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Tourist information for western Spain

Western Spain is perhaps the least known and least developed part of Spain. Bordering Portugal to the west, it is a land of high rocky plateaux cut in places by deep spectacular gorges, especially in the north where the Duero flows westwards towards Portugal and the Atlantic. Further south the Rio Tajo cuts a similarly impressive course through some of Europe's wildest scenery before reaching Lisbon and the sea. The land is often rocky and barren, and the population sparse. Consequently this part of Spain is a paradise for wildlife, being home to vultures, eagles lynx and even bears.

Not long ago this part of Spain was difficult to access, with narrow roads often in a bad state of repair. But in the last decade or so large amounts of European money has been spent on bringing the infrastructure up-to-date. You can now enjoy driving on some of the best engineered roads in Europe, but still surrounded by some of the most remote scenery. Cars are few and far between once away from the couple of major highways. A driving holiday here is a real pleasure.

Towns and places of interest in Western Spain:


The best known city is the beautiful town of Salamanca, an ancient seat of learning with one of Europe's oldest universities. The extensive old town boasts well preserved streets and some lovely buildings, and the University ensures that there is a lively feel to the city, with many tapas bars and restaurants, and frequent live music events in the gorgeous central square.

To the north of Salamanca is the smaller town of Zamora on the banks of the Duero. The town boasts no fewer than 13 ancient Roman churches, and also claims to be home to the largest number of nesting Storks in Spain. They make an eerie sight at dusk as they take up position on top of most of the buildings in the centre. Just east of Zamora is Toro, where they make some excellent wines at value for money prices.

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