The city of Cuenca is located in the autonomous community of Castilla La Mancha, Spain. It is a city known for being declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1996, thanks to the magnificent preservation of the original urban landscape as a medieval fortress, its rich civil and religious architecture from the 12th to the 18th centuries, and also for the sickles of the the rivers Júcar and Huécar.
That is the true beauty of the city, the perfect harmony between nature and urban space, as its long historical trajectory has left an important cultural and monumental legacy.
In addition, Cuenca also stands out for being an important center for contemporary art. The creation of the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art in 1996 and later of the Antonio Pérez Foundation and the Torner Space, place it as a world benchmark for the most advanced artistic trends of the 20th century.
Perhaps it is not possible to see each and every one of the wonderful corners that this beautiful city hides in one day, but yes the most important things , tried to squeeze the most time into it.

In the morning

-Walk through the old town enjoying its beautiful and colorful architecture, as well as its many alleys and charming squares.

The street shown in the image is one of the main ones to go up to the old town, it is Alfonso VII street.

-Visit to the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, this is located in the Plaza Mayor (located at the end of the aforementioned street) it is an exceptional building, with elements of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic and others from the 12th century and from the XV. It has a Latin cross plan, with three naves and a transept. The side chapels were completed from the 16th century.

-Episcopal Palace adjoining the cathedral, where its front stands out above all and inside we can enjoy the Diocesan Museum.

At this point you can take the opportunity to have a drink on the terraces of the Plaza Mayor, enjoying the views.

The famous Hanging Houses are the most characteristic monument of the city, it is a group of houses that were built around the 14th and 15th centuries on the Huécar river gorge. On many occasions such as Christmas, Breast Cancer day, or various reasons, the Hanging Houses can be found illuminated in different ways. In all of them precious.

-Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, inside the Hanging Houses you can find one of the most complete collections of work by Spanish artists of the abstract generation of the fifties and sixties. Admission is free.

-Puente de San Pablo, which is one of the best places from which to enjoy the views of the Hanging Houses, the Puente de San Pablo is a beam bridge that crosses the Huecar River. The current bridge was preceded by another of the same name but made of stone, this one collapsed and in 1902 the current iron and wood bridge was built.

-Convent of San Pablo, this one is already crossing the bridge, outside the old part of the city, in a place of great beauty since it rises on a promontory over the Hoz del Huécar, at quite a height from the river bed to the Hanging Houses. This convent is made up of a church, a cloister and another series of buildings that have been created attached to the main body according to the needs of the convent’s hosts. Currently part of its use is as a National Tourism Parador of Cuenca. In it you can eat and / or sleep.

-Espacio Torner, the late-Gothic church of the old Dominican convent, next to the Parador de Cuenca, in which forty of the most important works of the Cuenca artist Gustavo Torner are collected, half of them on loan from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía from Madrid.

To eat:

When it comes to getting to know a city, it is not only about seeing its monuments or beautiful places, it is also about knowing its gastronomy, and in this case Cuenca has a rich gastronomy, the typical dishes of this city are: the morteruelo, the zarajos, ajo arriero, alajú and resolí, any of them a good choice and the opportunity to try different flavors.

In the afternoon

-Ruins of the Castle of Cuenca. The castle is located at the top of the city, between the two gorges, and what remains is just two cubic constructions, remains of the walls of the wall and the Bezudo Arch, which preserves the shield.

When visiting the Castle area at the top of the Bezudo Arch, look towards the mountains and you will be able to appreciate “Los Ojos de la Mora”.

-Alfonso VIII Tunnels, Cuenca Subterranea, from the Plaza Mayor, if we begin the descent of the old town along Alfonso VIII street, we will find these tunnels, which have a walkable run of about 90m under the old town of Cuenca. It is believed that they could have been used as underground warehouses and as a refuge in the Civil War. The visit is guided and in it they explain everything that is known about the construction of the tunnels and curiosities of the history of the city.

-Torre Mangana, at the exit of the tunnels, go to the adjacent underground car park, access the elevator and go up to the top floor. It is located on the Plaza de Mangana, where we can already see the Tower of Mangana. In this square you can see the facade that is carved in stone just before reaching the tower, which belongs to an entrance to the Cuenca Seminary. In the square is located the monument to the constitution of Gustavo Torner and the Tower, it is not known with certainty the date of construction of the Tower or why it was named “Mangana” which means machine in Arabic. The climb to the Tower will be prepared very soon.

You can take the opportunity to see the Science Museum of Castilla la Macha that is right next door.

-Paleontological Museum of Castilla La Mancha, in this museum special attention is paid to the numerous fossil remains found in the Cuenca de las Hoyas and Lo Hueco sites.

-The Moralejos Park, city center, one of the many parks that we can find walking through the most “new” part of the city, but in this part in particular we can go down to the bank of the Júcar river, and walk through the old bridges of wood.

In the night:

Currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you cannot enjoy the city at night, but when all this is over, I recommend you dine in a restaurant called Grotte, located inside a mountain, from its terrace you can contemplate the lighting from the old town, but if not, at its feet you can walk along the bank of the river and also enjoy the wonderful lighting of the old town. Also, there are really amazing night sightseeing tours. In addition, you can visit the old town itself again and walk through the Ruins of San Pantaleón, well illuminated and where we can also see the tombs found there illuminated.

Other interesting information:

The most important festivals in the city are the San Julián Festivities that take place at the end of August, the San Mateo festivities that take place from December 18 to 21, Religious Music Week and Holy Week, both declared of Interest International Tourist, during Holy Week the Camino del Calvario procession, popularly known as Las Turbas, stands out. In case you want to travel to the city taking advantage of any of its period.

Another way of doing tourism in Cuenca, also very popular is active tourism, it is about increasing the dose of adrenaline, through multiple Adventure Tourism activities, all of them at the hands of professionals. You have the possibility of galloping through unique places to rappel down a waterfall or furrow the waters of the river in a canoe. For all those who like something to do something different.

Written by Elena Ormeño Sacedón

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