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The Way of El Cid. Second section: Frontier territory

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  • Atienza © Turespaña

    Atienza © Turespaña

  • Roman arch. Medinaceli © Turespaña

    Roman arch. Medinaceli © Turespaña

  • Plaza Mayor square in Sigüenza © Turespaña

    Plaza Mayor square in Sigüenza © Turespaña

  • Gardens at the Piedra Monastery

    Gardens at the Piedra Monastery


This second section of the route of the Way of El Cid continues through various points which at that time in history marked the frontier between Muslim and Christian Spain. This was the land from which sprang the legend of the warrior known as El Cid Campeador. It begins in Atienza (Guadalajara) and ends in Ateca (Zaragoza). It also has a branch which leads from Villaseca de Henares to the city of Guadalajara.

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This section is called 'Frontier territory' and passes through the provinces of Guadalajara, Soria and Zaragoza. The itinerary covers a distance of 267 kilometres, and follows both roads and paths, without including the branch towards Algarada de Álvar Fáñez, with another 80 kilometres from Villaseca de Henares to the city of Guadalajara. In order to do this section at a leisurely pace it is advisable to plan for three days, if you are travelling by car. Those wishing to do the stages on foot should leave 12 days, while cyclists will need six days.

The itinerary starts in Atienza and features various castles from different periods, charming villages, and examples of Romanesque, Mudéjar and Islamic art and architecture, sometimes converging in a single place due to this area's role as a frontier territory. A visit to the tourist offices in each place will ensure that nothing is missed.

The landscape along the route is marked by its diversity and its contrasts: from the Sierra de Guadalajara mountains it continues on to the Barranco de Río Lobo nature reserve and the lunar landscapes of the Vega del Jalón plain.

Notable places
Jadraque is not only the site of various mansions dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, but also to a castle known as the castle of El Cid. Sigüenza is home to another imposing fortress which has today been converted into a Parador hotel. Visitors should also make a point of seeing the cathedral, and the tomb of Martín Vázquez de Arce, famously known as the young knight of Sigüenza.
On the way through Anguita, another interesting feature is the lookout tower of Islamic origin known as the Torre de la Cigüeña (stork's tower). Medinaceli contains the remains of another fortress, and is also the home of the only Roman arch with a triple arcade in Spain, and of such historic buildings as the Ducal Palace and the collegiate church of Nuestra Señora.
Santa María de Huerta and its Cistercian monastery is another site not to be missed. Notable features here include the various architectural styles in the cloister and the vault in the refectory. The route to Ateca, the final point on this second section of the route, brings us to Alhama de Aragón, famous for its thermal waters. At this point it is well worth making a detour from the main road to see the Piedra Monastery, located less than 20 kilometres away.


What to see on the route

To continue your journey

What to do

Cycle touring

Cycle touring


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