Europe

Valencia de Alcántara: the best megalithic center in Europe

Today in Mi Viaje we want to bring you closer to one of the most visited Spanish towns by historians and culture lovers. In Valencia de Alcántara, a town in the province of Cáceres located right on the border between Spain and Portugal, we will find a set made up of more than 40 dolmens from the Neolithic.

To fully enjoy the visit through its eight districts, we will not only find signposted routes to visit the megalithic site, but we will also have the opportunity to get to know the Gothic-Jewish quarter that is located in the heart of Valencia de Alcántara. We encourage you to get to know in detail this megalithic focus declared a Cultural Asset since 1992.

The dolmens of Valencia de Alcántara

Although the origins of this site, one of the most important in Europe, begin in the Paleolithic, it will not be until the Neolithic period when the first traces of ancient civilizations appear in a tangible way. In this case, we are talking about more than 48 dolmens cataloged to date.

These dolmen complexes, so important both in Spain and in Europe, are divided into three large groups dating between the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. The vast majority of them are built with granite and slate.

Also, within the set we will find several types, from those that make up just a simple chamber to those that also have a long or short corridor. Likewise, the state of the dolmens of Valencia de Alcántara varies from one to another.

However, it is possible to find in many of them not only pieces from the period, but also figures and human hands printed on the rock. Many of these prehistoric tools are in the Museum of Cáceres.

The route of the dolmens of Valencia de Alcántara

Being such a visited place we will not have problems in making the route. In fact, as soon as we arrive we will find an information panel that will indicate the route to follow. This route can be done by people of all ages. Another important fact is that the route has signs throughout the route and explanatory panels with the details of each milestone along the way.

The route begins in the Calleja del Paje where, after a short walk, we will arrive at his farmhouse bordered by the Barbón stream. From this point we can already observe the remains of the ancient civilizations that populated the place, such as the ancient Roman road.

Continuing the route we can see the signs that indicate the location of the dolmens, a type of megalithic funerary building that is more than 5,000 years old. Although not all of them are in the same state of conservation, the dolmens are characterized by being made up of several stone slabs placed vertically and another placed as a roof over the rest.

In addition, this priceless historical complex is surrounded by a forest of holm oaks and cork oaks. that ends up creating a unique stamp and that helps visitors to feel part of another era.

Useful tips to make the most of your visit

It is important to organize the trip in advance and thus decide if we will choose to visit the dolmens on our own or with a guide. The second option is much better if what you want is to know the value of this megalithic focus. These can be visited on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. in winter and at 9:30 a.m. in summer.

We can also walk, without leaving the town, through its Gothic quarter, which is undoubtedly the second obligatory stop in Valencia de Alcántara. Here we can appreciate the challenges of Jewish culture thanks to its synagogue and other ancestral homes that are preserved in perfect condition.

In addition, we can visit the church of Santa María, in Gothic style, and which has several works of art; paintings by Luis de Morales and carvings by Berruguete. Likewise, in this same square, the royal wedding between the Infanta Isabel of Castile and Prince Manuel of Portugal was officiated. Another stop that should not be missed during our visit is the church of Nuestra Señora de Rocamador.

Not far from it are the ruins of a 13th century castle. Here we can rest and relax on some of the nearby terraces. And we should not miss the opportunity to try one of its most typical dishes, the one known as Extremaduran buche. A final finishing touch to close a full day in one of the most important historical towns in Spain.

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