If you are planning a visit to Mérida, Spain, you will definitely be awed by the well-preserved ruins of the old city. A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site provides an excellent opportunity to see what a provincial Roman capital once looked like during the Roman Empire. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Merida!
1. Having an archaeological experience at the Mérida Amphitheatre
Can you imagine the perfect setting for gladiatorial contests? Well, they all took place in the Mérida Amphitheatre centuries ago. Built with different elements: concrete, granite, and brick, this is one of the best places to visit if you decide to spend your vacation in Mérida. This magnificent archaeological site was assigned the UNESCO World Heritage designation for all the right reasons. It is located next to another world famous landmark, the Mérida Theatre and it is an excellent history lesson on what life was like in ancient Roman times. The Mérida Amphitheatre can be accessed from an under-the-road tunnel. Are you ready to go back in time?
Address: Plaza Margarita Xirgu, s/n, 6800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Website: Mérida Amphitheatre
2. Learning about history at the Roman Theatre
You don’t have to be an expert on architecture to enjoy the greatness of the Roman Theatre. Simply put, it is another historical gem. Built around 16 BC by order of Marcus Agrippa, it was seen as a perfect spot for Romans to enjoy staged games. The theatre was also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. It is now used as the venue for performances during the Mérida Classical Theatre Festival. Even though it once had a seating capacity of at least six-thousand, today it only seats up to three-thousand.
Address: Teatro Romano de Mérida, Plaza Margarita Xirgu, s/n, 6800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Website: Roman Theatre
3. Experiencing culture at the Temple of Diana
The Temple of Diana is said to have been built in the early 1st-century AD by Emperor Augustus. This amazing structure is one of the few religious sites that remains in its original location. It also offers a magical atmosphere during Holy Week, since so many religious people parade by it all day long. Interestingly, this magnificent temple was not used to worship Goddess Diana, as it was actually devoted to Emperor Augustus.
Temple of Diana
Address: Calle Sta. Catalina, 7, 06800 Mérida, Badajoz, España
Website: Templo de Diana
4. Visit the magnificent National Museum of Roman Art
Along with the Amphitheatre, the Roman Theatre and the Temple of Diana, there is so much to be learned about Ancient Rome in Mérida. However, if you want to know more about Rome and its transcending art, you may want to visit the National Museum of Roman Art. It is located close to both the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre. Opened back in 1986, the main goal of the museum is to preserve archaeological findings for future generations. Many objects from the time of Roman civilisation can be found inside the National Museum of Roman Art, for instance, ceramics, sculptures, paintings and much more.
5. Taking pictures at the great Puente Romano
Though visually stunning, most Roman architecture was designed first and foremost to protect colonies and villages from possible attacks. Case in point is the Puente Roman. This amazing structure is probably the world’s oldest surviving bridge from Roman times, which gives you an idea of how well constructed these buildings and monuments actually are. The Roman bridge also has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. With overflow channels, it was erected over the Guadiana River and has undergone some renovations. This is definitely an amazing spot for some perfect photos.
Address: Paseo Roma, 1A, 06800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Website: Puente Romano
6. Having a cool drink at Jazz Bar
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
After learning so much about history and ancient times, you may want to sit down and have a nice drink at some local bar. Well, Jazz Bar offers a rather sophisticated scene with regular exhibitions and occasional live jazz. Some people refer to it as a “bar with charm”, because it is the perfect spot to get the party started. The bar opens at 4 pm every day and has a friendly staff who will make you feel at home.
Address: Calle Alvarado, 10, 06800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Facebook: Jazz Bar
7. Dropping by La Bodeguilla
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
If you happen to be near the jaw-dropping Temple of Diana and are desperately craving some Spanish food, then consider dropping by La Bodeguilla. La Bodeguilla offers friendly service, delicious, affordable food and a varied, enticing menu. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, the staff will try to help you at all times. Try the so-called “Menú Diario” for only 10 Euros (11 USD) and prepare to be amazed.
Address: Calle Moreno de Vargas, 2, 06800 Mérida, Badajoz, España
8. Walking through Acueducto Los Milagros
The Acueducto Los Milagros or Miraculous Aqueduct is part of the aqueduct that was originally built to supply water to Mérida. Construction of this wondrous relic utilised both granite and red brick and it is surrounded by an extensive green area that is perfect for walking and exploration.
Acueducto Los Milagros
Address: Av. de Via de la Plata, S/N, 06800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Website: Acueducto Los Milagros
9. Looking into the past at Casa del Mitreo
Among all the museums, buildings and historical sites to enjoy while visiting Mérida, La Casa del Mitreo is not to be missed. This well-preserved, 2nd-century Roman house makes visitors understand how this and many buildings in ancient times were used. La Casa del Mitreo is related to the cult of Mitra, which is why it was given its name. The rooms of the house are beautifully decorated with mosaics and mural paintings, and La Casa del Mitreo also offers a nice, shaded walkway for visitors.
La Casa del Mitreo
Address: Calle Oviedo, s/n, 06800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Website: Casa del Mitreo
10. Having a culinary experience at El Trasiego
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Looking for a nice restaurant that serves outstanding, creative dishes made from local ingredients? If so, then El Trasiego is the place to go. This restaurant has an excellent selection of tapas, well-presented food and friendly service. El Trasiego also welcomes guests with its beautiful, cosy atmosphere. Filled with locals and foreigners, this is a nice place to tuck into some creamy pasta, rich risotto or refreshing feta salad. You will not be disappointed.
Address: Calle Romero Leal 3, Mérida, Spain.
Facebook: El Trasiego
Still wondering why you should visit Mérida?
Guests who visit Mérida can be assured of a trip that is unlike any other. There’s so much here to see and do, all of which is in one of the most beautiful locations that a person could ask for. After spending some time here, guests can count on being left with a feeling of awe. So, pack up your things and head off to Mérida as soon as possible!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.