A Guide to Ciudad Real – Castilla La Mancha, Spain
Situated in Campo de Calatrava, landscape dominated by many hills, Ciudad Real offers a modern layout that has been able to maintain all the flavour of La Mancha.
Among its sights are the Cathedral, the Iglesia de San Pedro, and the Mudejar gateway, the Puerta de Toledo. However, the province of Ciudad Real has many interesting towns and below you can find the most interesting ones.
Places of interest in Ciudad Real
This is the capital of La Mancha´s vast wine region and the world´s largest expanse of vineyards that produce vast quantities of red wine. This largely modern town comes alive for its September wine festival. In the network of older streets around the cafe-lined Plaza de Espana are the Iglesia de la Asuncion and the municipal museum.
Valdepenas has over 30 bodegas which can be visited, one of which, the Bodega Museo, has some of the few remaining traditional cellars, with huge earthenware jars or tinajas.
The town was disputed during the Reconquest until the Order of Calatrava captured it back and built the castle of Calatrava la Nueva to the South West of the town. The rich architectural heritage of the atmospheric old town is partly the legacy of the Fugger brothers, the Habsburgs´ bankers who settled in nearby Almaden during the 16th century.
The town´s main attraction is its collonaded stone plaza, with characteristic enclosed, green balconies. On one side is a unique 17th-century courtyard-theatre – the Corral de Comedias – the site of a drama festival which is held every July in honour of St. Bartholomew.
Villanueva de los Infantes
Its old town, which centres on the graceful, Neo-Classical Plaza Mayor, is one of the most attractive in La Mancha. Many buildings on the square have wooden balconies and arcades. Also on the square is the Iglesia de San Andres with its Renaissance façade.
Viso del Marques
This small village in La Mancha is the unlikely setting for the Palacio del Viso, a grand Renaissance building. The mansion was commissioned in 1564 by the Marquis of Santa Cruz, the admiral of the fleet which defeated the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. One of the main features of the house is a Classical patio.
Lagunas de Ruidera
Once nicknamed ‘The Mirrors of La Mancha’, the 16 interconnected lakes which make up the Parque Natural de las Lagunas de Ruidera stretch for around 20 km through a valley which allegedly take their time to do so according to Don Quixote.