The World Heritage City of Cuenca is a perfect example of a medieval fortified city, well worth a visit from Madrid. Above all, Cuenca is famous for its Hanging Houses, with wooden balconies, perched on a cliff over the river.
We recommend a quiet stroll around the narrow streets inside the medieval city walls to discover its towers, mansions and churches. Be sure to see the Cathedral and the Town Hall, and of course, to cross the San Pablo bridge.
The town feels like a natural fortress: the Muslim medina was sited on top of the hill, and the city grew up around it, on a rock shaped by two rivers.
If you’re looking for a souvenir, the artisan shops and workshops are delightful, particularly the jewellers and toyshops.
Cuenca is 170 kilometres from Madrid, and just an hour away by high-speed train from Atocha station.
Hanging Houses: only three are open to visitors: Casa de la Sirena, now a country-style restaurant, and the Casas del Rey, now the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art.
Cathedral: although it was begun nine centuries ago, the façade is little more than 100 years old, a replica of the original, which collapsed. There is a very pleasant atmosphere in the cathedral square.
San Pablo Bridge: a spectacular walkway suspended over the river, with great views of the Hanging Houses.
Panoramic view of Cuenca: there are fabulous views from the viewing point on El Cerro del Socorro.
Ciudad Encantada: about 30 kilometres from the town, this is a natural site where the rocks seem to form the shapes of human figures, animals and objects. A great place to visit with children.