Alcalá de Henares Travel Guide

  • Alcalá de Henares, Spain
    Alcalá de Henares, Spain
    by anaanes
  • Alcalá de Henares, Spain
    Alcalá de Henares, Spain
    by anaanes
  • Alcalá de Henares, Spain
    Alcalá de Henares, Spain
    by anaanes

Alcalá de Henares Things to Do

  • University of Alcala (Colegio Mayor San...

    The University of Alcala's origins date back to 1293, when King Sancho IV of Castile created a school in Alcala de Henares. Under Cardinal Cisneros, this school was granted full university status in 1499, which makes it one of the oldest universities in the world, and was named "Universitas Complutensis". Five faculties were then established: Arts...

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  • Palacio Laredo

    If you travel to Alcala by train, you'll most probably walk by the Palacio Laredo and it's impossible not to notice its very unique style of architecture. The house was designed by Manuel Laredo y Ordoño for himself - he simply wanted his house to stand out, and I guess we can all agree that he succeeded! His idea was to include all of the Spanish...

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  • Calle Mayor

    Calle Mayor connects the Plaza de Cervantes with the Plaza de los Santos Niños, where you'll find the Cathedral of Alcala. It used to run through the Jewish neighborhood and for a while it was the city's most important commercial strip. Today, you'll still find different shops and restaurants on both sides of the street, but what I mostly remember...

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  • Plaza de Cervantes

    The Plaza de Cervantes dates back to the 13th century, although it obviously had a different name back then. Like the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, this square was the social and economic center of the city - a weekly market was held there and most holidays and public events were celebrated in what was then known as the "Plaza del Mercado". The square was...

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  • La Capilla del Oidor

    Located at the end of the Plaza de Cervantes, la Capilla del Oidor is one of the only buildings that remain after the destruction of the church of Santa Maria la Mayor during the Spanish Civil War (the campanile that stands in front of it was also part of the church). The Chapel dates back to the 15th century and as Miguel de Cervantes was baptized...

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  • Convento de San Juan de la Penitencia

    The San Juan de la Penitencia convent was one of the historic buildings we got to visit as part of the guided walking tour organized by the tourist office. This Franciscan convent was founded by Cardinal Cisneros during the 16th century and it was both a hospital for women and a school for young girls. We got to visit the convent's church, elegant...

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  • Palacio Arzobispal

    Next to the Monasterio de San Bernardo you'll find the Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace). Although it was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1939 and is not open to the public, people interested in history might still want to take a look at the place where Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and mother of...

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  • Monasterio de San Bernardo

    There are several different convents in Alcala de Henares, but the Monasterio de San Bernardo is considered by many as the most important one. Construction of the Baroque-style church began in 1618, and the quality of its different architectural details is still admired by many designers and architects today. In fact, it is almost impossible to...

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  • Catedral-Magistral de Alcala

    The Cathedral of Alcala de Henares was built between 1497 and 1516, with the addition of a bell tower during the 17th century. It is the only Gothic-style cathedral that can be seen in the entire Communidad de Madrid. The Cathedral was very badly damaged during a fire in 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Although some priceless...

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  • El Corral de Comedias

    The Corral de Comedias is one of Europe's oldest theatres. It was founded in 1601, and it is well worth going on a guided tour to learn about the different improvements that have been made throughout its 400 years of existence. The Corral de Comedias started out as a modest open-air theatre, where university students would put on different plays,...

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  • Hospital de Antezana

    The Hospital de Antezana is located right next to the Casa natal de Cervantes. It was founded in 1483, and it is believed to be the oldest hospital in Europe. Rodrigo de Cervantes, the father of the famous Spanish author, worked there as a surgeon. St. Ignatius of Loyola also worked there as a nurse and cook while he was studying at the University...

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  • La Casa Natal de Cervantes

    The author of "Don Quijote de la Mancha", Miguel de Cervantes, was born in Alcala de Henares in 1547. It was only four centuries later, in 1948, that scholars succeeded in identifying the house where Cervantes was probably born. The place was then bought by the government, restored and transformed into a museum. While some rooms are furnished with...

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Alcalá de Henares Hotels

  • Parador de Alcala de Henares

    Colegios, 8, Alcala De Henares, 28801, Spain

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Zouk Motel

    Carretera De Barcelona A-2, Alcala De Henares, 28806, Spain

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

  • Rafaelhoteles Forum Alcala

    Bulgaria, 2, Alcala De Henares, 28802, Spain

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

Alcalá de Henares Restaurants

  • Try as you might to avoid it...

    This was my third time traveling to Europe and I had done everything I could to avoid eating at McDonald's while on another continent, especially since I don't even eat there at home. However, as Nico and I were walking around the Plaza de Cervantes, rain suddenly started pouring down, hard! We took a quick look around, saw the McDonald's, and...

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  • Great ice creams for the summer!

    There's not much to tell about the place. Just a usual ice cream parlor, with the exception that its owner is an argentine, who's brought the argentine ice cream flavors to Spain. There's a chocolate flavor (I can't remember the name), that's semi dark chocolate with chocolate chips. It's really great! Don't miss it.

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  • High spirits in the cellar

    In the Faculty of Law, Alcala University, there is a student cafeteria in the bottom floor.Try to meet some nice people there with a cup of coffe.Picture shows what was served at 5 P.M. I hope they have some more "healthy food" also. But it was jummy ...Friendly atmosphere and high spirits.You pay in an automat before you go to the bar, which ended...

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Alcalá de Henares Nightlife

  • If You Get Thirsty on Your Way to...

    Stop by for a drink and get pumped to go out dancing. Filled with locals the Panderia is a good place to stop and loosen up your little lady. Soon she won't stop saying, "This is my jam!" when the Bartender/DJ starts mixing Prince and Guns-n-Roses. Semi-Casual.

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  • Best Chill Out Bar

    This bar was a hidden gem that I didn't discover until halfway into my stay in Alcala. There's live music every week and a very good place to find young hip expatriots from all over the world. You can also buy and smoke hash inside if you're so inclined to devulge. A highly recommended kick back bar. Casual all the way.

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  • Best Place to Get Your Eagle On

    Although we tried to fight it, we were drawn to Can-Can from the very start. (We meaning myself and my not easily impressed friends.) The music is way behind in terms of what you might find in your local university dance club. The locals don't arrive until after 2pm. The drink prices are nothing to brag about. But there was a lack of...

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Alcalá de Henares Transportation

  • From Madrid to Alcala de Henares by...

    Traveling to Alcala de Henares from Madrid by train is a very quick and easy ride, which explains why so many people live in Alcala and work in Madrid. Trains depart from the Atocha station every 10 minutes, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to Alcala de Henares (trains run between 6:00 am and 11:30 pm every day). It then takes about 10 minutes...

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  • Renfe train to Alcala de Henares

    It is very convenient and easy to go to Alcala by train. Departing from Madrid 'Atocha' (central train station), it takes approx. 45 min. to get there. Return ticket costs around €4.50 and trains run every 10 min. throughout the day.

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  • Cercanias

    While in Spain, the Cercanias train from Alcala to Madrid was victimized by a terrorist attack. Luckily, no one I knew was hurt from the attack. Nevertheless, we continued to take the train 2 to 3 times a week to Madrid for the remainder of our stay in Spain.

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Alcalá de Henares Shopping

  • julieann_tz's Profile Photo

    by julieann_tz Written Dec 3, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you're missing a mall atmosphere, Al Campo is the place to go. I think if you're going to make the effort to get there you might as well go the whole way and go to Madrid for shopping. But if you just want to catch a movie, Al Campo is your place.

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Alcalá de Henares Local Customs

  • Premios Cervantes

    Every April, Alcala hosts the Abril de Cervantes - Festival de la Palabra. The Festival is a wide program of cultural activities including exhibitions, film, conferences, concerts, theater, poetry and presentations of books. Towards the end of the month, the king and queen of Spain come to Alcala and give out the Premio Cervantes for literature to...

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  • El Botellon

    Those days that we couldn't quite make it to the bar we would drink in the Plazas with the kids. Probably my best memories of Alcala were the days that I'd get together with a bunch of friends and pass around a bottle of vodka mixed with Fanta. Oh the memories.

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  • Alcalá de Henares Hotels

    19 Hotels in Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares What to Pack

  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    by Jefie Updated Aug 2, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miscellaneous: The one thing you should definitely bring with you on your first trip to Alcala de Henares is a good map. While it is very easy to get around the old city area, finding your way from and back to the train station can be a bit of a nightmare. OK, I'll admit that I don't really have a good sense of directions but I'm not kidding: it took me half and hour to find my way back to the Paseo de la Estacion from the Plaza de Cervantes. And as the modern part of the city is nowhere near as charming as the historic part, you don't want to waste half an hour walking around there, trust me!

    If you can't find a map beforehand, you can always stop by the tourist office booth located at the Plaza de Cervantes. They'll provide you with an OK city map and help you plan your day!

    Help is on the way!

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Alcalá de Henares Off The Beaten Path

  • Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso

    The first University in the world was the University in Alcala and it was founded by Cardinal Cisneros in year 1499. In XVI century this was one of the most importand scholarly centres in Europa. Now is this beautiful renessaince building on the list of UNESCO World Heritage.

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  • Alcala de Henares

    I don`t know what is in those building, but it is very beautiful architectur. It is by the way from train station to University in Alcala.

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Alcalá de Henares Favorites

  • Alisonchilla's Profile Photo

    by Alisonchilla Written Mar 2, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Eat: Tortillas espanolas, churros con chocolate, coffee, strawberries, bananas

    Drink: Wine

    See: Plaza Mayor, University Buildings, Mercado (Food Market)

    Fondest memory: I miss the funky cafe next to the school for foreigners. It had great fresh-squeezed orange juice and the best tortillas espanolas.

    Also, I miss walking to class, and USEFUL public transportation.

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    • Study Abroad

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