Photo of Alarcon

Visit Alarcon

Alarcon is in the province of Cuenca in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain. It is about an hour and a half from Madrid by car and so is possible to visit as a day trip.

Explore Alarcon

Alarcon sits on a rocky hill almost completely encircled by a loop of the river Jucar. In the 8th century an Arab fortress was built on the promontory above the river as this was a useful defensive position.

Stone walls and 5 turrets surround the castle and most of the town of Alarcon. One of these turrets sits right on the river and enabled the inhabitants to draw fresh water even during a siege. After a long occupation by the Moors the castle was taken by the Spaniards during the Reconquest in 1184 following a nine-month siege.

The beautiful castle with its distinctive keep was then owned by a succesion of lords and royals but fell into disrepair in the middle ages. Eventually in 1963 the Spanish government took over the castle, renovated it and opened it as one of Spain's wonderful parador-hotels, the Parador of Alarcon. Further renovations took place in 2003 and now you can enjoy a luxurious visit whilst admiring the military origins of the building.


On entering the village you have the impression of stepping back through the centuries. Especially as to get to Alercon there is a narrow strip of land between two bends of the river which is only just wide enough for the road. This then goes through a series of medieval gateways leading to the town.

The town has been awarded artistic-historic status because of the drama of its location on a rocky cliff above a bend of the river and the attractiveness and historic interest of the town itself.

As well as the castle admire the main square with its old town hall and the 16th century San Juan Bautista Church and stroll through the medieval streets.

The San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) church houses some excellent murals by Jesus Mateo. The church has been deconsecrated and is now called the Art Centre of Mural Paintings, the Centro d'Art Pintura Mural d'Alercon.

Jesus Mateo began painting these murals in 1994 and they are bright, bold contemporary paintings. The murals are considered to be important contemporary works and have now been given UNESCO patronage and are visited by more than 40,000 people each year.

The Santa Maria church is a lovely 16th century church built in plateresque style. It has a huge 16th century altarpiece that is considered to be one of the best in the area.

Alarcon is an historic-artistic site because of its great monuments and the surrounding countryside.

Places to visit nearby

The gorge of the River Jucar is a great place to do some walking. It is possible to walk along the gorge to the Torre de los Alarconcillos

Cuenca with its wonderful old town and hanging houses is to the north of Alarcon. Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

West of Alarcon is Belmonte which also has an impressive castle.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Cuenca guide and the Castilla-La Mancha guide.

See also: 

Map of Alarcon and places to visit


Alarcon places to visit



Belmonte has one of the castles the region is famous for. Belmonte is 15th century and very well preserved.

Belmonte guide


Cuenca sits dramatically on top of a gorge. Visit the hanging houses which are literally hanging over the edge.

Cuenca guide
Alcala del Jucar

Alcala del Jucar

Alcala del Jucar is set in a circle of the river Jucar and the village houses rise up above each other with the white cliff behind them.

Alcala del Jucar guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Castilla-La Mancha