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Ciudad Real Travel Guide

Gate of Toledo (Ciudad Real - Spain)
Coat of Arms of Ciudad Real (Spain)

Ciudad Real

Coordinates: 38.983333°, -3.916667°

Population: 75,303 inhabitants (2023)

Ciudad Real is a Spanish city that is located in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. In the past, it was the official capital of this community, and its nickname is derived from this: "The Capital of La Mancha". (Currently, the capital is Toledo.)

This beautiful city in La Mancha is known for its historical monuments and rich gastronomy, as well as its beautiful natural places to enjoy with the family. Among the tourist attractions worth visiting is the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Meadow, an impressive Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century that stands out for its neo-Gothic façade and majestic interior, with large stained glass windows and star vaults.

Also in the heart of the city is its Main Square, which is surrounded by historic buildings and shops. Here, one can find numerous bars and restaurants to enjoy the gastronomy of the area.

Ciudad Real has a very important Cervantine connection, as it is home to the Don Quixote Museum, which is dedicated to the most famous character in Spanish literature.

These are just some of the lesser known aspects of Ciudad Real that deserve to be discovered.

Top 7 places to visit in Ciudad Real

If you have the opportunity to visit this city, do not hesitate to explore these places and discover everything it has to offer:

Gate of Toledo

Gate of Toledo (Ciudad Real - Spain)
The Gate of Toledo in Ciudad Real is the only ancient entrance to the city that remains standing. It was part of the wall that surrounded the city in the medieval era.

The Gate of Toledo is one of the greatest examples of military architecture in Spain. Its creation was promoted by King Alfonso X the Wise in 1255. The work was concluded in 1328.

The door has a Gothic-Mudejar style, made of ashlar stone.
Throughout history, the gate had several functions, such as serving as the gate for surveillance rounds and the gate through which to pay taxes on the transport of goods and people.

It was declared a National Monument in 1915 and has been the object of various interventions throughout history due to frequent problems with humidity, the environment and pathologies in the stone.

Main Square

Ciudad Real - Plaza Mayor 04 edited
The Main Square of Ciudad Real is the centre of social life in this city. It is located in the heart of the historic centre.

Its origins are like those of the city itself, as its foundation dates back to the 13th century.

In this square is one of the most emblematic buildings of Ciudad Real, the Arc's House, which was the first town hall in the 15th century.
This building has a large brick arch on the ground floor. The entire original building was made of stone. Under the aforementioned arch is an image of the Immaculate Conception and a beautiful 17th-century lantern.

In 2005, due to the 750th anniversary of the city and the fourth centenary of the first publication of "The Ingenious Hidalgo Quixote of La Mancha," a new element was added: a beautiful carillon clock with three automatons of Don Quixote, his faithful squire Sancho Panza and Miguel de Cervantes.

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Meadow

Ciudad Real 2022 - west façade
The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Meadow is a Gothic-style religious temple. Construction started in the 15th century and was completed a century later by Antonio de Écija.

This enclosure is made up of a single nave decorated with tracery vaults. It also has three covers, the most prominent being the Gate of Forgiveness.

In the High Altar of this church, there is a large altarpiece, consecrated to the Virgin of the Meadow and made by Giraldo de Merlo in 1616.
In addition, there is a modern work by the sculptor Raussel y Llorens.

Provincial Museum of Ciudad Real

Anancus arvernensis - Las Higueruelas, Ciudad Real, Spain - Museo Ciudad Real
The Provincial Museum of Ciudad Real was founded by Royal Decree on January 23, 1976 and has three sections: Palaeontology, Archaeology and Fine Arts, which are located in two different buildings.

The Palaeontology area is made up of fossil remains from various provincial sites. Among them, standouts are specimens of a mastodon and a rhinoceros, with the latter being the oldest known in Europe. This exhibition is made up of historical scenes that facilitate understanding of the environment where the species developed.
The Archaeology area has a large collection that is continuously increasing thanks to materials obtained from interventions carried out at different sites in the province. The exhibition is divided into sections. Outstanding pieces include those from the Palaeolithic era, the Bronze Age, Iberian culture, the Roman world, the Visigoths, Al-Andalus and the Crown of Castile.
Meanwhile, the Fine Arts section exhibits works of painting, sculpture, goldsmithing and ceramics from the 16th to 18th centuries. This museum has a selection of the most representative contemporary Spanish art with works by artists from La Mancha such as Ángel Andrade, Carlos Vázquez, Antonio López García, Manuel López-Villaseñor and Joaquín García Donaire as well as internationally known authors such as Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura and Antonio Tapies, among many others.

This collection has more than 800 works to which is added a photographic archive made up of 140,000 negatives and 200 positives by authors such as Casiano Alguacil, Jean Laurent, Cristina García Rodero and Carlos Vázquez.

Church of St. James

Iglesia de Santiago, Ciudad Real, España, 2021-12-18, DD 08-10 HDR
The Church of St. James in Ciudad Real is a religious building, from the end of the 13th century, that has a mixture of late Romanesque and early Gothic styles. However, many experts consider it to be a Gothic church due to its size and external appearance.

This church was built on top of an old hermitage on uninhabited land in the days when Ciudad Real was not considered a city. It is a temple of small dimensions and sober appearance, with three naves and a head formed by three covered apses.
It should be noted that this church has a Gothic mural representing the Mass of St. Gregory. At the foot of the temple appears the tower, with two bodies and topped with a four-sided roof.

St. Peter's Church

Iglesia de San Pedro, Ciudad Real, España, 2021-12-18, DD 13
The Church of Saint Peter was built in the second half of the 14th century and the first third of the 15th century.

This enclosure has a Gothic style, as well as a basilica plan with three naves separated by pillars.

The church has three chapels, the largest one bearing the name of the Coca family, as it houses the tomb of the precentor of the Cathedral of Coria, Don Fernando Alonso de Coca.Chanter de Coria and Fernando de Coca.
On the outside are three portals of beautiful and great simplicity, as well as a tower attached to the wall of the church on the southwest side.

Gasset Park

Fuente Talaverana 28-10-2010 ParqueGassetCiudadReal
Gasset Park in Ciudad Real covers more than 90 hectares. It is the oldest park in the city. Gasset Park was inaugurated in 1915 on land ceded by the Marquis of Treviño, next to the old train station.

Various statues are erected in this park, such as the sculpture of Rafael Gasset Chinchilla, a political figure from the region. It is also home to the oldest fountain in the city, known as the Hernán Pérez del Pulgar Fountain, formerly located in Pilar Square.
At the southern end of the park is the Cross of the Married, which dates back to the 15th century but has been rebuilt several times. This cross commemorates the tragic story of a 15th-century couple, Sancho and Blanca, who were murdered by their parents for having married, as their parents were enemies.

It is the main park of Ciudad Real par excellence, the emblem of its public gardening, in which its historical evolution and the memory of its people come together.

How to get around Ciudad Real

The best way to get around Ciudad Real is on foot, as the main tourist attractions of this city are not very far from each other. For longer trips, one can use the public and tourist transport that is available.

There are currently six urban bus lines in operation, with established schedules and routes, most of which have a frequency of 15 to 25 minutes. Note that several of the routes are not available on weekends and there is no night route service.

There is also an interurban service that connects Ciudad Real with the entire province, as well as a direct travel service to the cities of Albacete, Cuenca and Toledo. In addition, there is a long-distance service with various destinations such as the main Spanish cities.
Another option for moving around Ciudad Real is the taxi service. Most providers offer 24-hour service from all parts of the city. There are eight official stops. The taxi service, for obvious reasons, is the most comfortable option, but it is also the most expensive.

To get to and from the city, several transport services are available, such as train, bus and private transport.
The train is the fastest alternative, especially if one uses the high-speed service. With this service, from Madrid, it takes one hour. It could also be reached with the AVE from Seville or Córdoba. From Seville the trip takes approximately one hour and forty minutes, while from Córdoba it takes just under an hour.

Finally, there is the option of travelling to Ciudad Real by private transport. This is a good option due to the city's connection of highways, which pass from its surroundings: A-43 to Valencia, A-41 to Puertollano and CM-45 towards Almagro. There are also the national highways that go to Toledo, Córdoba, Tarragona, Badajoz and Albacete.

Accommodation in Ciudad Real

Ciudad Real has a wide range of hotels and different areas to stay.

Historical Centre: If you like to be close to the main monuments and places of interest, the historical centre area is ideal for you. Here, you will find hotels, boutiques and tourist accommodation in historic buildings, with a lot of charm and an unbeatable location.

Rey Santo Avenue: This is one of the main avenues of the city and has a wide range of hotels.

Ciudad Jardín: This is a quiet residential area but with a good connection to the city centre. Here, you will find hotels and tourist apartments at cheaper prices than in the historic centre or on Rey Santo Avenue.

Train station: If you arrive in the city by train, the area around the train station can be a good option. Here, you will find chain hotels with good prices and a good location, although these will not be very close to the historic centre.

Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park: If you are looking for a quieter option and to be in contact with nature, you can stay near Las Tablas de Daimiel National Park. There are hotels and rural houses that will allow you to enjoy nature and disconnect from the bustle of the city.

Top 5 dishes you must try in Ciudad Real

Ciudad Real is famous for its gastronomy, with highlights including dishes such as manchego ratatouille, migas and manchego cheese, among others.

Manchego ratatouille

Manchego ratatouille
This is one of the most representative dishes of La Mancha gastronomy, and Ciudad Real is no exception. Manchego ratatouille is a stew of vegetables such as tomato, onion, pepper and zucchini, cooked in olive oil. In certain places, crushed garlic with cumin is added, which gives it a characteristic flavour.

This dish can be served hot or cold, accompanied by fried eggs and/or sausages, especially sausages or bits of Serrano ham in a characteristic clay pot.
It is more common to find this dish in summer than in winter, due to the seasonality of its ingredients. The popularity of this dish is so great that it can be found in almost any supermarket in packages.


Migas are a dish of pastoral origin that has spread throughout the region.

They are made with bread, olive oil, garlic and paprika, and are served with grapes or melon in summer and with grapes or pomegranates in winter.

The main ingredient of this dish is stale bread that is approximately two or three days old. This is chopped and soaked in water and salt for a few hours to soften.
Sausage and bacon are fried in a pan with a little oil so that they release their fat, in which green peppers and garlic will be cooked. Then the bread is added so that it takes on flavour. Finally, the meats are incorporated.

Manchego cheese

Manchego cheese
Manchego cheese is a sheep dairy product typical of the La Mancha region. Ciudad Real is one of the main producers.

It has a firm texture, and its flavour is slightly acidic and very strong. It has a very pleasant and peculiar taste thanks to Manchego sheep's milk.

It is an ideal cheese to taste with a good wine from the area, and it is the most famous and marketed Spanish cheese outside of Spain.

Duelos y quebrantos

Duelos y quebrantos. Chef Koketo
This dish has a very simple recipe and is prepared with only three ingredients typical of the land: eggs, chorizo and bacon.

To prepare this dish, one must chop the chorizo and pork belly. These small pieces are cooked over high heat to release the fat.

The meat is removed and only 3 or 4 tablespoons of fat are left to add to the beaten eggs. They will curdle during stirring. Before finishing, the meat is added again.


“Rosquillas” are typical sweets of the region, made with flour, eggs, grated lemon peel, oil, aniseed and a little cinnamon powder.

There are two types of rosquillas: the silly ones (without coating) and the smart ones (coated with icing sugar and aniseed).

Other information of interest

In Ciudad Real is a museum dedicated to the immortal figure of "The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of la Mancha". It exhibits works of art related to the novel and multimedia montages that transport visitors to the Cervantine era.

This museum takes visitors on a wonderful journey into the world of Don Quixote and Miguel de Cervantes, with two excellently produced multimedia shows. It also contains a recreation of a 17th-century printing press where the first copy of Cervantes' work was published and shows how the whole process – from the author's manuscript to the bound book – was carried out.

The tour ends in a room where the place and moment when Alonso Quijano spent his time reading chivalric novels is reproduced, while a voice reads different passages from the book.

These projections are carried out with the purpose of entertaining and delighting the general public. They can take a walk through some of the scenes lived by Don Quixote, which are interpreted through his madness and through a desire for patrons to live the adventures of the protagonist along with his characters.

Inside the museum is also the Cervantina Library, with a bibliographic deposit of more than 3,500 volumes that researchers can consult for information on Cervantine work. In addition, it has a consultation room, set up for 20 researchers, and a room for scanning and cataloguing documents.