We Slept in a Haunted Medieval Spanish Castle | Weekend in Sigüenza
We escape Madrid to head for the magical medieval town of Siguenza - which is dominated by a massive 12th century castle! Yoly and I spent a romantic weekend exploring the town, eating and drink (how much pig's ear can one eat?) and checking out all the nooks and crannies of the massive medieval castle that looms over the town. Did we mention the castle is haunted? Venga, let’s go!
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Quite pro trip: You can get to Siguenza by train from Madrid (about 90 minutes each way) Check Renfe.com
Also here is our guide Jorge's website. Keep in mind he only does tours in Spanish.
Yoly and I had been to Siguenza once before about a million years ago. I remember wandering the beautiful old streets, and eating a delicious lunch somewhere. But it was distant in our memory.
So we decided it was time to go back. This is a little known day trip out of Madrid. Only 90 minutes away by train. Or you can stay longer and stay in the INCREDIBLE Parador hotel on the hill.
So that's what we did.
What does one do in Siguenza? Eat, drink, wander, chill out. This Guadalajara, which is not an extremely populated part of Spain. It's an area that was a frontier land between the Christians and the Moors during the Reconquest. But the landscape has this wonderful rough beauty - hot hot hot in summer, cold in winter.
And the Parador is a gorgeous place to hole up for a weekend. Wandering the castle's halls, hanging in the bar, reading in the throne room.
Once you do start to explore more, check out Bar Ratón - clearly popular with the locals (they have more than pig's ear) and also Bar Tormes for the perdigacho.
And so the key things to do are:
- Explore the Parador (even if you're not staying there, you can wander the impressive common rooms)
- The Cathedral - massive and imposing (for such a small town)
- Wander the magical old streets
- Have a fino seguntino (the local drink - vermouth, beer and sweet soda) in the Plaza Mayor
- Have a drink in Cafe Paris
- Have a drink in Taberna el Arrabal - the oldest still running bar in the town
- Check out the modern restaurant (Nola), and also the two Michelin star restaurants in the area - El Doncel and Molino de Alcuneza Restaurante (both closed when we were there)
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This lovely city in the north of the province of Guadalajara is home to an outstanding architectural heritage, and in 1965 was declared a Historic-Artistic site. The castle, the cathedral and the Plaza Mayor square are the three sights you can't afford to miss, although the streets of Sigüenza are full of numerous exceptionally beautiful civil and religious buildings.
The castle is today a Parador hotel. It was built after the Arab invasion in the 8th century when the fortress was built. It still conserves important remnants of its defensive walls, and the gateways and towers that start at the castle. The cathedral was originally built in 1130 in the Romanesque style, although it was later developed according to the Gothic canon. Its exterior resembles a mediaeval fortress, with Romanesque towers and portico and a magnificent rose window. The interior is the site of the tomb of Martín Vázquez de Arce, known as 'El Doncel' (young knight) of Sigüenza. Other highlights include the sacristy of Las Cabezas by Covarrubias, the cloister, the choir with Gothic choir stalls, and an important collection of art, including an Annunciation by El Greco.
The Renaissance-style Plaza Mayor or market square was urbanised in 1484-1494, and is the site of the Casas de los Canónigos houses with their balconies and galleries, the Town Hall and the Puerta del Toril gate. Other points of interest are the Romanesque church of San Vicente, the parish church of Santiago, the seminary, the Casa del Doncel and Posada del Sol buildings, the church of Las Ursulinas, the college of La Sagrada Familia, the Casa del Arcediano house, the shrine of Humilladero de la Vera Cruz and the Infantes college.
Troubadours, stilt-walkers and jugglers all climb on board this train that plies the route between Madrid (Chamartín station) and Sigüenza. Throughout the trip, passengers can enjoy the mediaeval entertainment, sample sweets and pastries and –on arrival in Sigüenza– visit the monuments. This train usually runs on several Saturdays in spring (from April to June) and autumn (September, October and November).
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Besides Jaca town, there are a number of outlying villages in Jaca's municipality, including the ski resort of Astún. Jaca is a tourist destination in the region for summer holidays and winter sports. Starting in the early 1970s, Jaca was transformed from being a small provincial and garrison town to become the gateway to a mid-tier mountain sports area with two major winter resorts (Valle de Astun and Candanchu) within a 30 km drive of Jaca . The accompanying urban and infrastructure development in the 1970s and 1980s was controversial, with many claiming that Jaca lost a lot of its original charm and authenticity to the interests of developers.
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