Mérida (Spain)Roman province of Lusitania. The city still contains numerous well preserved Roman ruins, the group of which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.
By trainThe RENFE station in Mérida is located on Calle Cardero. There are four trains to and from Cáceres (trip time: 1 hr.), five trains to and from Madrid (4.5-6 hours, 18.45-27 Euros one-way), one to and from Seville (3 hr.), and seven to and from Badajoz (1 hr.)
By busThe , is at Ave La Libertad s/n across the bridge (Puente Lusitania) from the central part of town with the following companies:
phone: +34 902 42-22-42
phone: +34 924 37-14-04Southwest Bus is a subsidiary of Grupo Avanza. Travels primarily towards Madrid via Trujillo
phone: +34 902 40-50-40International connections between Portugal, Spain, France and into the rest of Europe.
FLIXBUSInternational bus connecting Lisbon, Merida, Biarritz/Bayonne, Bordeaux and Paris Passengers transfer buses or to trains in Paris and Bordeaux to continue to additional destinations in France, Germany, Switzerland etc.
phone: +34 924 37-14-03Travels primarily on Hwy A66/E-803 (Zafra - Villafranca de los Barros - Almendralejo-Merida - Caceres); A5/E90 (Merida - Badajoz) to serve various places in the surrounding regions of Extremadura.
There are fewer buses to Madrid, but connections to Seville (6-8 busses per day) are much better.
By carThe N-V superhighway passes through Mérida from Madrid or Lisbon.
Roman RuinsRoman ruins in Mérida are a mixture of ticketed and free sites.
At the ticket booth of the sites that require paid entry, there is a combo ticket for €15, which is generally only slightly more expensive than the entry to just one site. With that said, the theater-amphitheater duo site seems to draw the bulk of the crowds, and it may be better to start at a smaller site, which avoids waiting in long lines to buy the combo ticket. You will also be given a map to the sites (both free and paid) around the city. The combo ticket does not include the notable Roman Art Museum across the street from the amphitheater. The Roman Art Museum is only €3.
Roman AmphitheaterThe star attraction of the Roman sites in Mérida. The theater (used for plays) and amphitheater (used for gladiator fights and spectacles) are next to each other, and both are excellently preserved. During the summer the theater is still used for flamenco and other shows. Ticket required.
Casa del MitreoUncovered remains of an old Roman mansion. Many original floor mosaics still visible. Ticket required.
Roman BridgeOnce the longest bridge in the Roman Empire. Part original Roman construction, part restoration from the Visigoth era. Still used daily by pedestrians. The Alcazaba is on the Merida side of the bridge.
The AlcazabaRemains of a Moorish fortress built using material and part of the structure of the original Roman city walls. Can walk along the outer wall for a view of the river and old bridge. Ticket required.
Templo de DianaRuins of a large Roman temple, dating from the founding of the city. Parts of the structure were later reused in the Moorish period and after.
Portico del ForoUncovered section of foundation of the old city Forum, with a few reconstructed columns.
Arch of TrajanLarge archway that was once one of principal entrances to the city. The surrounding structure has been lost but the arch itself remains standing in the midst of the modern city. If you drive a car, you can pass below it on a public street (put Calle Trajano 8 in your GPS).
Circo RomanoThe ruins of an ancient stadium where chariot races would have been held. Slightly outside of the city center, and the entrance is only on the end closes to the city. Walking to the wrong side of the stadium is easy to do. Ticket required for entry.
Rabo de Buey-San Lázaro AqueductAcross the street from the Circo Romano, three pillars are all that remain of the structure of the Roman aqueduct. Better preserved remains from a 16th century aqueduct also stand in the same location.
Acueducto de los MilagrosLarge, impressive section of a Roman aqueduct (three levels high) that runs across the center of what is now a city park.
Zona Arqueológica de MoreríaA small, mostly derelict section of remains of the city entrance next the river, that has been uncovered. Ticket required.
Roman Art MuseumSpectacular collection of mosaics and sculptures. Does not accept combo ticket. Entry €3.
Medieval and Modern SitesThe central Plaza de España has the Mérida Palace Hotel, which is a well-preserved historical building now hosting a 5 star hotel. Additionally, this plaza has the modern art "Palácio de la China", which is a visual riot and not at all Chinese.
Visigoth CollectionGood collection of sculptures from the Visigothic era of Mérida.
Look for Torta del Casar, served at most restaurants.
Some places also make stuffed red peppers with a variety of fillings like fish, cornmeal, and lamb.
There is a variety of cheese made with paprika, but there are numerous names for it.
Also of note is the local red wine "Ribera del Guadiana".