The central part of Spain is a great place for traveling by car. Various landscapes, cultural heritage, and popularity, thanks to the novel "Don Quixote" by Miguel Cervantes, attract many tourists here. National parks and architectural monuments are scattered all over the region, and if you add to them a day in the neighboring province of Aragon, you will get a rich circular route, which you can start and finish at the airport of Madrid. Taking into account the climate (hot summer and frequent frosts in winter), it’s better to plan a trip during the spring, early summer or throughout the autumn.
Tonight, our journey through Spain will begin. There will be not much time after the arrival, so it would be better to spend the evening in one of the restaurants of national cuisine, and then go for a short walk or a rest in the hotel.
An evening after landing can be spent at a national cuisine restaurant in a suburb of Madrid. Mesón A Lareira is a place where any visitor can feel at home, where in the menu you can find all the most favorite dishes. Seafood and various meat delicacies are especially popular here.
Toledo is a city that is well known for its extraordinary architecture. On this day, we'll try to see as many of her samples as possible. There are plans to walk around the squares, see the cathedrals and various historical sites.
We'll start our day in Toledo with breakfast in a cozy cafe called La Malquerida. We have a very calm and homely atmosphere here. The menu includes many traditional national dishes at quite affordable prices. You can try a variety of tacos, tamales or fajitas. Many visitors also note the excellent choice of fruit cocktails.
You can start exploring the city of Toledo in one of its central squares, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It is known for its diverse architecture, combining several different styles, including Gothic, Visigothic and Renaissance. Many crowds of tourists also come here daily to be photographed against the majestic city cathedral.
One of the most interesting historical sights of Toledo is its city gate Puerta del Sol, built around the fourteenth century by the Order of the Hospitaller Knights. Their distinctive feature is the medallion above the gate arch, depicting the dedication of Archbishop Ildephonus of Toledo.
There are many beautiful structures and monuments that represent Toledo, and rightly one of them is the Toledo Alcazar Castle. In its history, the fortress has experienced many different events, and during the civil war it was even partially destroyed. For a long time it served as an impregnable outpost guarding the city borders, and now it houses a museum of the Spanish army.
Lunch can be held near the fortress in a restaurant called Restaurante Locum. It specializes in traditional European and Mediterranean cuisine. Here you can try such dishes as anchovies in cream sauce, toasts with manchego cheese, as well as a variety of meat delicacies and original desserts.
At a time when there is no mass, the cathedral serves as a museum, tickets are sold in the building opposite the entrance to the cathedral. The ascent to the tower of the cathedral takes place strictly at the certain time, for example, at 16:00, as suggested in this scenery. There are no open viewpoints there, so it is better to know it before buying a ticket (there are different tickets, with or without visit to the tower).
On the opposite bank of the Tajo River, passing through Toledo, there are several viewpoints. The most famous of them is Mirador del Valle, where come all buses with tourists, and also there is a tourist "train". You can also get there on foot if you walk along the sidewalk near the road. As the whole riverbank is a large viewpoint, it is easy to watch the city from the surrounding hills, where there are no tourists. Right above the viewpoint el Valle there is a hill with good paths. Halfway to it is also located a hill Cerro Del Bu with excavations of Islamic fortifications.
Another once important cultural and historical site is the Puerta del Cambrón Gate, located on the western side of Toledo. They belong to the architectural direction of the Renaissance, with such characteristic features as semi-circular and rectangular windows with heavy eaves, as well as a flat roof with tower superstructures.
After a long walk around Toledo, it is worth taking a little rest and going to one of the city's restaurants for dinner. Alfileritos 24 is not a bad candidate for that. The institution mainly specializes in national cuisine, it is worth tasting local tapas, as well as salads and fish delicacies.
Today, our plans are to leave Toledo and go further east to explore Castile. Before that we will have a short excursion in one of the museums of Toledo, and after a stroll through the most important historical places of the region.
The most suitable place to start the day is the small café La Malquerida. The interior of the place is simple, but still quite cozy. The menu offers many light snacks, salads and traditional breakfast dishes. The institution is also very popular with various desserts.
Toledo is a city which is known not only for its historical architecture, but also for its various cultural sites, one of which is the museum of the famous Renaissance Spanish painter and sculptor El Greco. Here you can see the most outstanding works of this genius creator, including a variety of landscapes, works on biblical themes and much more.
Moving further east, you should make a small stop in a town called Consuegra. Local attractions include the Plaza de España. During all kinds of holidays, as well as on weekends, it is the most popular place to relax. There are various shops, a small museum, as well as the City Hall building.
There are famous windmills near a town of Consuegra, with which Don Quixote fought, this is one of the cities with well-preserved windmills.
After a long walk in the countryside, you can take a short break and go for lunch to one of the popular local restaurants Tapería Gaudí. It mainly serves Mediterranean cuisine, with a special place in the menu taking a variety of fish dishes, as well as seafood. It is also worth mentioning some very good desserts, sometimes served in a very original form.
Castle of Belmonte is one of the well-preserved medieval castles of this region.
Cuenca is an ancient Spanish city located on the rocks, surrounded by deep gorges, it is famous for its "hanging houses" (casas colgadas), situated over the abyss.
There are quite a few different cafes in the city, each of which deserves attention. Surely it's worth stopping at Restaurante El Secreto. The atmosphere here is very cozy and relaxing. The menu consists mainly of Mediterranean dishes, among which meat delicacies are especially popular.
Today will be devoted entirely to getting to know the city of Cuenca. We plan to see famous local attractions, including many architectural monuments, as well as unique natural sites.
The morning of any day must necessarily be cheerful and positive, for this it is important to choose the appropriate restaurant. Cafetería Pastelería Ruiz is perfect for us. Fresh baked goods and desserts are also very popular here.
Perhaps the most popular place for walks and recreation in the city is the central square of Plaza España. It is decorated in the center with a small picturesque fountain, and on the sides is framed by a variety of historical architecture, as well as numerous souvenir shops and benches.
The most important of Cuenca's many historical sites is the Tower of Mangan. Once this city was guarded by a massive fortress wall, from which today almost no trace remains, but the tower, which served as a watchtower, has been preserved. Today there is an observation deck with magnificent views of the surrounding expanses.
The Cathedral of Catedral de Santa María is the main temple of the city, as well as the first building built in the Gothic style in Castile. Its history goes back to the twelfth century, and over many centuries it has been rebuilt several times both inside and outside. After a small collapse at the beginning of the twentieth century, part of the facade of the building was rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style.
Hanging houses are a group of buildings in Cuenca, built at the very edge of the abyss. Once upon a time, such houses were very common, but to this day there are very few left. Some of them now have the Museum of Abstract Art. According to some estimates, such architecture began to appear in the middle of the fifteenth century.
You can have lunch at one of the restaurants located near the houses. EL Secreto de la Catedral is perfectly suited for this. The atmosphere here is very cozy and calm, the menu offers traditional dishes of European and Mediterranean cuisine. In particular, a variety of salads as well as fish dishes are very successful.
Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City) is a unique nature reserve and a park which date back to the Cretaceous period. It takes at least an hour and a half to walk around the reserve, but if you want you can spend a whole day there.
Ventano del Diablo (Devil's Window) - an observation deck in the caves, which offers a magnificent view to a curve of Jucar River.
After a long walk in the countryside, you should go back to town for dinner. Restaurant of Spanish cuisine La Ponderosa is the most preferred candidate for the place where dinner will be held tonight. It has a very pleasant interior and a quiet atmosphere. Many visitors celebrate the wonderful meat dishes here.
Today, plans to go to one of the most interesting cities in Castile - Teruel. There's an incredible and rich architecture waiting for us. We will try to immerse ourselves in the history of this region, enjoy the local cuisine, and then plans to return to Cuenca.
Today promises to be a busy day, so you should go for breakfast without delay. In one of the most popular breakfast places in town, Cafetería Pastelería Ruiz, we can try a lot of non-standard desserts and homemade pastries, as well as take some food with you on the road.
Albarracin is a beautiful medieval town, situated over a deep gorge among the rocks and preserved architectural monuments of the XVI century.
After a short walk, as well as a very long drive, it is worth taking a break. La Barrica, a restaurant of traditional Spanish cuisine, will be perfect for this. Many types of tapas can be found in the menu, and fish and seafood also occupy a significant place there. Among the appetizers, many people celebrate mini hamburgers and baked potatoes.
A small medieval town of Teruel with its narrow streets-labyrinths and towers is a museum of Mudejar style and architecture.
One of the main city temples is Iglesia y Torre de San Pedro. This church is a bright representative of Romanesque and Mudejar architecture. Her bell tower is specially decorated with glazed ceramic tiles. The structure is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, among many other sites.
Spain and Castile in particular have long been influenced by the Roman Empire, so a significant number of architectural monuments are influenced by this culture. Among them is the massive aqueduct Acueducto de Los Arcos, built in the mid-16th century to improve the city's water supply.
One of the most beautiful historical buildings is Torre de San Martín. Built in the early fourteenth century, it is a real masterpiece of Mudejar style architecture. Like many structures in this style, the tower is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In the small but cozy Restaurante El Secreto restaurant you will have a pleasant dinner, resting from long walks around the city. The institution is a classic representative of Spanish cuisine, so you can find here already familiar dishes such as tapas, burritos, as well as a variety of snacks from fish and seafood.
Today we plan to leave Cuenca and head towards the capital. A variety of sights await us on the way, but we will also start exploring one of the cities near Madrid.
According to an established tradition, we will have a morning meal in Cuenca in a small but cozy coffee shop Cafetería Pastelería Ruiz. Since we have a very long journey planned immediately after breakfast, it makes sense to save some food for a snack on the way or to stop for a picnic.
Ruta de la Caras is a free tourist route, approximately 1.5 km long, situated near the city of Buendia, it is famous for its carved sculptures of faces and other objects of various sizes.
A beautiful small town of Pastrana is famous for its ducal palace (in its tower was imprisoned a one-eyed Princess Eboli), as well as a collection of tapestries kept in the cathedral.
Among the great culinary diversity in Castile is a place and good Italian restaurants, one of which is Francesco's Pizza. Traditional Apennine peninsula dishes are served here in a rather simple but cosy atmosphere. Classic lasagna and spaghetti bolognese are particularly popular.
One of the best places to start walking in the small town of Alcalá de Henares is one of its central squares Plaza de Cervantes. It is decorated with various monuments, trees are planted along the paths, and the perimeter is surrounded by numerous authentic buildings.
The evening can be spent in one of the luxury restaurants of Noah Vinoteca Restaurante Gin-Club. The atmosphere here is suitable for relaxation at the end of the day. The menu consists mainly of traditional European dishes, among which there are good light snacks, as well as a variety of meat and fish dishes.
Today is the last full day of our trip, so we intend to spend it with maximum benefit. In the first half we are planning a fascinating excursion in the museum, and in the second half we will go for walks to the capital.
It's always nice to start the day with breakfast in a cosy place. The Mamá Cecilia Coffee House, where great desserts and fine light snacks are prepared, is the perfect place for this. The atmosphere here is also very friendly and positive. A cup of coffee and cake can be drunk both indoors and at a table outside.
The question of Miguel de Cervantes' birthplace was once widely discussed, and it was only in 1948 that the famous journalist Luis Astrana Marin was able to shed light on this secret. And later on this place was opened a museum named after the great writer, where the details of his life and work are described.
One of the largest and most popular holiday destinations for citizens of Madrid is Parque del Retiro, located in the area of the same name. It covers an area of about 120 hectares and is carefully maintained by a small pond as well as numerous monuments.
La Castela is a small, cozy tapas restaurant, where at lunchtime is sometimes quite crowded. And it's not surprising, because the popularity of this place came from excellent cooking. In addition to tapas, many visitors note the excellent seafood and meat dishes, special attention should be paid to shrimp in lemon juice and fish steaks with salad.
The Royal Botanical Gardens is another important landmark in Madrid. It was founded in the second half of the eighteenth century by King Ferdinand VI, and a few decades later moved to its present location. Today there are about 90 thousand different plants, and the garden is divided into sectors, where you can find out more about these or those species.
One of the symbols of the Spanish capital is the Plaza de Cibeles, which houses the famous complex of marble sculptures combined with a fountain. The square is also surrounded by outstanding structures, including the Bank of Spain, the Palacio de Buenavista, the Palace of Linares and the Cibel Palace.
La Pescadería, a restaurant of traditional Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, is a perfect place to spend an evening. The interior is furnished in a very refined and aesthetic style, and the atmosphere is very calm and relaxing. Among the numerous delicacies visitors particularly highlight steaks with vegetables, fajita, and a variety of salads.
This morning will conclude our rather long journey through Spain and Castile. Since we will not have much time at our disposal, we will immediately go for breakfast to one of the restaurants of the capital.
To have breakfast the day before you go home, you can stop by at a nice restaurant in Madrid called La General.