Walking mountain trails has something of mystery, magic, and some sort of connection with our inner being. One seems to blend with the surroundings and feels a tight bond with nature. The aroma of damp earth, the sound of the breeze through the leaves of the trees or the sudden passage of birds keep all our senses constantly alert. The arrival in a small town, with its countrymen slowly going to their daily chores, keeps us in that calm rhythm of the things of other times. And what to say about the sweet fragrance coming from some kitchen! There can be nothing more invigorating than the smell of freshly cooked bread, or those dishes made with love. The Sierra de Gata also brings us old stories of people passing la Raya (the line), which is how people in Spain we refer to the border with Portugal. Those were times of hardship. Times when the Spaniards illegally brought coffee and tobacco from Portugal while in turn passing bread, beef and milk to the Portuguese. The punishment, in case of being apprehended by the border police, went from the loss of the merchandise to a prison sentence going through beatings at the hands of the Guarda Republicana in Portugal or the Guardia Civil in Spain. The footprints of those smugglers rest in the slopes of Sierra de Gata in the shape of paths and sidewalks, as well as in a cultural exchange between the peoples both sides of the Raya.
Plasencia is the largest city in the north of Extremadura and one of the four most important in the Autonomous Community. It was founded by King Alfonso VIII of Castile in the 12th century as a strategic base in the struggle with the Kingdom of León and the Muslims during the period known as «the Reconquest». Plasencia is a friendly little town, with beautiful streets full of life and with a spectacular Plaza Mayor where you can enjoy a good wine accompanied by delicious tapas.
This small village, located at the foot of the Sierra de la Bolla, will be your first accommodation. The urban nucleus of Robledillo preserves the charm of the old mountain villages, with its stepped houses, stone facades and old Arabic tile roofs. The town is inserted in an idyllic setting of pine forests, through which you can enjoy delicious walks by the river Arrago.
In our first walking day we will be visiting Ovejuela, a small hamlet in the neighbouring natural region of Las Hurdes. Its natural wild beauty of abrupt sierras, water cascades and Mediterranean landscapes took international repercussion with the awarded documentary “Las Hurdes, land without bread,” by Luis Buñuel. This surrealist filmmaker, a close friend of Salvador Dalí, portrayed the harshness of live in this, by then, impoverished region of northern Extremadura.
Today’s journey will take us mostly through mid-mountain forest areas. Large pine groves and forest tracks will give way to areas of cork oak, holm oak and when closer to the urban areas, small orchards and olive groves. A beautiful watchtower Arab tower observes us from above. The streams and natural pools provide us with bathing opportunities on the hottest days of spring and summer.
Today’s walk will take us from the lower ground of Villasbuenas, to the slopes of the highest peak in the Sierra de Gata, namely Jálama – or Xálima, in the local dialect. Along the longest walk of the week, we will visit the northernmost cork oaks in Extremadura located in a delicious as well as unusual environment for this type of tree. We will finish the day walking down towards Acebo, a small town which is named after the Common holly tree.
We start the day with a visit to Hoyos, the administrative capital of the Sierra de Gata. Its noble stone buildings are well worth a quiet walk through its historic center, before continuing the march to San Martín de Trevejo, our final destination for today. On the way, we will enjoy passing through small and bucolic «callejas» – alleys -, which is how people in Extremadura call the small country paths that run between stone walls. We will visit the hamlet of Trevejo, with its imposing castle perched on a steep hill. And we will cross Villamiel, to finally reach one of the «most beautiful towns in Spain.»
The Jálama valley is occupied by the municipalities of San Martín de Trevejo, Eljas and Valverde del Fresno. It runs from the foothills of the Sistema Central, of which the Sierra de Gata is an integral part, to the border with Portugal. Its approximately five thousand inhabitants distributed among «os tres lugaris» – the three places – speak a curious dialect of Asturian-Portuguese origin that is known as a fala. We will often walk alongside small family farms of cattle or vines. The highest peak of this bordering region, namely Jálama – or Xálima in fala dialect – will be looking upon us from its 1.492 m. of altitude.
Should you like to spend extra nights in one of the locations, please let us know in your inquiry and we will give you a quote
Sure, we will provide you GPS Tracks and detailed information to upload the tracks in your mobile phone or GPS device. You can also hire a GPS device from us for 35 €.
Of course. We will be taking care of you during your holidays. We have an emergency phone number where you can get in touch with us in case of any trouble. We will do our best to help you with any difficulty you may have.
You will be accommodated in charming family run rural hotels.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas Airport is the most convenient airport to fly to for this tour. You will then need to get to Madrid Estación Sur bus station.
Alternatively, you can make your way from the airport to Madrid Atocha Cercanías train station.
Fill in and send us the equiry form, and we’ll be delighted to help you with detail information on the best options to get to the starting point for this tour.
If you come from Europe or UK and do not want to fly, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information on hot to get to Spain by train.