Castile-La Mancha

Castile-La Mancha is a large, sparsely populated region in central Spain comprising the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo. The region, of course, is home to La Mancha, Spain’s dry central plateau and the setting for the ultimate Spanish novel Don Quixote.
Castile-La Mancha is an agricultural zone, producing mostly grain. The famous windmills against which Don Quixote fought are still in the region, grinding wheat into flour; more modern ones produce electricity. The area also produces the world-famous manchego cheese, which is made from sheep’s milk and aged in special caves. There is a wine industry in the area: La Mancha is known for some good white wines, while ValdepeƱas produces some good reds. Be sure to try the pisto manchego, a special local tomato sauce served over potatoes or tortilla espaƱola.
The capital city is Toledo, one of Spain’s most interesting places to visit. The Tablas de Daimiel National Park is a smallish, protected wetland which is famous for the many species of birds that live there permanently or migrate through it at certain times of the year. The off-the-tourist track Talavera de la Reina is a pleasant town with a long history.