A guide to Zafra, Spain. From a big mistake to a pleasant surprise

Zafra plaza

A Serendipitous Journey

Our trip to Zafra, initially a mistaken destination, turned out to be a delightful surprise. Nestled in the province of Badajoz, Extremadura, this quaint town offers a serene escape from bustling city life.

Historical Insights

Zafra’s history dates back to Roman times, serving as a crucial crossroads due to its strategic location. It flourished during the Middle Ages under Moorish rule, becoming a significant trade center. The town’s name, derived from Arabic “Safra” meaning “market,” reflects this rich commercial heritage.

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Where is Zafra Spain?

Zafra is in the province of Badajoz in Extremadura, Spain and it’s the capital of the comarca of Zafra. With a population of around 17,000 people, it’s a charming nice sized town to walk around and visit without the stress that comes from a busy larger city like it’s neighbour Badajoz.

Things to do in Zafra

We started by parking the car near the Parador de Zafra a 15th-century palace converted to a hotel that is quite impressive and a nice place to start your visit. Travelling with a young child our first stop is always a children’s park so that he can stretch his legs and have some fun before starting our visit and there are a nice large park and a couple of square’s right next to where we parked so that was perfect. After that and to our surprise we found a lot to see even if the schedule of most touristic attractions like museums and churches were not ideal. Some of the most impressive were:

  • Parador de Zafra: This 15th-century palace, once a residence for the Dukes of Feria, is now a luxurious hotel. Its Gothic-Mudejar architecture and grandiose rooms offer a glimpse into Zafra’s noble past.
  • Plaza Grande: This bustling square is full of coffee shops and small bars, making it a great place to soak in the local atmosphere and get a feel for the city.
  • Small Streets of Downtown: Wandering through the narrow streets of downtown Zafra reveals charming corners and picturesque scenes, perfect for a leisurely stroll.
  • Arco de Jerez and Arco del Cubo: These historic gateways are remnants of Zafra’s old city walls. The Arco de Jerez, with its impressive tower, and the cylindrical Arco del Cubo provide a sense of the town’s medieval fortifications.
  • El Castillo del Castellar: Located just outside Zafra, this natural rock formation is an impressive sight and a popular spot for nature enthusiasts.
  • Colegiata de La Candelaria: This imposing church, built in the 16th century, dominates Zafra’s skyline. Though we couldn’t visit inside, its striking Renaissance architecture and towering presence are noteworthy.

There are of course some museums but unfortunately, the schedules didn’t work for us so we can’t comment on them but regardless I think the best of Zafra is how peaceful and safe it is for a family with a young child. There are many streets with very few traffic and it’s quite safe to walk around with a child making it a perfect place to relax and explore the streets.

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Restaurants in Zafra

We had lunch in a restaurant called Arco and the food was great. The place was surprisingly modern and the service was 5 stars. We don’t usually write about restaurants but this one is worth a recommendation. There is only one catch they don’t speak English so communication might be an issue but we found that to be the case in many Spanish cities.

Accommodation in Zafra

We stayed in the Hotel Balneario El Raposo, a Spa type of Hotel with indoor swimming pool famous for its thermal water’s. The Hotel is relatively close to Zafra and it would have probably been a great stay if not for the several issues we had with our booking ranging from a room without a children’s bed to misunderstanding about whether the breakfast was included. Still, I think the Hotel is a good choice with good infrastructure and great location, just be sure to double-check your booking.

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