Sierra de Francia
El Maíllo is in the region of the Sierra de Francia, bordering for the south on the region of Las Batuecas, in the northern part on the region of the Campo Charo (Charro Field) and in the eastern part with Sierra de Béjar.
Due to its environmental richness it was recognized in 1978 as Park Natutal of Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia. Also it has just been a declared Reserve of the Biosphere close to the Sierra de Béjar.
The climate and the morphology of The Sierra de Francia, they influence in a decisive way its landscape and its peoples, the economy, customs, history and traditions. The climate meets influenced by the mediterraneidad on the one hand and for other one for the oceaneidad, that is to say, with maximum temperatures and minimal rainfalls in summer and, on the other hand, winds and cloudy fronts proceeding from the Atlantic Ocean. Weather forecast
The Sierra de Francia forms a part of the Central System and is populated by numerous forests. They predominate over the rebollares, oaks and helechales in its vegetation. The forests gallery accompany the fluvial courses on alder-trees, willows and ash-trees. But, as altitude is gained, they predominate over the vegetation of subalpine type. The sudden decrease of altitude produces microclimates, like in case of the Valley of Las Batuecas or Alagón's Valley, protected from winds, with major index of rainfall and where it is possible to find own varieties of more southern latitudes as the cork tree and the strawberry tree. This diversity is what does of the Sierra a multicolored mosaic that offers numerous excuses to the wayfarer for the delight and the observation.
The animal population is diverse enough: greedy birds (falcon, black and tawny vultures, alimoche, real eagle, black stork ...) and mammals (wolf, the wildcat, lynx, wild boars, foxes, wild goats ...). By the pastures of the zone also bulls and brave cows can be observed. The area has been catalogued as Zone of Special Protection for the Birds.
It is the Salamancan Sierra de Francia a perfect conjugation of contrasts. Each and every of the places, each and every of the villages that shape this mountainous area have a special tourist attraction.
Peña de Francia
La Peña de Francia desde El Maíllo
Only to 14km. of El Maíllo, there raises majestic the Peña de Francia (Rock of France) (1723m.) that gives name to the whole Sierra. In its top there am a sanctuary that is a place of peregrination and cult, where the Virgen Morena (Brown Virgin) is.
Its privileged situation allows panoramic incomparable of the whole sierra. From the summit, from which it is possible to see even Salamanca to more than 70 km in the clear day, are observed numerous villages of the whole sierra.
One accedes to the Rock of France for a road with a few extraordinary views.
The points of interest of the sanctuary are: The Church with a Tower dated in 1767, perron and front of the 17th century with interior of Gothic style of the XVth. The image of the Virgin is in its higher rock. The Hostelry of the 15th century, reconstructed. The Square of the 18th century and aside the Door of the Convent and to other one the Chapel Blanca XVI raised on the cave where the Virgin was found by Simón Vela. The Balcony of Santiago, the Balcony of the Friar of 1934, the Viewpoint of Santo Domingo, all with a few excellent views.
The monastery was declared Historical - artistic Monument in 1956.
Monasterio de Las Batuecas
Among the numerous valleys that mark the steep orography of the Sierra de Francia, that of the Batuecas stands out, among the mounts of La Alberca and Las Mestas.
Blockheads, oak, hazels, trees srtawberry, yews, cypresses, olive trees... they shape its varied and grand vegetation, which there joins a rich fauna that they it raise as one of the more important reserves of big game hunting for Spain, not only for the extension that occupies, of approximately twenty-five thousand hectares, and yes for the incomparable category of its trophies like it reveals the one that possesses the record of the world of hunt of the spanish ibex (Capra Pyrenaica) with 290 points, according to the National Meeting of Homologation of trophies of hunt and hunting statistics, which there shows the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, as well as an important colony of Iberian lynxes that, when the reserve was created, was almost extinguished.
It completes its natural beauties the most beautiful sample of the neolithic civilizations. In rocky places placed at the back of the valley, in the most intricate of its heart, where the way has to be done of necessity by foot, we can find cave paintings that transport us to remote times.
To the bottom of the deep valley that forms the river Batuecas, is the monastery of San Jose de Las Batuecas, in which the Padres Carmelitas Descalzos take today isolated life. The access to the valley does to itself from the village of La Alberca, for the road that from here and across La Mestas joins us with Caceres.