Castile-La Mancha or Castilla La Mancha is an arid region of central Spain where the fictional Don Quixote fought imaginary giants, that were in fact windmills. Those windmills can still be seen today. While it occupies the vast plain composing the southern part of the Meseta Central, the region has no shortage of mountain landscapes: the southern slopes of the Sistema Central in the north, the Sistema Ibérico in the northeast, and the Sierra Morena and Montes de Toledo in the south.
- 1 Albacete — it has a reputation as producer of clasp knives
- 2 Almansa — famous for its Moros y cristianos festival in May, and its Moorish castle
- 3 Ciudad Real — home of the Don Quixote Museum
- 4 Cuenca — an outstanding example of a medieval city, built on the steep sides of a mountain, famous for its "hanging houses"
- 5 Guadalajara — known for the Palacio del Infantado, built in the medieval period for the powerful Mendoza Family
- 6 Toledo — a UNESCO heritage site on the Tagus River near Madrid, known for its swords
- 1 Campillo de Ranas – a village some 66 km north of Guadalajara, notable for its gay Socialist mayor who pushed back on rural decline of villages like this by promoting it as a destination for non-religious weddings for both same-sex and mixed-sex couples.
- 2 Consuegra – a town 62 km southeast of Toledo, commonly known for their windmills, reminiscent of Don Quixote.
The dialect of Spanish is very similar to the Spanish spoken in Madrid.
Albacete and Ciudad Real are the only two commercial airports in the region. However, as none of them has scheduled operations at the moment, other nearby airports are commonly used.
Madrid is the main gateway into the region, while tourists heading to Albacete or surrounding areas can also use Valencia, Alicante or Murcia airports.
- The town of Almadén has long traditions of mercury mining and has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as Heritage of Mercury Almadén and Idrija.
- Old town of Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- The old town of Cuenca and its old quarters, which have grown over centuries, have changed little. Many of their buildings are still used as they were before. There are monasteries that are still alive, churches, mansions and the town hall with its arcades. Also belongs to the world cultural heritage.
- The castle of Sigüenza
- The castle of Molina de Aragon
- The castle and city walls in Palazuelos
- The Guadalajara Cathedral
- The cave in La Riba de Saelices
The queso Manchego, the famous cheese of La Mancha, is made here from sheep's milk.
Other traditional Castilian La Mancha specialties are Manchego and Valdepeñas wine, pisto, roast suckling lamb, Toledo marzipan, drunken sponge cakes, and Manchego gazpacho.
As with much of Spain's inland regions, you can feel perfectly safe anywhere in the region if you know where you are going and what you are doing. Some more touristy areas such as Toledo do have their share of pickpocketing, so watch out for your belongings.
The region's inhabitants have a somewhat bizarre reputation for being dour and 'rough around the edges', but saying a few words in Spanish can help ease relations.