Castilla-La Mancha consists of five Provinces: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo
Castile-La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's autonomous communities. A land in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, that is transformed throughout the length its five provinces by forests, grazing grounds, canyons, marshlands, ravines and plains. A wide variety of landscapes are encompassed in two National Parks: Cabaneros (Ciudad Real and Toledo), and Tablas de Daimiel (Ciudad Real), five Nature Reserves: Alto Tajo (Guadalajara and Cuenca), Hayedo de Tejera Negra (Guadalajara), los Calares del Río Mundo (Albacete), Barranco del Río Dulce (Guadalajara) and Lagunas de Ruidera (Ciudad Real and Albacete), thirteen Strict Nature Reserves and six Micro-reserves.
Of major interest to visitors of this area are the monumental cities and towns which are of great historic importance, like Toledo, the enchanting Cuenca and Albacete. There are also alternative sites to see among them: Ruta de los Pueblos Negros ("Route of the Black Villages"),their name taken from the materials from the natural surroundings used in the traditional architecture, the "Route of the Saffron Fields", "Route of the Castles", and the "Route of Don Quijote", named after Cervante's legendary "Man from La Mancha".
Toledo: Offers visitors a spectacular example of the history of Spanish art assuring its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the twentieth century. Toledo is also one of the country's architectural treasures, with monuments from Moorish, Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance periods. Toledo was also the hometown of the great painter El Greco.
Cuenca: This enchanting medieval city, declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO, is surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Among the town's most remarkable sights are the famous "Hanging Houses", the Gothic cathedral and the Museum of Abstract Art. In its surroundings there are several fantastic natural reserves, among them Ciudad Encantada, the "enchanted city", where erosion has created bizarre forms.
Guadalajara: Major attractions are the Mudejar style church Santa Maria la Mayor, the 15th century palace Duque del Infantado, the Moorish town-walls and bridge over Henares River, date from 10th century. In the province of Guadalajara the medieval town Siguenza, with its great fortress and cathedral, is worth a visit.
Ciudad Real: This city is marked by the history of Don Quijote who is said to have fought against the windmills at the nearby Campo de Criptana. The nearby Lagunas de Ruidera, which consists of 17 lagoons, offers splendid landscapes.
Albacete: Albacete is today one of the most developed provinces in the region thanks to its capital city, the most populated of Castilla-La Mancha. A modern and functional city, located at the typical plains of La Mancha. It is known for its knife-making industry.
Food and Cuisine of the Region:
World famous queso manchego (manchego cheese), based on sheep-milk. Natural products such as vegetables, pulses, fruits, Saffron, garlic and olive oil. Abundant and high quality game. Dishes typical of the region using local Spanish foods include: pisto manchego - a mixture of peppers, tomato, onion and courgettes. liebre a la mancha - one of numerous local game dishes. mantecados manchegos - a typical sweet of the area. miel sobre hojuelas - a type of honey pastry.
Castilla-La Mancha, is home to the largest vineyards in the world.