Destination: Alcalá del Júcar, Castilla La Mancha, Spain
Accommodation: Hotel Spa Eliá
I love escaping from the daily routine and recharging my batteries. It’s just what we did when we went to Alcalá del Júcar last weekend. It’s a charming small village in Castilla- La Mancha. Not in vain it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. It’s incredibly well-preserved and picturesque. Although this place can be visited in just a couple of hours, it has a lot to offer to its visitors.
Things you can do in Alcalá del Júcar:
1). The village is carved into the mountain and there are a lot of caves that can be visited. We entered the one called “Masagó – Gruta del Duende”. It’s very big with long tunnels. It has several exhibitions, for example, of antiques or coins and notes from different parts of the world. The fee is 3 euros that includes one drink. The views from the café are amazing.
2). Climb up to the castle and enjoy the breathtaking views of the river Júcar. You can enter inside, although we didn’t as I was said that it wasn’t worth it.
3). See the bullring that has an irregular shape. You can also enter to visit it. We just saw it from the outside.
4). Walk over the Roman bridge that joins the two parts of the village divided by the river Júcar. Next to it there is a small islet, a dam and a river beach. It’s a great place to relax and cool down.
5). Visit the salt cave. It’s artificial and has salt from the Himalayas and the Dead Sea. You lie down for 45 minutes and breathe in salt vapour. It’s supposed to be very beneficial for your health providing a relaxation effect among others. Personally, I didn’t notice anything, but maybe more sessions are needed to see the results. You can also buy pink or black salt from the Himalayas. The entry fee is 9 euros for a 45-minute session, but if you stay in “Los Olivos”, you pay 7 euros.
6). As it’s located on the banks of the river, a lot of water sports can be practised such as rafting, dry and wet canyoneering, canoeing, kayaking, etc. You can also do a lot of adventure sports like a buggy ride (we want to do it next time), speleology, mountain biking, horse riding, etc.
7). It’s a great place to go hiking as you can enjoy beautiful views over the river. There’re several routes to choose from. We did the circular trail “El morrón” that starts in Alcalá del Júcar and leads to Tolosa. I’ll describe it in detail later.
Hotel Spa Eliá
Although it’s located on the outskirts of the village, it’s a short walk from the centre. It’s a charming modern new hotel where you can switch off and relax. I would also recommend it for a special occasion.
1). There is a good spa. If you want, you can stay there up to 1,45h. There’re two saunas, different jets, cascades, and water beds. It helps unwind and switch off.
2). Great restaurant. As we had a gourmet pack, we could try a lot of typical dishes of this area. Everything was tasty and well-served. I should especially mention the breakfast. It is very varied: fruit, cold meat, donuts, croissants, fresh juice, high quality olive oil, etc.
3). Modern rooms with Smart TV and Netflix.
4).Beautiful environment: a lot of olive trees, mountains, nice views of the village, an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace to have a meal in the sun and a chill out area.
5). Good staff service: nice and resourceful.
6). Big car park where you can leave your car.
7).Availability of several packs such as gourmet, adventure, relax, etc. If I return, I won’t pick a gourmet pack again because there’s too much food. I’d rather choose an adventure activity (a buggy ride), spa and dinner.
Things to improve:
1). The pillows are too hard. I had to sleep right on the mattress because my neck was aching. The next night we were given softer pillows. That’s why I suggest checking them out before going to bed. Also the bed is rather small.
2). The set menu doesn’t offer several dishes to choose from, except desserts. I prefer having choices, although they do ask you if you can eat everything on the menu.
3). To be a bit fussy, I’d include body milk in the amenities.
Without a doubt, the pros strongly outweigh the little cons. For this reason, I recommend this hotel to anybody who is looking for some relax and beautiful nature.
Trail “El Morrón”
I like hiking and I greatly enjoyed this trail. It’s quite easy as there’s little ascent, but the views over Alcalá del Júcar and the river are absolutely amazing.
The route’s circular and it starts from the castle. The first part stretches along the top of the cliff overlooking the river. You can enter the restaurant “El Mirador” to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
After you descend to the village Tolosa, where we had a drink in a hotel and got some rest. The second part of the trail is along the river till you get back under the shade of some trees and coolness of the river.
We walked 18,5 km and it took us about four hours to complete the route without counting a break in Tolosa.
It was very hot the whole weekend. Put on enough suncream and wear light clothes. I wasn’t prepared for so much heat and I got a little burned.
The trail is really nice and advisable if you are looking for some relaxation in the beautiful surroundings.
To conclude, I definitely advise everybody to spend at least a weekend in Alcalá del Júcar. It’s a place of endless possibilities to have great fun.