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Campo de Criptana Travel Guide

Campo de Criptana (Spain)
Coat of Arms of Campo de Criptana (Spain)

Campo de Criptana
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Coordinates: 39.406667°, -3.125°

Population: 12.960 inhabitants (2023)

Campo de Criptana is a charming town located in the province of Ciudad Real. With a rich history and impressive cultural heritage, this picturesque town has become a popular tourist destination for those who want to immerse themselves in the authenticity and beauty of rural Spain.

Known mainly for its emblematic windmills, Campo de Criptana is famous for being the place that inspired Miguel de Cervantes to write one of the most memorable chapters of his masterpiece, “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha”. These windmills are an iconic symbol of the town and a must-see for lovers of literature and history.
Campo de Criptana (Spain)
Walking through the cobbled streets of Campo de Criptana is like stepping into a fairy tale.

Its narrow and winding streets are lined with whitewashed houses, with balconies adorned with colourful flowers that create a charming atmosphere for locals and visitors alike.

The air is filled with the scent of lavender and rosemary, and the sound of church bells mingles with the murmur of people enjoying their daily lives.
However, it is the windmills that occupy much of the limelight in Campo de Criptana. These iconic mills are perched on top of a hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

In all, there are 10 windmills that have stood the test of time, each with its own name and unique features. Some of them can be visited, and they offer a fascinating opportunity to learn about the operation and historical importance of these wooden giants.

Top 5 places to visit in Campo de Criptana

For those wishing to visit Campo de Criptana, here are five places not to be missed:


Windmills (Campo de Criptana - Spain)
Start your visit by exploring the iconic windmills that made Campo de Criptana a famous destination. These mills, immortalized by Cervantes in “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha”, stand majestically on a hill and offer impressive panoramic views.

Some of them can be visited inside, where you can learn about their history and how they work. The Campo de Criptana mills are a group of 10 windmills distributed on the slope and top of a hill. Three of them date from the 16th century.
In 1978, they were declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.

In the time of Philip II, at the end of the 16th century, there were already many mills here. In the 18th century, various documents record 34 mills in the town of Campo de Criptana – more than the number of mills in the rest of La Mancha.

Of those that remain, three (known as Infanto, Burleta and Sardinero) retain the original machinery from the 16th century and can still grind cereal with it. The remaining seven are newer and are named Lagarto, Chimera, Pilón, Cariari, Inca Garcilaso, Poyatos and Culebro. The latter houses the Sara Montiel Museum, with photos and objects of the singer and actress, who was born in Campo de Criptana.

Main Square

Campo de Criptana - Plaza Mayor 1
It is advisable to visit the Main Square, the heart of the town, where there is a lively and vibrant atmosphere.

Surrounded by historical buildings, the Main Square is the ideal place to relax, enjoy a drink on a terrace and observe local life.

Also, this is where many festivities and events are held throughout the year.

Parish Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

Campo Criptana-Iglesia Parroquial
You cannot miss the opportunity to visit the beautiful Parish Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.

This church was inaugurated in 1958, since the previous one from the 16th century was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. The current church was built in the Historicist style.

Visitors can admire the imposing façade and bell tower while immersing themselves in the history and architecture of the area.

El Pósito Municipal Museum

For those who are interested in learning more about the history and culture of Campo de Criptana, visiting the El Pósito Municipal Museum is a must.

Located in an 16th century building, which was enlarged in the 18th century during the reign of Charles III, the museum houses an interesting collection of art and historical objects that will allow visitors to learn more about the local tradition and heritage. It is worth noting its permanent archeology exhibition, with objects from different eras.

Don Quixote Route

Campo de Criptana (Spain)
Take advantage of a visit to Campo de Criptana to follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote through the Route of Don Quixote.

This literary route will take passers-by through the beautiful landscapes of La Mancha and allow them to discover other places related to the work of Cervantes.

Campo de Criptana is one of the main highlights of this route, making it a mandatory stop for lovers of literature.
The Route of Don Quixote refers to the route followed by the protagonist of the novel “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes throughout his adventures, mainly in the lands of La Mancha but also in Aragon and Catalonia.

The official route was published upon the fourth centenary of Don Quixote. Declared a European cultural itinerary by the Council of Europe, it is 2,500 kilometres long and made up of a network of historic roads and livestock trails that link the places of greater interest close to the points mentioned in the novel.

In La Mancha, Don Quixote is quite a symbol, so among the many possibilities that this official layout offers, one can take a circular route leaving Campo de Criptana.

Accommodation in Campo de Criptana

Gastronomy in Campo de Criptana

The gastronomy of Campo de Criptana is a delight for lovers of traditional La Mancha cuisine.

On its menu, roast lamb is one of the most outstanding dishes. Prepared with tender and juicy lamb, seasoned with aromatic herbs and slowly roasted in a wood-fired oven, this dish is a true delight.

Manchegan crumbs are another traditional dish, made from breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic, bacon and chorizo. They are slow cooked in a large skillet until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It is a strong and tasty dish that will make you feel at home.
Manchego ratatouille
Manchego ratatouille is another very popular dish in the region. It is a mixture of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and onions, all fried in olive oil. It can be served alone or as an accompaniment to meat or eggs.

Another important component of this gastronomy is “duels and losses”. This peculiar dish combines the basic ingredients of the Manchego breakfast: fried eggs, bacon and chorizo. It is served with bread to dip in the egg yolk and is a perfect option for a hearty breakfast or lunch.
La Mancha is famous for its Manchego cheese, made from sheep's milk. This cheese has a firm and compact texture, with a mild and slightly spicy flavour. One can enjoy it alone, in tapas or as an ingredient in other traditional dishes. In addition to these dishes, one must try the region's wines, especially La Mancha wines, which are known for their quality and variety.

Festivals in Campo de Criptana

In addition to the magic of being the place of inspiration for the windmills that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza travelled through on their adventures, Campo de Criptana is known for its traditional festivities, during which the community gathers to celebrate and enjoy the local culture.

As in many other towns in Spain, Holy Week is lived intensely in Campo de Criptana. During this week, numerous religious processions run through the streets of the town, in which different brotherhoods participate. It is a moment of recollection and tradition for the inhabitants of the town.

The festivities of the Virgin of Criptana are well known. This commemoration is held in honour of the Virgin, who is the patroness saint of the town. They take place on Easter Monday, just after Holy Week.

The Carnival in Campo de Criptana is a joyful and colourful celebration. For several days, the streets are filled with costumes, music and dances. The parades of floats and comparsas stand out, with creativity and good humour present in every corner. It is a very lively festival that attracts visitors from all over the region.

It should also be noted that at the end of August, Campo de Criptana celebrates its fair in honor of the Christ of Villajos, during which the town is filled with activities such as concerts, street performances, fairground attractions and contests. It is a time of fun and joy for all ages.

These are just some of the most outstanding festivities in Campo de Criptana. Each of them offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture, tradition and joy of this charming town in Castilla-La Mancha.