The Windmills Route. The Toledo area of La Mancha
The Cerro Calderico ridge and its twelve windmills. Consuegra
Church of Santo Tomás. Orgaz
Église Santo Tomás. Orgaz
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In search of Don Quixote
On this route you'll discover one of the most famous areas in Spain thanks to literature: La Mancha. The route runs near the city of Toledo and is the setting for the adventures of Don Quixote, the character brought to life by Miguel de Cervantes. Along the way, you'll see wide open plains and small mountain ranges with one of the region's symbols: the windmills of La Mancha.
This route can be done in a weekend and at any time of year. It is suitable for families, as on the way you'll be visiting several ethnographic museums where children can use interactive displays and learn about old traditions.
A good place to start is the noble town of Orgaz, where you'll find a Medieval castle, noble family houses (Casa del Vínculo, the "Pósito", or municipal grain store, the hospital of San Lázaro), the church of Santo Tomás and archways of San José and Belén (two of the town's original four entrance gates). Nearby, in Arisgotas, you can visit the Visigoth museum.
Six kilometres away is the town of Mora, famous for its wonderful olive oil. The best way of seeing it is to take the guided tours round the Oil Museum and the Oil Mill Museum (where oil is still made using traditional methods). And what better way of rounding off your visit than to see buildings such as the ancestral home of Casa de los Sueltos, the parish church, the chapel of Virgen de la Antigua and the impressive Medieval castle of Piedras Negras.
Your journey continues to Tembleque (about 25 kilometres away), but not before you make a brief stop on a small hill to take a look at two typical La Mancha windmills. Once in the town, you can enjoy looking round the artistic set of buildings in the main square (built in the La Mancha local style) and others such as the Torres palatial home. Six kilometres away from here is El Romeral, a smaller village but with four magnificent windmills (open to visitors) as well as the Ethnographic and the Esparto Grass museums.
Also very close by is Villacañas, where you shouldn't miss out on seeing the Silo Ethnographic Museum (housed in old traditional underground dwellings) and the Tía Sandalia house and museum (displaying religious images).
A little over 20 kilometres further on are the two last stops: Consuegra and Madridejos, barely three kilometres away from each other.
The most eye-catching sight in Consuegra is its group of 11 windmills with ethnographic exhibits and displays inside. Dating from the 16th century, and standing in a line along the Cerro Calderico ridge, they form the so-called Consuegra crest of La Mancha. Once you have arrived, the best thing to do is enjoy the scenery around you, one of the most famous images of Cervantes' La Mancha. There is also a Medieval castle next to the windmills. There are lots of other monuments also worth visiting, such as the churches of Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz and Santa María la Mayor, the Municipal Archaeological museum and the Cristo museum. Consuegra council also runs guided tours to various craft workshops and studios based in the town, such as the traditional pottery and the forge, as well as dramatised tours of the Medieval castle.
In Madridejos you can see the last windmill, known as Tío Genaro's mill, now fitted out for visitors. Also open to the public are the Saffron and Ethnographic museum and the ethnological museums of Silos del Tío Zoquete and Tío Colorao. The church of Divino Salvador, the convent of Santa Clara, the Cristo del Prado chapel, the Casa de las Cadenas and the bullring are also worth a visit while you are in the town.
Your journey through the real-life settings used in the novel comes to an end here.