Things to do in Ciudad Real, Spain - 1-day itinerary
Set amidst the hills of Castilla-La Mancha province is Ciudad Real.
The city is located along the high-speed train route that connects
Madrid and Seville, making it a popular alternative for a day trip from
either side. During the Middle Ages, Ciudad Real was entirely protected
by four kilometres of walls and hundreds of towers. Among the remaining
features is the Puerta de Toledo. Beyond this, you'll find many iconic
churches and incredible natural surroundings, such as Cabañeros and Las
Tablas de Daimiel.
Our one-day itinerary will show you the best things to do in Ciudad Real, from attractions to restaurants and events.
Start the day at Puerta de Toledo, one of the most important landmarks
in the city. This 14th-century gate is the last remaining structure from
the Real Alcázar of Ciudad Real. It features six arches and two square
towers on each side. Keep an eye out for the coat of arms of the
Castille region featured on its walls.
Walking towards the city centre, you’ll soon reach the Iglesia de
Santiago. Dating back to the 14th century, the church features a mix of
Romanesque and Gothic elements. It was declared a Bien de Interés
Cultural in 1982. Take some time to wander inside and admire the Gothic
naves and oval arches, along with the late Mudéjar and Islamic details.
Continue towards the Iglesia de San Pedro, the oldest church in Ciudad
Real. Inside is the tomb of Fernando Alonso de Coca, also known as
Chantre de Coca, a confessor and chaplain to the Catholic Monarchs.
While you’re here, don’t miss the star-shaped vaults and the impressive
Afternoon: Catedral Santa María del Prado de Ciudad Real
What started as a Romanesque shrine soon developed into a Gothic
masterpiece. Among the highlights of the cathedral is the Perdón
doorway, which may have been the church entrance at the time of Alfonso
X. Through the centuries, the church has suffered several interventions.
Inside the sacristy, you’ll find a collection of noteworthy items,
including several paintings, a pax board by Becerril and a Baroque chest
Just next to the cathedral is the Palacio
Lopez Villasenor, a museum dedicated to the work of Manuel López
Villaseñor, one of the greatest Spanish painters of the 20th century.
Walking through the rooms, you’ll see the evolution of his artworks
through the years. The building itself is a typical Manchega house from
the 15th century. It was also here that Hernán Pérez del Pulgar, a
Captain General and Historian at the Service of the Catholic Kings, was
born in 1451.
Gasset Park is the largest green space in Ciudad Real.
Visitors can follow three different itineraries based on the park’s
features. The first is called “Singular Trees”, with a length of 740m,
the second is called “Monuments and Sculptures” and stretches for 1000m,
and the third one, “Ornamental Fountains, is also 1000m long. Pick one
or take your time and follow all three of them.
The Museum Quixote pays tribute to
the infamous character created by the Spanish writer Miguel de
Cervantes. This museum uses art and multimedia to create an interactive
experience of Don Quixote de la Mancha. You’ll see movies, exhibits and
several paintings made by José Jiménez Miranda, one of the best
19th-century illustrators of Don Quixote. Look out for the recreated
version of a 17th-century Madrid printing press. The museum also
includes the Cervantes library, which features more than 3,000 volumes.
Return to the city centre and stop by Plaza Mayor, one of the liveliest squares in the city. It is a
meeting point for locals and visitors and a great spot to grab a drink
in the evening. Around here is the Casa del Arco, the first Consistorial
House installed in the city in the 15th century. The building suffered
major damages in 1755 following the tragic Lisbon Earthquake that
reached Ciudad Real. Today most people head here to see the carillon
watch, inaugurated in 2005 by the princes of Asturias. The three
automaton figures: Don Quijote, his companion Sancho Panza and Miguel de
Cervantes come out at specific times. On the opposite side of the
square is the City Hall, a somewhat controversial building which
combines Neo-gothic features with Nordic influences.
Cabañeros National Park: Halfway between Ciudad Real and Toledo is the
Cabañeros National Park, a beautiful stretch of unspoiled nature. Deers,
eagles and wild boars are some of the species you can expect to find
here. Oak trees form the landscape changing colours with the seasons.
Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Alarcos: Located 10km from Ciudad Real
within the Alarcos Archaeological Park is the Ermita de Nuestra Señora
de Alarcos. This Gothic-style church was built somewhere between the
13th and 14th centuries when Ciudad Real was emerging as a city. The
shrine is dedicated to the Virgin Nuestra Milagrosa Madre y Santísima
Virgen de Alarcos. To access it, you need to follow the opening on the
medieval wall of the old castle built by Alfonso VIII of Castille.
Ciudad Real only has a few attractions, all of which you can explore
with kids. After taking in the monuments, you can wander through the
city’s parks and squares. The Gasset Park is dotted with fun sculptures
and fountains, while the Plaza Mayor offers plenty of cafés where you
can stop for a snack. You can also spend an afternoon at the Mystery
Time Escape Room. The games are ideal for children above eight years
old. If you're visiting in the summer, you can head to Playa Park, a
water park complete with slides and kid-friendly swimming pools.
The cuisine in Ciudad Real is centred around game dishes like rabbit,
wild boar and venison. Popular recipes include rabbit stew and
hartatunos (fried potatoes and peppers). Codfish is also a top
ingredient featured in dishes like the atascaburras (mashed potatoes and
cod). Below are some of the best restaurants in Ciudad Real:
Restaurante La Casuca: Located near the Iglesia de San Pedro, this cosy
restaurant is famous for its cocido, a meat stew paired with chickpeas.
It’s pretty popular, so best to book a table in advance.
Mesón Restaurante Octavio: Established in 1997, Octavio offers
traditional dishes with a contemporary twist. Highlights include game
recipes like albóndigas de jabali (wild boar meatballs) or lomo de
venado (venison steak).
Hotel Parque Real (4 stars): Set near Gasset Park, this hotel offers a
mix of suites and double rooms. Some offer rain showers or private
balconies overlooking the garden. Guests also have access to a
restaurant and an outdoor pool.
Exe Doña Carlota (4 stars): This four-star hotel stands out with its
curved structure. Amenities include a fitness centre, parking, bar and a
restaurant serving regional delicacies. It's only a few steps from
Puerta de Toledo, making it the perfect base to explore the city.
Hotel Spa La Casa Del Rector (4 stars): A few miles outside of Ciudad
Real is the small town of Almagro. It’s around here that you’ll find
this charming hotel housed in a 17th-century townhouse complete with a
spa, indoor pool, and traditional restaurant.
The best time to visit Ciudad Real is between April and June or around
September and October. During these months, the weather is warm enough,
and there are fewer rainy days. The hottest month is usually July when
temperatures can reach 34ºC. It’s also the busiest month to visit.
January, on the other hand, is the coldest month, with an average
temperature of 11ºC.
Fiestas patronales de la Virgen de Gracia: Around the 8th of September,
the municipality of Puertollano celebrates its patron saint. During
these days, shows and stalls take over the city, attracting many
visitors from other regions. The festivities end with a procession,
where the statue of Virgen de Gracia is carried to her hermitage.
Manzanares Medieval: Between late September and early October, Manzanares goes back to Medieval times. The event offers a variety of activities, including theatre, workshops, concerts, dances, processions, games, and parades. Don’t miss the election of the Medieval Mayors and the medieval market.