The unspoiled frontier town of CIUDAD RODRIGO – 90km southwest of Salamanca, astride the road to Portugal – is worth a detour even if you don’t plan to cross the border. It’s an endearingly sleepy place which, despite an orgy of destruction during the Peninsular War, preserves a rather austere castle (now a parador), a handsome Plaza Mayor and quiet old-town streets full of Renaissance mansions. It’s also still completely encircled by impressive walls and ramparts, and the thirty-minute walk around (and on top of) them is the best way to get an overview of the whole town. Given its history, it’s perhaps surprising that there’s much left to see at all. Ciudad Rodrigo was a crucial border point in the Peninsular War, guarding the route between Spain and Portugal. The town fell to the French after a fierce fight in 1810, but was later re-taken by the British in 1812 following a devastatingly rapid siege (cannonball dents are still visible above the doorway on one side of the cathedral). A triumphant rampage of looting followed, and when order was restored, the troops paraded out dressed in a ragbag of stolen French finery – a bemused Wellington muttering to his staff, “Who the devil are those fellows?”

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Spain is known throughout the world for its Mediterranean diet, heavily featuring seafood, meat and fresh vegetables, all splashed with a healthy dose of olive …

15 Aug 2016 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

One of the sunniest and liveliest capital cities in Europe, Madrid has a lot to take pride in. Indeed, its inhabitants, the Madrileños, are so proud of their …

09 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities, but relatively few tourists venture beyond the suburbs. Yet, just a couple of hours’ drive from the met…

04 Aug 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month