Day 24 The Big Iberian Tour - Casar de Càceres

So we're staying in an agriturismo just west of the small village of Casar de Càceres. The only problem is that somehow, when booking the accommodation I managed to get my Casar de Càceres mixed up with my Càceres. Instead of staying in a large town full of castles and other antiquities and, according to Christine, the best gastronomy in all of Spain, we are 10kms further along the route in the middle of field.

As you might expect that last 10kms of what turned out to be a hot 87km ride were the longest, and if looks could kill I wouldn't have made it. Despite the fact that I had navigated our way through a very busy Càceres without a hitch, there was no getting away from it, I had cocked up and missing the historic old town was a disappointment.

After yesterday's discussion about gravel, today we adopted the Roman approach to cycling and took the most direct route between A and B (or C as it turned out to be). This meant ditching some long stretches of what looked like gravel and missing the visit to Alcuéscar. We did however visit the reservoir at Proserpina where a magnificent old stone dam built by Romans still holds the water in place. 'What did the Romans ever do for me', well quite a lot if you live in Mérida.

After visiting the dam we joined the N630 and stayed on it for next 60 kms. The the first half we climbed gently and for the second half we descended,although there were of course various ups and downs along the way. It was actually more fun than it sounds and apart from a few other cyclists and the occasional car we again had the road to ourselves. It's a remarkable thing, a huge empty road, barely used.

We came through some rapid scenery transitions. After leaving Mérida the evergreen oaks in pasture were back although more dispersed than a couple of days ago, and very beautiful. Then the arable landscape returned only to be replaced for the last 20kms before Càceres by something new, vast open meadows, not quite as dry but getting close to the landscape associated with westerns, the High Chaperal for example. It's only May so clearly this will be very arid brown landscape in a few weeks time. I have to say that the scenery in Spain has really impressed, much better than anticipated, although I glad I'm cycling through it and not walking.

We arrive at the agriturismo at 3:15, Christine asks if they're still serving lunch. The woman looks blank and tells Christine that they don't have a restaurant. As Christine's jaw hits the floor she then says she can rustle something up and with minutes we're consuming the first descent salad we've had in Spain (unbelievable considering they grow it all), and delicious home produced Jamon and cheese and of course a beer. There also going to sort dinner out for us. Our room by the way is one of 5 in converted cattle sheds which are Roman in origin, so yes the Roman's did something for us as well


  1. Hi John, your trip massively helped to plan mine and in 3 weeks we will be heading to Asturias for our trip to Seville (opposite way you did). Regarding the N-630, you mentioned the road is quite good, but is there any part you believe is better to avoid?

    1. Hi Marcelo

      Not sure if you've got hold of my guide but it describes the road, off-road and the merits or otherwise of the N630. You don't actually start using it until you get to the other side of Oviedo, to Pola de Lena, and navigation without a GPS on your handlebars will be a bit frustrating. Climbing the hill to the pass is a challenge and lorries on the bends can be an issue on this stretch, particularly if your climbing. It's unavoidable I'm afraid unless you take the very tough off-road route. If the weather is bad and you're at all nervous than think about getting a bus (you can put your bike in the luggage hold) It doesn't take long coming the other way!

      The rest of the N630 is fine, although the official route doesn't it into Leon from the north, or between Leon and Benevente.

      You can get hold of my guide from Cicerone

      By the way there is new stretch of the Ruta between Bejar and Plasencia which follows an old railway line - looks very nice