A relatively short day, bit with tough climbs. On board computer logged a total climb of 1166 metres, which included a particularly grueling climbs in the first half of the day. If you look at the detailed map of Spain, you will see that there are no real shortcuts to taking on the mountains. Basically you have to climb from El Real to Zafra, and the only other alternative is the N-630. I decided that the smaller roads would be more agreeable than the N-630, which is does not have a parallel motorway yet at this point, so the traffic would be bad. I later spoke to some cyclists who had indeed followed the N-630 here, and they confirmed that it was not a happy experience.
The small roads were, apart from the long climbs, very pleasant, and I would recommend this route.
Cycling north to Zafra
Pig farms along the route
My route took me from El Real via Santa Maria and Palleres and Montemolin to Fuente de Cantos. Once you get to Fuente de Cantos its a fairly straightforward cycle into Zafra.
Zafra is one of southern Extremadura’s most important commercial centres. The old city centre is a wealth of historical buildings and monuments and a wonderful parador. The parador is located within the Palacio de los Duques de Feria, open every day to visitors.
You should try to visit the Convento de Santa Clara, La Casa Grande and the
Alcázar de los Duques de Feria.
Zafra’s 15th-century castle is the largest and best preserved in the region. It is set within the angular, stark white architecture of Zafra, which is also said to have inspired the cubists.
The town its self has two “Plazas” (main squares), known as “Plaza Chica” (the small one) and “Plaza Grande” (the big one) date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Also, the fifteenth and sixteenth-century Gothic Church of Nuestra senora de Candalaria has magnificent baroque and Churrigueresque altarpieces.
I stayed at Hospederia Convento de la Parra at La Parra outside Zafra, but would recommend cyclists stop in Zafra itself at the Parador. Apart from having longer to enjoy the town, the days travel split better.
Camino de Santiago - Via de la Plata Map of my route
Day 4 Day 4 of my route