| 77 Segovia is among the locations you shouldn’toverlookifyou’reholidayingintheSpanishcapital.Thereare severaldepartures fromChamartín station at various prices, but just a 30-minute journey by high-speed train will take you to this beautiful city – which has forti- cations and an aqueduct that have been declared UNESCO cultural heritage sites. Segovia is knownworldwideprecisely for its aforementioned aqueduct, which is a huge Roman structure designed to carrywater fromthe springof Fuenfría, which is located on a nearby hillside some 17 km from the city. Built at the beginning of the 2nd centuryAD, towards theendof thereign of EmperorTrajanor thebeginningof Hadrian’s reign, itsmost visibleparts, andthereforemost famous, are the arches intersectingAsogehoSquare, thecity’s central spot. If you traverse Calle Real Street, the commercial heart of Segovia, which leads directly to Plaza Mayor and the cathedral, and prior to that visit the Old Main Synagogue and the famous Alcázar fortress in Segovia,whichwill appear toyoulikeafairytale hilltop castle. And youwill be seeing it right: itwas this actual fortress that provided the inspiration for Disney’s castle in the Oscar-winning animated lm SnowWhite and the Seven Dwarfs. Thecity’sculinaryo erwon’t leaveyou feeling indi erent either: try the local pork roast, Sepúlveda-style cod or beans from LaGranja. If youwant to snack and sample typical tapas portions, that’s at least easy: look for the famous “street bars” or seek a recommendation fromone of the friendly waiters on the main square. If you are interested in the local historical heritage, the Monastery of SantaMaria del Parral (Monasterio del Parral) o ers free guided tours, during which you will receive a real lesson in art history. ALCALA DE HENARES Alcalá de Henares is a city that’s name means“castle on the river Henares”. It is locatednortheastofMadrid, just30kilometres fromthecapital, and, yes, it is thebirthplace ofwriterMiguel Cervantes.With itsunusual pillars and vaulted ceilings, itsmain street, Calle Mayor, leads to the city’s three most beautiful monuments: the Museo Casa de Cervantes–Cervantesbirth-housemuseum, theCathedral of St Justus andSt Pastor and the Convent of the Clarisas de San Diego. You will be able to discover what the housesof Spain’sGoldenAge looked likeby visiting thebeautifully arrangedMemorial House of Miguel de Cervantes, where you can walk through the rooms in which the author of oneof thegreatest titles inworld literature, Don Quixote, grew up. The University of Alcalá deserves special mention. Founded in 1944, thanks to the e orts of Cardinal Cisneros, today–apart frombeing atouristattraction–it istheplacewhereone of themostprestigiousawards for literature inSpanish, theCervantes Prize, is awarded. When it comes to the culinary o er, hereDonQuixote is also the inspiration for the most popular dishes. It is also important to note that Alcalá de Henares hosts a Gastronomic Week every February, and the popular festival Ruta de las Tapas o las Jornadas Gastronómicas Cervantinas (Tapas Route or the Cervantes Gastronomic Days) isheldduringthe timeofpatronsaint celebrations. Finally, the Corral de Comedias or the CorraldelosZapateros, theso-calledtheatre courtyard, represents a uniquebuilding as theoldest preserved structureof its kind in Spain. Important elements of its constructionhavebeenpreserved that testify to the centuries of its operation: it operated as a theatre courtyard from 1601, as a covered coliseum as of 1785, as a Roman theatre in 1830, and a cinema hall until the 1970s. It today o ers a full programme of theater performances and is open to tourist visits. CUENCA A unique fusion of nature and architecture makes Cuenca another must-see place for those seeking to escape Madrid. The city is actually “carved”out of the SerraníaConquense(Cuencamountainrange), is located less thananhour’sdrive fromMadridand represents another pearl of Spain. The hanging houses (Las casas colgadas) above the gorge of the river Huécar composea recognisablesymbol of thecity. Built of stone, their balconies appear to hang over the edge of a cli . This city lledwithcontrasts has some of the best collections of painted art from the second half of the 20th century, while Cuenca also boasts a delicious and varied cuisinewithatraditiondatingbackcenturies (make sure to visit the taverns of San Francisco Street), as well as treasures of nature andmagical landscapesthatseducetourists. The Cuenca Museum of Spanish Abstract Art (Museo de Arte Abstracto Español de Cuenca) preserves and exhibits paintings and sculptureswithin its permanent exhibition that are works of Spanish artists fromthegenerationof abstract creators (1950s and‘60s) who initiated some of themost signi cant abstract art tendencies of Spanish art during the second half of the twentieth century. Jedinstveni spoj prirode i arhitekture A unique fusion of nature and architecture Viseće kuće, nad klisurom reke Uekar, čine prepoznatljivi simbol Kuenke The hanging houses above the gorge of the river Huécar compose a recognisable symbol of the Cuenca iStock / Freeartist iStock / herraez