2 Days in Mérida Itinerary: What to See and Visit


As we continue our journey along the Ruta de la Plata, we’ve arrived in Mérida, a city where history is around every corner. Mérida is famous for its ancient Roman ruins and is a place where you can feel history come alive, all while enjoying the vibe of a modern city.

You can walk among old Roman temples one minute and relax in a cozy café the next. Mérida really has a great mix of the past and the present. In this post, we’re excited to share why Mérida has captivated us. Have you ever visited Mérida? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Hi, we’re Timon & Filipa!

We travel across Spain in our motorhome, Speedy, and update TravelSpain24 with fresh content, practical tips, and personal stories from the road. Our goal is to help you experience Spain beyond the typical tourist trails.

History of Mérida

Ancient Roman ruins with statues along a central street at Pórtico del Foro Municipal de Augusta Emérita in Mérida, capturing the city's rich historical past.

Mérida really amazed us with its incredible Roman ruins, some of the best in Spain. As we walked around, we noticed many references to the Roman Emperor Augustus, who founded the city back in 25 BC, then called Augusta Emerita, which is now present-day Mérida. The city’s Roman theater, still used today for shows, is part of the reason Mérida is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its well-preserved ancient monuments.

Morning view from a bridge in Mérida overlooking the river, with the sunrise illuminating a blue sky dotted with clouds and trees lining the riverbank.

Visiting Mérida is like wandering through a big, open museum. The ruins are amazing and they’re all around, making the whole city feel pretty special.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll share our top highlights that you definitely should not miss and a handy one-day itinerary to help you make the most of your visit to Mérida.

Must-See Attractions in Mérida

Explore the Roman Theatre of Mérida

Close-up of the pillars at the Roman Theatre in Mérida, featuring a weathered Roman statue between columns, showcasing the architectural heritage of the city

The Roman Theatre in Mérida is hands down our favorite spot. You simply cannot visit Mérida and skip this—it’s unbelievable! We bought a ticket for 17 euros that gives access to multiple historic sites, making it a fantastic deal.

The ticket includes entry to the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre, Roman Circus, Alcazaba (Arab Citadel), Morería Archaeological Site, Crypt of the Basilica of Santa Eulalia, and the House of Mithraeum and Columbarium.

Timon van Basten admiring the Roman Theatre in Mérida, with sunlight highlighting the ancient pillars against a clear blue sky.

We suggest getting to the theatre around 9 AM. It’s quieter then and not as hot, so you can take your time and really enjoy the place, the nearby sites, and the gardens.

Visit the National Museum of Roman Art

Our second favorite spot in Mérida is the National Museum of Roman Art. It has an amazing collection that really brings out the city’s Roman past. As we walked through the museum, we were amazed by all the artifacts and how they show what everyday life was like back then.

Entrance of the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, framed by an arched brick entryway and an ancient Roman statue, inviting visitors to explore further.

It’s important to note that the museum is closed on Mondays. Tickets are quite affordable at just 3 euros, making it an excellent addition to your itinerary.

Timon van Basten inside the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, walking towards a collection of ancient Roman statues, flanked by tall arched brick entrances.

Plus, there are free visit days every Saturday and Sunday afternoon after 2:00 PM. We recommend taking advantage of these times if you’re looking to explore the museum on a budget.

Discover the Aqueduct of Mérida

The Aqueduct of Mérida is another truly amazing site, these huge structures were used to bring water into the city from far away, which was super important for the people back then.

Local beer festival held at the aqueduct in Mérida, featuring a DJ playing music with the historic structure as a backdrop, blending modern culture with ancient architecture

We loved the Aqueduct so much that we ended up visiting it twice! The first time we went, there was a local beer festival going on right there, which made everything even more fun. The mix of old architecture and the festival buzz was just unforgettable.

Close-up of the aqueduct in Mérida, with stork nests perched atop, surrounded by green grass and trees under a sunny blue sky, emphasizing the natural and historical beauty of Mérida.

And yes, we got to continue our little ‘Stork Watch‘ hobby too! The storks sitting on top of the aqueduct arches really felt like they were part of the place. Watching them as the sun went down was the perfect way to end our day—proving that in Mérida, even the birds know the best spots to hang out!

Explore the Temple of Diana

Next on our list of top highlights is the Temple of Diana. This impressive site, with its large columns from way back in the 1st century BCE, really shows off Mérida’s old Roman roots. It was first built to honor Emperor Augustus, and it’s amazing to see how it has stood strong all these years.

Close-up of the Temple of Diana, an ancient Roman temple in downtown Mérida, showcasing the enduring legacy of Roman architecture in the city.

Right behind the Temple of Diana, make sure to pop into the Palacio de los Corbos. If you’ve got the theater ticket package, this place is included, or you can just check it out for 3 euros. 

Filipa Ferreira standing on a balcony at Palacio de los Corbos in Mérida, overlooking the Temple of Diana, enjoying the sunny day and the historical view.

If you’re not up for the exhibitions, no worries—the exterior of the Temple is stunning, and you can admire the ruins for free from the outside. 

Walk Through the Main Square

People relaxing on a terrace at Plaza España in Mérida, enjoying drinks in the sun with the Mérida City Hall and palm trees in the background under a blue sky.

Plaza España is right in the center of Mérida, and it quickly became one of our favorite places. It’s a lively spot where you can really catch the feel of the city. 

As you step into the square, you’re right next to some great sights, like Mérida City Hall, which has some pretty impressive architecture, and the Co-cathedral of Saint Mary Major of Mérida, which looks stunning, especially when the sun sets behind it.

The fountain at Plaza España in Mérida, with sunlight casting rays behind the Co-cathedral of Saint Mary Major, highlighting a serene day in the city.

Right in the middle of the square, there’s a cute fountain that seems to be a popular meeting spot. We loved grabbing a drink at one of the terraces around the square and just watching people go about their day. It’s a great place to relax and take a break.

Visit the Alcazaba of Mérida

The Alcazaba of Mérida is another highlight included in the ticket (simple ticket of 6 euros), and it’s definitely a must-see. 

The exterior of Alcazaba of Mérida showing the ancient walls, lush grass, and surrounding palm trees against a blue sky, emphasizing the fortress's historic presence.

As we walked along the fortress walls, we were amazed by the panoramic views over the Guadiana River.

View from the walls of Alcazaba of Mérida overlooking the Guadiana River and an ancient Roman bridge, showcasing the timeless architecture and scenic landscapes.

We suggest visiting in the late afternoon. The Alcazaba isn’t too shady, and it gets pretty hot in the middle of the day. If you come around 4 or 5 PM, it’s cooler, and you might even catch a beautiful sunset before it closes at 6 PM. It’s the perfect place to relax after a full day of sightseeing.

If you have only one day in Mérida, these are our top picks that you really shouldn’t skip—each spot shows off a bit of the city’s history and lively culture, making sure your visit is really memorable.

2 Days in Mérida Itinerary: Day 1

Here’s our plan for two days packed with the best of Mérida! We’ve picked some great spots to make sure you see the city’s highlights and have a little fun along the way.

Morning Visit to the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre

The ancient Roman amphitheater in Mérida, once a venue for gladiator fights, captured in its majestic ruinous state, a testament to the city's rich historical past.

We suggest starting your Mérida adventure at the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre. It’s a great spot to pick up the combined ticket that gives you access to other monuments around the city. Plus, kicking off your day here helps you beat the crowds.

Filipa Ferreira in front of the Roman Theatre in Mérida, looking up at the impressive columns and ancient statues, enjoying the historical ambiance on a sunny day.

We spent about an hour and a half here, taking in the incredible history and architecture.

Explore the National Museum of Roman Art

Three weathered statues and an ancient Roman mosaic floor displayed at the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, reflecting the city's deep archaeological heritage.

Right across the street, you’ll find the National Museum of Roman Art, another highlight of our trip.

Close-up of a wall tile with a circular sculpture featuring a woman's face, possibly a goddess, at the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, showcasing intricate Roman craftsmanship

What’s fascinating about this museum is that it’s built right on top of ancient Roman ruins. So, you get to see both the old remains and the incredible art and artifacts all in one place.

It’s a great next stop if you’re excited to learn more about Mérida’s Roman history.

Stop by the Taller de Artesania y Ceramica Terracota Mérida Extremadura

Taller de Artesania y Ceramica Terracota in Mérida, Extremadura, a charming local shop selling a variety of ceramic pots, showcasing local craftsmanship.

After the museum, as we headed towards the city center, we stumbled upon my personal paradise: the Taller de Artesanía y Cerámica Terracota Mérida Extremadura

For a ceramics lover like me (Filipa), it felt like hitting the jackpot! This little workshop showcases traditional ceramics and craftsmanship at its finest.

Seriously, trying to leave without buying everything was harder than resisting a second slice of cake! Definitely add this to your Mérida itinerary for a dose of local color and creativity.

Check out the Pórtico del Foro Municipal de Augusta Emérita

Artistic view through a fence ring of the Portico del Foro Municipal de Augusta Emerita in Mérida, highlighting ancient pillars and statues from the Roman era

After taking a left turn past the shop and walking down the street, you’ll find the Pórtico del Foro Municipal de Augusta Emérita. This spot is free to visit and offers a stunning contrast to the modern buildings around it.

It’s usually not too crowded, making it a peaceful place to explore at your own pace. 

Explore the Temple of Diana and Palacio de los Corbos

The imposing pillars of the Temple of Diana in Mérida, towering over five meters high under a sunny blue sky, reflecting the city's rich Roman heritage.

Keep walking down the street and on your right, you’ll find the Temple of Diana. It’s free to enter and wander among its impressive columns, where you can truly feel the layers of history beneath your feet. 

Right behind the temple, there’s the Palacio de los Corbos. You can enter for just 3 euros—or it’s free if you have a theater ticket. Inside, there are exhibitions that show more about Mérida’s history and architecture.

Lunch with a view – Trajan Arch

View of Trajan Arch in Mérida with people posing for photos, framed by palm trees, capturing a lively moment at this historic site.

After exploring the Temple of Diana, just walk towards the Trajan Arch. Right there, you’ll find Sybarit Gastroshop, a perfect spot for lunch. This place lets you enjoy some tasty food while you sit back and take in the view of the ancient arch.

Explore the Morería Archaeological Area

After lunch, take a quick walk to the Morería Archaeological Area. Make sure to get there before it closes at 15:00. Entry is included if you have the bundle ticket from the Roman Theatre. 

This spot is great for a quieter, crowd-free exploration of Mérida’s layers, from Roman to medieval. It’s the perfect follow-up to a good meal and a relaxing way to enjoy more of the city’s past.

Visit the Alcazaba (Arab Citadel)

Characteristic small arched entrance leading to the vast plaza of Alcazaba in Mérida, enclosed by large walls under a clear blue sky.

After exploring the Morería, head towards the Alcazaba. On your way, you’ll pass the Puente Romano de Mérida on your right. It’s worth stopping here for a bit to enjoy the river views—it’s a really peaceful spot.

Entrance to an underground building in the Alcazaba, featuring a cool, shaded pond with fish, offering a respite from the warmer surface.

When you reach the Alcazaba, make sure to walk along the walls. The views from up there are amazing, especially of the river and the city. It’s a great place to watch the sun go down, with everything turning golden around you. 

End Your Day at Plaza España

Busy terrace at Plaza España near the City Hall in Mérida, with people enjoying a sunny day under a blue sky, a lively urban scene.

After exploring the Alcazaba, walk over to Plaza España to wrap up your day. It’s the perfect spot to grab a drink and relax.

Timon van Basten entering the Co-cathedral of Saint Mary Major of Mérida, noted for its white-topped façade and large wooden door, a key religious site.

As the sun goes down, you get this beautiful view of it setting behind the Co-cathedral of Saint Mary Major of Mérida. The way the light plays on the cathedral is just magical. Sit down, enjoy your drink, and watch as the square fills with evening colors.

2 Days in Mérida Itinerary: Day 2

Start by Visiting the House of Mithraeum and Columbarium

Start your second day in Mérida at the House of Mithraeum and Columbarium. It’s a cool spot with lots of old relics that show how ancient Romans lived and practiced their beliefs. Mornings are usually quiet here, making it a great spot to start your day.

Explore the Roman Circus of Mérida

Ancient Termas Romanas de la Nieve in Mérida, featuring seven small stone pillars arranged in a circle, remnants of Roman baths.

On your way to the Roman Circus of Mérida, make a quick stop at the Termas Romanas de la Nieve. It’s a fun little detour that gives you a peek into daily life back in Roman times.

Drone view of the Roman Circus in Mérida, a vast ancient site used for chariot racing, stretching 403 meters long and 96.5 meters wide.

Then, head over to the Roman Circus of Mérida. It’s one of the biggest you’ll see and still in great shape! It’s really something special to see up close. The pictures don’t do it justice; it’s way more amazing when you’re actually standing there. Trust us, it’s worth seeing for yourself!

Visit the Termas de San Lazaro and the Acueducto de San Lazaro

After visiting the Roman Circus, just cross the street and you’ll find the Acueducto de Rabo de Buey, Termas de San Lazaro, and Acueducto de San Lazaro. These places aren’t in the busy city center, so they weren’t crowded when we went. It’s really worth the extra walk to see more of Mérida’s history in a quieter setting.

Discover the Basilica of Santa Eulalia

The tower of Basilica of Santa Eulalia in Mérida topped with a cross and a stork perched at the peak, with large church bells visible—a significant historical landmark in the city.

After exploring the aqueducts and baths, head towards the Basilica of Santa Eulalia. When we visited, there was some construction around the area, which made access a little challenging. But don’t let that deter you; the basilica is a stunning site, definitely worth the visit.

Wander the Streets of Mérida

After visiting the Basilica, take some time to freely wander through the center of Mérida. It’s fun to just roam around, pop into cute little shops, and maybe grab a coffee or some quick snacks from a local vendor. Mérida has this cool, easy vibe that’s great for exploring at your own pace.

Oh, and grabbing some food for a picnic? Definitely a good idea. Why not pick up something and find a nice spot to relax?

Enjoy a Picnic at Río Albarregas Park

Sunset at Acueducto de los Milagros in Mérida, with the shadows of the aqueduct's pillars cast across the green grass and the sun setting behind, creating a stunning visual effect.

Once you’ve picked up some local snacks, make your way to Río Albarregas Park, right by the Acueducto de los Milagros. This spot is our absolute favorite in Mérida!

The park is a beautiful, quiet place for a walk or to just sit back and relax. It’s perfect for enjoying a picnic in a peaceful setting, and you can watch the storks that hang out here. With the aqueduct as your backdrop, it’s the perfect setting to unwind and enjoy some downtime surrounded by nature and history.

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