Route through World Heritage Cities

Monumentality, history and culture. Five cities close to Madrid with an outstanding heritage. Cuenca, Alcalá, Segovia, Ávila and Salamanca.

Day 1
Departure. Sunday.
We begin our journey in Cuenca, a town of magical beauty and unforgettable spots with its iconic hanging houses and its impressive verticality on the Huécar river. This town is really beautiful. Visit the popular Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral of Santa María and the churches of San Julián and San Pedro, the convent of Las Descalzas and San Nicolás, among other monuments. 30 kilometres away, you will find a wonderful whim of nature: the Enchanted City, a natural place of limestone rock formations where the illusion of walking between streets, squares, tall buildings, groves, animals, Roman bridges and even boats occurs, all of them guarded by a huge giant's head. Beyond the historical heritage, contemporary art can be experienced throughout Cuenca. There are places of special interest, such as the Museum of Abstract Art, the Antonio Pérez Foundation or the Torner Space. And you cannot miss the city from a bird’s view, as it is one of the most astonishing places to fly over on a hot air balloon. You can ask for some information about this unforgettable experience at the Parador.
Day 2
Monday.
From lands of Castille, we arrive in Alcalá de Henares. Cervantes’ home town, with beautiful streets, palaces, convents and civil buildings, always welcomes people to discover its University (in 1499, the Cardinal Cisneros built from scratch the first university campus in the world) and the Colegio Mayor of San Ildefonso, the Plaza de Cervantes, the ruins of Santa María de la Mayor, the school streets of Santa Úrsula and Escritorios, the Iglesia Magistral Catedral de los Santos Justo y Pastor, the Roman mosaics of the regional archaeological museum... Don’t forget to wander through the crowded calle Mayor -the longest street with porticoes in Spain-, where the birth house of the illustrious author of Don Quixote stands. Enjoy its shops and its tapas bars as well and visit the Corral de Comedias, a unique building that is now the oldest in Spain and which contains important and original construction features. You need to pay attention to the agenda because Alcalá, known as the city of the Arts and Literature, offers great quality leisure activities, distributed in a wide cultural and tourist offer that may coincide with your travel dates. During your visit to this city, you should the take the opportunity to try typical dishes of the Castilian cuisine with the culinary references of the Quixote, since this is also a town with a great tapas culture. If you are travelling with children, a visit to Parque Europa in Torrejón de Ardoz is highly recommended. It boasts full-scale replicas of 18 European landmarks, it is free and just 14 km away from the Parador de Alcalá. And once you have discovered everything the city has to offer, we recommend you to make a day trip to two charming places full of history: the picturesque village of Chinchón and the Aranjuez Royal Grounds, declared a Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
Day 3
Tuesday.
Without stopping in Madrid, we reach Segovia, one of the most monumental cities of Spain. It will surprise you at every step you take. The imposing aqueduct will remind you of the power of Rome; the cathedral, the Alcázar or the medieval walls -the only ones preserved in full besides those in Lugo and Ávila- will bring back a splendid past. Churches, such as San Esteban, San Justo, San Martín and San Millán, will take us back to medieval, Renaissance and Baroque times. In order to savour the city, you need to wander, have tapas in bars -as in Salamanca, these are offered free of charge- and indulge yourself with judiones (bean stew) and some crispy suckling pig. In the surrounding area, don’t forget to visit the La Granja de San Ildefonso Royal Palace (18th century), with its splendid Versailles-style gardens and water displays on its fountains during the summer, and the Riofrío Palace, which houses the Hunt Museum and paintings by Rubens and Velázquez and is surrounded by a forest with deer roaming freely.
Days 4 and 5
Wednesday and Thursday.
Mystical and monumental, Ávila, with its perfect wall with 88 turrets and 9 doors, some of them as beauty as those of the Alcázar and San Vicente, boasts an impressive heritage with highlights such as the fortified cathedral of San Salvador (started in the 11th century), the Cathedral Museum, Santa Teresa convent (17th century) and a number of Renaissance palaces and Romanesque churches. You will enjoy wandering through the parapet of the wall and getting lost on the streets of its old town, fraught with charm in every square, street and corner. A World Cultural Heritage city where everything will remind you of the patron saint, who has also given her name to the most famous sweet: the yemas de Santa Teresa (egg yolk sweets). If you want to enjoy the best panoramic views of the city you need to walk up in the evening to the Cuatro Postes calvary. The photo there is worth it! And since you will be feeling hungry by now, indulge yourself with some beans from Barco de Ávila, patatas revolconas (potato and paprika purée) with fried bacon rashers or even a 100% Avileña-Negra breed T-bone steak.
Days 6 and 7
Friday and Saturday.
We end our journey in Salamanca, a university and lively town, full of historical buildings and spots. Heritage and beauty radiate from every corner. Head to the centre of the Baroque 18th-century Plaza Mayor, open your eyes, be seduced by its harmonious beauty and enter its cosy and charming cafés and taverns, such as the old Novelty, to have a drink. Discover its many monuments such as the 15th-century Casa de las Conchas, known for its façade decorated with hundreds of shells, the 13th-century Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral dating from the 16th to the 18th century. Go up to its outdoor terraces to walk among gargoyles and bells. Discover the University as well, the oldest in Spain dating from the 16th century, whose façade contains an iconic frog, which you can try to find to make a wish of yours come true. And of course, you can’t leave without experiencing the magic of the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea or discovering the Casa de Lis, a modernist palace with colourful stained-glass windows. Going out for tapas is a must in Salamanca, where it is a fundamental part of culture. You can’t leave the Parador without trying the morucha beef, the farinato (sausage made from bread crumbs, lard and spices) or the Iberian ham from Guijuelo.