The Historically Rich City of Cuenca, Spain

Located in the Spanish region of Castile-La Mancha, the city of Cuenca is one of Spain’s most important historical cities. Cuenca’s historic center is a designated World Heritage Site of UNESCO because of its abundance of precious monuments. The area dramatically overlooks scenic canyon walls and the ancient Moorish El Castillo (castle) nestled on the Cuenca Mountains.

Cuenca-SpainVisitors should not pass up the chance to explore the Old Town’s narrow cobblestone streets and magnificent structures like the Baroque town hall, which was built all the way back in the 1700s. You will immediately be charmed by the 15th century Casas Colgadas or Hanging Houses and enchanted by the impressive Gothic architecture of Nuestra Señora de Gracia. The town hall and the church can be found in Plaza Mayor, the main square in Cuenca’ old quarter.

Another building that will easily capture your attention is the San Felipe Neri church, which possesses an exquisite interior that exudes Rococo and Baroque decorating styles. A stroll in the upper older city section reveals pleasant hills, interesting medieval street patterns and stunning viewpoints.

One of the accessible viewpoints in town is the Plaza de la Torre Mangana. This former watchtower is one of the most iconic landmarks in Cuenca. Climbing to the top of this tower rewards you with magnificent views of the city and the surrounding landscape. The Diocesan Museum, Provincial Museum, and the Bishop’s Palace are other places of interest within the old quarter, all worth visiting.

Aside from revisiting the past of Cuenca through exploring its old quarter and museums, make sure to spend time at the city’s beautiful parks. One of the most notable ones is the Los Moralejos, which has become the favorite spot for both tourists and locals to jog, cycle and engage in other outdoor activities. But the oldest park in the city is San Julián, which boasts a peculiar design and layout. Interestingly, you will find no grass in this parkland. Instead, there are terrain rectangles which are occupied with big trees. The rectangles are separated from each other by sand paths and rows of bush.

Bridge-to-Cuenca-SpainA visit to Cuenca can be made even more satisfying if you try some of sumptuous traditional Conca cuisines offered by a number of restaurants in the city. Some of the must-try local dishes include the cod stew called ajoarriero and the roast lamb tripe named Zarajos. End your dining experience by trying the cake called alaju, which is composed of almonds, fig and honey.

Cuenca can be visited all year long but if you want to be here when the city is at its most festive; plan your visit during the Religious Music Week, which is celebrated every Easter and draws in performers and music enthusiasts from all over. The festival events are held in various venues like the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, and the Cuenca Auditorium.

The nearest airport to Cuenca is the Madrid-Barajas Airport, but it is still 131 kilometers away. To reach the city, you can rent a car and drive or take public coaches. Attractions within the city center vicinity can be visited on foot, but you always have the convenient option of taking a taxi.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!