Capital of La Mancha, land of Don Quixote, Ciudad Real sits amongst the local, windmill dotted plains, a working, but charming city forever indebted to Cervantes' romantic imagery. Some of the best places to stay in Ciudad Real are those closest to the Plaza Mayor or the Don Quixote Museum.
The name, which translates to 'Royal City' comes from its founder, King Alfonso X The Wise, in the 13th Century. Subsequent monarchs bestowed gifts upon the city too, like four kilometres of protective wall, more than a hundred towers, several wonderfully Gothic churches and a 16th Century cathedral. Ciudad Real's architecture exposes the city's Christian and Muslim influences, but they're melded indiscriminately into something fresh.
Modern Ciudad Real is probably most popular for its food, especially game and cheeses, and wines. The Plaza Mayor and the area around it are good places to start tasting, but there are numerous vineyards which will open their doors to you on the plains outside the city. Just watch out for the windmills...
Ciudad Real (Almagro)
A charming hotel in an ancient Spanish town just outside Ciudad Real. Large rooms are traditional or contemporary in design, but all feature modern bathrooms. Spa, indoor plunge pool, and wonderful regional dishes. A chic and romantic choice for exploring this historic town.
Hotel in 16th century convent. Large rooms have beamed ceilings, four poster beds and traditional tile work. Outdoor pool, garden and terrace courtyard. Excellent regional cuisine and broad wine list. Tranquil, elegant and characterful.
Ciudad Real (Ballesteros de calatrava)
Boutique hotel in 18th century building. Large rooms have contemporary furniture, artworks, fireplaces and modern bathrooms. Outdoor pool, garden and sunny courtyard. Excellent authentic regional menu in elegant dining room. Original, bespoke and beautiful.