Table of contents:
- Holidays and festivals
- Why visit Don Quixote's homeland?
- When to visit Costilla-La Mancha?
- Peculiarities of culture
- Worth seeing?
- Main attractions
- Other places of interest
- What to do?
- Tourist comments
In the center of the Iberian Peninsula there is a cozy corner of Spain - the birthplace of the bookish Don Quixote and the magnificent Manchego cheese, a region with majestic nature and ancient castles. The administrative center of Castile-La Mancha in Spain is the ancient and beautiful Toledo. This region is the real pride of Spain. Having miraculously absorbed Christian, Mauritanian and Jewish culture, the locals created their own, original customs and traditions.
Castile-La Mancha has always attracted numerous travelers. Some people want to follow the paths of Don Quixote and see with their own eyes the endless fields with windmills, while others are attracted by the ancient sights of the region. Hundreds of species of birds constantly nest in the reserves of the region, some of which are specially protected, as they are located onthe brink of extinction. Numerous historical buildings on the territory of the region date back to the times of the Roman Empire, later improved by the Moors, and later already actively used by the Spaniards. During the Middle Ages, along with religious campaigns, fortresses and castles began to be built.
Holidays and festivals
Castile-La Mancha prides itself on its love of holidays and festivals that combine Christian customs and pagan beliefs. The Easter multi-day carnival in Villarrobledo attracts residents from all over the region to take part in the procession of mummers and listen to the songs of wandering musicians. Fair festivities in the city of Albacete attract tourists not only with huge shopping areas, but also with organized bullfights.
Spain is one of the centers of the fashion industry, so in Castile-La Mancha, as in all other regions of the country, sales are held twice a year when you can buy branded goods with huge discounts.
Why visit Don Quixote's homeland?
Terracotta plains with small hills, olive groves and vineyards - the stunning landscapes of the region are worth seeing. You should definitely enjoy the aroma of local wine and have a bite of Manchego cheese. And connoisseurs of history and architecture will be delighted with the local cathedrals and castles.
When to visit Costilla-La Mancha?
In the spring, a visit to the region will give the tourist comfortable weather and the opportunity to enjoy the flowering. In autumn, it is no less comfortable to travel through nature reserves andvillages of a picturesque Spanish corner.
Peculiarities of culture
The region of Castile-La Mancha is a synthesis of many cultures and religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism. Earlier eras brought ancient Roman and Visigothic traditions to the region. The Middle Ages were marked on the territory of La Mancha by religious wars, which contributed to the construction of defensive fortifications and castles. And now the locals are distinguished by a special religiosity. Castile-La Mancha is the place of wanderings of Don Quixote and the faithful Sancho Panso, this book hero is elevated to a cult here and they are proud of the book descriptions of their region. These are windmills on the hills, Dulcinea's house in El Toboso and caves in Las Lagunas de Ruidera.
The sights of Castile-La Mancha (Spain) are diverse and all of them are worthy of attention, but we will highlight only some of the most interesting, according to tourists.
- The city of Toledo was once the capital of Spain. This is a small old town with narrow streets where cathedrals stand next to mosques. The city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here is the Alcazar fortress, built on the site of the Roman, Visigothic and Arab fortresses, which was supposed to become the residence of the kings, but the capital was moved to Madrid. The late Renaissance castle was the seat of dowager queens. Later, the infantry academy was located here, and currently the palace is locatedthe library of the region and the museum of military art. The palace is an important landmark in Spain.
- Toledo train station, a major traffic intersection, impresses with its distinctive Arabic style.
- In Toledo, in a small and unremarkable church at first glance, there is a magnificent painting by the famous El Greco "The Burial of Count Orgaz", written especially for this church.
- The monastery complex of San Juan de los Reyes, despite the outward modesty, is unusually beautiful inside, its cozy and compact courtyard will leave a delightful impression.
- The complex of windmills near the town of Campo de Criptana is shrouded in special romance. This is the real pride of the region, whose view delights any tourist. And the view of the city in the rock - Cuenca, will surprise anyone from the mere sight of hanging houses. The main attraction of the town is the openwork bridge of San Pablo, hanging over the abyss. In Guadalajara, there is a beautiful palace complex dotted with decorative openwork elements.
So, what is so remarkable about Toledo, by the way, a great place for such popular photo shoots now:
- Castle Alcazar;
- St Mary's Cathedral;
- old medieval streets.
Other places of interest
- multi-kilometer fortification with fortress towers;
- castles New and Old Calatrava, Bolanos de Calatrava, St. John and Salvatierra;
- Don Quixote Museum.
Castilla-La Mancha has many small towns full of cultural and historical monuments. Among them we can mention Balmont and Calatrava da Nueva, where the oldest castles in Spain are located. The unusually picturesque rocky village of Alcala del Jucar is a monument of culture and history of Spain. And, of course, Cuenca, Siguenza and Almagro.
What to do?
Based on the opinions of many travelers, the following things that you simply must do when visiting these beautiful places can be identified:
- Of course, walk the routes of the fabulous Don Quixote in the pleasant company of your Sancho Panso.
- Walk through the badly damaged, but so mysteriously beautiful streets of the Jewish quarter.
- In the Cathedral of Toledo, think about life in front of the figure of the Virgin Mary.
- On the fortress wall of the Alcazar imagine yourself as the defender of an ancient fortress.
- Feel the incredible power and strength of the windmills at Campo de Criptana.
- Conquer your fear by standing on the bridge over the abyss in Cuenca and marvel at the courage of the locals living in hanging houses, and later visit the local abstract museum.
- Enjoy on a hot day the silence and comfort of the courtyard in the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo.
- Admire the painting by El Greco, kept in the Church of Sao Tome. By the way, the painting never left the church.
- Come to the train station in Toledo not as a passenger, but to enjoy the beautybuildings.
- Stroll through the spacious and rich halls of the palace complex in Guadalajara.
- Make beautiful photo cards as you walk along the ancient and mysterious streets of Toledo and visit local museums.
- Walk through 5 old but well-built fortresses created during the Reconquista in Ciudad Real.
- Visit the natural wonder of Spain Las Lagunas de Ruidera Park of Lakes and Lagoons.
- Feel all the romanticism of the windmills in Consuegra.
- Taste the local Manchego cheese with delicious La Mancha wine. Winemaking in Castile-La Mancha is considered one of the main crafts.
- Admire the beauty of Alcala del Jucar while enjoying a beer at a local riverside café.
- Research the Roman settlement of Valeria.
The University of Castilla-La Mancha (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, UCLM) consists of four campuses located in different places in the region. The Albacete campus houses the faculties of law, economics, and medicine. There are also pedagogical and polytechnical colleges. Also, this campus includes a Botanical Garden, a biomedical research center and a hospital. University-wide competitions are held on the Cueneque campus, and international sports camps operate in the summer. Also there is an assembly hall, a library and the faculties of fine arts and pedagogical sciences. The Toledo Campus trains law students, physiotherapists, future professionalathletes, there are also retraining centers. The Ciudad Real campus is the largest and includes administration offices and faculties of chemistry, geology, philology and a polytechnic center.
The infrastructure of the university is extremely developed. The library includes a rich stock of books. It stores scientific and periodicals, as well as a large number of e-books. For students, there are excellent sports grounds for tennis, golf, judo, basketball, football, fencing and many other sports. The university has a support center for disabled students, career guidance and employment centers, and the university provides significant social assistance. In particular, the university has its own accommodation facilities for international students and provides significant assistance in finding housing near the place of study for its students.
Many travelers before traveling to this region of Spain imagined it as an endless plain, scorched by the sun. But in reality, everything turned out to be completely different. Most tourists recommend visiting La Mancha in the fall. October and November are the most comfortable months for walking and sightseeing. In spring, you can enjoy the picturesque beauties of awakening nature. Castile-La Mancha is famous for its amazingly beautiful waterfalls, flowering meadows, fragrant fields, mountain streams. In the spring you can visitEaster holiday. A photo of Castile-La Mancha in the spring strikes with its bright colors. However, keep in mind that in spring the weather is less predictable and it often rains.
A budget tourist can easily afford to visit Don Quixote's homeland in winter. Housing prices during this period are low, the weather is stable, without rain, the air temperature is quite comfortable for walking. The coldest months are December, January. But even during this period the air temperature does not fall below 8 degrees. Sightseeing is recommended to start from the capital Toledo, although there are many interesting things in the vicinity.