Cuenca is one of those stunning places that few have heard of but all should have. Not only because of its world-famous gravity-challenging hanging houses, but for its underestimated natural beauty and the amazingly fresh local food. A day in Cuenca (Spain) is what pretty much everyone needs at some point in their lives!
For that reason, and the fact that it was at a perfect almost 2 hour drive from Madrid, I picked it to be the first stop of our ultimate Spain roadtrip. After the short drive, we still had a day in Cuenca, a whole day to explore the city in the cool early autumn sun. But not before getting lost for about half an hour, and driving around our hotel in circles without getting any closer. Yes,Yes, you read that one right, we got lost, Cuenca is a little tricky city, so, here it goes, tip #1: Make sure you search beforehand the exact way to your hotel, and if possible, (FREE) parking possibilities in the area or you may end up paying your weight in gold for a spot.
Even after the getting lost incident, we were still a bit early for check in at our hostal, so we decided to take a stroll by the river soaking in the midday sun and admiring Cuenca’s quirky mix of old traditional cliff houses and modern architecture surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful nature.
(Northern European) Lunchtime came and punctual as it only could be, le Mr’s tummy started to savagely roar. Wanting to eat as “local” as possible, we found la Posada San Julian. You know you’ve hit the jackpot when they tell you the kitchen opens for lunchtime at 1:30pm, it doesn’t get any more local than that. But, it was worth the wait. The mr. ordered the paella and a cod fillet followed by a chocolate mousse, and I picked the much lighter peas with serrano, followed by the juiciest lemon grilled chicken breast fillet I’ve ever tasted and vanilla pudding. Happy tummys for less than 10€ per person, welcome to Spain!
You can find la Posada de San Julian in Calle de las Torres 1 and no reservation is required.
After lunch, pick up a map at the tourist information point around the corner and start making your way up the hill towards the old town, visit the Puente de San Pablo (St. Paul’s Bridge) and the hangign houses, walk to the top of the city and admire the view. It was rather windy during our day in Cuenca, but it didn’t matter.
And for the evening, don’t forget to check Grotte del Huecar, a tapas and cocktail bar on a cave on a cliff with terraces facing the river Huecar. Nice music and excellent ambiance for a chill unique evening in Cuenca. You can find Grotte del Huecar en Paseo Del Huecar 2, but check their opening ours before heading down as it changes from season to season.