La Siberia of Extremadura is a land of many contrasts worth discovering and enjoying. It allows us to get lost among its many different landscapes: Admire imposing mountains, walk along the beautiful plains of pasture and bathe in large reservoirs. The district of Badajoz is a perfect example of the merger of men and nature. The residents of the 17 municipalities that constitute this region have set their mind to be universally recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Many good reasons support this claim, such as unique environmental conditions, outstanding landscapes and heritage values that this corner of Extremadura, which borders with Castile-La Mancha, west of Madrid and close to Portugal, treasures.
Many promotional activities invite visitors to get to know this unique touristic space, such as the “Fiesta de la Trasterminancia” (The Fiesta of the Transhumance”), which is the migration of livestock along predetermined paths and allow us to become shepherds for one day; Siberitas (Sybarites) to sample the gastronomy of this region; “Birding Puebla” to learn about the ornithological and natural wealth of this region or “Radio La Siberia” for those who like to combine sports and nature.
The sustenance for livestock and hunting
The origins of this region have strong ties to livestock, which are still preserved today. The celebration of the “Trasterminancia”, which takes place every autumn in “La Siberia”, is designed to highlight the importance of the Merino Sheep. Participants are encouraged to walk as authentic shepherds on the route of the “Cañada Real” (the Royal Cattle Route) guiding the largest herd of black merino sheep in Spain, a breed that is in danger of extinction.
Hunting Management has been an important alternative as a source of income for the residents of “La Siberia”. The hunting reserve of Cijara includes a vast territory and since 1966 it is a National Reserve for the protection of various species of game. Thus, the northernmost region of Badajoz is a paradise for the lovers of big game hunting such as deer and boar. It should be remember that this sporting activity is one of the economic engines of Extremadura and Hunting moves a great number of international tourists.
Towns to be visited
The Badajoz Region formed by a territory of 2691 kilometers with seventeen municipalities: Baterno, Casas de Don Pedro. Castiblanco, Esparragosa de Lares, Fuenlabrada de los Montes, Garbayuela, Garlitos, Helechosa de los Montes, Herrera del Duque, Navalvillar de la Pela, Puebla de Alcocer, Risco, Santi-Spiritus, Siruela, Talarrubias, Tamurejo, Valdecaballeros and Villarta de los Montes.
The orography of “La Siberia” is marked by the construction of a number of reservoirs: Orellana, La Serena and Zújar located in the Southern area of the region and the Cíjara reservoir in the northern area. These ecosystems create fantastic conditions to receive thousand of cranes from northern Europe that winter in Extremadura. To celebrate this winter reunion the “Junta de Extremadura” created the Festival of Cranes, at Navalvilllar de Pela. Every year, these events aim to inform and promote the exceptional nature of the natural resources of Extremadura. Highlighting its status as an exceptional case in the European context, while educating, conserving and raising awareness of the migratory species. These birds travel more than 4000 kilometers from northern Europe to Extremadura.
To visit “La Siberia” is one of the best travel plans for this region, both to get to know the history and the heritage, and also to discover the spectacular landscapes and the nature of this area. The culture and the strength of the tradition of the people of this land is another jewel this region offers and visitors are able to enjoy.
Leisure and traditions
During your visit to “La Siberia”, we recommend a stop at the “Periurbano Moheda Alta Park “ at “Navalvillar de Pela”, which is representative of the Extremadura pasturelands, and enjoy its famous “Fiesta de la Encamisá”. Also, at “Puebla de Alcocer” you will be able to find out the story of Agustín Luengo, who with 2.35 meters in height, happens to be the highest man of this region. The typical structures of the Badajoz towns are interwoven with churches, convents and hermitages, which make every stop a true delight. Visitors experience a sense of discovery at each and every municipality that feeds the spirit and the soul. A special mention deserves the peninsula, surrounded by fresh water between the reservoirs of Orellana and Puerto Peña to visit Talarrubias, Puebla de Alcocher and Esparragosa de Lares.
To visit “La Siberia” during the summer is a refreshing experience. You can enjoy water sport at each and every reservoir, because “Extremadura is also water”.
At the border of the region of “La Serena” visitors must consider two excellent recommendations: the sandy beach of the island of “Zújar” and the blue flag beach of “Orellana la vieja”. Also, in the heart of La Siberia you will find a beach called “Peloche”, which is also a fantastic garden. ¿Can anyone ask for more?
Original article by Ainhoa Miguel
Translated by Susana Windt
Photography by Carlos Criado
Published on April 2018