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The World Heritage City of Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares is a young and industrial city with a rich cultural heritage situated by National Road II, about 30 km on the east of Madrid. It is also a hub and nerve centre of an important region crossed by the River Henares.
The city is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes (1547).

The house of
Cervantes is an excellent example of 16th century Castilian home that is now a museum to visit. A stroll down the city’s long and colonnaded Calle Mayor is the best attraction The Monastery of San Bernardo is another nice sight to visit. Plaza de Cervantes is a nice relaxation place. The Arts and Crafts Centre should be visited.

Things to Do and See in Alcalá de Henares
The places of interest in Alcalá de Henares include;

  • the Monastery and Museum of San Bernardo

  • Cervantes House-Museum

  • University

  • Hospital de Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia/de Antezana (Hospitalillo)

  • Casa de Hippolytus

  • University colleges and convents Colegio del Rey

  • Archbishop’s Palace

  • Museo Cisneriano

  • Corral de Comedias

  • the Cathedral

City Tours in Alcalá de Henares
The city tours to participate and discover the Alcalá de Henares include;

  • The Cervantes Train

  • - The Cervantes Train takes the visitors to Alcalá de Henares starting out from the suburban railway station (Atocha) in Madrid. During the trip, a group of actors perform some of Cervantes’ Entremeses (Interludes) and offer passengers a traditional Alcalá sweetmeats. In Alcalá, the trip includes a guided tour of the sightseeing regions and some street theatre performances. Itinerary: Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso, University façade, former Colegio de San Jerónimo (Trilingüe), Plaza de Cervantes, Calle Mayor, Cathedral, Monastery of San Bernardo. The tour is available from the 1st of April to 11th of December. Admission: €16.00 for adults and €11.00 for children. The train leaves from Atocha Station (suburban line) at 11.00 and returns from the Alcalá de Henares Station at 19.00.
  • A tour of Alcalá with Don Quixote - A tour by Alcalá City Hall and the Tourism Department. It is a tribute to the author of Don Quixote. The visitors may discover the city where Miguel de Cervantes was born. Itinerary: Chapel (Capilla del Oidor), Former Theology College (Madre de Dios), monument to Cervantes, Hospital de Nuestra Señora de La Misericordia/Antezana (Hospitalillo), the house where Cervantes was born, Casa de la Calzonera, Discalced Carmelite Convent (De la Imagen), Monastery of San Bernardo.

  • Trip to Casa de Hippolytus - It is an hour guided coach trip to Casa de Hippolytus that is a villa built in the proximity of Complutum in the late third and early fourth centuries A.D (Open every day except Mondays at 11.30, 12.30 and 13.30 and the trip is available at only weekends). Admission: €2.50.

  • Tour of the City - Various buildings and Alcalá Museum are visited. Itinerary: Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso, the Cervantes House-Museum and Museum of San Bernardo. (Admission: €5.00; Times: 12.00 and 17.00.)

  • The Literary City - A trip to the literary history of Alcalá de Henares, stopping before 18 plaques alluding to the life and works of the town’s great writers.

  • Don Juan Nights in Alcalá - It is guided theatrical tour by an actor dressed up as Don Juan Tenorio. Travelers are taken through the old quarter and being told about the adventures of José Zorrilla’s world-famous character. The tour is organized in late October or early November as part of the Don Juan in Alcalá commemorative program.

  • The City of Storks - It is a tour in a cityscape of the historical and natural heritage of the town dotted with storks’ nests a top age-old buildings.

  • The City of Three Cultures - A walking tour through the mediaeval districts of Alcalá.

Cuisine ~ What to Eat
The restaurants and taverns of Alcalá de Henares offer the traditional recipes of Castilian-La Mancha cuisine of the dishes referred to in Don Quixote. The garlic soup, breadcrumbs à la Mancha that is served with chorizo or fried eggs, fabled sugared almonds, dishes based on fresh vegetables from the Henares plain and succulent roasts of lamb and kid are the popular dishes. In addition, the city holds its “Gastronomic Week” in every February.

Handicrafts ~ What to Buy
There is a strong arts and crafts tradition in Alcalá de Henares since the Middle Ages. The city is popular for its pottery. Visitors may find wide range of items and wares at the Arts and Crafts Centre of the City.

Cultural Events & Fiestas in Alcalá de Henares

  • Gastronomic Week on the first week in February

  • Carnival and the Burial of the Sardine in February

  • Holy Week. It is an event of Regional Touristic Interest in March-April

  • Presentation of the Cervantes Literature Award in April 23

  • Clásicos de Alcalá in the second fortnight in June. It is one of Spain’s leading theatre festivals with performances at Corral de Comedias, Teatro Salón Cervantes, Hospital de Antezana (patio), the Archbishop’s Palace, Universidad Cisneriana, etc.

  • Antique Car Rally, Madrid-Alcalá de Henares in May-June

  • Fiesta. Santos Niños Justo y Pastor in August 6

  • Alcalá’s fiestas and fairs, dating back to C13 at the end of August, around San Bartolomé

  • Fiestas. Virgen del Val in the 3rd Sunday in September

  • Commemoration of the day Cervantes was christened in October 9. Cervantes Week. It is one of the city’s major festive events (an Event of Regional Touristic Interest) with street theatre and musical performances, a huge, baroque market in the old quarter and Jornadas Gastronómicas Cervantinas.

  • Jornadas Gastronómicas Cervantinas at the end of September.

  • Commemoration of Alcalá University’s first academic year (1508-1509) in October 18, around San Lucas

  • Travelling theatre show (an Event of Regional Touristic Interest) in which José Zorrilla’s Don Juan Tenorio is performed (Plaza de los Santos Niños, Archbishop’s Palace) in late October, early November

  • Alcalá Film Festival in November

  • Presentation of the Quevedo Graphic Humour Awards in November

  • Anniversary of Alcalá de Henares’ World Heritage City award in December 2

Getting There
Access to Alcalá de Henares is easy. There are many convenient ways to get to Ávila with its proximity to Madrid (26 km). Travelers may reach the town from National Road II (A11) that is a major expressway starting in the River Henares Valley. Also the RENFE trains operates a service between Alcalá and Madrid on the Madrid-Zaragoza route in every 15 minutes. In addition, the nearby international airport of Madrid (Barajas) runs services to many other destinations.


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Alcalá de Henares Useful Telephone numbers
Ayuntamiento de Alcalá de Henares (City Hall)
Concejalía de Turismo, Plaza de Cervantes, 11
28801 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid
Phone: +34 918 772 070 - +34 918 797 743

Municipal Tourist Offices
Phone: +34 918 892 694 - +34 918 810 634
Municipal Information; Phone: +34 918 802 762
Fundación Camino de la Lengua Castellana (Spanish Language Foundation)
Phone: +34 941 203 698

Alcalá University
Plaza de San Diego
Phone: +34 918 854 000

OMIC (Municipal Consumer Information Office)
Calle Mínimos, 1
Phone: +34 918 805 998 - +34 918 806 194

Comunidad de Madrid. Tourist Information
Phone: +34 902 100 007

Municipal Police
Phone: +34 918 819 263; 34 918 773 560/092
National Police
Phone: +34 918 796 390/091

Suburban Railway Station RENFE
(Lines C1, C2 and C7)
Paseo de la Estación
Phone: +34 902 240 202
Bus Station (Continental Auto)
Avda. de Guadalajara, 5
Phone: +34 918 881 622
Madrid Airport (Barajas)
Phone: +34 902 353 570
Radio cab
Phone: +34 918 822 188 - +34 918 822 179
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