:21 am

Are you planning to come up via Sevilla and the Ruta de la Plata? If you are, Monesterio is worth a coffee stop. The nearby mountain with the monastery of Tentudía is the highest point in Badajoz province and has a pretty good cafe at the top with great views. The monastery is open — but not on Monday — and for a euro (last time I went, last year,) you can walk around. It's famous, not only for it's location, but this was where a battle was fought between the Christians and Moors. The Christians were winning,' but night was drawing in. The leader of the Christians (I forget his name) called on the Virgin to Hold the Day', 'Tend tu día'. She obliged and the Christians won the battle.

If you are coming via Cordoba, Llerena has an impressive square. A few kilometres south is Casas de Reina with a Roman Theatre (small), ruins of the Roman city (slight) and an amazing Moorish Alcazaba built at the top of a rocky hill.

Zafra is worth an overnight stop, though.

Badajoz itself looks pretty ugly from a distance but as you are coming from the south the Alcazaba is pretty good and the Alta Plaza where the Nationalists shot every male in the city over the age of eight (I think) and blood literally flowed down into the city from the plaza. A very infamous event but the Alta Plaza has been restored. Best of all is the Badajoz Archeoligical Museum in the same part of Badajoz, with some pretty impress Tartessian exhibits.

Badajoz Provincial Archeological Museum
Plaza José Álverez y Sáenz de Buruaga s/n, 06002, Badajoz
N38° 52’ 56.03" W06° 58’ 05.96"

Badajoz province and western Andalucia share this history and, one day, I shall sent the stuff I have on the Tartessians to Chris at a.com who asked me about it about six years ago. I'm a slow writer.

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Wicksey
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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Wicksey » Thu Feb 22, 2024 9:44 am

Many thanks Lavanda for that information, very useful.

Olive, I haven't looked at tolls in Portugal. Last time I was on a toll road in Spain we paid in cash, or I pay the DART charge in England online. From a very quick Google it appears that there are separate lanes for foreign registered cars where they can pay by card. I shall have to have a look at it in more detail. We are planning a long stay so we may be able to register for a prepayment scheme or something, although I don't think we'll be going on a toll motorway that frequently once there.

At the moment we're not sure if Seville or Cordoba is the way to go. We're trying out the route this spring so we can take our time. When we go for longer we shall have our cats on board, so don't want to be sitting in traffic for hours. Any suggestions about the route .... I did drive to Extremadura via Sevilla, but that was years back. Traffic seems to have got a lot heavier everywhere these days. Looks like a lot of road works on the Sevilla route too.

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Lavanda » Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:37 pm

North of Sevilla on the A-66 there were some disastrous road building about 18 years ago when all the villages were bypassed all along the N-630 to create a new road, the E-803 autovía. The end result was what can only be described as 'waves'. The last time I went to Sevilla, about eight months ago, roadworks were in place to repair the road. Lots of mess.

You could try driving on the N-630 which is very pretty and not the E-803 at all. There's practically no traffic on that road BUT you do through all the villages so it's not fast. I always do the N-630 whenever possible and it's really relaxing as people don't use it much these days. Or do a combination of the two roads as they run parallel for most of the way.

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby olive » Thu Feb 22, 2024 3:40 pm

Wow, thanks for those tips Lavanda. I have filed them for a future trip.

We had car trouble last year crawling through horrid traffic in Seville during the heatwave at the end of April. Having made it to Badajoz we cut out our intended back roads trip pulling in the sights and got back onto the main roads which are wonderfully free of traffic in Extramadura.

We have done the N630 . Interesting route in places but slow! We did a similar diversion and came across Belacazar - the tallest castle in Spain.

Wicksey. My suggestion for slightly less hassle would be the A45 up to outskirts of Cordoba and then on up the Red Road towards Extramadura. Cant remember its number but it is a bumble along with the flow road. I think the Cordoba intersection is easier than the Seville one.

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Wicksey » Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:09 pm

Thanks all!

Do you mean the N432 from Cordoba to Zafra Olive? The Cordoba route looks a bit more straightforward and we can give that a go on our tryout trip. We don't want to be stuck in huge traffic jams once we do the journey with the cats.

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Lavanda » Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:18 pm

I’ve never ever seen any traffic jams in Extremadura not in 18 years. However, farmers are blocking roads with tractors from time to time right now. Also, Zafra is famous for an enormous agricultural show every year - I think it’s in September so maybe check that and avoid those days.

Lavanda
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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Lavanda » Fri Feb 23, 2024 7:11 am

PS The Zafra Show is in October.

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby DannyB » Mon Feb 26, 2024 11:32 pm

Wicksey wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:09 pm Thanks all!

Do you mean the N432 from Cordoba to Zafra Olive? The Cordoba route looks a bit more straightforward and we can give that a go on our tryout trip. We don't want to be stuck in huge traffic jams once we do the journey with the cats.
This is a much easier route and takes hardly any more time

olive
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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby olive » Tue Feb 27, 2024 9:56 am

Wicksey wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 7:09 pm Thanks all!

Do you mean the N432 from Cordoba to Zafra Olive? The Cordoba route looks a bit more straightforward and we can give that a go on our tryout trip. We don't want to be stuck in huge traffic jams once we do the journey with the cats.
That is the one. Easy driving. Different countryside. Not fast thugh. The minute you leave motorways in Spain and get onto national roads your average speed plummets.

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Wicksey
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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Wicksey » Tue Feb 27, 2024 4:33 pm

Thanks all. Sometimes you feel that you're whizzing along the motorway and getting somewhere, then you hit a huge traffic jam or it's all snarled up around a city. Generally I think the slower routes are less kms. We'll see how it goes!

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Re: Zafra? worth visiting

Postby Lavanda » Tue Feb 27, 2024 7:08 pm

Not sure speed plummets on non-motorway roads. Depends. From where I live I can get to Mérida in 40 minutes on the A5 Madrid to Lisbon motorway. Or I can get to Mérida on the N630 in 40 minutes. One way carries lorries and traffic. The other way has four cars including mine. No contest for me really.


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