Guide to Cuenca, Spain | First Time Visitor Must-Knows

Sharing is caring!

About Cuenca, Spain

Cuenca city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, perched on a mountain top, providing spectacular views for all who visit. It’s also easy to get to and takes just under an hour to get from Madrid to Cuenca, so there’s no excuse not to visit.

Cuenca, Spain was captured from the Moors in 1177. The city is connected via steep cobbled streets, and there are plenty of Cuenca attractions to explore, such as the medieval castle ruins.

Disclaimer: This post contains links to services or products that I trust and recommend and from which I may earn commissions. Read our privacy policy for more.

Pssst…Ready to travel, check out our comprehensive packing list for your holiday to Spain, and make sure you’ve packed everything you need for your Spanish move or vacay!

Cuenca, Spain
Cuenca, Spain

Where is Cuenca, Spain

Considered to be one of the hidden gems of Spain, you’ll find this city precariously sitting atop a mountain. Cuenca lies in the mountains of east-central Spain. The steep cliffs that line the city drop deep into the gorges of the Júcar and Huécar rivers.

There are two separate portions of the city. The “new” one is located south-west of the old portion and they’re divided by the Huécar River.

Cuenca Map 

Below you’ll find a map of Cuenca to help you get around during your travels.

Getting Around Cuenca Spain

The city is very walkable, however, there is a bus as well as train that helps the locals get from one place to another.

If you’re travelling from Madrid, hiring a car for your travels will help you get around within the city too. Be sure to rent your car well in advance to take advantage of discounts. –

Where to Stay in Cuenca, Spain

Streets of Cuenca
Streets of Cuenca

Cuenca has some stunning accommodation options for those wanting to stay in the city. Here are a few of the best Cuenca, Spain hotel options.

Hotel Convento Del Giraldo

This hotel is set in the heart of Old Town and the building dates back to the 17th century. While the building may be old, the interior has been modernised to create a pleasant atmosphere.

The rooms have a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, free WiFi, as well as a minibar. There’s an onsite restaurant that serves delicious meals in a traditional style dining room, making for a very authentic experience.

Located in the centre of Old Town, you’ll be close to all the main historical attractions that Cuenca is loved for. Check rates and availability- Hotel Convento Del Giraldo –

Hotel Leonor de Aquitania

This hotel is set in an 18th-century building and provides magnificent views overlooking the Huécar Gorge. It contains a spa, to ensure you remain relaxed during your stay. The onsite restaurant is set in what used to be the building’s stables.

From the cafe bar, you can enjoy views of the medieval portion of the city. The hotel is located close to many of the historic attractions as well as the city’s Old Town.

There is also a seasonal pool for guests to make use of during their stay. The rooms are modern and chic. If you’re looking for a magical experience with a hint of luxury, this should be your hotel of choice. Check out rates and availability – Hotel Leonor de Aquitania –

Hotel Plaza

The Hotel Plaza is located a mere 1.5-kilometres from the city’s Old Town and the famous Hanging Houses of Cuenca. An onsite bar and restaurant serve up traditional cuisine.

Hotel Plaza has a homely feel, unlike many other hotel accommodation options. The rooms are air-conditioned and the wood panelling gives it an authentic feel. It’s a great place to stay if you’re travelling with your family as there’s a park just 50-metres from the hotel.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants within a 5-minute walk of the hotel, so dining out is just as convenient as staying in at this hotel. Check out rates and availability – Hotel Plaza –

NH Ciudad de Cuenca

NH Ciudad de Cuenca is the epitome of luxury in the perfect Cuenca city setting. The rooms are modern and have satellite TV, central heating, a minibar, an en suite bathroom, free WiFi as well as air-conditioning.

The hotel is located a convenient 5 minutes drive from the city’s historic city centre. You’ll be within close proximity to many of the city’s main attractions.

The onsite restaurant serves traditional Mediterranean food and a delicious buffet breakfast is provided each morning. There’s also an onsite bar and function room that can accommodate up to 400 people.

There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants within a 5-minute walk of the hotel. So you’ll be well entertained during your stay while you’re not out exploring Cuenca. – NH Ciudad de Cuenca –

Things to Do in Cuenca, Spain

Plaza Mayor Cuenca
Plaza Mayor Cuenca

If you’re wondering what to do in Cuenca, you’ve come to the right place. There are an awesome variety of points of interest in this city, from historical sights to interesting locations. Here are some of the best Cuenca things to do.

Take a Walking Tour

There’s no doubt that seeing the city by foot is a real treat. Taking your time to stop at some of the most interesting historical sights and learning about the history of the city is absolutely priceless.

If you want to get the most out of this experience, be sure to book a walking tour of Cuenca. Seeing the city from a local’s perspective is irreplaceable.

See the gorgeous skyline, shaped by buildings that date back to the 13th-century as you walk the steep cobbled streets. You’ll explore the Jewish Quarter before heading outside of the city to see the famed Hanging Houses.

You’ll then head to the very first Gothic Cathedral in the city – the Cuenca Cathedral. Explore both the inside and outside of the cathedral and the majestic views that it provides.

Explore the Secret Tunnels of Túnel Alfonso VIII

This is by far one of the most exciting places to go during your time in Cuenca. The Túnel Alfonso VIII are secret passageways that run underground and were discovered decades ago. They have since been expanded to serve several purposes for the locals, such as communication routes between buildings and providing access to caves where food and wine is stored.

The tunnels are now open for guided tours on which you’ll learn a great deal about the events that took place in the tunnels. They were used as escape routes and hideouts during the Spanish Civil War, and have stood the test of time – still in a great condition.

See Dinosaurs at The Museo Paleontológico De Cuenca

Are you fascinated by the creatures that ruled the planet before us? Dinosaurs are an endless source of amazement ffor those of us with a keen interest in history. The Museo Paleontológico De Cuenca provides one incredible dinosaur experience.

The museum is dedicated to preserving the paleontological heritage of both Cuenca and Spain as a whole. It is home to 200 small exhibition pieces, which are truly interesting to learn about. But the true showstoppers at this museum are the 20 life-size dinosaur replicas.

At the museum, you’ll learn about the lifestyle, habitat and eating patterns of the dinosaurs of the past. You’ll also get a perspective on just how big these creatures were. Staring up at a life-sized model of a dinosaur is an incomparable experience.

Take in the Views from Cerro Del Socorro

Cerro Del Socorro is a hill located just outside of the city and stands at an elevation of 1147 metres. The trail to the top zig zags it’s way up the hill and is only 2-kilometres long. The top of the hill is crowned with a statue of Christ which is lit up during the nighttime.

This easy hike to the top is well worth the views you’ll be able to appreciate when you’re there. You’ll look down on the beautiful and historic city of Cuenca, and see its many features. You’ll have a view of the Hanging Houses that were once the residence of royalty, and the San Pablo footbridge.

If you’re not up for a hike, you can also drive to the top, but hiking allows you to take in a variety of views along the way.

Walk Across San Pablo Bridge

The original San Pablo Bridge was built between 1533 and 1589. It stretched over the Huécar River Gorge, connecting San Pablo’s convent to Cuenca city. After the original bridge collapsed, another one was built in its place at the beginning of the 20th-century.

The bridge is elevated from the bottom of the gorge by 40-metres, so it’s going to be a little tricky if you’re afraid of heights. The only advice I can give is “don’t look down”. But the views that this bridge provides of the Hanging Houses and the city skyline are unbeatable.

This pedestrian footbridge is particularly scenic during the evening as the sun is setting over the Huécar River Gorge. Be sure to have your camera ready for this excursion as you’re bound to encounter a few picture-perfect moments.

Investigate the Ruins of Cuenca Castle

There’s not all that much left standing of Cuenca’s once-grand castle, but the ruins are still worth investigating. Fragments of the wall are left standing, along with two circular towers and a magnificent archway that once served as the entrance.

It’s important to note that these ruins can only be appreciated from the outside, as tours of the inside are not allowed.

Travel Guide - Cuenca Spain. Spain Travel, Spain Travel Guide, Spain Travel Tips, Europe, Europe Travel, Europe Travel Destinations. #spain #spaintravel #spaintravelguides
Travel Guide - Cuenca Spain. Spain Travel, Spain Travel Guide, Spain Travel Tips, Europe, Europe Travel, Europe Travel Destinations. #spain #spaintravel #spaintravelguides

How to get from Madrid to Cuenca

Best hidden gems in Spain worth exploring!

How to get from Madrid to Bilbao

Travelling from Madrid to Zaragoza

How to get from Madrid to Salamanca

Travelling from Madrid to Valencia

Travelling from Madrid to Alicante

How to get from Madrid to Segovia