World's Greatest Places 2021
Ai Weiwei's "Descending Light" (2007), on view at the El Museo Helga de Alvear in Cáceres, Spain.
Courtesy Helga de Alvear Museum
July 20, 2021 6:35 AM EDT

The traditional ocher-and-alabaster streets of Cáceres look like a scene from an old sepia photograph come to life. Located in Extremadura, Spain’s least touristy region, Cáceres’ old town, a unique mix of Roman, Islamic, Gothic and Renaissance architecture surrounded by large stone walls, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside town, the Hospes Palacio de Arenales & Spa underwent an expansion and redecoration of its historic buildings in 2020, adding an infinity pool. Another addition is El Museo Helga de Alvear, which houses the country’s most significant private collection of international contemporary art. A luxury 11-suite Relais & Châteaux hotel—complete with heated floors and marble bathtubs—will welcome guests to the refurbished Renaissance-era Casa de los Paredes–Saavedra this fall, and brand-new city tours highlight Jewish history, Muslim art and more. —Robin Catalano

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