Castile – la Mancha
Castile – la Mancha is one of the seventeen autonomous regions of Spain. The large area in the South-East of the country is also called “the heart of Spain”.
In Castile – la Mancha you will find ancient cities, rolling green plains, mountain ranges and forests. It is the area that was the setting for the Don Quixote by la Mancha. The white windmills, which the protagonist regarded as giants, still dominate parts of the landscape. When you go on holiday to the interior of Spain, you cannot skip this beautiful area with its rich history and varied nature.
The capital of the region is Toledo, one of the oldest cities in Spain. Until 1561 this was even the capital of the whole of Spain. This medieval city is in its entirety on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Another world heritage town is the picturesque town of Cuenca, originally built as a Moorish castle, but developed into a prosperous village in the Middle Ages.
Located in a ravine landscape between the Júcar and Huécar rivers, the city lies with its pleasant squares, impressive cathedral, numerous monasteries, churches and mansions. However, Cuenca is best known for its Casas Colgadas (hanging houses), built on the edge of the rocky plateau on which the city is located. Cuenca is also an ideal starting point for an active holiday. Various hiking and cycling routes leave from Cuenca, where you can kayak in the rivers and abseil in the gorge. If you want to see the white windmills up close, it is best to go to Campo de Criptana or Alcazar de San Juan.
There are several special nature reserves in the green Castile – la Macha region. About twenty kilometres from Cuenca is the nature reserve Serranía de Cuenca, of which the beautiful Ciudad Encantada (the enchanted city) is a part. It is a collection of limestone rocks that, due to the influence of wind, ice and water, have taken on the whimsical forms of a natural city. Another special nature reserve is the Cabañeros National Park. Located in the Montes de Toledo mountain area, south of Toledo, this park is one of the most important protected areas in Spain. Here you will find deer, wild boar and large birds of prey in an area that almost looks African. The endangered Iberian lynx is also sometimes spotted
Tablas de Daimiel National Park
The wetlands of Tablas de Daimiel National Park are very different. Although this is the smallest national park in Spain, it is certainly worth a visit. Here you will find different rare bird species, making the park a favourite with birdwatchers. Flamingos are also regularly seen here. The park has three walking routes over a chain of wooden bridges. Another park that is known for its water is the Lagunas de Ruidera nature park. Here you will find 15 clear turquoise blue lakes, connected by waterfalls. A trip along all the lagoons is 25 km long and has a height difference of 128 meters. However, it is undoubtedly advisable to discover a part of this area. Also visit the caves and the Castillo de Rochfrida here, both of which appear in the book Don Quixote.