See Cuenca (Ecuador) for another city named Cuenca.
Cuenca is situated between Madrid and Valencia, in the third least populated region in Europe, and the town itself is a world heritage site – the old town is an outstanding example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain. The many casas colgadas (“hanging houses”) are built right up to the cliff edge, making Cuenca one of the most striking towns in Spain, a gem in the province of Castilla La Mancha.
There are 2 railway stations in Cuenca. “Traditional” regional trains arrive to the “Estación de Cuenca” (approx. 2:50 hour from Madrid) at the town centre. While “modern” AVE (55 min from Madrid) , Alvia and Itercity (approx. 1:10 hour from Madrid) trains stop at the “Estación de Cuenca-Fernando Zóbel” located 5 km from the town centre.
There is a coach station called Cuenca bus station in the centre of Cuenca that travels to nearby cities. Travel time to Madrid is approximately 2 hours and it is about the same travel time to Valencia, costing around €12.
Distances to/from Cuenca: Madrid 165 km (1h 30m), Albacete 145 km, Toledo 185 km, Valencia 210 km
Its best to go by car, but if you don’t mind walking there is much that can been seen and done in the center of town.
- Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, Calle Canónigos 16001, +34 969212983. Cuenca was the longtime home of artist and photographer Fernando Zóbel, and he chose it as the location for the museum, located in two converted centuries-old “casas colgadas”. Many of the pictures hang in glorious isolation with an entire wall for a single picture, and a few windows provide imposing views out over the gorge.
- Archeological museum. Dedicated largely to Roman finds in the area.
- Cathedral. Its façade is unfortunately marred by a nineteenth century attempt at remodeling, but has a beautiful Gothic interior with very detailed (and in some cases seemingly pagan) carvings. There is a near-absolute ban on photography, or even sketching, inside the cathedral, except by obtaining explicit permission, typically granted only on the basis of a portfolio.
- Casas Colgadas.