The backdrop for the travels of Spain's most famous literary hero, Don Quixote, La Mancha is an exposed plateau covered in vineyards, oliveyards, sunflowers and windmills that has a harsh dry climate in the summer. Over half of Spain's vineyards are in the region, making it a haven for wine lovers.
Castilla la Mancha means new Castille and is so called because it was retaken from the Moors at a slightly later date than the Old Castille.
The region has great natural beauty with over 320,000 hectares of natural parks, national parks and nature reserves and lots of opportunities to get active out of doors. It also has 4 archaeological parks where ruins from the Bronze Age, the remains of a medieval city, Roman mosaics and a Roman amphitheatre can be found.
Toledo is the region's capital, a picturesque and historic town of very mixed cultures, it has varying landscapes from the endlessly sweeping plains of La Mancha to the soaring ruggedness of enchanting Cuenca. Both Toledo and the city of Cuenca are designated World Heritage sites.
Traditional gastronomy is simple fare including stews, game sausages and the famous Manchego cheese, all best accompanied by the region's excellent wines.
There are lots of interesting routes to follow here including the Ruta de Pueblos Nogros (Route of the black villages) and the 'Route of Don Quixote', taking you to many of the places Cervantes described in his novel.