In the middle of Spain you will find an extraordinary mix of history, culture, and architectural wonders. Beyond the vibrant streets of Madrid, you will find amazing must-see destinations that make the perfect weekend get away. On this blog post, we delve into five of these unveliebable spots: Toledo, Segovia, Alcalá de Henares, Chinchon, and Cuenca. From medieval wonders to literary legacies, picturesque village charm, and awe-inspiring natural landscapes, these cities promise an unforgettable exploration of Spain’s hidden gems.

1. Toledo: The Imperial City of Wonders 

Set ontop a hill overlooking the Tagus River, Toledo is a living testament to Spain’s rich history. With its cobblestone streets, ancient walls, and stunning vistas, this city transports visitors to a bygone era.

Known as the “City of Three Cultures,” it blends Christian, Jewish, and Islamic culture, leaving their mark on its architecture, cuisine, and traditions. The majestic Toledo Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece, dominates the skyline and houses a vast collection of religious art. El Greco, the renowned artist, found inspiration in Toledo, and his legacy lives on at the El Greco Museum, showcasing his masterful works. Toledo’s Alcázar, a medieval fortress transformed into a military museum, offers panoramic views of the city’s terracotta rooftops and the surrounding landscapes. Trying the local cuisine is a delight in itself as well. Toledo is well known for its marzipan, a sweet almond confection, and its traditional “carcamusas” stew.

2. Alcalá de Henares: Birthplace of Cervantes

On the banks of the Henares River, Alcalá de Henares spreads an irresistible charm that goes back to its rich historical legacy. This UNESCO World Heritage city is known as the birthplace of the iconic Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, adding literary history to the city. 

The Cervantes Birthplace Museum pays homage to the literary giant, allowing you to dive into the world of “Don Quixote” and explore the life and works of Cervantes. The Universidad de Alcalá, founded in 1499, stands as a proud symbol of Spain’s intellectual heritage. The Corral de Comedias, one of Spain’s oldest theaters, transports you to the world of 17th-century Spanish theater. Indulge in “costrada,” a local pastry delicacy, and discover the lively atmosphere of the Mercado de Abastos, where you will find local produce and culinary delights. Alcalá de Henares also hosts vibrant cultural events throughout the year, with festivals, concerts, and art exhibitions.

3. Segovia: A Fairytale in Stone

Situated in the heart of Spain, Segovia exudes a captivating fairytale charm. Dominated by the majestic Alcázar of Segovia, this city seamlessly blends Roman, Gothic, and Renaissance styles, crafting an architectural marvel that enchants all who visit.

The iconic Roman Aqueduct, a testament to ancient engineering skill, stands as a majestic gateway to the city. The Segovia Cathedral, a Gothic marvel, invites exploration with its unique facade and  interiors. Segovia’s culinary offerings provide a delightful sensory experience. The bustling Plaza Mayor invites you to relax in outdoor cafes, and appreciate traditional Spanish cuisine within the vibrant atmosphere. For a cultural experience, explore the Casa-Museo de Antonio Machado, where you can get to know the works of the renowned Spanish poet. 

4. Chinchon: A Village Frozen in Time 

Tucked away in the Madrid countryside, Chinchon invites you with its idyllic charm. Its centerpiece is the Plaza Mayor, a circular bullring-like square framed by medieval buildings that create a captivating backdrop for local festivities and cultural events.

The village’s unique architecture and cobblestone streets offer a delightful ambience for strolls around the city. Chinchon’s Nuestra Señora de la Asunción church, with centuries-old history, stands as a testament to the city’s deep-rooted religious heritage. Indulge in “anisette,” a local anise-flavored liqueur, and savor the flavors of “gallina en pepitoria,” a delicious stew with a rich history. Chinchon’s Plaza Mayor comes alive during its lively festivals, including the annual Garlic Festival where locals celebrate this aromatic ingredient.

5. Cuenca: Hanging Houses and Natural Splendor

On top steep cliffs, Cuenca casts a special aura that blends natural beauty and architectural marvels. This UNESCO World Heritage city within the heart of Spain, is a masterpiece of human architecture and impresses with a stunning landscape surrounding it.

The Hanging Houses (Casas Colgadas), a centuries-old structures clinging to the edges of the Huécar river gorge, are a symbol of Cuenca’s unique charm. Venturing into Cuenca’s old town, you’ll be transported through time as you wander along cobblestone streets, past charming squares, and through hidden passages that unveil the city’s rich history. The Convent of Saint Paul, now a Parador, offers a unique lodging experience where history and modern comfort come together. Throughout the year, Cuenca comes alive with cultural events and festivals that infuse the city with vibrant energy, celebrating its heritage, art, and traditions such as the Endiablada in February. 

In the midst of exploring these incredible destinations, don’t forget that where you choose to stay can make a world of difference in your experience. When planning your visit to Madrid and its surrounding wonders, consider booking your accommodations with Olala Homes. With a wide range of stylish and comfortable apartments in Madrid and other cities in Spain, Olala Homes offers you the perfect home away from home. Make your trip to Spain truly unforgettable by starting with a stay at Olala Homes – the ideal choice for travelers seeking comfort, convenience, and great style.