Ciudad Real

Come to Castile-La Mancha, in central Spain, and discover a unique area of countryside: the Alcudia Valley. In this huge Mediterranean forest there are archaeological sites, a host of animal species to be seen, cave paintings, thermal springs, lakes, rivers, tracks and trails... This is the area that Miguel de Cervantes immortalised in his novel Don Quixote.

The Alcudia Valley is in the southwest of the province of Ciudad Real, in Castile-La Mancha. A quick, convenient way to get there is on the High Speed Train (AVE) that runs between Puertollano, the town at the gateway to the valley, and Madrid, taking just one hour. The best way to get around and really get to know the region, however, is by car. If you do not have your own, you can hire a vehicle right at the AVE station in Puertollano. Within a few kilometres you will find some of the most beautiful landscapes in this part of inland Spain. Forests of holm-oak, cork, rockrose and oak await you, some with trees hundreds of years old. There are also olive groves and even narrow canyons carved out by rivers and streams in the Sierra Madrona Mountains, a refuge for endangered species such as the Iberian lynx and the wolf, as well as eagles, vultures, deer, boar…

This part of the the La Mancha Region has extraordinary natural wealth. You will see for yourself as you explore its tracks and trails, ideal to discover on foot, on horseback, or by mountain bike. This area also offers a range of possibilities for lovers of other sports such as hunting, fishing, climbing, and even kayaking and sailing on reservoirs such as Montoro.

Much more than nature

The Alcudia Valley has a wealth of art and history too, always in touch with nature. Don't miss: the Retamar Lake Paleolithic remains, in Almodóvar del Campo; the Iberian-Roman ruins of La Bienvenida, one of the province's most important archaeological sites; the prehistoric cave paintings at Peña Escrita and Batanera; old Roman mines like the Minas Diógenes, and numerous fortresses, castles, churches and convents spread amongst the small villages that make up the region. We would also recommend a visit to the Fuencaliente Thermal Spa Resort, a wonderful place to get away from it all, set in countryside with many waterfalls.

As you can see, nature, leisure and culture come together in the Alcudia Valley, a region described five centuries ago by writer Miguel de Cervantes in his most universally known novel, Don Quixote. Places such as the Alcornoque Spring, Los Batanes Stream, the village of Tirteafuera, and the prehistoric paintings at Peña Escrita and Almodóvar del Campo, are just some of the places visited by the immortal knight errant and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, on their search for adventure.

So, you have been told: dress comfortably, don't forget your camera, and get ready to discover a fascinating region.

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