Toledo, La Mancha, Oropesa, Orgaz, Mora, Tembleque, El Romeral, Villacanas, Madridejos, Consuegra, Quintanar de la Orden, El Toboso, Almagro, Manzanares, Valdepanas,...
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Don Quixote is the epitome of ancient Spain, a surrealist adventure blessed with unrivaled poetry and fantasy. Celebrating the 400 year anniversary of Cervantes’ masterpiece, this handcrafted itinerary recaptures the Spain of Don Quixote, taking a seductive route bathed in history and legend. Windmills, walled towns, wine estates, paradors; the fictional blurs with the exquisite as you recreate a knightly story and one of the greatest works of Western literature.
Oropesa – Mystical Welcome into one of Spain's Finest Ancient Towns
The Castle of Oropesa stands sentinel above Toledo, the turrets and cupolas dominating a medieval town of indulgence. Cross the 11th century stone bridge and you're lost within the fiction of yesteryear, the cobbled streets winding past restaurant terraces and statuesque heroes. Built in the early 15th century, the Castle of Oropesa is your first parador, your first night in historic luxury accommodation. You're met in Madrid by your driver guide and head directly to this fairytale fortress. The afternoon is at your leisure before the evening is filled with a mystical immersion into the past. A gala dinner is served in the castle's grand dining hall, with live entertainment and a multitude of different dishes served with wine.
Oropesa – Lost in Medieval Fantasy and Fiction
Church bells chime as the cafes spill morning scents onto the streets of Oropesa. You're in La Mancha, land of reviving chivalry and the imagined exploits of knights. As you explore the medieval utopia it's easy to see where Cervantes’ idealistic imagination had its roots. Dip into the Jewish quarter and its taverns of enchantment, then discover the cathedral and its crypt of conquistadores. Two quaint plazas make ideal spots for a leisurely lunch, cute lids of tapas served with every drink order. Inside the castle there are tales of El Cid and his meandering conquering, further influence on the greatest Spanish book of all time. Today is at your leisure and enables you to fully relax and settle into the rhythm of historic Spain. Take your time. Get lost. And absorb the culture and tradition that permeates all across La Mancha.
Mora – The Cute Towns of Cervantes’ Masterpiece
La Mancha's noble towns are coated in poetry: Cervantes’ elegant sentences of fantasy emanating from the stone courtyards that gaze across the region's plains. Today starts in Orgaz, where a medieval castle and various sublime casas patrol streets of tempting tapas bars. Enter beneath the archway of San Jose and you're guided into churches and noble family homes, the settings from Don Quixote blurring away from the fictional. Enjoy lunch here, on a terrace that overlooks the buildings of history. In the afternoon you visit Arisgotas and its Visigoth Museum, before continuing to Mora, renowned for its fabulous olive oil. Finally, you're guided through the Oil Mill Museum, before the evening is left free for you to indulge in the charms of a town lost in time.
Consuengra – A Journey Through the Windmills and Ancient Villages of La Mancha
There's a single iconic La Mancha sight that excites most imaginations; the wild giants with huge arms that Sancho Panza calmly clarified were windmills. They stand proudly on the green plains, occasionally turning with slow artistic grace. When Panza informed his master that these weren't giants but windmills, Quixote's reply was to say, “obviously, you don't know much about adventures.” And today's journey is an adventure, connecting La Mancha's famous windmills with its deserted villages. Explore the castle of Piedras Negras, gaze upon the windmills of Tembleque, then head inside the four stunning windmills of tiny El Romeral. Lunch comes with a view, the local Manchego cheese combined with some excellent local red wine.
Villacanas is nearby, a town that descends into underground dwellings and caverns illuminated by oil lanterns. It's here you visit the Tio Sandalia House and the Silo Ethnographic Museum, both seductive looks at the history of the region. On the Consuegra crest of La Mancha is where 12 famous 16th century windmills form the most famous image from the book. Tonight's accommodation is in a converted farmhouse on the edge of town and the evening is free to explore streets of old churches and pottery workshops.
El Toboso – Wine Tasting at the Home of Don Quixote's Greatest Love
Fantastic samples of wine provide a base for discovering the kingdom of Dulcinea del Toboso, Don Quixote's great love. At the Condesa de Leganza winery, a variety of La Mancha wines make for an easy introduction in this famed vineyard area. Whitewashed terraces line El Toboso's near deserted streets, each footstep taking you on a curved journey through a town that evokes 16th century beauty. Quixote wooed Dulcinea with his shows of chivalry and knightly deeds, and the Venta de Don Quijote winery is where Cervantes’ character received his knighthood. Enjoy a lavish lunch banquet, complemented by eight wines from a vast vintage cellar. And while the book is imagined through the hero's eyes, one line sums up the feeling of today: “The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks...”
Almagro – A Fabulous Parador in a Delightful Town
Almagro stands resplendent above the La Mancha plains, an almost mythical expanse of white rising like a cloud above the region's flatlands. Like always, your transfer here is by luxury saloon and the day runs at a very leisurely pace. There's no need for early starts in this historic land of siestas and fiestas. Start the Almagro guided journey in the open-air Corral de Comedias, a Romanesque theater of allure. Palaces and aristocratic casas line the streets, each of them painted white, each a little piece in the coherent architectural jigsaw of Almagro. Lounge on the Plaza Mayor, lunch being served in one of Spain's cutest squares. After checking into your historic parador, a charming old building glamorized with modern luxury touches, the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Manzanares – Visiting Cervantes’ Prison and Relaxing on La Mancha Plains
Don Quixote's freedom was the imagination of a man incarcerated. It was at the Argamasilla de Alba prison that Cervantes was jailed and wrote his masterpiece. A humble cave is hidden beneath the unassuming facade of an Argamasilla de Alba townhouse. Head into the gloom and stand in the makeshift prison room, little natural light available to write with a quill. Your literary guide picks up the narrative, describing Cervantes’ noble past and his arguments with the local villagers.
As you head into the mountains the natural splendor of La Mancha begins to impress. Spend the afternoon gently exploring the lagoons of Ruidera Lakes Natural Park, an idyllic spot to enjoy a picnic of Iberico jamon and cheese. Tucked on the outskirts of the park, overlooking the Tablas de Daimiel National Park, your Monzanares parador is one of Spain's most sublime. Birdsong flutters from the overgrown gardens while a river of blue passes by the old fortress windows. An excellent tapas restaurant has been chosen for tonight, serving a fine selection of classic dishes to the accompaniment of wine from nearby vineyards.
Valdepanas – A Day of Wine and Castles in the Mountains
As you meander further into the mountains you can picture the scene: Quixote riding his trusty Rocinante and imagining tales of deception. While the original book was published in 1605, the sequel arrived ten years later and fully bound Quixote to the acts of chivalry that would lead to his madness. As you explore seemingly endless rows of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, vineyard owners who love the stories of legend faithfully narrate the stories. You visit three wineries today, including the Valdepanas Wine Museum, and the opulent Vina Abali winery. Meet the growers at each of them and join them in reminiscing over samples of their finest vintage. As the senses are aroused you gently indulge in a region that's rarely visited yet is hypnotically traditional.
Tomelloso – The Town of Cervantes’ Imagination
“Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember...” and so start many of Cervantes’ descriptions. A huge collection of La Mancha villages claim to be the author's inspiration, but historians are relatively consistent in naming Tomelloso as the village Quixote's adventures start from. It's a town that defies the imagination, Renaissance beauty standing above statues of horse-riding heroes and terraces smelling of red wine and coffee. While many nearby villages are virtually abandoned, Tomelloso lives on with a social atmosphere and lazy hours spent at the Plaza Mayor. The town’s revelations of Spanish tradition continue from a lunch besides the Town Hall to an evening of tapas in the historic town taverns.
Madrid – Palaces and Tapas in Spain's Capital
Marble columns glisten at the Palace of Aranjeuz, their whiteness shimmering above large cultivated gardens perfect for a stroll. Halfway back to Madrid, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the monarchy's official residence. Corridors are lined with portraits made with oil swirls, while jewels glimmer beneath gilded gold ceilings. As you continue to the capital, Western Europe's largest palace is the second guided stop of the day. Stretching out above Madrid, the Royal Palace is an ode to excess and the pomp of yesteryear, each room filled with aristocratic collections of art and antiques. Your hotel is in the heart of Madrid, nestled along historic streets that are easy to explore on foot. Completing the day is a guided tapas hop along Cava Baja Street, each little bar specializing in a couple of exquisite dishes that reflect the inimitability of this tour.
Madrid – Departure
This morning you depart Spain, full of memories that make the pages of Don Quixote seem far more real than they initially seemed. Say goodbye to your driver guide at Madrid Airport and rise above the country, destined to return for more unique immersions in the culture and history of Spain.
- Tour the Spain of Miguel de Cervantes’ imagination, journeying through the windmills of La Mancha and the tiny towns that inspired Don Quixote's adventures
- Immerse yourself in the beauty of Spain's Golden Age by sleeping in exquisite paradors, converted castles and monasteries that recreate 17th century glory
- Enjoy two days of exclusive wine tasting at some of Spain's oldest wine estates and historic vineyards
- Get lost in some of Spain's finest medieval sites; including castles, tiny hilltop villages of whitewashed stone, noble 16th century houses, and quaint stone churches
- Explore the life of Miguel de Cervantes, visiting the prison where he wrote Don Quixote and the inspiration for “somewhere in La Mancha in a place whose name I do not care to remember…”
- No journeys are longer than one hour as you relax in the historic heart of Spain
- An expert Don Quixote guide is your chauffeur, breathing life into the stops on this Council of Europe accredited cultural route
Bathed in fantasy and swashbuckling adventure, Don Quixote is one of the greatest literary fictions of Western history. While the hero imagines his knightly story, Miguel de Cervantes’ inspiration can be found all over the historic La Mancha region of Spain. Celebrating the 400 year anniversary of the book's full publication, this unique tour recaptures the quixotic spirit and timeless glory of a Spain that lives long in everyone's imagination. Wander through the cobbled streets of whitewashed stone villages, admire the windmills that Quixote once fought, sleep in castles direct from idealistic fairytales, and settle into the rhythm of medieval Spain. The destinations feel fictional, lost in their ancient glory and unchanged for centuries. But then a feast of tapas and wine is delivered to an al fresco terrace and the surreal becomes real.
This itinerary connects destinations on the European Council accredited Don Quixote cultural route, taking you across the plains of La Mancha and the heart of Spain's Golden Age. An expert guide helps your imagination run away with the adventures of Quixote as you visit the places that influenced and inspired Cervantes’ idealism. Accommodations are mostly in paradors: 16th and 17th century buildings that have been converted to luxurious hotels. Sleep in castles and monasteries, tucked away in towns unchanged since the book's publication. All transfers are by luxury saloon vehicle and the itinerary has a very relaxed pace, with lots of time for leisurely Spanish dinners and evenings absorbing the atmosphere of village plazas.
Start in Oropesa, a medieval town of such splendor it seems mythical. Cross the 11th century drawbridge to the 16th century castle parador and the quixotic paradigm immediately takes over. Spend days three and four touring the tiny traditional villages and famous windmills of La Mancha, stopping at museums, plazas, and fascinating structures of 16th century stone. Day five is dedicated to wine tasting at the home of Dulcinea, the woman Don Quixote's wooed with his knightly errands of chivalry. Enjoy some of Spain's finest paradors on days six and seven, the relaxed destinations combined with a visit to the prison where Cervantes wrote his masterpiece.
As you journey south you weave into the mountains of La Mancha, mysterious villages clinging to peaks with promises of medieval glamour. Day eight visits some fabulous vineyards in a little visited part of Spain, while day nine explores the most influential town in the book, Tomelloso. Completing the tour, you head to Madrid on day ten, stopping at two magnificent palaces en route. After ten days on this luxury Spain tour, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is more than fiction; it's an ode to the timeless beauty of Spanish tradition and culture.
$2,635 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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