Don Quixote Route: Literature, heritage, and nature in a magical journey
The hidalgo Don Quixote is universally known. His long figure sitting on top of his horse, and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, standing next to him is an image we can picture quite clearly in our minds. This literary creation pertaining to the Spanish Golden Age took Castilla La Mancha to millions of homes, through the pages of what is considered to be one of the most international Spanish works of fiction. Thanks to the Don Quixote Route, now we have the opportunity to get to know much more about the lands which inspired the adventures and misfortunes of Don Quixote written by Miguel de Cervantes. Before you is a unique chance to embark on a literary journey with 2,500 kilometres of cultural and historical heritage, nature, traditional customs and gastronomy. Are you ready to spend your holidays in Spain and get to know this area?
Five different provinces, 148 towns
The Don Quixote Route immerses its explorers into the region of Castilla La Mancha, the land of windmills, covering a total number of 5 different provinces: Toledo, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Albacete and Guadalajara; and 148 towns, their streets, heritage, landscapes, museums, people, traditions, fine craftsmanship, popular festivities and culture. Enjoy this incredible opportunity served to you on a silver platter, and hop on this route in ten comfortable itineraries, which can be done by car, by foot or by bicycle – it’s up to you.
If you decide to take on this challenge –partially or entirely- during your holidays in Spain, you will find plenty of different interesting options. All along these 2,500 kilometres of cultural tourism there are historical paths, signalled cattle trails, lanes, riverbanks, and even old railway tracks in disuse. It’s not just towns and cities you will be seeing, for all along this route you also have the perfect chance to get in touch with nature. As a matter of fact, National Geographic has included this route into its International Network of Sustainable Destinations, due to its commitment to the environment. Moreover, bird lovers can also take advantage of this journey to enjoy some bird watching tourism.
Ten possible itineraries on the Don Quixote Route
If you’re going to spend your holidays in Spain going on the Don Quixote Route, make sure you choose the most interesting itinerary for you. We’re not going to lie, it’s not an easy choice. All of the options have incredible places worth visiting, magical spots to lose yourself in, as well as museums, castles and much, much more. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- From Toledo to San Clemente, via el Toboso and Belmonte. It’s the starting point of the route, and it has the advantage of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will be able to see famous windmills, diverse architecture, town squares, and castles.
- From San Clemente to Villanueva de los Infantes, via the Ruidera lakes. Here you will find some of the most important monuments of the whole La Mancha region.
- From Villanueva de los Infantes to Almagro and Calatrava la Nueva. During this section of the route you will be able to see the retreat where Don Quixote went to in order to reflect on his next ludicrous expedition.
- From El Valle de Alcudia to Campo de Calatrava via the Ruidera lakes. This part of the route will be particularly interesting for those who primarily wish to see castles, fortresses and extraordinary natural settings of the incredible Mediterranean forests, springs, and meadows.
- From Albacete to Alcaraz and Bienservida. You must follow the railway tracks, which, by the way, have never been put to use. This path goes deep into the Sierra de Alcaraz mountains. If you choose to have a go at this section of the route, you will also be able to visit the capital city of the region by staying in a hotel in Albacete.
- From La Roda to Los Campos de Montiel. Some of its primary attractions include seeing river canyons, namely the Júcar one, which left a permanent imprint in the landscape.
Now that we’ve presented you with all these fantastic options, which ones are you going to choose if you come to spend some marvellous holidays in Spain?