Cuenca

Cuenca – 2 rich days

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Visiting Cuenca

I wished to visit Cuenca.

Fernanda wanted to spend a week in a southern beach of Spain.

Now! Tell me:

​What’s the best way from Portugal to the south of Spain?

Through Cuenca… of course.

The fact is that even Fernanda enjoyed very much this visit and didn’t complaint for the few more kilometers. Cuenca was a good capital to European culture in 2016.​

​Plaza Mayor

Visiting Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Plaza Mayor

UNESCO heritage since 1996, Cuenca has in this square at the entrance of the historic site, its dominant point.

​City hall, a baroque building with three arches giving access to the square, and the cathedral of “Nuestra Señora de Gracia”, from the 12th century, are the most remarkable buildings in this harmonious square.

​Ayuntamiento

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Ayuntamiento

Generally one of the remarkable buildings in Spanish cities, this official palace is not an exception.

​Closing the main medieval square – Plaza Mayor, its arches filter the access to the old quarter around the castle, and gave to the square an ambiance of intimacy and tradition.

​Cathedral

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Cathedral

Alfonso VII of Castilla conquered Cuenca from the moors and the mosque was, as usually, transformed in a Christian church. Influenced by the Normans (the Spanish queen, Leonor Plantagenet, was daughter of the English king) it was built in first French Gothic, but the facade was later replaced in neo-Gothic, trying to reproduce the original, eliminating some baroque transformations.

​It’s forbidden to take pictures inside.

​Castle

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca -castle

The castle of Cuenca is a city inside the city.

​There’s not much to see in the remains of the original Arab fortress, but the whole is nice and allows splendid views over the city, the Huecar valley, and the hanging houses.

​Carmelites convent

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Carmelites

A convent from the 16th century, located at the castle’s entrance, was occupied since 1602 by the “Carmelitas descalzas”.

​Nowadays it is used by the Internacional University “Menendez Pelayo” and the museum of the foundation António Perez.

​S Pedro Street

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – S. Pedro

Strolling along S. Pedro Street is a very good experience – the old city is around you, with typical houses and gardens, with many monuments nearby.

​There’s no way to miss it, if you walk from Plaza Mayor to the castle.

​San Pablo

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – San Pablo

Located a little bit out of town, in a steep hill facing the hanging houses, this monastery from the 16th century merges a Gothic structure with renaissance decoration.

​Only the church and cloister show the initial image, everything else is later adding.

​San Pablo bridge

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – San Pablo bridge

The most famous bridge in Cuenca was built in 1902 in iron and wood.

It is 100 meters long and 40 meters above the river level, coming from its deep bottom.

The original bridge was built from 1533 to 1589 but collapsed.

​Maybe the high reputation of the new one comes from the excellent views that it allows.

​Hanging houses

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Hanging Houses

The image of Cuenca is given by the “casas colgadas”, a rank of old houses atop the edge of the canyon carved by Huecar river.

Nowadays they are, obviously tourist attraction, housing a museum and a restaurant.

​They may be seen from several angles, the best being St. Pablo bridge or the castle, where we didn’t go, but… wait for a new tip – Tito will go.

Still the hanging houses

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Hanging Houses

In the previous tip I wrote that the best angle to see the hanging houses was from the bridge.

Yes. it is!

Tito went there and brought a couple of new photos that confirm the common idea.

​We missed that angle, but it’s about time for the youngsters to help the old guys, isn’t it?

​Mangana Tower

Cuenca
Visiting Cuenca – Mangana Tower

There’s no reference about this old tower destroyed in the 19th century during the battle against Napoleon’s soldiers and rebuilt in 1926.

​It has now a Mudejar style (maybe because of its Moorish origins) and suffered a final adding in 1968 to get a fortress look.

​Virgen de la Luz

Cuenca
​Virgen de la Luz – Cuenca

Located outside the historic centre, this church from the 16th century, also known as San Anton church, is owned by the city council.

​It has two different facades, one of the Plateresque, and Rococo decorations inside.

Jucar river

Cuenca
Jucar river

In the low part of the city, the river is cool spot, nice for resting or water sports.

There’s an artificial beach, but I think that bathing is not the main use of the river.

​The landscape is nice, with dramatic cliffs, some of them with hanging houses behind the vegetation.

​Artificial river beach

Cuenca
Jucar river

Far from the sea, Cuenca used Jucar river to create an artificial beach.

The space is small, but a clever solution was used to collect clothes and belongings at the entrance and storing them out of the beach.

​It seems to work!

​Ciudad Encantada

Cuenca
Ciudad Encantada

More than 20 Km out of town a very well promoted park may be… a nice stroll or a touristy trap.

I read that it looks like Cappadocia, and that is insane.

It is nothing special, but if you like an easy walk in natural environment, then it may be a very interesting option.

​The trail is easy, less than 3 Km long, and the rocks do show some odd shapes, feeding the imagination of those who gave names to each section or single rock.

I recommend Caserio

Cuenca
Cuenca

Good “Tapeo”

Located inside the castle, with a pleasant esplanade that “invites us” (and we didn’t use because it was full and we had to go inside) it is a simple restaurant with local food.

We decided to eat as locals, a set of tiny dishes with several different cooking (“tapas”) and enjoyed them.

It was cheap, but I think that, with a formal meal, the prices would rise a little.

Favorite Dish: Pincho moruno

Address: Calle Larga, 17

I recommend Ligh – Good option

Ligh1
P8210740
Ligh2
P8210741

Good accessibility

Located in front of the hospital, easily accessible and with good parking solutions (we had) this simple hostel is comfortable, with a modern look and well elaborated decorations. The services are minimum, without breakfast and with the reception working only a few hours of the day – the main door is operated by the rooms card.

Good bathroom, air-conditioned, modern TV, comfortable beds.

For a simple night sleep it worked fine, but if you have any extra needs this basic solution may be insufficient.

​Address: Avenida de los Alfares, 52

Phone: (34) 969 690806

Website: Hostal

It's there Posada de San Jose

Posada
Posada

Looks like a church, but it is a hostel!

Keeping the facade of an old school, the building was transformed in 1983 and became a “Posada”.

​I don’t know its qualities as a place to stay, but I do congratulate the owners for the idea.

Website: Posada

​Ciudad Encantada

This is a very easy and interesting trail, for a short walk.

Located a few kilometers out of town, this is very well signposted and prepared to people of all ages.

​The appreciation of the many shapes of the rock formations advise a calm walk.
​You must know exactly what you are about to see – this is not a tourist trap, but… almost!

Ciudad Encantada
Ciudad Encantada

I read somewhere that this place was very similar to Cappadocia. 

Well, Cappadocia is fabulous, and that drove me to the place, for a disappointment. 

​The comparison is absurd. This is a trail in nature, 3 Km long, with a few strange rock formations. If you are aware of that, then you will appreciate it, because it is an easy trail, and one of the most interesting that I have seen. If you expect more than that…

​Water sports

Cuenca

The river is small, but with a clever preparation they take all the possible advantages of it. In a cool landscape, with the hanging houses above, it is a good place for paddling in all kinds of small boats.

History and Nature

Cuenca
Cuenca

One of the most remarkable details in Cuenca is the dramatic combination of history and nature. Monuments, canyons and river compose a strong combination, with breathtaking views in many points.

​No matter what you like, I’m sure you will find something interesting in Cuenca and its surrounding area.

I recommned Dulcinea – What a look!

Eating and sleeping in Cuenca
Eating and sleeping in Cuenca

We didn’t enter this bar, but I was very attracted by its look.

If I needed to have a drink or to eat in the area this should be the place.

Address: S Pedro street, 6

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