About 170 kilometers southwest of Madrid is a little city called Cuenca. Cuenca is in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain, and it is a perfect distance for a day trip from Madrid.
There are two options (besides renting a car) for getting to Cuenca from Madrid. One can take the Avanza bus company which departs from the Manuel Becerra station on the circular or grey metro line. A roundtrip ticket costs about 25 euro and buses leave roughly every hour, and the journey takes just over two hours. The other option is to take an AVE high-speed train which leaves from the Atocha station.
Upon arrival, you’ll exit the station and make a left to start hiking up to the city walls.
The walk from the train station to the city walls is about 15 minutes, and it’s a bit of an upward hike to get to the Plaza Mayor or main town square. There are signs along the way that make it easy to find the main attractions of the city.
The Plaza Mayor of Cuenca is a beautiful central location in the city. It is surrounded by colorful apartment buildings, cafes, and shops, all worth checking out during a wander around the city. It’s also the location of celebrations in Cuenca, so if you’re in town during a holiday or special event, it’s the place to be.
The cathedral in Cuenca is of the Gothic style and construction was completed in 1257. It is located right off of Plaza Mayor, and admission costs about 5 euros. Photography inside is strictly prohibited.
The “Casas Colgadas: is a collection of houses that appear to hang off of the edge of a cliff. They can’t be toured on the inside, but are an interesting sight to pass by, and are really beautiful when viewed after sunset. The origin of these houses is unknown, but it’s estimated they were originally constructed in the 15th century.
El Castillo or the castle is located at the very top of the city within the walls. It can be reached on foot or by bus, and it provides stunning views of the valleys that surround Cuenca. It’s a bit of a hike – but it’s worth it. Bring water and snacks during your walk to stay hydrated and fueled!
Puente de San Pablo
This bridge spanning over the small valley in Cuenca was designed by Gustave Eiffel and it is located next to the Casas Colgadas. It is a free pedestrian bridge to walk across and see more views of the city.
There was something special about Cuenca, a feeling I hadn’t experienced in the other cities that we have visited in the past month. While I cannot say it is my favorite place in Spain that I have ever been, the charm of the little city, the beauty of the surrounding mountains and scenery and the laid back atmosphere definitely makes Cuenca worth the trip to pay a visit. It’s a fantastic destination in Spain for hiking, as the dramatic landscape surrounding the little city has lots of trails to explore.