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Birdwatching in Extremadura

Birdwatching in Extremadura

Birdwatching in Extremadura

  • Spain's Extremadura: a Mecca for birdwatchers from all over the world
  • Over 600 pairs of magnificent Griffon Vultures; 400+ pairs of Eurasian Black Vultures, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Stork and Egyptian Vulture
  • Masses of butterflies and colourful spring flowers: yellow narcissi, purple iris, cobalt blue orchids and fragrant French lavender
  • Expert local guides, incredible in-depth birding and wildlife knowledge, small intimate groups
  • Stay in UNESCO-recognised Monfrague National Park, and in historic Trujillo with its mediaeval churches, renaissance palaces and magnificent Arab fortress
  • 6 night, Guided walking holiday
  • Please call for prices
  • Excellent for
  • Holiday details
  • Departs Selected dates from 26 Mar '17 to 23 Apr '17
  • Buffet breakfasts, 6 lunches and all evening meals
  • Managed by Headwater appointed agent
  • Sustainability rating: 93%
  • Expert qualified guide

One of the last remaining unspoilt regions of Spain, Extremadura is renowned among ornithologists as being one of the top birding destinations in Southern Europe. Visitors should expect to see not just magnificent birds of prey - Griffon Vultures, Peregrine Falcons, Spanish Imperial Eagles - but also a whole host of lesser-known species such as Iberian Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Eurasian Bullfinch and many, many more.

Lying just north of Andalucia, south of Castile, and east of Portugal, Extremadura is a wild and remote region, with virtually no industry other than farming, and its vast range of habitats include open woodland, characteristic 'dehesa' - huge forested grazing pastures scattered with cork and holm oaks - deep river valleys, extensive Mediterranean scrub, rolling 'steppe' - huge grassy plains, often covered in sweet-smelling herbs and colourful wild flowers - and mountains rising to over 5,000ft. During your time here with us, you will explore the very heart of the region, and learn more about its nature, birds and wildlife than you ever could on an ordinary holiday. Bram von Blomberg or Esther Murciano (depending on your chosen date) will accompany you throughout, leading gentle walks (with the occasional climb) and taking you to the best bird sighting spots. Both have many years' experience in leading wildlife trips and delight in sharing their incredible knowledge with customers.

Extremadura has a rich and varied history too - with traces left from the Moors and Romans - and your first 3 nights will be spent in a converted C16 palace built from the wealth brought back from South America by the Conquistadores born in Trujillo. You'll have time to explore Trujillo's stunning Plaza Mayor - considered one of the most beautiful squares in Spain - and visit its Renaissance churches, ancient walls and Arab castle, before moving on to our cosy 6-room farm hotel, on the edge of Monfrague National Park, where your stay ends in unadulterated peace and solitude.

Typical day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Trujillo

We meet you at Madrid airport for the 3-hr transfer to Trujillo. We break our journey en route so you can have your first bird sightings: Little Bittern, Purple Heron and the striking Purple Gallinule - easily recognisable from its blue/green feathers and long yellow legs - can all be spotted in riverside Almaraz where we have time for refreshments too. It's then on to the **** Trujillo Palacio de Santa Marta hotel in the heart of the historic walled town where we spend the next 3 nights.

Day 2 - The 'Steppe' Plains & Los Barruecos Nature Reserve

After an early breakfast and then we're off, binoculars/ cameras at the ready, into the vast rolling 'steppe' which links Trujillo with nearby Caceres. Carpeted with grasses, herbs and, in spring, the most amazing wild flowers, the steppe are home to a wide variety of shy birds including Great and Little Bustards, Crested Cuckoos, Pin-Tailed Sand Grouse and the colourful European Roller. Beautiful birds of prey - such as the Golden Eagle, Short-Toed Eagle and Black-Winged Kite - are also frequent visitors, and should give us some great photo opportunities. After lunch, we explore Los Barruecos Nature Reserve with its unique landscape of ponds, megalithic stones, cave paintings, and large colony of white storks nesting atop the impressive granite boulders.

Day 3 - Sierra de Montanchez

We spend the morning walking in the nearby Sierra de Montanchez where, as well as affording spectacular sweeping views of Extremadura's plains and mountains, this 'big sky' landscape is the perfect setting for spotting Bonelli's Eagle, Cirl Bunting, Golden Oriole and European Bee-Eater. A scenic drive, stopping at a pretty mountain lake - ducks, herons, otters - and back through the hills in time to explore the cobbled streets, arcades, palaces and castle in Trujillo before dinner.

Day 4 - Belen Plains & Almonte River Valley

A short drive first to the open plains north-east of the small village of Belen where, in the shadow of the snow-capped peaks of the Gredos Mountains, we use spotting scopes to locate today's species. The silence surrounding our tiny group is likely to be punctuated only by Calandra Larks singing high above us with the unique wailing of the Great Spotted Cuckoo in the distance. After lunch, we continue through vast forested 'dehesas', passing grazing cattle and, if we're lucky, we may spot renowned Black Iberian Pigs chewing acorns from the surrounding holm oaks! A stroll along the Almonte River gives us a good chance of spotting Booted Eagles, Sardinian Warblers and the impressive Imperial Eagle. It's then on to our charming 200-year old, beautifully restored farm hotel, for our remaining 3 nights.

Day 5 - Monfrague National Park (South side)

Without doubt, the 44,000 hectare UNESCO-listed Monfrague National Park is THE place for nature and wildlife enthusiasts - nearly 300 species of the most significant birds and animals in Spain live here - and it is an EU-designated Special Protection Area for birdlife. We spend the morning seeking out Raptors (15+ regular breeding species), Red-Rumped Swallows and Black Wheat-Eaters before settling ourselves on the impressive western rock face of Pena Falcon - site of the world's largest breeding concentration of Eurasian Black Vulture. It's a joyous wait as the rock heats up and the birds take flight. As we continue through the park, stopping off at its recently restored C9 Castle - stunning views over the vast 'dehesas' across to the snowy Gredos - we'll be guided by the birdsong of European Robins, Great Tits, Pied Flycatchers and tiny Eurasian Wrens.

Day 6 - Monfrague National Park (North side)

Our final morning is spent visiting the best birding sites on the north side of the Monfrague Nature Reserve, where beautifully laid rocks and massive cliffs provide refuge to a large population of Griffon Vulture, and several pairs of Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle and the highly vulnerable Spanish Imperial Eagle. Following the River Tietar, we'll also come face-to-face with an abundance of waterfowl - kingfishers, cormorants, even otters are seen here occasionally! Our trip ends with pre-dinner drinks and breathtaking views from your hosts' garden as the sun sets over the Monfrague National Park and deer come down the mountains for the night!

Day 7 - Leave for home

We take you to Madrid airport after breakfast.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

NH Trujillo Palacio de Santa Marta, Trujillo (4 Star)

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Palacio de Santa Marta hotel is in a converted 16th-century palace, just entering the hotel gives you the feeling of going back in history, the original building has been beautifully restored leaving atmospheric corridors and public spaces which lead to large modern rooms.

The hotel has a lovely rooftop terrace complete with outdoor pool giving great views of the town and the mountains in the distance. Its wonderfully elegant dining room is lovely place to enjoy its sumptuous food after a day bird spotting.

The location is perfect just a five minute walk from the impressive Plaza Mayor, the town of Trujillo will certainly delight, full of incredible grand buildings, churches and a Moorish castle. it is far from the tourist trail and the home town of Pizzaro, one of the famous conquistadors.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Palacio Viejo de las Corchuelas, Torrejon el Rubio (3 Acorns)

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The Palacio Viejo is a 200 year old farm set in 600 hectares of land, still owned today by the original family. The farmhouse has been renovated and restored to a high standard. Walking around the house you will see the pictures that tell the story of the families history.

There is a small outdoor pool and lovely garden seating to take in views and watch the wonderful sunsets. Dinner is served in the charming dining room or on the terrace in good weather and the family pride themselves on serving fresh local ingredients.

Sitting on the edge of the Monfrague National Park the scenery around the farm is quite simply stunning and there are walks that you can do on the private land which include the chance to watch a vultures nest.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Extending your stay

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Hotel Petit Palace Londres, Madrid (3 Star)

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The Hotel Petit Palace Londres enjoys an excellent position just off the bustling Puerta del Sol Square, which is considered one of the central spots in Old Madrid. The hotel itself lies just off the pedestrian area to the north where the famous Corte Ingles department store is located. You are ideally situated for exploring all of Madrid's famous sights.

The hotel has a charming turn of century façade and many of the rooms have wrought iron balconies from which you can sit and watch the world go by.

The 75 rooms are furnished in a modern style with laminate flooring and crisp white décor. All are double glazed and air-conditioned and are equipped with mini bar, satellite television and direct dial telephone. The bathrooms are well appointed and many have hydro massage showers.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Please contact us for extra night prices.


Prices include our standard flights/transfers

Iberia London Heathrow to Madrid 09:15/12:40. The transfer to the hotel 3 hours provided. Return Madrid to London Heathrow 13:35/15:00 Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative travel

Alternative Air Travel
In addition, alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person). We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices. Popular alternative routes for this holiday include:

From To Airline(s)
Aberdeen Madrid British Airways, Iberia
Belfast George Best Airport Madrid British Airways
Bristol Madrid Easyjet
Dublin Madrid Ryanair, Aer Lingus
Edinburgh Madrid Easyjet, British Airways, Iberia
Glasgow Madrid British Airways, Iberia
Liverpool Madrid Easyjet, Ryanair
London City Madrid British Airways, Iberia
London Gatwick Madrid Easyjet
London Heathrow Madrid British Airways, Iberia, Lufthansa
London Luton Madrid Easyjet
Manchester Madrid Ryanair, British Airways, Iberia
Newcastle Madrid British Airways, Iberia

If you choose to book your own flights please check with us first that your chosen departure date is definitely operating as our guided holidays are subject to minimum group sizes.

Tour only

Standard transfers
Transfers are included from Madrid at 12:40 and back to Madrid for a flight departing at 13:35

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Holiday extras

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges directly through their website - or call us for further details of all the services on offer. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.


Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Dates and prices

The prices quoted below for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and are shown for guide purposes only. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

Holiday details

This holiday is unsuitable for children.

Holiday type
Managed by Headwater rep.


Tailor-made travel

Tour only


Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for . Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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We can often obtain preferential rates with our travel partners.

We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. During busy periods we cannot always guarantee a specific call time but we promise to try our very best.

Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or other questions. If you’d like to travel by an alternative method, i.e. Ferry / Eurotunnel etc. please give details here so we can advise you on appropriate options.