Miguel de Cervantes is remembered in the heart of Madrid. A towering statue of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza stand on the Plaza de España. There's an air of mischief and indomitability to Quixote's pose, the fictional hero cast in the compelling bronze of fairytale. Seated above the pair is Cervantes, the legendary storyteller offering a gaze of contemplation. He's master of his realm, able to blur the distinctions that mark the lines of fantasy. To one side sits a peasant woman, Aldonza Lorenzo, while to the other sits the idealized and beautiful Dulcinea del Toboso. Together, they form the surreal image of Don Quixote's true love, representing both the knightly reward for reviving chivalry as well as the connection with La Mancha's village roots.
You'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to the five-star Principal, a boutique hotel set in the heart of old-world Madrid. After time to freshen up, you'll spend two hours visiting the city's most important landmarks, culminating in the monument to Cervantes and his immortal characters. An expert Cervantes guide conducts the tour, helping to unravel the complexities of both his stories and his life. Tradition comes alive as the bronze Quixote watches you walk by, your guide starting to open the chapters of one of the most influential writers in world history. 400 years from his death, Cervantes continues to remain as important today as he was in the early 17th century. At the time, many authors expertly moved readers to another place; Shakespeare, who died on the same day as Cervantes, is a prime example. But this great Spanish author began to take readers into another realm. Consider reading some of our travelers' Spain travel reviews, and see how they seemingly felt as if they were in a different era and world altogether.