These two wines are from the heart of Spain – the La Mancha region. Located in central Spain, extending to the south and east of Madrid, La Mancha is one of Spain’s least-known regions to tourists. Here vineyards, castles, some of Spain’s loveliest villages and windmills beckon to be discovered and enjoyed.
photos courtesy of Spain National Tourism Board, Madrid Tourism and Travel Impressions
The region has a notable history. La Mancha was an important wine region for the Romans when they ruled this area, and again for the Moors when the area was under Moorish Rule. Its proximity to the large city of Madrid has helped provide the demand for the intense wines produced here. La Mancha was also the setting of the well known 17th-century novel, “Don Quixote”, by Miguel de Cervantes.
The ancient city and capital of La Mancha, Toledo, is positioned on a hill above the plains of La Mancha. It is known as the city of three cultures due to its Christian, Muslim and Jewish influences. Medieval monuments from the three cultures can be seen in the walled old city. Toledo was also the home of the painter El Greco. Once known for excellent silk makers, Toledo is currently known for the craft of knife making. The Medieval City boasts many shops displaying the craftsmanship of its skilled knife makers.
Nearby Madrid is a world-class capital city, rich in culture and tradition, filled with inviting tapas bars, cafes and restaurants, and boasts an abundance of live music venues, creating a lively nightlife. The city has a cheerful and vibrant international feel, presenting a mix of classic and modern in its architecture, culture, attractions and a high quality of life. It is also home to many different ethnic neighborhoods, cultural centers and restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Yet alongside the bustle of the large city, you can still hear beautiful Spanish guitar music spilling out of family run bars, witness the seductive movements of a flamenco dancer, and hear relaxed conversation and laughter from its wide variety of cafes and restaurants.
Evidence of its prominent history and central location of the Spanish Empire for centuries, Madrid displays its royal history through many historic palaces, museums and buildings. Madrid is ideal for travelers interested in history, famous art and stunning architecture, but also for those who appreciate diverse cultures as well as an unhurried good time.
The La Mancha region is one of the most extreme climates in Europe. Likewise, Madrid is known for its climatic extremes. Although it tends to be sunny all year-round, it can be freezing in winter and is always stifling hot in summer. The best time to visit is March through May or September through November, when temperatures are pleasant and exploring is more enjoyable. Allow a minimum of full five days to a week to fully enjoy Madrid and La Mancha.
WHEN TO GO: March to May, September to November, Allow at least 5 to 7 days
POPULAR TRAVEL STYLES: Small Private Groups, Independent Travel, Luxury Travel
IDEAL FOR: Culinary/Wine, Romantic Travel, History Buffs, Art/Culture
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