(Last updated on 17/07/2024)

Despite being the region’s largest city, visitors to Extremadura often leave Badajoz out of their travel itinerary. It won’t strike you as a particularly beautiful destination at first sight but, if you can get past its unappealing outskirts, the numerous gems around the city centre will win you over.

This Badajoz sightseeing mini-guide aimed at first-time visitors will come in handy if you’re thinking about a day trip to the city or stopping there on your way to or from Portugal. The nine unmissable places suggested below will keep you busy for most of your first day in Badajoz, allowing you to leisurely explore the city centre on foot while still having some buffer time to add quick stops as you go.


A stroll through this pretty garden with views is the perfect way to start exploring Badajoz. The Jardines de la Galera are located to the southeast end of the Moorish citadel (Alcazaba), between a twelfth-century tower (Torre de Espantaperros) and a seventeenth-century demi-bastion (Baluarte de San Antonio). Home to a surprising variety of plants and flowers, this compact yet well-kept garden offers some great views of the city centre. The garden is connected to the demi-bastion and from there you can access the citadel.

Badajoz_ago_2023_jardines de la galera

Location: Calle Castillo, 13

Opening hours: from Monday to Saturday and holidays from 9am to 2pm and from 4pm to 9pm; Sundays from 11am to 1.30pm and from 4.30pm to 7pm.

Alcazaba de Badajoz

​Located on the banks of the river Guadiana and bordering Portugal, Badajoz was a strategic stronghold for the Moors, who built this citadel in the twelfth century. With a surface of 80,000 square metres and 1,200-metre long walls, Alcazaba de Badajoz is the largest citadel of its kind in Europe.

Did you know? Badajoz city walls, consisting of the older twelfth-century citadel enclosure and a seventeenth-century bastioned enclosure, are the longest in Spain, with 6,541 metres of preserved wall.

The citadel is home to numerous sights and remains. Some highlights include a church tower (Torre de Santa María), a former military hospital (Antiguo Hospital Militar) turned public library (Biblioteca de Extremadura), a palace housing an archaeological museum (Museo Arqueológico Provincial), remains of a chapel and a church, archaeological remains of an old Islamic fortress and a large park.

Alcazaba de Badajoz: city wall and towers

The main entry to the citadel is from Puerta del Capitel, a gateway just off Plaza Alta, but you can also access the citadel from the Jardines de la Galera via the demi-bastion. Once you’ve seen enough of the citadel, climb the nearest stairs and walk along the walls, from tower to tower, taking your time to soak up the views from different angles.

Alcazaba de Badajoz: views

The citadel is free to visit. It usually opens (subject to last-minute and sometimes unannounced changes) from Monday to Thursday 24 hours, Fridays until 11pm, Saturdays from 7am to 11pm, and Sundays from 7am to midnight.

Museo Arqueológico Provincial​

The sixteenth-century sturdy-looking Palacio de los Condes de la Roca houses Badajoz Province Archaeological Museum. Visit its permanent exhibition to learn about the history of Badajoz province from the Paleolithic period up to the sixteenth century through art objects displayed in chronological order. On the Museum’s website there’s a free audio guide available in multiple languages. Free admission.

Museo Arqueológico Provincial, Badajoz

Location: Plaza de José Álvarez y Sáez de Buruaga, s/n

Opening hours: from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 3pm, Sundays and holidays from 10am to 3pm. Closed on Mondays, 24 December, 25 December, 31 December, 1 January, 6 January and one local holiday to be determined.

Plaza Alta

​Plaza Alta is one of the most recognisable and iconic squares in Extremadura. This charming porticoed square has two distinct and easily distinguishable areas.

The oldest area to the north (along the citadel), with facades painted in soft brown and white, is home to the former town hall.

Plaza Alta, Badajoz

The southern (newer) side of the square displays a striking red, dark grey and white geometrical pattern façade. On this side there are mainly private residential properties.

Plaza Alta, Badajoz

A former souk in Moorish times and market square in medieval times, today Plaza Alta hosts an Arab-style market in September during the Almossassa festival, commemorating the origins of the city. It’s also a popular meeting place for locals and a regular venue for concerts, music festivals and other events.

Torre de Espantaperros

The Torre de la Atalaya, more often known as Torre de Espantaperros (‘Scare-Dog Tower’) is a twelfth-century flanked tower located just outside Plaza Alta, near the Jardines de la Galera. Octagonal in shape, the tower stands thirty metres tall and is topped by a four-side belfry. While not open to the public, the tower is connected to the citadel by a curtain wall, so you can get a close-up view from the wall.

Torre de Espantaperros, Badajoz

Location: Calle Costanilla, 1

Did you know? Torre de Espantaperros may remind you of the also Moorish yet more famous Torre del Oro in Seville. One may initially (wrongly) assume that Badajoz’s tower was inspired by Seville’s, which was built in 1220; the truth is, Torre de Espantaperros is actually older by fifty years, as it was built in 1170.​

Plaza de España

​​This vibrant square is dominated by Badajoz’s cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista). It was built in the thirteenth century, with a number of modifications and renovations been made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It has a sturdy, fortress-like look, with battlements crowning its bell tower.

Another highlight in Plaza de España is the city hall (Palacio Municipal) – an elegant yellow and white Neoclassical building. In front of the city hall stands the statue of Luis de Morales, the renown painter born in Badajoz.

On the orange tree-lined western side of the square you’ll find some beautiful residential buildings such as Casa Álvarez Buiza, built in 1919; pay attention to the exposed brick and tile decoration surrounding its big windows, to the pretty balconies ironwork and the stained glass details.

Badajoz city hall
Casa Álvarez, Badajoz

La Giralda

​The famous bell tower of Seville’s cathedral has a small replica in Badajoz. Built in the nineteen thirties to house a department store and private residences, Badajoz’s Giralda is, despite its replica status, a peculiar and unique sight. Its striking and profusely decorated red and cream facade displays large, beautiful windows different in style and shape, intricate wrought iron balcony railings, blue and white ceramic tiles, exposed brick-looking rendering and many smaller, unusual decorative elements.

La Giralda, Badajoz

Location: Plaza Soledad

Puerta de Palmas

Puerta de Palmas is, perhaps, the most recognisable local monument. Situated opposite the namesake bridge (Puente de Palmas) over the river Guadiana, Puerta de Palmas was built in the sixteenth century as an entry gate into the walled city of Badajoz.

Flanked by two battlement-crowned round turrets, the central gate offers a different look on each side – a classic simpler one on the side facing the bridge, with two round arches, and a more complex one on the side facing the city centre, with a three-recess chapel.

Puerta de Palmas, Badajoz

Location: Plaza Reyes Católicos

Historical fact: The round turrets hosted a prison until the end of the nineteenth century.

Plaza de San Francisco​

Plaza de San Francisco is a lively garden-square located on the site of a former convent, and a good place to sit down for a coffee while people-watching. The main highlights include a nineteenth-century bandstand surrounded by a fountain and a series of red brick and painted ceramic tile benches depicting historical scenes.

There’s an interesting mix of architectural styles around (and near) the square. Some of my favourite buildings are the main theatre (Teatro López de Ayala) on the eastern corner (entry from Plaza Minayo), the post office (Correos) and the tall brutalist building on the southern corner (look out for the clock at the top and some agriculture and trade-themed sculptures).

Teatro Ayala, Badajoz
Edificio Correos, Badajoz

Location: Paseo de San Francisco

Badajoz sightseeing map

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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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