Sierra de Gata is a delightful place during autumn. Visitors may eat-up the sites in combination with genuine dining experiences. The region offers programs in olive oil tourism and mycological tourism, in addition to special “Tapa” tours on buses, where visitors can enjoy magnificent autumn sites, without having to worry about their cars, while quietly contemplating the beauty of the region on comfortable buses. Stops are made at key locations to enjoy “Tapas”. All this is enough to be able to shine among the other events that are planned by the Dirección General de Turismo (General Board of Tourism) for this region, in their endeavor to promote domestic tourism. Sierra de Gata is located in the north –west province of Caceres in Extremadura. This is an extensive region in Spain, west of Madrid and close to bordering country, Portugal.
Visit Sierra de Gata for an olive oil tour
There are three gastronomical programs offered at the tourist web site of Sierra de Gata, they can be seen at: www.elotoño.com (2016). The slogan of the program is “Echate a Soñar”(Lie Down and Dream), but make your dreams come true. Aboard the bus, enjoy lush scenery, during a time of the year that is especially auspicious for the growing of mushrooms and for the harvest of olives for the production of the best “Extra Virgin Olive Oils” in Spain. In fact, “As Pontis” the name of one of the companies that produces this oil will close the third olive oil events planned for this year, on November 27. They have called their tour “Caprichos” (Whims) and include an olive oil tasting after visiting their production and growing facilities. They focus on a specific variety of olives, the “Manzanilla Cacereña”. The tour includes a stop at “Villasbuenas de Gata” to visit an ecological olive grove and an ecological olive mill. “Cigüeña Negra” (Black Stork) in Valverde del Fresno, also produces olive oil that has a good standing in Spain.
For connoisseurs it is not surprising that Sierra de Gata has its own quality seal for Olive Oil, the Protected Designation of Origin Gata-Hurdes. This can, also, be confirmed at the other two Olive Oil Tours planned for the month of November. The first on Saturday November 13th that has a lovely name “Verde que te quiero verde” (Green, I Love You Green), because it combines gastronomy and hiking, participants will be directed to the Archeological Park Los Molinos Torre de don Miguel, accompanied by actors that will stage the customs and traditions related to the Olive Oil production. The tour will finish with a visit to “Molino de los Blancos” and the tasting of a typical sweet from the place: “The Sopetón”. This is a combination of bread with olive oil, orange juice and sugar.
A must tour, when we talk about Olive Oil Tourism at Sierra de Gata, is a visit to the “Molino del Medio” (the Middle Mill). This is an essential museum of northern Extremadura and located in a “story book” village known as “Robledillo de Gata”. Visitors will be able to discover a magical place lead by specialized guides. This Olive Oil Tour will end with a cultural escapade to an important Historic and Cultural site that wonders visitors. On this day, Saturday, November 26th, the tour will start at a traditional olive grove at “Descargamaria”. The event has been named “Despertando Sentidos” (Awakening Senses).
Mycological tourism in Sierra de Gata
Sierra de Gata is a dream come true for amateur mycologists, all year round. And the special event “Echate a Soñar” (Lie Down and Dream) offers an exemplary weekend that must be noted in your calendar. It will take place on the 19th and 20th of November and participants, basket in hand, will go into the wild and visit breathtakingly beautiful forests at San Martin de Trevejo and Robledillo de Gata, they will be accompanied by experts who will highlight the uniqueness of this region for the practice of mycological tourism.
Both, the Olive Oil Tours and the Mycological tours are two novelties that are offered by the “Dirección General de Turismo de Extremadura” (Extremadura General Board of Tourism) during the 2016 campaign. The third event, “Tapa-Bus”, where visitor can follow a “Tapa” Route on special buses without having to worry about cars and driving is being successfully repeated during this season. Visitors will have four opportunities, this year, to ride on the “Tapa–Bus” along a geographical area that borders with Portugal and has five historical centers for those who are interested in adding experiences to their voyage.
“Tapa Bus” for a tapa tour in Sierra de Gata, without worrying about driving
The “Tapa-Bus”, in fact opens its campaign during the last weekend of October, with two different itineraries for Saturday and Sunday. The first follows the route of “Val de Xálima” bordering Portugal. This is a region that has its own autochthonous language called “A Fala”. The first tour will visit “Valverde del Fresno”, “Eljas”, and “San Martin de Trevejo”. And the second tour will cover “Rivera de Gata” and the Árrago River shores visiting towns like “Villasbuenas de Gata”, “Torre de don Miguel”, “Cadalso”, “Descargamaria” and “Robledillo de Gata”.
The next “Tapa-Bus” will leave on Sunday November 6th from “Acebo” and it will continue to “Hoyos”, “Cilleros” and “Perales del Puerto”. The last “Tapa-Bus” of this season is planned for the 13th of November and it will start in a town called “Hernan Perez” with stops at “Torrecilla de los Angeles” and “Villanueva de la Sierra”.
Original article by Merche R. Rey
Translated by Susana Windt
Published in October, 2016