This six day, self-guided cycling holiday, is a perfect way to explore the inland idylls of Spain’s La Mancha plains, following the Ruta de Don Quijote. Starting in the historically multicultural city of Toledo, cycle through the Castilla-La Mancha region, through landscapes that feature in the epic Spanish novel, Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. While Don Quixote wandered with his faithful steed, you cycle through villages famous for their hill-top whitewashed windmills, the stunning Ruidera Lakes Nature Reserve where 15 lakes are adjoined by waterfalls and streams, and the huge vineyards of Tomelloso.
- The peaceful countryside of La Mancha
- Ruidera Lakes Nature Reserve
- Tomelloso wine country
- Dulcinea’s El Toboso
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Day 1: Arrival in Toledo
Toledo is known as the City of Three Cultures, as during the Middle Ages, Christian, Muslim and Jewish families lived peacefully next to each other, exchanging their knowledge in arts and sciences. Depending on arrival time, spend the afternoon visiting the city’s synagogues, mosques and Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo. One of the famous churches is Iglesia de Santo Tomé, home to El Greco’s masterpiece The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Enjoy the evening wandering around the historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 2000 years of history.
- Accommodation: Hotel Carlos V or similar
Day 2: Consuegra – Argamasilla de Alba | 46km
The morning begins with a short transfer before setting off towards Castillo de Consuegra, one of the best-preserved castles in Castile, with a hilltop row of whitewashed windmills. From here, pedal through peaceful countryside scenery and stop for lunch in Puerto Lápice, where the Don Quixote was knighted in the novel. Continue towards Guadiana River, before following a path all the way to Argamasilla de Alba and this evening’s accommodation.
- Accommodation: Casa Rural la Quintería de Sancho or similar
- Cycling for the day: 46km, ↑180m
Day 3: Argamasilla de Alba – Ruidera Lakes Nature Reserve | 49km
Cycle along quiet roads, past vineyards and traditional farms before reaching Ruidera Lakes Nature Reserve, a string of fifteen lakes connected via waterfalls, brooks and underground rivers. Spend the afternoon or early evening walking around the lakes or visit Cueva de Montesinos, a karst cave which was the scene of one of Don Quixote’s most famous adventures in the novel.
- Accommodation: Venta del Celemín or similar
- Cycling for the day: 49km, ↑390m
Day 4: Ruidera Lakes Nature Reserve – Tomelloso | 55km
Today’s stage follows the upper Ruidera Lakes, before following quiet roads towards Ossa de Montiel. From here, the route heads through a juniper and holm oak forest to Tomelloso, known for its wine production. We recommend our guided visit to a couple of the cellars, including of course a tasting.
- Accommodation: Hotel Paloma or similar
- Cycling for the day: 55km, ↑270m
Day 5: Tomelloso – El Toboso/Alcázar de San Juan | 54/83km
In the morning, cycle through a sea of vineyards, famous for its airén and tempranillo grapes, before reaching the white-washed village of Campo de Criptana, which is perfect for a lunch stop. You finally reach El Toboso, the village of Don Quijote’s beloved Dulcinea, where, after having a rest on one of the terraces, you can visit Dulcinea’s Home Museum. From there, a transfer takes you to Alcázar de San Juan, where this evening’s accommodation is located. An enthusiast can alternatively cycle the 28 km from El Toboso to the hotel in Alcázar
- Accommodation: Hotel Intur or similar
- Cycling for the day: 54, ↑230m
- Optional extra, El Toboso – Alcázar de San Juan: 28km, ↑110 m
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast, it’s a walk or very short taxi ride to the train station of Alcázar de San Juan, with regular departs to Madrid, Alicante or Andalusia.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes a mix of mostly small, locally-owned hotels, B&Bs and traditional guesthouses. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel Carlos V, Toledo
- Casa Rural la Quintería de Sancho, Argamasilla de Alba
- Venta del Celemín, Ruidera Lakes
- Hotel Paloma, Tomelloso
- Hotel Intur, Alcázar de San Juan
Hotels are subject to availability. In the event of a particular hotel being fully booked for your chosen dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is three days served (hotels) and two times provided in the kitchenette of your rural accommodation. Lunch can either be bought in local shops or had in bars/restaurants underway. Dinner is available either at the accommodation or from restaurants in the local area.
Difficulty and terrain
This tour is rated easy-moderate and is suitable for both beginner and intermediate cyclists with most days offering 46-55km of cycling. The routes cover a variety of flat and undulating terrain (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to only follow marked trails and never try to shorten the path through unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed route notes and maps and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed information on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
The tour is available to start on Sundays from April to June and from August to October.
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Our recommended airport for this tour is Madrid (MAD)
By train or bus
If you are able to travel to Spain without flying, this holiday is reachable by rail, with railway stations in Toledo and Alcázar de San Juan. For more details, see the national rail operator Renfe.
From Madrid airport, take the metro to Madrid-Atocha railway station (40mins), then change to take the high-speed train each hour to Toledo (33mins). For timetables and further information visit Metro Madrid and Renfe or use the Omio planner above.
From Alcázar de San Juan there are regular trains back to Madrid or Alicante.
- 5 nights accommodation
- 5 breakfasts
- Luggage transport
- Transfers on days two and five
- Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS tracks, checked and regularly updated route notes and maps
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Flights and airport transfers
- Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
- Additional transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Tourist taxes and entrance fees (payable locally)
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Train tickets from Alcázar de San Juan to Madrid or Alicante
- Guided visit to wine cellars in Tomelloso
- Extra nights
- Bike rental
- Helmet rental
Both hybrid and e-bikes are available to rent on this tour. All bikes come with a repair kit, pannier, small handlebar bag, pump and lock.
Hybrid bikes (Stevens Jazz):
A hybrid trekking bike with both male and female models available. Both versions are equipped with, Shimano 3X8 gearing, 47mm tyres, Selle Royal saddle and suspension fork.
E-bikes (Espresso City 300):
This bike is classed as a cross bike, fit for long stretches of unsurfaced tracks as well as asphalt roads. Equipped with a 504wH battery, Shimano motor, 47mm tyres and suspension fork.