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Castilla-La Mancha
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Introducing Castilla-La Mancha

Castilla-La Mancha's landscape is richly patterned and dramatic: undulating plains of rich henna-coloured earth, neatly striped and spotted with olive groves, and golden wheat fields and grapevines – all stretching to a horizon you never seem to reach. This is Don Quijote country, and you'll find references to the fictional knight throughout the region, including a fistful of picturesque windmills. And in many ways, this really is storybook Spain, a land of hearty meals, cheese and wine, lonely hilltop castles and towns stocked with churches.

The area's best-known city is glorious Toledo, an open-air museum of medieval buildings and cultural sights. Cuenca is another wondrous place, seemingly about to topple off its eagle-eyrie perch high above a gorge. There are quiet mountainous stretches here as well, including the Sierra de Alcaraz and the Serranía de Cuenca.