Ever got late to your destination and thought you missed a day of sightseeing and exploring the city? Think again, as some places actually might have amazing views at nighttime. One of those places definitely is Alcalá de Henares, a historic Spanish town of 200 000 people in the outskirts of Madrid.
It is so special that the old town as a whole has been designated as an Unesco World Heritage site. And at night time you get to enjoy a more romantic tour of cobbled streets, carefully restored churches (which there are so many), majestic university buildings, even peek into nicely lit restaurants (both historic with hundreds of years of history and trendy modern ones) – all that while enjoying the well-positioned lighting accentuating towers, old decorative doors, fountains and more…
Alcalá is known as the birthplace for the famous writer Miguel de Cervantes and Catherine of Aragon, who became the wife King Henry VIII of England (just think of the movie The other Boleyn, as Anne Boleyn was the mistress of Henry the VIII) to name a couple. If you look carefully you can also see other famous inhabitants – residing on top of the bell towers and churches. Those are the famous white storks of Alcalá (which are now protected and thus increasing in count thankfully).
An hour and a half gives you a lovely tour of the old town, but to experience the city well I’d recommend coming first at daytime so you can visit the churches, old university buildings and museums, and then adding on top the totally different night tour. And since we are in Spain some tapas-hopping from one places to another is always a great experience. But where to stay then? The natural answer would be inside the old town of course. Spanish government owns a number of old, beautifully restored hotels called Paradores around the county, and there is one in Alcalá also: the Parador of Alcalá de Henares – Convent of Santo Tomás and Hosteria del Estudiante. So next time in Madrid think of adding a day in Alcalá, and maybe another one to the mountains to tour some of the palaces there while enjoying a cooler climate and amazing views down to surrounding valleys.
[And if you are interested in seeing many of the same sights of Alcalá at daytime visit my Instagram account at: http://instagram.com/houseofanais ]