Living La Vera recommends
La Vera de Gredos is a region at two hours south-west of Madrid, on the southern slopes of the Sierra de Gredos. It reaches from Plasencia in the west to Poyales del Hoyo in the east. The mountainous ridge, with peaks of up to 2.500m, forms a barrier against the cold northern winds, and at the same time traps the Atlantic rain fronts, thus creating a gentle and humid microclimate.
With relatively soft winters, copious rainfall in spring and autumn long, warm and dry summers, the region allows for a very lush Mediterranean vegetation. The mountain slopes are covered in oak, chestnut and pine forests, as well as with Mediterranean bushes such as rock roses, strawberry trees, broom and heather.
The snow accumulated on the mountain peaks feeds plenty of water into the countless rocky mountain rivers that in many places form idyllic rock pools that are perfect for bathing. Water is the region’s great protagonist, flowing from the mountain rivers into the Rosarito and Navalcan reservoirs, into the Tietar river and providing irrigation for the crops at the foot of the mountain.
La Vera de Gredos is the main area for tobacco farming in Europe, a crop which for decades has provided the región’s main source of income but that recently is being substituted by other more innovative crops. Another traditional crop in the area is the famous Pimentón (paprika) de La Vera, with its regional “denomination of origin”. The traditional mountain lifestock is the Verata goat, although their number has greatly diminished in recent decades. Sheep occupy the dehesa fields at the foot of the mountain, while in the valley one can even find some “toro bravo” bull farms.
Another special trait of the region is its interesting cultural heritage, with villages built in a traditional architectural style of winding narrow streets lined by white houses with wooden balconies. Some of La Vera’s villages are amongst the prettiest in Spain and some of the best preserved in central Spain. A lively wealth of regional customs and traditional fiestas survives until today, which are lived and treasured with great intensity by the local population.
Despite all its attractiveness for tourists, La Vera maintains a very authentic, rural and friendly atmosphere as well as much unspoilt nature in which it is easy to feel far away from the noise of the modern world.
It is not surprizing that the Emperor Charles V would choose La Vera as his residence to enjoy the last years of his life, between the Castle of Jarandilla (now a Parador hotel) and the Monasterio de Yuste. Nor that, more recently, the British Prime Minister John Major regularly chose Candeleda as his summer holiday destination.
Emergency phone number (ambulance, firefighters, police): 112
– Hospital General Nuestra Señora del Prado (state-run) – Talavera de la Reina (55km from Poyales del Hoyo, 65km from Candeleda)
– Day Hospital Quirón Salud (private) – Talavera de la Reina (55km from Poyales del Hoyo, 65km from Candeleda)
– Hospital de Navalmoral de la Mata (state-run) – Navalmoral de la Mata (70km. from Poyales del Hoyo, 65km. from Candeleda, 40km from Villanueva de la Vera, 30km from Jarandilla de la Vera)
Villages with a state-run medical center:
Piornal, Arroyomolinos, Pasarón de la Vera, Jaraiz de la Vera, Aldeanueva de la Vera, Jarandilla de la Vera, Talayuela, Losar de la Vera, Valverde de la Vera, Villanueva de la Vera, Madrigal de la Vera, Candeleda
- Where to Eat
- Where to Stay