Suggested Itinerary No. 1: The Route of El Cid and the Maestrazgo

About the Route

Firstly we’d like to point out that this itinerary should not be confused with the famous Route of El Cid which runs from Burgos to Valencia and which is described in the epic Spanish poem El Cantar del mio Cid (Translated into English as The Lay of The Cid). Instead this itinerary links together several of the towns mentioned elsewhere in The itinerary crosses the famous route of El Cid at Albarracin and passes through the mountains of the Maestrazgo region surrounding Morella and Teruel.

We originally designed this route as a 10 day round trip starting and ending in Valencia. You could just as easily make it into an interesting and scenic route from Madrid to Valencia or incorporate it into your route between Barcelona and Andalucía in the south. Apart from the towns themselves there are plenty of options to do interesting walks in the surrounding countryside and the drives from Cuenca to Albarracín (CM2104 / A1704) and on to La Iglesuela del Cid (A226) are especially picturesque.

We spent 2 nights in each of the towns along the route (except for the tiny La Iglesuela del Cid which was a lunch stop on the way to Morella) if you are short of time you could just spend one night in each town and it would still be a very rewarding trip. We feel that it is worth spending the extra time to truly relax and enjoy your surroundings and suggest that you at least try and include the short circular walk around the valley which surrounds Alarcón and the slightly longer walk to see the prehistoric cave paintings near to Albarracín. Details of these walks are available at the tourist information offices of the two towns. The tourist information centre in Albarracin has two excellent free leaflets which include maps and descriptions of numerous short walks in the surrounding area.

If time permits we suggest that you could also visit the cities of Cuenca and Teruel both of which are on route. Another possible addition is the Ciudad Encantada (enchanted city) rock formations just outside Cuenca. If you visit this attraction on a public holiday you should make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds (as we found out when we visited them during the Easter weekend of 2010!)

Description of the Route

StageThe RouteApprox. DistanceApprox. Duration
Valencia to AlarcónE901 → CV450 → NIII160 km2.5 hours
Alarcón to Albarracín via CuencaNIII → N320 → CM2104 → CM2105 → CU901 → A1704 → A1512200 km3.5 hours
Albarracín to Morella stopping at La Iglesuela del CidA1512 → N234 → A226 → A227 → CV125175 km3.5 hours
Morella to PeñiscolaN232 → CV136 → CV13575 km1.5 hours
Peñiscola to ValenciaN340 → AP7150 km1.75 hours

For further information about each of the towns and villages visited on this route please click on the individual place names in table above.

Map of the Route

Ver The Route of El Cid and the Maestrazgo en un mapa más grande

Selected Photos

The medieval castle at Alarcon, Spain

Alarcon's 14th Century Castle [Photographer:]

Landscape photo showing the River Jucar surrounded by trees and mountains near to Alarcon, Spain

Views during the drive from Alarcon to Albarracin [Photographer:]

Medieval town of Albarracín, near Teruel Spain

The picturesque town of Albarracin [Photographer:]

Photo taken as we walked the footpath which leads to the prehistoric cave paintings near to Albarracin

Walking nearAlbarracín [Photographer:]

The medieval village of La Iglesuela del Cid, near Teruel

The village of La Iglesuela del Cid is an interesting stopping off point on the way to Morella
Please not that the Torreon de los Nublos is closed at lunchtime

The medieval castle and town sit dramatically atop a hill which overlooks the surrounding Spanish countryside

The imposing fortified town of Morella [Photographer:]

A lifesieze bronze statue of the medieval Pope Papa Luna sat outside the walls of Peñiscola castle (El Castillo de Papa Luna)

Papa Luna - Peñiscola [Photographer:]

A white Mercedes camper van parked off road in the spanish countryside

Taking a break to admire the views near Albarracin (Don't worry all the roads on this route are tarmacked,
we pulled off to admire the views and have a picnic lunch!) [Photographer:]

Suggested Itineraries