A Summer in Cuenca (ES) with a Toddler

Cuenca is a historical Spanish city, full of pleasant surprises jumping out at you when you least expect it. Old people come here to die, punk/art students come here to create and there must’ve been a baby boom because it seems like every other person is an infant in a bugaboo pushchair.

Cuenca is also a swear word in Spanish like the equivalent to ‘go to hell’ but as a Mother coming from cloudy Britain, this place totally enriched my senses for wonderful weather, art, community & nature


Age: toddler age | Date: Autumn  2017 | Means of transport: Car, Joolz Pushchair, Ergo Baby 360 Sling | How I got here: Drove 90min from Madrid | How you can get there: 55min train from Atocha Madrid or fly directly to Madrid or Valencia Airport and take the fast 55min train to Cuenca


ART WATCH

Antonio Pérez Foundation Museum

Calle de Julián Romero, 20, 16001 Cuenca

This museum is a 17th-century town hall, exhibiting some of Spain’s finest contemporary art, all curated by poet & artist Antonio Pérez. There’s plenty of magnificent art to see here and it’s never really busy during the day so you won’t have to worry about your toddler screaming with excitement and disturbing people.

There are many steps for toddlers who enjoy a good climb and plenty for your infant to explore.

There’s a breathtaking view overlooking Cuenca from the courtyard. The outside area is a lovely quiet spot for breastfeeding too. The giant yellow teddy bear can distract any infant for about 10min while you take in the mountainous view.

There’s no step-free access for pushchairs so it’s best to have help or use a sling.


PLAYGROUND

Parque San Julián

Parque San Julián, 16001 Cuenca

This park feels like the heart of family life in the centre of Cuenca. Children gather here of all ages between 12-15:00 in the afternoon throughout the year. In the Summertime they also hit the playground from 18:30 till dinner time (which is 21:00 in Spain).

Playing outside in the park together is the most popular thing for children to do in this City. We were immediately drawn to the warmth of the people here and felt a strong sense of community we hadn’t felt in London.


SIGHTSEEING

Cuenca Cathedral

Plaza Mayor, 16001 Cuenca

This Gothic cathedral first opened its doors in 1196. There’s plenty of space in and out of these ancient walls for a toddler to run around and explore. Whatever your religion, you are seduced by the architecture here, which is closely related to the Notre Dame in Paris.

The views of the city in the courtyard are absolutely spectacular. My toddler was stimulated for about an hour here and screamed for Jesus on the way out so it was definitely a successful child adapted excursion.


ART WATCH

Abstracto Museo

Casas Colgadas, 16001 Cuenca

This museum exhibits a permanent collection of paintings and sculptures by Spanish artists from the abstract community of the 50’s and 60’s. It is housed in a 15th-century medieval building hanging off a cliff with a splendid view.

The security guard here was vicious and following us around the two times we visited. Perhaps he thought my daughter was going to trash the building but as curious as she is, she knows never to touch works of art so I don’t know what his issue was. I’d still recommend you visit but do complain to the receptionist if the security guard is breathing down your neck.


GRAFFITI WATCH

San Anton

Barrio de San Anton , 16002 Cuenca, Spain

This neighbourhood of San Anton is described as the ghetto and the rough part of Cuenca. Compared to where I’m from in south London, this place is a dream.

It’s definitely rough around the edges with stray cats scattered around and the occasional sewage smell but that’s about it.

The graffiti murals in this urban district are as intriguing as the east side gallery at the Berlin wall or as colorful as some of the street art in the favelas of Rio. Its one of the most interesting places in Cuenca and my Toddler loved chasing the cats and wandering around its quiet streets. It’s perfectly safe and a great alternative Family afternoon out


ACTIVITY

Science Museum of Castilla La Mancha

Plaza la Merced, 1, 16001 Cuenca

This science museum is far from the science museum of London or Valencia but it’s definitely interactive and entertaining enough to occupy a 1-year-old for an hour.


SIGHTSEEING

Walk around the old city of Cuenca

Set your toddler free to explore the wonders of this 16th-century town. I followed her lead and we got beautifully lost, walking by towers, bridges, palaces and castles

I suggest you take a taxi to the top of the old city then walk downhill.

We crossed over the wobbly 40-metre high bridge of Saint Paul (Puente de San Pablo) then grabbed a spot of lunch at Parador de Cuenca a 16th-century monastery with a bar, restaurant, hotel and outdoor swimming pool.

Every piece of architecture you see and every cobbled street you walk is mind-blowing. It feels like a scene out of Game of Thrones but without the dragons.

Take your child in a sling so you can get around swiftly because there are too many narrow pavements and stairs for a pushchair.


Have you travelled to Cuenca with a toddler? Please share your experience in the comments below

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