Cuenca is a historical old city in the interior of Spain, best known for its dramatic setting of being perched on a rocky outcrop between two river gorges. Thanks to its setting, a day walk around Cuenca offers the perfect opportunity to fully admire this antique town from the many view points scattered around the area.

Located roughly halfway between Madrid and Valencia, Cuenca has long attracted visitors to its medieval old town center and castle ruins, all packed onto a narrow sliver of land surrounded by precipitous cliff on both sides. Not only rich in history, the area around this town also boasts spectacular natural wonders.

I had a chance to stop by Cuenca for one day and I decided to make the most out of it by making a walk around its town and surrounding gorges through many trails that criss-cross the area to discover the best view points in the area.

Mirador Barrio del Castillo
Walking around Cuenca’s view points

Getting there:

Cuenca is located between the Spanish capital Madrid and the big coastal city of Valencia. The Spanish high speed train (AVE) connecting these two main cities make a stop at the Cuenca-Fernando Zóbel station, located on the outskirts of the city. The bus L1 can take you from this station to the city center.

Don’t confuse this high speed train station to the Cuenca train station in the city center which primarily serves regional train to nearby towns. The train schedule for both the high speed and regional trains can be found in the Spanish national railway carrier’s website (RENFE).

Alternatively, Cuenca can also be reached by Spanish intercity buses, such as those operated by Avanzabus. Bus services link Cuenca to many destinations in Spain, including Madrid and Valencia. The bus station is located very close to the regional train station.

In the map below you can see the route for the day walk, starting from the old town main square, as well as how to get to each of the view points in Cuenca.

1. San Pablo bridge (Puente de San Pablo)

Located right next to Cuenca’s old town, this red-painted steel pedestrian bridge is unmissable and easy to find. Standing on the bridge offers the best view to the iconic Cuenca’s hanging houses (casas colgadas) as well as to the Huécar river gorge below. This bridge is located high above the gorge and looking down can be quite dizzying.

Cuenca San Pablo bridge
Cuenca seen from Puente de San Pablo
Cuenca hanging houses
Cuenca’s casas colgadas
Cuenca San Pablo bridge
Puente de San Pablo next to Cuenca’s old town

2. Mirador del Cerro del Socorro

Continuing further after crossing the San Pablo bridge, you could follow the path due left to go to Mirador del Cerro del Socorro. This is the highest view point around, at about 100 meters higher than the old town and over 180 meters higher than the bottom of the gorge. A towering statue of Jesus sits on the view point, as if to bless the entire area of Cuenca.

An unassuming path carved onto the cliff side leads to this one of the best view points around Cuenca (mirador). Being the highest point, this is the best place to see the not only the town of Cuenca, but also the surrounding area. Cuenca and the bridge look like a tiny miniature from this view point.

Cuenca from Mirador del Cerro del Socorro
Cuenca is so small
Cuenca area from Mirador del Cerro del Socorro
High above Cuenca

3. View point from the cliff side route

While technically not a view point, walking through the route underneath the precipitous cliff of Cuenca’s old town is highly recommended to get a glimpse of the town’s setting from below. You’d feel small next to the cliff and be treated to a great view from below the old town.

To reach this route simply came back from the top of Mirador del Cerro del Socorro and proceed further down to below the bridge. There will be a path running close to the cliff wall under the bridge.

Cuenca from below
Cuenca from below

4. Mirador Barrio del Castillo

Keep on following the cliff side route, you’d eventually end up at this mirador. Located on a cliff just after exiting the old town’s center, the Mirador Barrio del Castillos is in my opinion the best view point of Cuenca. From this view point you could get a clear view of the gorge as well as most of the old town’s cliff side facade from up close.

What’s more, the rocks at the edge of the cliff provide a perfect setting to rest or to have lunch while admiring the view of Cuenca. Be wary though that this spot can get quite crowded from hordes of travelers brought by tourist bus stopping at the nearby parking place.

Cuenca from Mirador Barrio del Castillo1
Nice view, huh?
Cuenca from Mirador Barrio del Castillo
Perfect spot to hang around
Mirador Barrio del Castillo drop
Watch the drop

5. Mirador del Rey

This is another high view point offering a landscape view over the whole of Cuenca. It is located not far from Mirador Barrio del Castillo, accessible via a path further down the road.

Mirador del Rey, Cuenca
From another high point
San Pablo bridge from Mirador del Rey
San Pablo bridge, this time from Mirador del Rey

6. View point over Río Júcar

This is also technically not a view point, but a route going through the side of a rocky cliff north of Cuenca. While all the previous view points offer a look on the Huécar river gorge, this route goes above the gorge of Júcar river. The rocky cliff’s face next to the trail is also perfect for practicing rock climbing.

Returning from Mirador del Rey, to reach this route simply take the downward staircase found around the old ruin castle entrance to the old town.

Gorge of Rio Jucar, Cuenca
Río Júcar’s gorge
Rock climbing in Cuenca
A brave climber

7. Mirador del Recreo Peral

While all the other view points show the eastern side of Cuenca’s face, Mirador del Recreo Peral offers the best view to see Cuenca from the other side (west). An added bonus was the trail right below it, providing a pleasant walk right next to Río Júcar.

This view point is quite far to reach as it’s located on the other side, but it’s quite easy to find as it sits directly above the river Júcar.

Cuenca from Mirador del Recreo Peral
Another face of Cuenca

About Author

Born and raised in Indonesia, bitten by the travel bug since moving to Europe.

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