Places to Visit in Castilla La Mancha
What to See:
From its impressive setting on a tight bend in the River Júcar. The medieval village of Alarcón , current population 260, was famously impenetrable during the Spanish Reconquista. The 12th Century castle was built when the village fell to the Christians in 1184 after a siege lasting 9 months. The castle was later modified and the current building dates back to the 14th Century, it has recently been converted into a Parador.
As well as the castle , the defensive walls and various towers there are several churches including the Romanesque Church of John the Baptist which houses a mural by Jesús Mateo which is listed by UNESCO( although when you see it you might ask yourself why! ).
Alarcon lies approximately half way between Madrid and Valencia and could be visited as a day trip from either city. If you decide to stay in the village then you can choose between either the Parador or 2 hotels. Alternatively there are various rural houses (casas rurales) and a campsite nearby. Update: the nearest campsite is now 20km from Alarcon.
Tourist Information: 0034 969330301
How to get there:
- By Bus: There are buses From Madrid to nearby Motilla del Palancar, you can either get a Taxi from there or ask the driver to stop at the Alarcon turn-off (about 3 km from the village)
- By Train: There is no Train station at Alarcon.
- By Road: Alarcón is situated just off the A3-E901 between Madrid and Valencia, it takes a little over 2 hours to get there from either city.
What to See:
Built on a hilltop on a bend in the river Tajo and approximately 70 km from Madrid, Toledo was one of the most important cities in medieval Spain. The Spanish capital up until the 16th century, it was also the capital of the Visigoth kingdom of Toledo and an important city in the Muslim emirate of al-Andalus. This mixed heritage is reflected in the city's architecture.
Many visitors see Toledo as a day trip from Madrid, however its worth spending at least one night here. In many ways the great attraction of Toledo is simply wandering the narrow streets and alleyways and enjoying the medieval city as a whole. The principle sights include: the 10th Century Alcazar ( Castle/palace built by the Moors on the site of a Roman Palace), the 13th Century Cathedral, the Safradi museum ( housed in the 14th Century "Sinagoga del Transito" synagogue), the Museum of Visigoth Culture (housed in the mudejar church of "San Roman"), the 15th Century monastery of "San Juan de los Reyes", the "Mezquita de Cristo La Luz" mosque (currently being restored), the "Puerta Bisagra, Puerta de Alfonso VI" and "Puerta del Sol" gateways as well as the "Puente de Alcántara" fortified bridge.
Tourist Information: 0034 925254030
How to get there:
- By Bus: There are frequent buses throughout the day from Madrid
- By Train: Both regional trains and AVE run between Madrid and Toledo
- By Road: Toledo is aproximately 1 hr from Madrid on the A42
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