(Last updated on 21/04/2024)

Hervás is a small, charming town in northern Extremadura. Located in the Valle del Ambroz area of Cáceres province, in beautiful natural surroundings, it features one of Spain’s best-preserved Jewish quarters. Hervás is a great place for a rural day trip from Plasencia or Salamanca, and a good base to explore Valle del Ambroz and other northern valleys in the region.

This destination mini-guide includes what you need to know to visit Hervás – from what to see and do to practical info and personal tips on things like how to get there, where to eat, or when to go.

Hervás

1. Hervás dates from the twelfth century, when monks of the Templar order built a chapel on the banks of the river Santihervás. The monks were expelled a century later, a castle was built, and families started settling down there.

2. Jews started arriving in Hervás in the fifteenth century, escaping from the antisemitic environment in Castile. Riots spread. Some people escaped to Portugal, while others decided to remain in Valle del Ambroz.

3. There were 45 Jewish families and a rabbi living in Hervás in 1492 when Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand ordered the expulsion of all Jews residing in the kingdom.

4. A new law was passed two years later, allowing Jews living in Portugal to return if they converted to Christianity. The number of people who returned to Hervás is unclear, although it’s known that those who did, lived in and around Plaza de la Corredera.

5. An old Gijón-Seville train line served Hervás up to the mid-eighties when the service was cancelled and Hervás’ train station closed. The two former station buildings have been transformed into a Visitor Centre and a hostel.

How to get to Hervás​

You can get to Hervás either by bus or by car.

Getting to Hervás by bus

Bus company Alsa serves Hervás from destinations such as Plasencia, Salamanca, Cáceres and Badajoz. Tickets can be purchased in advance on Alsa’s website.

Bus journey durations to Hervás:
From Plasencia to Hervás: 40min
From Salamanca to Hervás: 1h 40min
From Cáceres to Hervás: 1h 50min
From Badajoz to Hervás: 4h 20min​

Bus company Cevesa serves Hervás from Madrid (Estación Sur) and small Extremadura destinations such as Baños de Montemayor and Zarza de Granadilla. Note: Cevesa also covers the routes Plasencia-Hervás and Cáceres-Hervás, but its slow service stops frequently along the way, making the journey a lot longer than Alsa’s (Plasencia-Hervás: 1h 15min; Cáceres-Hervás: 2h 30min). Tickets can be purchased in advance on Cevesa’s website.

Bus journey durations to Hervás:
From Madrid (Estación Sur de Autobuses): 3h 15min
From Baños de Montemayor: 10min
From Zarza de Granadilla: 30min​

Hervás’ bus station is located in Avenida de España, 1D, five minutes away on foot from the local tourist office and under ten minutes away on foot from the Jewish Quarter.

Getting to Hervás by car

The main point of reference for getting to Hervás is the A-66/E-803 road (Autovía Ruta de la Plata) running through Extremadura from north to south.

If you’re driving south from northern Spain via Salamanca, get off the A-66/E-803 road at exit 436 towards Hervás (EX-205) and follow the signs.

If you’re driving north from Plasencia, Cáceres, Mérida or from southern Spain via Seville, get off the A-66/E-803 road at exit 436 towards Hervás (EX-205) and follow the signs.

If you’re driving to Hervás straight from Madrid, you have two options:

Option 1: taking the A-5/E-90 road to Navalmoral de la Mata, then the EX-A1 road to Plasencia, followed by the A-66/E-803 road north-bound and getting off at exit 436 towards Hervás.

Option 2: taking the A-6/AP-6 road (Autovía del Noroeste, A Coruña-bound) and getting off at exit 81 towards Ávila (AP-51), then following the AP-51 road (which becomes the AV-20 in Ávila), joining the N-110 road Plasencia-bound and getting off at exit 436 towards Hervás.

The car journey duration (from Madrid Airport) is, either way, around three hours.​

Idea: for an unforgettable driving experience, choose one of my favourite scenic drives in Extremadura – the mountain road CC-102 to Hervás. This single-track road connects Hervás with the N-110 road which runs along the Valle del Jerte down to Plasencia. The CC-102 road starts off the N-110 road at a roundabout halfway between Cabezuela del Valle and Jerte. It winds up the mountain to reach a mountain pass (Puerto de Honduras) situated at 1440 metres over sea level before descending through a forested area down to Hervás. The views are absolutely spectacular and there are several good places to stop along the way. The journey is only 32 kilometres long and takes about 55 minutes. This route is popular amongst motorcyclists and cyclists and requires careful, confident and focused driving. Not suitable for winter or night drives and perhaps not entirely suitable for big campervans either.

mountain road CC-102 to Hervás
mountain road CC-102 to Hervás_car

What to see and do in Hervás

Hervás’ undeniable charm is not about big imposing tourist sights, but about its picturesque traditional architecture and its picture-perfect scenic location by the sierra de Béjar mountains.

These are some of the main things you can do in Hervás:

Explore the Jewish Quarter

Hervás’ Jewish quarter (judería) is a maze of narrow streets worth exploring unhurriedly. Look for the elements making the town’s traditional architecture so unique –  half-timbered walls, wooden beams from local chestnut trees, walls covered in sometimes painted adobe tiles (particularly first and second floors) and pretty balconies.

La Plaza, Hervás
Calle de Centiñera, Hervás

These are some of the key streets you may not want to miss in the Jewish Quarter:

Calle Rabilero. Many houses on this street display classical whitewashed facades and many potted plants on their windows and around the front doors. Number 19 is where the former synagogue is said to have been located. Look out for the little alleyway between houses number 3 and 5.

Calle Sinagoga. Calle Rabilero leads straight to Calle Sinagoga, which preserves some stones from the original pavement and offers some good views of the church.

Calle del Moral (and the little Travesía del Moral off it). The garden walls at the end of the street mark the limits of the Jewish Quarter.

Calle de la Amistad Judeocristiana. Former Calle del Hospital was renamed Calle de la Amistad Judeocristiana (‘Street of Friendship between Jews and Christians’) honouring Hervás’ historical multiculturalism. A plaque on house number 16 commemorates the event.

Calle de Abajo. This street, leading down to the medieval stone bridge over river Ambroz, is another good place to see beautiful front houses cladded with traditional roof tiles.

Calle del Vado. This almost-semicircular street crosses river Ambroz on two places, connecting Calle de Abajo with Calle Sinagoga.

Calle de la Amistad Judeocristiana, Hervás
Roof tiled houses, Hervás
Travesía del Moral, Hervás
Calle de Abajo, Hervás

Look out for strange little wooden doors on the front of some houses – they were part of a former smart fire-fighting system.

Take a postcard-perfect picture of Hervás

After exploring the Jewish quarter, walk down Calle de Abajo, cross the medieval bridge (Puente de la Fuente Chiquita) and turn immediately right. Walk a few metres along the riverbank and you’ll find a good spot for taking a postcard perfect picture of the town.

Walk up to Iglesia de Santa María for the best views 

This church, sitting atop a small hill, was built from the remains of the former castle. The lower part of the castle wall, as well as an arch, have survived to this day. The outside area around the church serves as a viewpoint and offers the best views in town of Hervás and the surrounding area.

Iglesia de Santa María, Hervás_views

Location: Calle Subida Iglesia, 19

Take a stroll and have a drink

A good place for a short evening stroll is Calle Braulio Navas, a pedestrianised street lined with trees, local shops and bars. Here, you’ll also find the local tourist office, so pop by if you need specific local travel information or maps. You can have a quick drink at one of the unassuming bars’ outside sitting areas along Calle Braulio Navas, and then head back up to the centre via the charming Plaza de la Corredera.

Calle Braulio Navas, Hervás

Location: Calle Subida Iglesia, 19

Tourist Information Centre (Oficina de Turismo)

Location: Calle Braulio Navas, 6

Opening times: Turismo de Hervás opens Tuesday-Saturday from 10am to 2pm and from 4.30pm to 7pm and Sundays from 10am to 2pm. Closed on Mondays. Reduced hours in January.

Contact details: (phone) +34 927 47 36 18; (email): [email protected]

Where to eat in Hervás: Restaurante Sésamo. Casa de Comidas

During my last visit to Hervás, we struggled to find a place to eat and found Restaurante Sésamo Casa de Comidas just by chance. The outdoor sitting area was full but the kind staff offered to fit us in without a booking in the main dining room. We had to wait a fair bit, but we quite liked the look of the menu and decided to stick with this place. We liked the food, the place and the service so much that we booked dinner for the following night straight away. The menu changes every season but some of the delicious food we tried included cod, braised pork ribs, free-range chicken and wild mushroom cannelloni, a dark chocolate and berries dessert, a mascarpone and mango cake, and a brioche French toast with vanilla. Advanced booking recommended.

Hervás_restaurante sésamo: cod
Restaurante Sésamo, Hervás: mascarpone and mango cake
Restaurante Sésamo, Hervás: braised pork ribs
Restaurante Sésamo, Hervás: brioche French toast with vanilla

Location: Calle Cuestecilla, 4

Opening times(from 17 September to 30 June) Friday-Saturday from 2pm to 3.30pm and from 9pm to 10.30pm, Sundays from 2pm to 3.30pm; (from 1 July to 16 September) Mondays from 2pm to 3.30pm and from 9pm to 10.30, Thursday-Sunday from 2pm to 3.30pm and from 9pm to 10.30pm.

Where to stay in Hervás: Hospedería Valle del Ambroz

On my last visit to Hervás I stayed in Hospedería Valle del Ambroz, a four-star hotel located in a former convent. The room was spacious and very bright. I didn’t have a chance to try the restaurant (make sure you book in advance), but its swimming pool with mountain views was welcoming feature.

Hospedería Valle del Ambroz: room
Hospedería Valle del Ambroz: cloister
Hospedería Valle del Ambroz: swimming pool

Location: Plaza del Hospital, s/n

Map of Hervás

Find all the places mentioned in this article on the map below.

When to visit Hervás

When to visit Hervás

Visiting Hervás in summer: temperatures in northern valleys such as Valle del Ambroz are generally a bit lower than in other areas of Extremadura. But, while temperatures in Hervás won’t reach 40+ degrees, you should still expect +33 degrees in July and August. In July, Hervás hosts its Fiesta de los Conversos, a street festival celebrating the town’s Jewish heritage through music, theatre, exhibitions and food tastings.

Visiting Hervás in autumn: with a number of walking routes to choose from, Hervás is a good autumnal destination for nature walkers.

I’ve visited Hervás in mid-April (Easter) and mid-June. I’d avoid visiting Hervás over Easter because it gets too busy. Restaurants are fully-booked and the town feels too small for the number of tourists visiting. I found mid-June to be a good time to visit – the town was lively but not packed and the weather was good enough for swimming (around 32 degrees) but not excessively hot.

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Irene Corchado Resmella

Irene Corchado Resmella

Hi! I’m Irene (/ee-REH-neh/). Long since settled in the UK, I explore my Spanish home region of Extremadura with an inquisitive mind, a sharp eye, and the duality that comes with being both a local and a visitor. Then I write about it here to help you discover this beautiful yet overlooked part of Spain. If you have any questions after reading this article, submit a comment below! Read more about me.

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