Mérida sits around 60km to the east of Badajoz, upstream on the River Guadiana, the river which forms the southern part of the Spain-Portugal border.
It took about an hour to drive across, under dirty grey skies and through the accompanying rain, but luckily for us the rain had subsidised by the time we parked up in Mérida. The car park is pretty reasonable at €12 per day as it has services, it’s less than 10 minutes walk to the old town, and there’s a security guard at the barrier with CCTV, so it’s nice and secure.
Mérida is very much a Roman city, and although the Visigoths and Moors settled here later, it’s the Roman ruins which are the star attraction, and buying a combined ticket for €15 gets you into the main sights.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the most popular attractions seem to be the amphitheatre and theatre, which are situated next to each other in the same complex. Walking past on our first foray into town yesterday, the queue was enormous, so we decided to set the alarm and get there for opening time at 9AM this morning, and we went to visit other sites instead, including the aqueduct.
This morning we were first into the amphitheatre and theatre, and practically had the place to ourselves for the first half hour, so it was well worth getting up early for. Fortunately for us the rain held off until lunchtime.
I’m not going to bang on about all we’ve seen over the past couple of days, the photos will show the highlights. All I will say is that Mérida is definitely worth visiting, and the €15 tickets are excellent value. The Roman Art Museum (which isn’t part of the ticket, but entrance is free on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings) is also a must-see, just for the mosaic floors they have on display.
Tomorrow we leave here and move onto Cáceres, another UNESCO World Heritage site.